I was lost- whether in a school or hospital setting I could not say, but the ensuing panic felt horrid. I turned corners. I walked quickly as my anxiety grew in each unfamiliar corridor. I saw a large clock floating ahead of me. The clock face was mangled and the numbers random as if they had been thrown haphazardly onto that surface. I checked my watch. It was so tiny that I could not see the time.
Dreams are a parade of thoughts, emotions and graphic appearances that occur most often during periods of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Much speculation throughout the scientific community leads us to more questions. Why do we dream? Do dreams have a purpose and are they indicative of some wakeful content?
I yelled to my Uncle Bob, “You’re drowning! Get out of the water! I can’t get to you. Please, swim to the shore before it’s too late!” He went under and the scream in my chest could not be voiced.
Called, Oneirology, the study of dreams may have begun as early as 5,000 years ago. Philosophers and differing religious interests have been fascinated by these sleep journeys and began recording them in Mesopotamia about that time. In modern eras, scientists theorise that there is a coupling of dreams to the unconscious mind.
The horse that I walked beside raised his head and snorted into the wind. As he did so, that horse became an unfamiliar man who then morphed yet again into a friendly two headed snake. One head resembled the actor Robert Redford, the other I could not place. “Come here,” the snake said. I was frozen to the spot and could not move.
Dream lengths are variable- some lasting a mere few seconds and others to an extreme of 30 minutes. Often people awaken slightly and can capture their current dream. Some people maintain that they aren’t dreamers; however researchers in this field say that all mammals dream. The unusual person can have up to seven dreams per night, but most often, the average person dreams three to five times during each sleep period of approximately eight hours.
He gently took my hand and caressed it for a moment. He brought it to his lips and laid a tender kiss upon it. “Will you marry me?’ he asked softly. I felt a tingle run down my spine as tears began to form in my eyes. I could not answer as I was transformed to the inside of a large glass enclosure. He banged on the glass with both fists and I saw that he was screaming, but sound wouldn’t penetrate those walls. As I reached out to him, the glass shattered. Concern leaving his face, he carried me to a lovely cottage set in the midst of a lilac and peony garden. Once inside this utopia, he lovingly lifted me onto a guilt covered bed. “Yes,” I whispered and…
Often bizarre, dreams can run from the mundane to the surreal. Frightening dreams are common as are erotic, wandering and explorative. Lucid dreaming finds the dreamer self-aware; however during REM cycle dreams, the subject matter is out of the control of the dreamer. Some say that their dreams help them to be creative- such as an image used for a painting. Still others feel inspired by their dreams.
My son lay on the mortuary table. A coroner dressed in a black, hooded lab coat folded back the sheet covering my boy. I clutched at my chest, realising that my heart would never beat again. As I ascended into death as I knew it, I saw my son ahead of me. As I ran toward him with my arms out stretched, he turned to face me. Smiling, he walked past, heading back from where he had come.
During the Roman and Greek periods, people believed that their dreams came from one or several deities. Predicting the future through their dreams was an absolute. Sigmund Fraud penned, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’ in 1899 and as a psychoanalyst he would guide his patients to verbalize their fears and desires and to express their deepest and darkest emotions. He developed techniques that would help interpret the symbols that are found in our dreams and used them as therapeutic tools with these clients. Over the years, many analysts and neurologists have modified Freud’s work. The vast majority of modern scientists and psychologists accept dreams and their meanings as unsolved mind mysteries.
The roadway was wet from a recent downpour. The huge commercial truck in which I rode turned down a steep highway. This road had cliffs to the right and an unprotected drop-off to the ocean on the left. The driver smiled as he turned up the radio and shifted gears. “Why am I here?” I asked. That driver answered but I could not hear his words over the engine noise. His smile turned to absolute horror as his right foot repeatedly slammed down on the brake. The truck did not slow and he would never maintain control as we sped on towards the curve that lay ahead. Opening my door, I saw the concrete fly past as the yellow painted line went out of view. I jumped.
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung