The cake tilted precariously as I stumbled into my parents bedroom. Panic gripped me as I tried to steady the massive cake.
"It's too big," I sobbed.
I stood there with my giant cake, trying to wake mom and dad.
"What's too big, honey?"
"The cake, it won't fit."
"What are you talking about? You're dreaming. Go back to bed."
"But I need to get the cake into the other room."
If you've ever been woken by a sleepwalking child you probably know how hard it is to shake them from their hallucination. Loving moms might rock their kids back to sleep. Abusive fathers might slap their kid back to consciousness. The technique my dad chose was different. He stepped into my dream, tried to see the world as I saw it, and offered a solution. He said,
"Why don’t you cut a bigger whole in the wall?"
His advice broke the spell I was under. Once I realized my silly predicament, I voluntarily went to my room and fell back to sleep. I can’t guarantee this will work on your kids, but give it a try.
There is a theory that each of us hallucinates our own reality. In the past I have called this your skull’s fourth wall. We sample the infinite data that constantly bombards our senses and create a story from the chaos. Tribes form when we meet people whose stories conform to our narratives. And when the world seems inconsolably divided it’s because different tribes’ stories are incompatible. If we hope to find peace we need to wake people from their hallucinations. But how?
Like a loving mother, your kindness might be enough to diffuse the danger when warring tribes collide.
Like an abusive father, you could deliver a slap to your opposition’s face. Perhaps your violence will cause your enemies to retreat.
But the view from my hallucination is that those approaches aren’t working. Perhaps we can learn to enter the hallucinations of people we don’t understand. Step into their dream, try to see the world through their eyes. Then offer a solution.
Thanks for reading. I sleepwalk every Saturday morning. If my words stirred you from slumber, consider following my weekly writing. Stay creative.
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