On Dreaming

“But, first a hush of peace – a soundless calm descends;
The struggle of distress, and fierce impatience ends;
Mute music soothes my breast – unuttered harmony,
That I could never dream, till Earth was lost to me.”

(Emily Bronte)

dream – a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep

So says the dictionary, failing to add that the dreaming process and the dream itself have been theorized and analyzed to death by people way smarter than me, so whatever I have to add to it all is purely from my own limited experience on the subject and not to be misconstrued as being momentously meaningful.

Perhaps I will have some kind of visionary dream as to why the dictionary left all that out.

Our little brains are dreaming all the time, even when we’re awake. It’s very hard to turn that off. We daydream and imagine and go into little mini trances to examine all sorts of illusions and delusions all day long. We remember things that happened yesterday and this morning and many years ago. If we didn’t do that, we’d have a heck of a lot less to say and fewer ways with which to annoy the people around us.

Falling asleep should be a lovely release from reality. A way to shut down and shut up and let it all go. But like a Timex watch, our brains just keep right on ticking, this time without the reality check switch turned on.

Little random pockets of stored information pop open and play themselves out in bizarre combinations for our dreaming pleasure. It’s probably a very good thing that we promptly forget over 90% of everything we dream. It’s hard enough to make sense of this chaotic world when we’re awake, never mind trying to glean some profound meaning from the gobbledygook our brain manufactures for us during the night.

The best part of dreaming is waking up and realizing that you were only dreaming; that chess pieces do not actually talk to each other and whine about where they are being moved to on the board, and that you absolutely did not, and quite possibly never will, become trapped in an elevator with a very nervous live skunk. That’s just a little preview of hell and should give you the motivation to turn your life around as soon as possible. Start with not eating cold pizza right before bed.

I suppose my ‘theory’ is that dream interpretation is nothing more than a pleasant little time waster, sort of like inventing excuses for not doing something you had no intention of doing even without rational explanations, or reading your daily horoscope, or opening up a fortune cookie.

So dream on, my friend. It’s not that serious.