All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women are merely players
Yet something deep in me balks at the second line. Is it our fate to be “merely players” in a pre-scripted drama? I think not. I think we can choose to become playwrights as well as players.
So long as we spend our lives trying to follow a script we did not make for ourselves, we will forever find ourselves flubbing our lines and missing our cues. The way life works, so long as we are unconscious of these things, is that we are pushed on stage only to find that the scene we rehearsed for has been changed.
We learn about this in dreams, and theater from dreams is a grand education on how we can choose to script our own life stories. Again and again, in my dreams, I find myself on stage sets where a drama is about to unfold, or resume. Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I have the sense of a curtain going up in another reality and there, on stage, is a whole cast of characters who are waiting for me to join them. Some of these dramas seem to have been running for longer than The Lion King on Broadway; sometimes the players are of a different time and place, and the stage sets may turn out to be real cities and landscapes. Often my dream self becomes aware that I have choice; I may enter a role in an ongoing drama, or remain an observer, or act as playwright and director and change the plot.
Dream theater is my favorite entertainment. In my workshops, we will take a dream and have every element in it – from gods to garbage cans – personified by a member of the circle, chosen by the dreamer. As scriptwriter and director, and eventually lead actor, the dreamer will exercise the power to change the story and carry it onward. This can be profoundly healing, as well as wildly entertaining, and it plays back into ordinary life by sowing a deep sense that we are not bound by any prepared script.