There was a time in my life when I thought I didn’t dream. Since I recalled none, there were no dreams. Discussion over, right?
Wrong, Billy Boy! Since childhood, I have always dreamed, probably every night, and have had more than my share of nightmares. Even as an adult, I’ve physically acted out dream events in voice or movement, concerning and confusing my wife. If I have had one dream every night since birth, that’s over 26,000 dreams. Many nights there were more than one or two.
At the end of this post I’ll drop a link to a down-to-earth piece about dream interpretation, if you want some P-h-and-D ideas.
There are a lot of things written about dreams. I find most of it to be irrational BS and schemes for cash. But, I do think there is physiological meaning in dreams, and I find dream analysis to be a fun and healthy experience. Extensive metaphor and symbolism seem to be what dreams are made of, although I have had some dreams closely parallel real-life events, and were likely triggered by past or pending events.
My dreams are virtually always dreams about challenge, during which I’m motivated to overcome difficulty or an obstacle. I have faced danger, been stuck, or wanted to move away from a situation in which I found myself. Most of my dreams involve other people, but not always those I know. I have had a few pleasant dreams and my awakening to reality was disappointing. But mostly, I’m ready for the dreams to end.
Usually, I enter my dream by finding myself in an ongoing situation. There’s no introduction or preface. It’s like I’m teleported into a situation that “I” was already in, but have just became aware or conscious of.
Last night I arrived into my dream feeling a little cold. I found a discarded jacket and decided to wear it. But I was self-conscious that it was not “my” jacket, and that someone may claim it. As I walked past people, I felt their judging stares. They seemed to know it was not my jacket and that I ought not to be wearing it.
I was walking with a crowd. Along with many others, I walked into a building that looked much like the inside of church. We sat on long benches like pews. The walls were bare, there were no church-like activities such as singing, praying, or preaching. A man sitting near me was constantly watching me. I saw him and spoke to him, but he never talked. He just stared at me. And he looked pissed off – grumpy for sure. In real life, he’d be a weirdo stalker for which I’d summon the law. But in this dream, I simply moved on.
Deciding to leave the building, I stood and walked to the exit doors. A group of people surrounded the doors and were making half-hearted efforts to leave the building. None seemed to be leaving. I noticed a door with nobody near it. I grabbed the handle and opened the big heavy wooden door. That is when I discovered my exit blocked by a wall. I could see over the shoulder-high obstruction. So, I grasped the top with both hands, pulled myself up, and swung one leg over. I noticed others doing the same, then jumping and walking away. As I swung the other leg over, I jumped from the wall and joined others walking.
I was out of the building, away from the weird guy, and happy about it. I felt relieved. Then, I stopped and turned to look back. I could see the others standing behind the wall looking at me. They didn’t speak, but I was sure they wanted out – to be free. I told them how easy it was to climb over the wall. I offered to help, and I told them that fear was holding them back. With that, some climbed the wall and jumped out. Others just stood there. They didn’t try. It was not the wall that kept them trapped, it was that they didn’t try to leave. I walked away a second time.
I began to feel guilty about the people who were not motivated enough to try. Again, I went back. I considered jumping the wall back into the building, but I suspected I would not be able to leave if I tried to help others. They were afraid to come out. I was afraid to go back in. For the third time I walked away. As I looked around I noticed a pretty lady also walking away. She nodded knowingly and smiled.
Awake, I looked at the clock: 5:30 AM. I decided to sleep more, pondering where I would go, where anyone would go after leaving that building. As I was dozing back into dreamland, I analyzed my dream. I wanted to know where I was going. What would come next?
Are dreams stories with built-in conflicts? Was my dream just one more? Was it simply a story I dreamed up in my sleep? Or did it have deeper psychological meaning? Is there something in my real life that precipitated the dream?
Does everything in a dream represent something real in my world or in my mind?
Why am I always younger in my dreams?
To read one of several interesting articles about dream analysis in Psychology Today, click here.
One of my favorite dream poems:
Also this: click here to read a Mary Oliver poem about dreams.
When you dream,
look both ways for what the dream tells you about the past,
and what you may be thinking about for the future.
Dreams are not logical, so mind the gaps.