Catching a Few Dreams

This morning, I got out of bed before I had time to notice that I was awake and that my body felt uncomfortable, which is my ordinary way of coming back into this world each morning. Instead, with my first glimpse of a new day, I rolled back the covers, and rolled my legs onto the floor. Perhaps for that reason, I found vestiges of two dream sequences still present at the bottom of my mind, like a half cup of left over coffee on the counter.

1/ In one sequence, which was the earlier of the two, I was in a house where I was expected to give a presentation about something I had been working on with Barry, the teacher at a retreat I attended in the 1990’s, and I needed to find something on which to play a VHS tape that he had handed me. The tape had a curved leading edge, like a boomerang, which would need a different kind of player than the usual kind. But, at the end of this dream sequence, someone produced a regular player, I slipped the tape in, and it worked fine. My waking self might think, “Well, that was pretty convenient”, but why be ungracious when a dream ends with a feeling of success? How much more satisfying that felt than dreams where—seemingly for hours—some meaningless activity goes on and on, while I long to be free of those endless, tedious, mental loops that go nowhere.

2/ In the other sequence, I experienced something I can’t remember ever experiencing in a dream before. Even in waking life, I would rank it near the top of the spontaneous, playful interactions I have had. It started with me wearing layers of clothing stuffed inside each other. I must have been wearing everything I had in the world. Then this image segued into the intermission of a performance of a concert or a play, and a man of oriental descent was with his daughter, who looked to be about eight years old. I immediately recognized him as the man I had once seen walking with many layers of clothing on, who I thought was wearing everything he owned. We looked at one another in this theater building and, since he had been speaking with his daughter in a language I couldn’t comprehend, I went into a pantomime to express my recognition of that earlier time. I acted out removing shirts, jackets, and pants, neatly folding each one and storing it onto a closet shelf. When I had finished doing that, I grasped the lapels of my theatre-going dinner jacket, smiled and jumped up in the air, to indicate the freedom we both now enjoyed in another time than that earlier one. This gentleman then jabbered away in his foreign tongue with his daughter, after which they both nodded and smiled at me. I took that to indicate that they also valued the freedom we now enjoyed in a land where culture and peace still thrived.

With that last observation, I am making an interpretation that was probably not present in the dream sequence itself. As I try to record what those dreams actually included, I notice that I went from being the man who was making his way like a refugee to being the observer of that man, years later, now in happier times. Even more interesting than this shift from protagonist to witness, is that I was able to communicate with a man whose spoken language I couldn’t speak, through recourse to spontaneous pantomime gestures. Perhaps that is true to the natural flow in which our wish to communicate with others finds its way, like water welling up from a hidden, underground spring.

2 comments to “Catching a Few Dreams”
  1. Michael, I think we all wear everything we have previously owned, in the form of our personal history. Shedding the old garments and emerging free is always available for those of us who recognize, we have nothing to lose.

  2. Michael, your dreams were each important ones it seems to me. In the first you found that what appeared to be an impossibility was actually possible–a lovely surprise! And in the second you experienced the freedom that comes from letting go of what can weigh you down. In each case, you were freed from something that posed a difficulty. Thanks for sharing these dreams, and your experience of them.

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