I don’t sleep very well; neither do I dream very much. And even in this arena, my memory often fails me, and so I allow for the possibility that I am dreaming, I just don’t realize that I am. My dreams tend to be circumstantial: obviously related to something I was thinking, experiencing or possibly eating. Recently, though, all of this has changed.
About two or three months ago, I had one or two nights where my dreams suddenly took on a seemingly deeper – and fascinating – meaning. Call it the power of suggestion: I had been reading a book which included the proposition that as your life begins aligning with its true purpose, dreams become frequent and vivid. And voila! They had. Then, as suddenly as they had started, they stopped.
Not long after, I tried melatonin once again for my insomnia, and suffered a published – but previously unknown to me – side effect: a night full of weird dreams and high anxiety. Yeah, I slept, sort of, but was so uncomfortable that I decided I’d rather be conscious and anxious than asleep and anxious.
I spent much of this last Saturday night, without any sleeping aids, wide awake, analyzing an unexpected event from that morning. When I finally went back to sleep sometime after 5:30 am, my brain started cranking out dreams in rapid-fire motion, peopled partly and bizarrely by friends and acquaintances. The final dream woke me up, terrified.
Are dreams merely our mind’s way of processing our day, or do they offer clues and a conduit to our inner wisdom? Humans have been interpreting dreams for thousands of years; who knows if any of us get it right? But if a dream gives me a clue that unlocks personal growth or a mystery; if my sleeping moments provide a new perspective on an old dilemma; or if a nightmare makes me think about the events of my life in a different way, then I’m willing to believe.
Then again, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. My longest running nightmare began when I was 5. In Florida with my mom for my great-aunt’s funeral but too young to go to the actual event, I was left with a couple of teenage babysitters. They thought it would be fun to introduce the kid to the B-rate horror genre. I literally had nightmares about that movie until I was 12.
But even those dreams had a message for me, and I heed it to this day: I avoid horror movies like the plague.