I’ve been dreaming a lot lately, more than usual … some beautiful, some magical, some unintelligible and some disturbing; and some of them, those strange dreams that leave you unbalanced and anticipating something unknown for days afterwards. I do not know why because for many years I rarely remembered my dreams, at times wondering if my brain had stopped dreaming. So, I ask myself, why this increase recently? Am I going through changes in my thinking or my lifestyle that warrants messages from my sleeping mind? Or is just a random cyclical thing? Whatever it is (and they have, at least, given rise to new poetry and ideas for stories, so they are being useful) I have been thinking deeply about dreams for a while now.
Dreams intrigue me – everyone dreams, I assume – but what are they? Where do they come from? Are they simply our mind cataloguing our computer brain files and shifting things around, or are the more significant than this, more fundamental, more vital?
I find it hard to believe that dreams are purely a systematic shifting of memory bytes. That’s almost too easy an answer for something as complex and varied as dreaming. Many are just too vivid, too diverse, and have too many images that are unlinkable to any current or past experience.
Dreams are universal functions of our mind and unite humanity across space and time; as I said – everybody dreams, and humanity has dreamt since the earliest of times. Therefore it seems reasonable to surmise that they must have some function within, and exert some influence over our existence. There must be a reason for dreaming … or maybe not. Should everything have purpose or is that a rational, day time idea? Maybe dreaming is simply another, different, level of existence. During the day we live by reason’s code in order to be safe and survive, but at night we can travel through time or soar to the stars, and do things we might otherwise never try, trapped as we often are by our insecurities and fears. During our dreams we are free to fly, dance, love and create new realities for ourselves.
There are people, of course, that can blur the boundaries of dream and daytime consciousness. I call it that rather than reality as I believe that there are many different realities. These people are the great visionary thinkers, artists, poets, writers, and especially children, who haven’t yet been polluted by society’s ideas of what is real. Such people possess imagination and the ability to express it for the potential benefit of others. They, we (for I class myself as a visionary, a writer, a poet and an artist, and I still possess a childlike mind, too childlike some would say) take our dreams into daytime consciousness daring to imagine broader horizons, new and different worlds, stranger dimensions. We fly on cosmic wings in and out of our dreams, creating and imagining and interpreting the world around us, transforming it into places of greater beauty, more magical and enchanted, remaking it in our own image.
The dream world whether captured by our night time consciousness, or flowing from our pens, keyboards and paintbrushes, is considered by many – so called intellectuals, or just plain old adults – to be unreal, fiction, imaginary. I include the last word as it illustrates the irony of the idea – imaginary ie coming from the imagination, which is purely an extension of our night time consciousness, our dreams. Yet in many parts of the world now, and in many cultures of the past, the boundaries between dreams and waking are both fragile and shifting. The Celts (a culture I identify with both emotionally and genetically) believe dreams are the realms of gods and goddesses, places to discover the very essence of existence.
And indeed, it is that dream consciousness that allows us to see beyond the mundane world to the very core of being, so that we might reach higher than our current existence towards goals and aspirations we would otherwise reject as beyond our place in the world. Dreams allow us to believe we are greater than we are and enable us to transform ourselves in new and inspiring ways.
Dreams and imagination are the central core of who we are – they have allowed human beings to rise from simple creatures of instinct to complex beings who have the ability to fly to the moon and beyond. Without dreams we are not human; they are what make us human and not just animal, for dreams and imagination transport us across the boundaries of possibility and hurl us to the ends of infinity.
A dream journey is a trip into the unknown – whether during night consciousness or through the modus of creating something from imagination. During our waking time we tend to stick to what is familiar, stay in out comfort zones. Often this is necessary in order to survive, or is the result of imprisoning fears. But in our night dreams, our day dreams, our fantasies, we can do anything, go anywhere, be anyone we choose. We can be something different every time we dream, or stretch and challenge ourselves immeasurably.
Our job as an adult is to grow and learn and develop, to expand our knowledge and skills; yet it is the child that sees and accepts, unconditionally, the vastness of the universe as accessed by imagination and dreams. Be as little children …
Today’s Western society is extremely materialistic, governed by strict concepts of reality: science. If it cannot be seen, touched, proven it cannot exist. Dreams, spirituality, magic are all seen as fantasy. Yet the latter encompasses vision and a belief in potentiality. The latter pre-supposes that there is still much to be learnt about the present universe and our existence within it. The latter requires open-mindedness. A materialistic, realistic view is close-minded. So which is superstition and blind faith, and which is liberalism and progressiveness? Today’s imagined dream, today’s imagined story, today’s magical idea is tomorrow’s science or medicine or invention. Is it fear of the unknown, fear of being vulnerable to possibility, fear of surrendering our imagination that insists on keeping our dreams imprisoned in a cage, and labelled unreal? Isn’t it essential to our very existence to listen to our dreams and dare to imagine a better world, a world of love, tolerance, peace and environmental purity where everyone has enough to live on, and no-one is subjugated? I’m certain that most of us dream of such a world so let’s keep dreaming, let’s keep imagining, and turn those dreams into reality on both plains of existence.
I’m conscious that I’ve not really explored what dreams are, after all, just that they are universal and essential and important – maybe their nature needs more thought from me, but in the meantime: Dream on …