Thursday, November 20, 2014

Blogging Break

Due to family circumstances this blog will be inactive until I get back on a regular schedule.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Are Dream Fears Real or Subconsciously Fabricated?

English: Words associated with Fear
 Words associated with Fear (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Let's say you are having a dream that frightens you--or perhaps even gives you a sense of absolute terror.   The dream may cause you to wake up.   You might be shaking with your heart pounding.  You might be sweating.   The dream that has awakened you causes you to lie awake afraid until the fear has subsided so that you can finally go back to sleep.

        Most of us have experienced a dream like I've described here.  Think back for a moment on what exactly it was in the dream that scared you so.    Can you remember precisely what is was in the dream that caused you to be afraid?

          Sometimes we can pinpoint the exact nature of the source of the fear in the dream.  It might be a frightening individual or an animal of some sort.   It might even be a literal monster or demon.  The fear may have been aroused by a dream occurrence or the expectation that something awful was about to happen.   Dream fear can be stimulated by a specific place or the unfamiliarity of a mystery place.   Just as happens in waking life fear in dreams can be incited by a number of things.

          On the other hand, there may be nothing you can pinpoint visually, aurally, or from any other reference of the senses that would seem to be the source of any fear.   The fear might just be there for no perceptible reason.   In the dream we might imagine that there is something to be afraid of but we can't identify anything that we should be afraid of.   In cases like these, fear is merely an element of the dream.  Waking from a dream like this can be the most puzzling situation, resulting in prolonged periods of inability to go back to sleep as we fret over the meaning of the dream experience and the reason for the fear.

          Either way we might be led to wonder why exactly we have the presence of fear in dreams at all.   The fear can stem from something we experienced in the preceding day or at some other point in our lives.  Why we would dream about fearful things from the past could be because we have recently been reminded of those events.  If our mind just randomly dredges up fears from long ago then that would be a peculiarity of the dream state that would be difficult to understand.   Surely the fear is most often related to recent events.

          Fear in dreams might also be related to something in the future that we feel insecurity about.    Events at work, situations within the family, or other circumstances that loom in our future with uncertainty can trigger fears related to failure, rejection, and other negative emotions.    The fears that we have about what lies ahead in our waking life might be reinterpreted as nightmarish situations in sleep.

           A final possibility might be that the frightening dreams are symbols that don't have anything at all to do with our actual lives.   Perhaps the subconscious fabricates nightmare scenarios to toy with us or even entertain us much like we might look for entertainment in watching horror films or reading scary stories.  Our minds can often come up with pretty random thoughts that seem to come out of the blue.    The subconscious mind maybe?  

           How do you usually respond when you have a frightening dream?   Are your dream fears something you can usually actually identify or do the fears seem to relate to something that is vague or unknown?   What frightens you most in your dreams?    Are your fears in waking life the same as your dream fears?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Are Dreams Honest?

English: SYTYCD audition photo
SYTYCD audition photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Dreams are typically strange.  Sometimes they will present us with familiar situations while at others we may be in unfamiliar places and circumstances that remind us of something from our past.   Are these seemingly familiar people, places, and circumstances actually real or has our subconscious mind created them?

          How honest are our dreams?   Perhaps they are completely fabricated stories based on vague notions.  Or at other times they might be revised dream versions of what we've actually experienced at some time in our past.

         Here is a case study of a dream that I've had:

I am going to downtown "L.A." to audition for a film or TV role.   My second wife (S),  our kids, and our high-school age girl babysitter is with us.  We go to a big building.  I am confused where to go, but remember coming here once before for another audition.
There are many people, most of whom seem to be here to audition.  I'm not sure where to go.  While S. goes to the bathroom there is a call for everyone to go somewhere but I'm not sure where we were told to go.  When S. returns we go to where I think we went last year.  In the dream I realize that S. and I are no longer married or speaking.
We are directed to a car that will take us to the audition. I get in the front where two hispanic kids are sitting practically on the driver's lap.  We are dropped off at another location.  I find a place with people and tables, but no indications what we are supposed to do.  I wander around and finally we are in a chaotic place where auditions seem to be happening.  There is a wide variety of strange people.
At one point a pudgy quirky looking guy sitting up on a ledge becomes belligerent when I think he has been told to leave.  He begins talking about "cake".  I realize he is doing a comic monologue and is doing a good job at it.  In the end it appears he has the job.
They start dismissing groups.   I stay kind of hidden in hopes I will be missed and allowed to stay.  I see S. dancing with another group.  She looks awkward.
Finally I'm told to leave.  I see it's raining hard outside.  I worry about my kids.
I leave, but then decide to return.  As I walk back I begin singing a very good and unique rendition of "Hotel California".  I am convinced that I should get a part.

       There are many aspects of this dream that are clearly based on my past experiences.   Though S. and I never went to any auditions, we worked in theatrical productions for many years.   S. had often danced in these productions though she was an awkward looking dancer.   The baby-sitter was a real character who had filled this role when my children were younger.  I often fantasize about being a singer and feel that I have a decent singing voice.

        I'm not sure what this dream is telling me about my ambitions or about my previous marriage.   I woke from the dream with a certain feeling of melancholy about that marriage, but a sense of positivity and optimism about the future.

         Do you dream about a past that is not exactly like it was?   Are you more talented in your dreams than you think of yourself in waking life?   Have people from your past unexpectedly appeared in your dreams even though you haven't seen or thought of them for years?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wake Up Call

Richwood is situated on both sides of a valley...
Richwood is situated on both sides of a valley located in the Appalachian Mountains. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Sometimes I wake up from sleep remembering the dream I have been having without that dream seeming to be any reason for my awakening.   However on some occasions a dream will specifically appear to wake me up.   Usually something in the dream has scared me into wakefulness.  There have been times when my awakening is due to something special about the dream such as certain words that have been spoken, a particular idea that has been conveyed, a person who has special significance, or a dream event that stimulates my mind causing me to wake up.

         These dream wake up calls frequently result in an inability to go back to sleep for a period of time. They are dreams that might wake me up and cause me to stay awake thinking about them.  Typically there will be deep significance concerning the dream message that has been delivered in whatever form it has been sent.   Apparently there is a need for my conscious mind to attempt to decipher what the dream mind has told me.  Much of the time I end up staying awake for some period of time and pondering the dream or mind writing a dream ending to the story in order to have resolution in order to peacefully return to sleep or get out of bed to begin functioning in the world of wakefulness.

Here's a recent example of a "wake up call dream":

         There is a long involved sequence of going places and encountering many people in different situations.  Eventually I am in the cab of a sort of truck with my father driving.   We are apparently in Kentucky in a rural Appalachian type area.  My father drives very erratically and I am somewhat nervous about his driving. We seem to be looking for somebody or going to pick someone up.   We reach an interstate that we are supposed to travel north on.   My father enters the cloverleaf ramp onto the freeway at too high a speed.  Our surroundings become a white blur as we round the loop.   We find ourselves on a somewhat narrow country road that becomes more narrow we proceed and then eventually turns to gravel.  We know we've taken a wrong turn and are now on the wrong road.
         Then the truck is gone and we are walking on what is basically a somewhat wide gravel trail.   We turn around to go back to where we had been.  We come to a willy nilly house with various porches and doors.  The house is not particularly old or run down, but it's not overly nice or sophisticated looking.  Country folk live here.  In front of one door I see a malformed youngish dwarflike human writhing on the ground wearing something similar to a Confederate soldier uniform.  A frightening looking middle-aged man dressed in overalls comes out to confront me.  Behind him I see what I take to be other family members--his wife and kids.  They all have a swarthy appearance that suggest to me that they might be of indigenous American ancestry.  They all look mean, angry, and unwelcoming.
          I tell my father to keep walking.  I stay to deal with the man whom I find very threatening.  I am very afraid of what may happen.  In my fear I wake up.

         Once awake I found that I was unable to go back to sleep.  My mind was absorbed by the circumstances of the dream causing me to feel uncomfortable.  As I lay awake I began to imagine the dream scenario as I played out what the outcome of the dream encounter might have been.  In my imagination I began having a conversation with the man.  I asked if the small person in the uniform was his son and he confirmed that it was.  Then I continued to discuss other things that I now don't remember.  Eventually we were having an almost pleasant conversation.  I smiled at the man and a trace of a smile seemed to appear somewhere in his scary countenance.

          As my wakened mind finished out the story to a more amenable conclusion, my mental state became more relaxed to a point that was more conducive to sleep.   A lingering awareness that I had been afraid cast a pall upon my mind, but I was able to go to sleep feeling that the threat of the dream had been diminished and probably dismissed for the most part.

       Various dream events and images can sometimes awaken us to leave us in a state of discomfiture, paranoia, or even terror.   We may lie awake or have to get out of bed to do some activity that will distract us from our thoughts.  The result may often be a restless night of sleeplessness or sleep deprivation.  Perhaps the best thing to do is immediately confront the dream issues and resolve them to the best of our ability in order to remove the distraction from our mind.

         Have you ever been awakened by scary, puzzling, or even good dreams that have caused an inability to go back to sleep?    What dream people have caused you to wake up and think about them for an extended period?    Have there been any ponderables (such as things you are concerned about, forgot to do, or need to plan on doing in the future or anything else that causes enough fretting to interfere with sleep) that have notably awakened you from your dreams?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

If the POTUS Speaks in a Dream Should You Listen?

English: Seal of the President of the United S...
 Seal of the President of the United States
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        I am at some event--perhaps a political rally.   The President of the United States is on a portable stage with a temporary drapery backdrop behind him.  This President is not Barack Obama, but some other man that I don't remember and perhaps have never seen before. There are many folding plastic chairs set up for an audience, but hardly anybody is at the event.
        Perhaps this is why the President speaks directly to me--I'm the only audience member.  He tells me something that I forget after I wake up.  Across from me in the front row of another seating section is a young version of former Vice President Al Gore.   He is watching the President and me during this verbal exchange.   Al Gore looks mildly happy, not smiling, but seemingly pleased with what was said.

         Now I feel disappointed that I didn't retain whatever it was that the POTUS said to me in this recent dream.  Or did I even hear any words.   Sadly I have no recollection of anything specific having been said.  Or perhaps there is something about Al Gore's presence or the dream setting that should be significant to me.

          This reminds me of other dreams where someone like my father, a friend, or some other figure of note says something that seems important for me to hear.  Sometimes the messages are so plainly spoken or obviously conveyed that they stand out.   These messages can be something related to my current waking life.  In some dreams these words might be warnings that I am not understanding when I think back on them.

          There are dreams where people speak or distinct messages are delivered in the form of literal messages--spoken words, written words, or understandable visual cues.   The messages can come in any form.   When dreams are forgotten these messages can be lost forever.

           What people have appeared to you in dreams to deliver a specific message to you?   Have you been visited by a messenger such as God, an angel, a celebrity, or some other well-known entity?    Do you believe that dream messages are reliable or do you think they represent something other than the literal message being delivered within the context of the dream?