Tuesday, September 7, 2021

When dreams do a morning flit

Some mornings I have a dream – it might be a big one, full of romance and adventure – but it gets away before I can find any way to hold it. Then I am like a fisherman kicking his creel, stretching his arms to show the size of the one that got away, but not managing even that. Sometimes I know a night visitor slipped out the window in the instant I rolled over and turned my back..
     How do dreams do this vanishing act? Notice I am not talking about the absence of dreams, not at all. We can absent ourselves from dreams. We might even say, “I don’t dream” which only means “I don’t remember” or “I don’t want to remember”. Because dreams are never absent from us. We dream for hours every night. The guys in white coats in the sleep laboratories can show you the physiological evidence for that.
     I am talking about something more specific than a chronic or occasional lack of dream recall. That is a common condition and when it is protracted it is a real malaise, gravely injurious to your health and well-being, for which I have offered remedies, notably in my book Active Dreaming.
     I am talking, quite specifically, about how and why dreams get away. Waking, you have them. You may feel you have perfect recollection of what you were doing and with whom in another reality, just a raised eyelid ago. The next moment, all that is gone. Your memories have been erased, as if a Man in Black zapped you with a Neuralyzer
    What’s going on here?
     I’ve been going over some of my own experiences of dreams doing a morning flit. Here are some of my thoughts on how dreams get away:

It is hard to remember one world when you are in another world

Neuroscientists talk about how retrievable memories are established when data is passed from the cortex to the hippocampus. But what we experience in dreams is not just a matter of seeing movies between our ears. We enter an altered state of consciousness and then find ourselves in other realities. So the memory download is not just between areas of the brain, but between the nonlocal mind or the traveling dream soul and the brainbox receiver. The brain is an awesome organism that can handle far more than most of us ever imagine. But the download from multidimensional reality into forms and linear narratives we can recognize and use in ordinary reality is an awesome operation. We grasped something in the deep but it slips from our hand as we rise into the shallows and soon all that is left is a little froth, until that is gone too.

Your dream was so real you didn’t think you could forget it

On the other hand, our experiences in dreams may be so very real, engaging our inner senses, that – whether or not we become aware we are dreaming – we may feel no need to lay down a memory trace. Few of us would feel the need to write down that we took a certain road to work, or that a lover’s kiss tasted of wine or raspberries, at least not right away. These are actual events, they happened, how could we forget about them moments later? Well, it can be the same with dreams. They happened, they were real – and so we let them slip away.

You haven’t been taking action to honor your dreams

If we do not take action to honor our dreams, we do not dream well. Our dream producers may become so disgusted by our lazy neglect of what they have been giving us that they actually close down their movie-making, or pull a heavy curtain after a screening. As a writer, I am grimly aware that I have been given far, far more ideas for all kinds of new productions – novels and screenplays and novellas and short stories, as well as new nonfiction – than I have developed. When I have a patch where I can’t hold onto my dreams (or the dreams I do snare seem paltry) I often ask myself: Is this because I have not been doing enough to create from the scenes and scripts I have already been given?

You got zapped

Sometimes it feels like something intervenes to erase dream memories. When I write this, I remember the Neuralyzer used by the agents in the Men in Black scifi movies to make sure that regular people are not freaked out by memories of alien life forms.
    We are all subject to inner censors, and maybe sometimes to psychic interference.
     However, I like the idea that sometimes there may be a benign agency at work that seeks to ensure that we don’t bring through too much from other worlds before we are ready to integrate the knowledge.
     I gained insight about this from a good friend who is usually a prolific dreamer. She is also one of those who rarely fails to take action to embody the guidance and energy of dreams. Even so, she entered a period when her dreams were doing that morning flit. She willed herself to stay present, alert and conscious, in that moment when she felt herself stepping through the door between the dreamworld and her ordinary reality. When she did this, she noticed there was a figure standing beside a doorway, with a large timepiece in his hand, a pocket watch as big as a clock.
    “Who are you?” she demanded.
    “I am the Timekeeper,” he told you. “I decide when it is time for you to remember what happens over here.”

So, what can we do if we want to prevent our dreams doing the vanishing act?
    I like to visualize a door-stopper, that holds the door between the worlds open, just a chink, when I come back to this side, with dreams fluttering all around me. This gives me a chance to reach back in and grab a few before they have flitted away entirely. In my house, we use an old flat iron and a brick, and a stone the shape of Africa as door stoppers. In my imagination, the door stopper is sometimes a black dog, generally bigger than this little cutie I acquired from an antiques store.

Please Note: This article is not about the general problem of lack of dream recall, a widespread malaise in our society which is partly related to the absence of social reinforcement for the practice of sharing and working with dreams. You'll find my thoughts on common causes for a generalized dream drought n my book Active Dreaming, together with many fresh and effective suggestions for restoring your dream flow. This book also explains the Lightning Dreamwork process I invented, which gives us a safe and fun way to share dreams, get helpful feedback, and be guided towards actions to apply the guidance from a dream and embody its energy. This gives us a strong incentive to bring more from our dreams to the table of life.

No comments: