Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Gates of Horn and Ivory

I dreamed a dream in times gone by…… Les Miserables

Ever had the falling dream? Or the naked dream? (you know the one I mean- when you walk into class and everyone stares and you suddenly realize they’re all naked and you’re not and you start screaming, because really, some people ought not to be naked…ever? Oh. I guess I’m the only who has that one. Okay, then. Ahem)
Well, lately I have been having a lot of dreams. Dreams of my future, dreams of my past. Dreams that were never made real. (I know that sounds weird when you read it- but you know what I mean.) And dreams that will, maybe, never come true. To be fair some of my dreams were really fantasies, which are completely different. Fantasies are made up completely, having nothing to do with the real world and your real issues. They’re the ones where you dream about harem boys (or girls- your choice) or rolling in huge piles of money (again with said harem.) But dreams really can reflect what is going on in your heart right this minute. The problem is interpretation. It’s all in the (closed) eyes of the beholder.
While certain dreams generally have the same meaning for all of us- the naked dream for example, generally means a fear of being vulnerable- some dreams are so twisty (twisted?) that no outside source can unravel their meaning. You have to tread the path of dreams yourself. And dreams, as we all know, can very quickly turn in to nightmares without warning. I have had dreams of terror, and woken lunging from my bed. I have dreams from my childhood that have never quite abated, no matter that I know there is no bogeyman under the bed- now I know they are in the streets. I have dreamed of love and longing, and having woken up in the morning, with tears in my eyes, couldn’t remember what they were about- only that they broke my heart. So many dreams are like snowflakes- the very first of the season- so delicate they melt away.
And then there are Dreams- with a capital D. The dreams I have of starting a business, having a child, finding a love. The ones that are even scarier than little “d” dreams- because they could be real, if only I will strive for them. If only. A dream deferred, as Langston said- can so easily explode, leaving sharp fragments which cut us as reminders of what we could have, should have done, but didn't.
Only I can tell which dreams will come true for me- which have true messages for me to hear and which are merely deception. Self or otherwise. It is said that the gate of horn is the gate through which true dreaming comes- while the gate of ivory is the portal to phantasms. Only I know which one I will walk through- which dreams I will fight for, and which I will lay aside. The importance of dreams has always been that our subconscious can open thoughts to us then, that we don’t allow in otherwise- keeping them out of the “real” world, until we lay unconscious and defenseless against ourselves. We rest our brains in pleasant sleep, and wrestle demons in nightmares, and none of it hurts us….mostly. Medical science says that when we don’t sleep, we do irreparable harm to our bodies, minds and psyche, becoming paranoid and sometimes, insane. We study lucid dreaming to learn how to manipulate the images in our head- to actively participate in our dreams, in ways that we can’t in real life, but often wish to or need to. To sleep too much is often a sign of depression, that you wish to be away from the world and its pressure- the pressure of living, performing, or miming being alive. “To sleep perchance to dream,” -but hopefully, not forever as in Hamlet’s case (Shakespeare, Hamlet Act II, sc i).
I don’t wish to waste my time in sleep. I need to be awake making my dreams come true. I need to be planning the next step on my journey. I need to be moving, and striving to make my dreams real- because dreams are only a starting point. They last through the night, but fade away. The day is for living, for making the fantastical concrete-for defeating my monsters, and conquering my mountains.(All together now- “Cliiiiimb every mountaaaain! Foooord every seaaaaa!- oh, not a Julie Andrews fan, huh? “The Sound of Music”)

In the push and pull between reality and dream lies the human condition- the ability to dream and the skill to change reality. So spend your nights in pleasant rest, and dream. But when day comes, don't [just] follow your dreams. Chase them like they’re running from you. (JB)

Anais Nin:
The dream was always running ahead of me.
To catch up, to live for a moment in unison with it,
that was the miracle

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