I wonder how many have blogged about this. It’s the first blog to which I would really like to receive answers – from my current follower-base of two (it’s doubled!).
I cannot remember when last my dreams did not have a very specific context; that of leaving a temporary place in the company of others who are leaving too. That temporary place is usually a retreat of some sort, a place of buildings and physical structures. We’re not talking camping here (well, we were once I think). This is leaving a house we’ve borrowed or an hotel room or a conference retreat type venue.
There is always a rush and I am pretty sure I have always been the cause of making that rush worse – leaving something behind or forgetting something is common. There are other recurring themes from earlier in my dream life; I am almost always in or near the city of my birth, which is a long way away from where I have lived for nearly twenty years now. I will regularly find myself driving the vehicle in which we leave in an impossible way – from the back seat or from a position three stories above the road.
It is this new (ish) theme or leaving a temporary place I want to delve into further. The implication – although not one that is directly stated in any dream that I remember – is one of going home. There is difficulty in doing it, usually, and one which leads to a certain level of anxiety. I cannot miss the train, but I must find my coat. I am holding up the people who want to leave in the mini-bus, but my other suitcase is missing, or has been swapped for one that isn’t mine.
So here are my thoughts on dreams. I have no belief in the spiritual, so any idea that dreams are somehow prophetic or hold any knowledge we do not already possess is not an option. I am not Pharaoh needing Joseph to explain seven fat and seven thin calves or sheaves of wheat. I think of dreams as the mind processing sensory data and moving it into long-term storage. I definitely experience memory of today and memory of all my life before I last slept in different ways. My memories of today are vivid and detailed, like playing back a movie. Previous memories become associated with other, similar ones, they get imbued with smells and emotions and tastes, they get confused with related memories or forgotten entirely.
I do have mental health issues, which must surely inform my dreams. I have close and loving relationships with my children, my partner and my friends. My relationship with my partner is not what it should be – it is failing in a sense; has already failed in others. We love each other and are great friends, but the intimacy and sexuality are completely gone. I have another romantic interest – a soulmate who has been in and out of my life since my teens – although that is not a full-blown affair. Yet. These things must inform my dreams too.
The temptation is to see my subconscious as already leaving my partner to be with my soulmate. That seems a tad obvious, but then perhaps that is what my mind is processing: the things at its very forefront.
But I am also an atheist who used to be a fundamentalist Christian. There’s a journey there – a leaving something temporary (I was a Christian for about ten years) and returning to something; before faith, we are all atheists (or non-theists if you prefer – I consider the terms synonymous). This journey has dominated my life and continues to be at the front of my thought life.
I am also a parent whose children are growing up, returning me to the role I have before that of parent. I am a senior manager, returning to management from an unhappy encounter with executive leadership. In fact, my entire life, and hopefully those of most people living theirs properly, is a journey from somewhere to somewhere else. So why should my dreams have this theme now, when it was not always thus?
Answers on a postcard.