I am standing amongst others in a very public space – a town square, a shop, a classroom or any venue in which others are gathered around in a plenitude and it comes to my attention after I have been there for a while that I am utterly naked. And nobody seems to have noticed.
But suddenly my entire being is filled with a sense of mortification and shame and I have to find a way to beat a hasty exit without my nudity being perceived by others.
Of course everybody on the planet has naked in public dreams. The Pope has them, the Dalai Lama has them, the Queen has them, maybe Margaret Thatcher didn’t, can’t be sure about that one. Actually, it’s be interesting to know if people who are often naked in public – nudists, strippers, people with personal lives more exotic than mine – have them. Regardless, public nudity is an almost universal dream theme.
There is probably abundant psychology at play with such dreams, much of it involving shame and vulnerability I expect. I am not in the slightest puritanical and have no problem doffing trou in a doctor’s office, the few times I have been skinny dipping and, of course at times of intimacy. I was never anybody’s blushing bridegroom.
Yet, in the dream scenario I am given a profound feeling of mortification and vulnerability. I feel threatened and uneasy.
Another almost constant dream scenario and one that is a little less mortifying is the inability to complete a task. Kind of a casebook study of our fear of failure. You agree to meet somebody with whom you truly want to spend some time; somebody you value and likely haven’t seen in a long while. You agree to meet at a certain destination and time and yet when you set out on the quest, it’s to no avail. You cannot get there for various reasons and somebody you’ve been longing to be with is lost in the vapor of memory.
In another, you have an obligation to fulfil a function in the realm of work. You pride yourself on your skills but you have been away from it for a while. When you sit down to carry out the task, it’s all alien to you. You simply cannot function at something you know so well.
In another scenario you are taking a class. It is coming to the end of the term and graduation looms. You realize, quite out of the blue, that you have completed nothing in the course. Not a single assignment, but somehow you are hoping you can fake your way through the final exam.
In this case you have no need to fret. You are guaranteed to be unable to find the room in which the exam is taking place. Happens all the time with me.