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?