Our bodies create stories. Give yourself a minute to take that in. While we are unconscious, we weave narratives.
One-third of our lives are spent sleeping. On average, we can dream anywhere from one to two hours every night. Moreover, we can have four to seven dreams in one night. Five minutes after the end of the dream, half the content is forgotten. After ten minutes, 90% is lost.
How can we get to know ourselves in a new way by investigating our dreams?
I’ve been keeping track of my dreams since I was a teenager, and even before then I had dreams that were recurring as a child. As I’ve grown older, I have found that it is not any one dream that interests me, but the themes that run through a lot of them.
By keeping a dream journal that combines very quick bullet points and sketching my recollections of my dreams – I’ve begun to figure out what some of those threads are composed of in my nocturnal weaving.
Try keeping a dream journal and take note of some of these aspects over time, looking for re-occurrences:
- Places/ locations
- Architecture/ landscape
- Way of moving
- Elements (water, fire, earth, air)
Popular themes for me is an aerial point of view, looking at the geography my dream inhabits from the sky, like one of those topographic dioramas. There are locations I go to over and over that seem to be connected by passageways as if they are different ports on the same island. One of the largest themes for me is losing/ trying to find something, going somewhere/ needing to get back, airports and large transportation structures that I have to navigate and suddenly where I need to be (I am at the wrong gate) involves running back through a maze to get to the right place. Anxiety dreams mixed with a bit of an action thriller mentality.
What if we considered ourselves “dream-centered” instead of “awake-centered” and took our dream life more seriously?
Why notice these commonalities? Upon meditation, I’ve been able to form a new relationship with my subconscious anxieties. The end line is always being moved, and I am unsure how to finish my mission and gain success. So much about these dreams are about muddied paths, unclear routes, suddenly changing roads, stairs to nowhere. Is that the way that I see my life? I think it probably is and I wonder if there is a way to work with this and soothe myself a bit. Can I decrease drag, be better prepared, have backup plans, or perhaps just be happier with the confusion of changing objectives?
I can try, but I have to admit that just knowing my dream themes a little bit better has helped me understand the structure of my own mind a bit better, and that feels good. As the Talmud states, “A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read.” I am too curious, I have to open the envelope!
Have any ideas on how to work better with your dreams? Email me – erin (at) memoirclass.com.