I was discussing the significance of dreams with my good friend Pasha a while back... also the flawed logic in some of those formulaic dream interpretation books which give somewhat archetypal definitions to various objects and characters in dreams, the limitations of this thinking being human individuality and the fact that not all objects and characters have the same significance or implied meaning for all people. Id Est, a wheelbarrow appearing in a dream might be a symbol of oppression and distress because one has to use it every day for back-breaking labor, while another person might be a recreational gardener and regard it as a useful tool for a pleasant, relaxing hobby. This also relates to an e-mail exchange I've been having with my sister lately, discussing the progression of themes within my own dreams over the years, what these experiences have taught me and how they relate to my current life struggles. I've not been one to assign much meaning to dreams until lately. There is a weird dichotomy of mysticism and literalism coming forth in my life. Surprisingly, they seem to get along well.
A few years ago my dreams frequently involved fearfully running away from something that terrified me, always with that hobbled feeling like you are trying to run through deep mud or have an anchor tied to your waist. I don't recall precisely what kind of creature my pursuer was, but in one of the dreams I turned around and faced it, telling it that I was sick of running, that I accepted whatever it was that it was going to do to me and I reached out to embrace it. Then it disappeared, I woke up, and haven't had any more dreams like that. Then the general theme changed to searching, always searching for something, usually an unknown but sometimes a well-defined goal, person, or object. I don't recall what the ultimate goal was throughout this series of dreams, but I remember finding it and the general theme changed again. Now I find myself having unusual abilities and/or perspectives in these dreams. It usually involves flying, breathing underwater, reading minds, or something completely unhuman. Sometimes I'm scared and apprehensive, other times it thrills me.
Ever since I can remember, I've had unusually random dreams interspersed among the ones that I can make sense of. There is a difference in these now too. Instead of being a bit disturbed by these dreams and resisting them, now I just enjoy the silliness and flow with it. I think that having worked with Alzheimer's patients as well as folks who are developmentally handicapped or mentally ill has helped to change this perspective over the years. The dreams and real life are the same in this case. I learned a while ago that instead of resisting the madness around you, trying to change it all at once, walk through the middle of it: changing, helping, and tweaking things wherever you can.... if possible helping to prop up those who have been knocked down by it, remembering to keep a firm footing so that it does not lash out and pull you down again.
I had a particularly vivid dream lately which gave me a lot to think about, as well as bringing a further measure of peace in my life. I have already described it to my sister because it bears a lesson that has meaning for both of us and I may or may not share it here at some point in the future. I am not certain of how my dreams relate to real life, but they have drawn a lot of very close parallels in recent years. I question if the underlying significance of these dreams is mirroring my reality, or if I am subconsciously patterning my life after what I take away from these dreams. Do one's life and dreams feed off of each other in equal measure? Is it fair to even make such an evaluation because the parameters within these two worlds are so different? I am no psychologist and definitely not an expert in dream interpretation. Maybe this is just another example of me getting distracted and over-analyzing something that should just be put away for now.