By Andy Nalewski
A dream isn’t something tangible. It is a moment. It’s a memory. Dreams are things that we hope and wish for, that we fear and shy from; we love and hate them, and we never want them to leave us. Give pause to this; take a long stride in your mind and give meaning to the long sleep, sleep that gives you inner sanctity and outward heart-racing, and try to think of all the things that happened to you when you dream.
A dream is a first kiss and a break up, a long walk and a short sprint, the smell of flowers and the taste of blood, the burning fire and the frigid winter, the tall trees and the small flowers, the empty space and the filled canvas, the noise of laughter and the sob of tears, the crying mother and the stubborn child, the shriek of car tires and the clicking of bicycle chains, the tiny toys and the expensive house, the pale sky and the rainbow sunset, the mastered skill and the floundering tries, the lost job and the lovely hobby, the love of another and the cold of loneliness, the broken glass and the clean mirror, and the great, wide road that leads to pure consciousness when you wake, but not before a shimmer of confusion in between.
Not all dreams are like this. Most show almost none of these. More show almost nothing at all. There are only vague images and colors and shadows, each born of the lack of firing neurons in your brain, which is the center of dreams, and which is mainly used when awake.
Your brain is your mind. The two are nearly inseparable; monks speak of a soul that transcends the body, but - as Morpheus said - the body cannot live without the mind, and vice versa.
What happens when we wake? Do we simply stop dreaming? No, we never stop at all. Dreaming goes on throughout the day - “day dreaming”, they call it. It isn’t the same, but it is as well; we have more vivid images - sometimes - and we always awake when we either choose to or when we are brought to attention by some stimulus, unlike a real dream, where we cannot always choose to awaken. But the fundamentals are the same. We think on things either positive or negative. We always wish for a positive outcome, or empowerment, or - as when sleeping, and often always when sleeping - simple, pure rest that breaks up the days and nights of our stressful lives.
We should thank our dreams when we need a rest. They are us, after all. People are people, and if dreams are us, dreams are people. They deserve the same respect that is given to another human being that we crave so dearly. Dreams should not be deferred, but rather given a chance, a second or third chance, maybe, to get to know you, to have a laugh with you - even a cry, when the two of you are comfortable enough with each other - to go out to lunch and complain about your boss, to kill an unsavory mood that threatens productivity in the workplace, and to give thanks for all you have at that one holiday where food and football reign supreme.
Other people dream as well. They are your family, your friends, the firemen who risked his life yesterday, the homeless man - sick and cold on the sidewalk - the school teacher who is fed up with her rowdy class, and the director who dreams of the perfect film but cannot make his vision true because of meddling by producers and executives and even his actors that he has known as best friends since childhood. Even your cat has dreams. Their dreams could be just like yours, and likely are.
But don’t think of dreams as Freud did, where they are a subconscious desire, where they are so linked to you that they can explain everything about you, be it “normal” or “disorderly”. Dreams are simply what you want, what you have done, what you did, what you never did, where you’ve never been or have been, why you’ve done or haven’t done, how you did it, who you did it with or without - but never when.
Dreams are never concerned with when. Time is always subjective, and objective, and abstract, and obtuse and acute and paradoxical to the point that it would drive anyone awake, completely insane. Time itself is barely understood by the brightest conscious minds alive - being asleep makes it all the more mysterious, and most of the time, fun.
That’s what it comes down to: feelings. Things you’ve felt in the past. Things that help or haunt you. Things that make up who you are and push you through your life as day after day after day goes by. As we have learned, dreams are who we are. They are us, we are them, they are everyone.
People share their feelings with each other. Through facial expressions, words, actions, and the subtle things like tone of voice. It is not often that people share their dreams. My ex-friend, told me of his dreams almost every day. They were abstract and odd to the point of hilarity, and everyone laughed and giggled. But most people do not share their dreams. They don’t because they are personal, the core of our feelings. They are bane and wisdom. It still holds true that we are our dreams, because, even with those we love most, we rarely share all of ourselves.
People should think more of dreams. They should not strive to analyze - sometimes, they shouldn’t even try to understand. They should simply remember them, remember that they are there, and that every dream we have, leads to one more day in this beautiful life, where we all share with each other what we want to.
Ponder on it. Sleep on it. Dream of it.