“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.”~ Carl G. Jung
My father ‘dream’ me this week. This is the Jamaican way for saying you have been visited in your dream by someone, usually one who has passed on. Of course these dreams are seen as particularly significant, for there must be a special message that they bring. After a loved one dies, we hope and wait for that first visit, for that is the one where you are reassured that they are in a good place, that all is well with their soul.
I have always had vivid dreams, sometimes torturing those around me with a recounting of the story lines. Of course those dreams which made perfect sense as they unfolded, somehow don’t sound quite as clear when spoken out loud! Most of us have some kind of recurring dream that appears when we are particularly tired. For students it usually involves an exam you are not prepared for, or homework not done. I sometimes find myself driving up a vertical road, worrying that I will fall off! They say that we should keep a dream journal. When you have a dream which seems particularly significant you should try to write down as much of it as you can remember.
Some cultures place great importance on dreams, and develop an awareness of those dreams starting at a young age. In some Native American traditions, young people are sent off on a ‘dream quest’; a period of fasting and solitude. They are sent away from the community, and are not supposed to return until they have experienced a dream with a strong message, one which helps them to know what their calling is. There are cultures where the young are encouraged to control their dreams. They say that if you are confronting some scary image in a dream, rather than trying to wake up out of the dream, you should make yourself confront that terrifying creature or situation. That ability to face down fear will translate into your daily life. It is known as ‘conscious dreaming’, when you are aware of the fact that it is a dream and can manipulate the outcomes.
Of course there are those who ‘translate’ dreams, turning images into numbers which can then turn into winning lotto numbers. Many years ago a friend of mine told a story. He said his father ‘dreamed’ him, and gave him some numbers. Well his father was a preacher, so he knew his father wouldn’t be giving him any winning lotto numbers. He told his brother the dream; his brother had no such qualms, and promptly won a bundle! The next time a dead relative ‘dreamed’ him, he screamed at them ‘give me the numbers!’ but it didn’t work!
But in the world of psychology, dreams can be used to unravel a tortured mind; to try to get to the bottom of fears and anxieties. We are often sure that if we tell a trained therapist our dream, they will be able to immediately diagnose and understand and come up with a solution. But often the question is: What do you think the dream means? For we should know ourselves better than any trained professional can ever hope to know us. We often forget that we are the creator of these dreams. We respond as if the dreams are fashioned by some outside force. How often do you wake up mad at someone for something that they said or did in your dream? How many women wake up mad with their husband because they flirted (or worse) with another woman in the wife’s dream? The dream can seem so real to us, that we think it actually happened. Yet we wrote the script, we assigned the roles, we directed the actions.
Some see dreams as the way the brain sorts out memories, discarding, filing, and associating. Like a computer set to ‘defrag’, our mind has to back up our day’s events to save data for future occasions. And we bombard our poor minds with so much information and stimuli, it is no wonder our dreams can be filled with the wildest images. And although dreams are necessary, so is the period of sleep where we are not dreaming; that deep, almost unconscious realm of pure restoration. Those who do not sleep well usually miss that phase, and instead slip in and out of the shallow, superficial sleep that is disturbed and not restful at all.
It is important also to hold on to dreams of your own possibilities; dreams of fulfilling your potential and living your best life. But how are you placing yourself in the best position to fulfill them? How are you working towards this goal? It is not enough to think that you deserve a different life, or that you could be or should be something or someone other than the person you are right now. What prevents you from fulfilling your dream? Recently I heard the results of a study which showed that it is not talent which propels the ‘greats’ into the realm of championship; it is practice. Dedicated practice will make you achieve those great heights. The study took average students, and had them practice remembering random strings of numbers. They eventually could remember over 100 numbers correctly. We have heard of the Williams sisters and their father who molded them into champion tennis players. What is it that you or I could do if we had the desire and the determination? What are you capable of that you have not even begun to tap into?
This Friday morning I hope your dreams propel you to be the person you are. I hope you are ready to shine as bright as you can. May you have a wonderful weekend Family! Dream on!