We can cobble many plans, flowchart our way into the machinery of life, do all the work and then some, but none of that matters unless we subconsciously commune with the change gathering within us. We must launch the silent ships we harbor before we enter the world once again newly re-formed.
Because just as we test our intentions in the metrics of the practical day world, so must we test our union to them in the inexplicable codified language of night. In dreams, we ease softly into the water of what is beyond thought and idea, and feel against our skin the still hidden truth of our life to be. Water which forms itself to its vessel, gives way to whatever enters its mass, simply allowing. It doesn't force it's shape upon us, yet against the silken wash we are even more aware of who and what we are. No wonder we are born through it.
In school we are taught of dreams in passing. How to disregard the frightening ones, how to admire the dreams of history's great men, or as in my case in Catholic school, how to express pious wonder at the dream visions of saints and saviors alike, some of which led to sacrificial flogging or a frenzied state of devotion. But no one teaches a course in Dreaming 101.
We know about REM, we know about nightmares and we accept that dreams just "happen" to us. All of this is true enough, but what if we could think of dreams as yet another way we converse with the Universe and ourselves? That in fact, the lack of control isn't at all different from the split second decision of taking another route to work instead of the usual one; a choice appearing to be so mundane during the moment yet which, as some people who've avoided disaster during 9/11 have found, turned out to have life or death consequences.
Or why when we are so intent at milking our dreams, all we're left with is a passing ghost of a color, or a word, or the hint of a fleeting nuance, maybe all it does is make us doubt our memories because the dream is so much more vivid than the past. For all we know, it has rewritten everything and we're left confounded at which we would prefer. I used to hope that my dreams could only either be reassuringly predictive, or cautiously forewarning - sure sometimes they were. Yet after a spate of constant dreaming when even an hour long nap proved non-exempt, I'd begun to suspect that my dreams were a prolonged conversation I was having with my self.
Self-help has popularly advocated holding a question prior sleep in hopes this will prod the sub-conscious into participating via a dream. I'd like to say that the sacredness of dreaming comes not only in its confusing imagery, or it's boundless chaos magic, but in the fact that so much of it is so unknown yet derived from nowhere else but ourselves. We make tasks of knowing, of being sure, of deciding and of choosing. Most of what we don't know and/or is beyond our control are usually external, we would rather not be mysteries to ourselves.
One in particular featured my finger having been amputated while I ran around trying to get help, even while I was perplexed at the absence of blood I feebly tried to hold the digit in place. Desperate not to lose the connection that would allow me to be whole again. I woke from that, teeth chattering and frozen under a pile of covers I'd perspired through, my hand grasping the supposedly shorn finger. My body accepted the dream as fact and it left me ill for a day until the resulting fever had finally passed.
I have loved and loathed my dreams in equal measure, but what I could not deny is that they do carry what Jung called, day residue. No matter how calmly and factually I could remind myself that the dream was done, I would remain exhausted and struggling through the period of time when dreams were frequent.
Worn from the dream itself, then again from trying to make sense of it. But now, even while I wake spent from them, I've begun to accept my dreams beyond their message but for the lesson of embracing my own enigma. The existence of dream-stories my sleep-self played out are sufficient as a layering component, just like how we come to learn things not through a single book but through every other event and experience that reiterates themes of that eventual knowing.
Having been besieged by ages of dreaming, periods where it felt like my subconscious could not help itself from washing everything up from life's storms to periods where each dream was a different facet of a single contemplation, I've begun to view sleep as an act of self-trust. At the end of the day, when I have wrestled with most things using reason, compassion or both, I meet my pillow with the thought that it is time for rest now, and in that rest, an acceptance of what dreams may come. I fear no drowning nor any unhappiness, because despite the oddities, the upside down world or the surreal emotions, I am sure I am practicing the one thing we most struggle with in light.
The unknown in me is as vast as the unknown outside of me. The switch flips, the room is dark and into the slumber I swim.