Like most of you, I’ve also had these conversations with people about my various dreams and ‘nightmares’. Come to think of it, I don’t even understand why the two are considered to be polar opposites! It’s not like a dream is positive/optimistic and a nightmare is negative/pessimistic side. It’s like the case where a lot of people tend to use ‘luck’ for favourable circumstances and ‘bad luck’ for unfavourable circumstances. I just thought I’ll write about my own stance w.r.t dreams.
A dream is like a reality. Only, it’s experienced by you and you alone. So, what if two people have the same dream? It’s two instances of a perceived reality inside two different people, occurring parallely.
In a lot of cases, what I dream might realize in the exact same manner. For example, if I’m desperately waiting for a new gadget to come home and my dreams are all about it, hard reality might prevail for the time being but my dream will eventually realize at some level. Here, I believe that I dream of things that are within my finite reach but not in my immediate reach. For example, the gadget. I know I’m going to get it in some time but I don’t have it right now. So, I tend to think about it, obsess and let my imagination run loose. I do this for the emotional gratification it gives me when I’m asleep (or maybe even when I’m awake).
In some cases, what I dream might realize, but not in the exact manner I had dreamt of. I can dream about applying for a job at Google, the interview process and about everything going fine in the end. I might get the job but the rest of the dream need not materialize as dreamt. This is because my mind frames the premise of the dream based on a single idea, in this case my getting a job at Google. But the finer details are not known to me at the time. So, my imagination kicks in and builds on the basic premise. This is the beauty of a dream. It’s the place where my subconscious self and my creative self work hand-in-hand.
In some cases, what I dream might not realize at all. That’s the simple part. I tend to think that these are based on very far-fetched pieces of information drawn randomly from my memory. I would have thought about buying a hotel or about jumping off a high-rise or about making a film or anything else. These are random pieces of thought or aspiration that come up in my mind and vanish subsequently through the course of daily life. Now, they vanish from the topmost priority of my memory. But they don’t vanish once and for all.
They are all still persistent somewhere inside my mind. I don’t know where they are. But, when I’m asleep, my mind can randomly pick up memories/thoughts like these and construct a dream out of them. It can build an entire storyboard complete with people. A lot like the movie, Inception. All the characters that appear in these dreams will be people known well to me and people I interact with on a regular basis.
Now, how do I dream?
I don’t sleep everyday with the intention of dreaming about something. I know I don’t do that. But, more often than not, I wake up from a dream. Sometimes, I can remember every single aspect of the dream and sometimes I can’t remember much at all. If my mind can pick up random thoughts from memory and create dreams out of them, it must also be able to store dreams in my memory in some form. That is something I fail to understand. I’d love it if someone can explain that to me.
Next, can I decide what to dream about? Is that within my control?
I tried a small experiment, back in 2010, where I had decided what I wanted to dream about when I went to sleep at night. I had made a list of things for 10 days and tried according to the list. I remember only about 3 or 4 of them actually clicked. The rest, although I wouldn’t deem as complete failure, were a little ambiguous. A significant number (about 4 or 5) of times I couldn’t remember what I had even dreamt about. My mind was blank when I woke up. The remaining were cases where I remember the core idea of the dream but nothing much about the finer details. How could it be that even when I had decided what to dream about and tried to partially engineer my own dream, my mind went in its own way. Does this mean that I can’t dream about what I want to all the time?
Finally, an interesting result of that experiment was that my mind was blank in quite a few cases. Could it be possible that I hadn’t dreamt of anything at all? And, my mind didn’t pick a random memory/thought and construct a dream at all? Or, was it that the dream simply didn’t make it to my memory?
Has anyone thought on these lines?