Wednesday, 25 January 2012

in your dreams

Form 1.5%* 10** Dreamer is in a different body
than usual, or the body is distorted.
Role 2.6% 8 Dreamer is playing a role of other than
his or her normal waking self.
Action 11.6% 1 Dreamer does something unlikely or
impossible in waking life.
Perception 1.7% 6 Dreamer is able to see, hear, feel
things in a different way than usual.
Thought 5.3% 1 Dreamer has a dreamlike thought or
alters the dream events with thought.
Emotion 10.8% 3 Dreamer experiences unusually
intense emotions.
Sexual 1.2% 8 Dreamer feels sexually aroused or feels
sensations in the erogenous area.
Out of Body 0.2% 9 Dreamer feels sensations as if
"out of body".
Body Sense 2.0% 5 Dreamer feels an unusual sensation on
or in his or her body.
Paralysis 1.0% 7 Dreamer feels unable to move.

Form 5.7% 2 A dream person is different than normal,
oddly formed, or strangely dressed.
Role 2.2% 8 A dream person is playing a role different
than in waking life.
Action 13.7% 4 A dream person does something unlikely or
impossible in waking life.
Place 6.7% 7 A dream person is in a place where he or
she is unlikely to be in waking life.
Form 9.1% 7 A dream thing is strangely built, or
doesn't exist in waking life.
Action 4.6% 2 A dream thing does something unlikely or
impossible in waking life.
Place 4.4% 7 A dream thing is in a place where it is
unlikely to be in waking life.
Form 7.8% 3 The place where the dream occurs is oddly
constructed or impossible.
Place 5.4% 10 Dream occurs in a place the dreamer is
unlikely to be in waking life.
Time 2.6% 10 Dream occurs either in the past or in
some projected future.
* Percent of the total number of dreamsigns for this category.
** A ranking from 1-10 with lower numbers more frequently
occurring as lucidity triggers.
+++ table published in "1001 Nights Exploring Lucid Dreaming," by Lynne Levitan, [From NIGHTLIGHT 4(2), Spring 1992, Copyright, The Lucidity Institute.] (see note below)
I am not sure about the ambition to become a lucid dreamer, there is a kind of search for perfection that-- perhaps because i get caught up in it-- turns me off. But in my younger days, I did devour many books about dreaming, and developed the habit of (initially) writing down my dreams each night, and (later) discussing my dreams with those who are close to me, and/or those who appear or visit me in my dreams. When someone tells me about their dreams, i note these in my journal in the same way that i would my own dreams, and i carry them with me for a while.

I started thinking about lucid dreaming because i became aware that my reliable optimism had become overly burdened, and in place of the ebullience and motivation and appetite for life, i was feeling defeat. Without going into what recent things have triggered this feeling in me, i will tell some stories.

One of my intimates stopped speaking to me over a year ago, and after i received a short note from that person-- with the lift of pleasure, that things may be speakable now or possible to engage with-- came the realization that, no, for all of the reasons and for none of them, the time is not ripe for re-engagement. That realization came to me in a lucid dream: i had written my friend a letter, and in my dream, i received the response-- a happy salutation, and several paragraphs of unguarded chatter, talking about the current events and involvements of that person's life. I felt such a flush of pleasure!

As i started to read, however, the words of the letter all disappeared, and i was staring into the blank space where the words had been, not able to continue with the unself-conscious belief that the flow of love and communication was open again.  The feelings of defeat, and the recognition of ongoing loss overcame me.

I am only dreaming.

I find the guidance of dreams very useful in life, and a way of intimacy that tells us very important inside stories about ourselves. One of my sons dreamt, many years ago, that i'd taken his glass of milk and drank it down: he woke in a fury! We had a long conversation then, about the me in the world and the me of his dreams. He learned that there is a difference between his experience of me and who i ma, i mean am, overall. He took the first step in distinguishing between levels of reality and social intercourse. For my part, i took the message of his dream-worry into myself, to watch for ways that i might be taking from him to nourish myself.

Another day, another year, another son: in this dream i was a hero, we explored wondrous landscapes highly reflective of a place he visited often and i, not at all-- a videogame world, informing his dreamscape. I felt, and still do feel, amazement and delight, to be cast in the role of co-hero and sidekick, leaping over water falls to land safely on floating lemon wedges, engage in running battles, to escape, then get organized, and return with more allies. Having co-operatively devised an effective resistance, the outcome was inevitable. We won!!!

Personal power is a very personal, internal, and highly mutable experience. I often think that considering people as individuals is misleading, and that it is the space between people that is most important. Dreams are just one of the powers that we have, that can leap between so-called "individuals," to express and to assist in the shaping of "who we are." Songs have a similar power.

Writing of my sons' dreams puts me in mind of the feelings of astonishment and wonder, watching the peoples of Tunisia and Egypt and Bahrain and Syria and Libya all take to the streets, and the possibilities that through sheer courage and bull-headedness, they collectively and co-operatively demanded. Each ongoing collective story unfolds in it's unique way, expressive of the possibilities and the balances of power, tyranny, justice and it's opposite, on more scales than we can encompass consciously (yet live in every day).

The title of the paper by the dream scientist, whose table i borrowed and format transformed, underlines both the stereotypical misunderstandings between the west and what we call the Middle East, and the wisdom of our inherent need to dream, to share stories, and to become lucid. Lucidity is not only to be pursued while alseep: it is a benefit to all in our working and waking hours, too.There is a way that the unexpected can delight us, and surprising news can have us look, think, feel again about what is or is not possible in our worlds.

Recently, i discovered that my daughter had gone through the house, painting the initial of this person we miss on the walls of the house. I grumbled, but didn't berate her. But we have lived with these magical letters, painted with egg white on the egg white walls, for some time now. I have begun to encourage her to refresh the prayer, by carefully washing the marks away, reiterating her original prayers and purpose. We cannot control everything, but it is important not to lose track of what we wish for, what we want and what we need. We do have to accomodate others' self-regency, and share the world with all who share it with us.

The level of dreams and the level of prayers and the level of our mundane world all inter-penetrate, and they cross-fertilize. Here is a poem that i wrote about dreams, in a family context:

dream portal

my daughter tells me

that i dreamt i was turned into mush

& that the mermaids saved me

i have no memory of this

but do not argue, we are all

dreaming one another anyway

there is no start or finish to it

the dream economy will thrive

in all kinds of weather

we pass our dreams back & forth

between the generations

as lateral gifts

as cross-cultural contagions

what does the dream contain?

what does the story hold?

when i assert, on another day

that i do remember

my life as a mermaid

my son affirms, it’s true

ma remembers all of her

crazy adventures

Poem originally published in Contemporary Verse II, Fall 2010

NOTE: The formatting of Table I has been changed to accommodate the blog format, return to source to see original lay-out: 

For more about clarity, see the story about media representations of sudden deaths, Listening Post, News Divide; Al Jazeera

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