While I am not very imaginative in my waking hours, when I sleep I have extremely vivid dreams. Often they seem so real that I’m certain they’re really happening and then I feel relieved when I wake up from the bad ones, and disappointed when I wake up from the good ones. Some of them have very complex plots and play out like movies inside my head. Recalling them in the light of day can be very amusing.
One recent dream involved a group of people who woke up in a room together with amnesia. Not one of them could remember anything about who they were or what they were doing there. Each one of them left the room on their own and went out in search of clues to their own identity, based on the way they were dressed. For example, one man who was dressed as a fireman went to the local fire station to see if anyone there knew him and could tell him who he was. After my dream followed several members of the group and their unfortunately fruitless search for their own identity, they all came back together and it was revealed that they were all actors in a play and were wearing their costumes. The moral of the story was uttered by one of them: You cannot find your identity in external things.
Unfortunately, most of my dreams are actually bad ones. Nightmares, in fact. I have a few recurring ones. There are a couple that I’ve just started having recently. One involves being lost in a shopping mall. There are endless corridors and passageways that lead nowhere. The mall is closing and I can’t get out. Another one involves finding myself on the wrong bus, knowing there are no more buses that day going back in the direction I came from.
Then there are a couple that I’ve been having for decades. There’s one where I’m in the passenger seat of a car going down a huge hill toward the river in my hometown. The car is picking up speed, and I turn to look at the driver, only to see that there is no driver.
Then there’s my most frequent, longest-running nightmare. In it, I’m in some kind of dangerous or scary situation (the exact circumstances vary) and I’m trying to call someone for help, usually either the police or my mother. But either the telephone doesn’t work, or I can’t make my fingers work to dial it, or I dial it and get a wrong number repeatedly. I am consumed with a feeling of horror and helplessness.
This dream bothered me so much when I was in my twenties that when I came across a TV talk show that had a dream interpreter on it and they were inviting viewers to call in, I did so. The dream interpreter told me that telephones in dreams often represent a connection to God, and she suggested that I was seeking a connection to Him but did not feel that I was finding it. I didn’t want to make her feel bad so I agreed that her interpretation made sense, but I didn’t really feel that it rang true. I do have a strong faith in God and although I sometimes doubt that He loves me as much as He loves most other people, I don’t necessarily feel disconnected from Him. In fact, I’m pretty sure that even if churches didn’t exist and no one had ever told me about God, I would still believe in Him, because I’ve always been able to feel Him. People and religion have never drawn me to Him; more often they do nothing but frustrate me and distract me from Him. It’s in my quiet, alone times that I sense Him.
These days, I am extremely skeptical about dream interpretation. I’m not really buying all that. And I certainly wouldn’t call into any TV shows, about anything! In fact, I got laughed at by certain individuals for it at the time, the insinuation being that only crazy people call in to TV talk shows. That was one of those confusing situations where I got a glimpse of how other people perceive things and I realized I’d gotten something wrong yet again. At the time it hadn’t seemed like a crazy thing to do. They were asking people who had recurring dreams to call in. Why was it weird to then do so? I didn’t get it. Maybe I do now though.
I think at the time, I was just really desperate for the dream to stop, and I thought if my conscious mind knew the meaning behind it, it would go away. But it didn’t go away. Two decades later, I am still having it. I have gone through periods of time where it was less frequent. I think I may have gone a whole year or two without having it at one point. But it is back with a vengeance.
One thing I think is funny about it is that decades ago, it was always either a landline or a payphone I was trying to use, and now it’s always a cell phone. Funny how my subconscious has kept up with the times.