Monday, August 03, 2009

Recurring Dreams (also posted on Facebook)

(brief hiatus in my 'away' time)

I've been interested in my dreams, and the dreams of others, since I was in my twenties. The summer after my first year in grad school I worked in the state hospital where I was supervised by a man recently from the Jungian Institute in Zurich. He was working there while he built a private practice in Chicago and worked with my dreams at no charge. Ahhh the wonder of seeing the positive spin Jung put on dreams instead of Freud's downward spiral into 'everything is sex or agression'.

At any rate, I have a personal interest in recurring dreams since those are the ones that have usually spoken to me most powerfully over the years (Hey dummy, stop and look at what you're doing). Some dreams are just reviews of the day. Some dreams are responses to a chill in the air, a sound. In other words a lot of dreams are just dreams. Not so, in my opinion, with recurring dreams.

In my twenties when I was a bit wild in the free love times of the late sixties and early seventies, when I had been with a man who was 'wrong' for me (a term I can't define but knew it instantly), I dreamed that night about a girl from h.s., known for being promiscuous. In the dream she was handing out candy. When I was with a man 'good' for me, the dream didn't knock on my skull. Eventually, those times passed, as did the dreams.

Married to my first husband, a man who closed up emotionally on me two months into our marriage, for the remaining 5 1/2 years of our marriage, I dreamed of telephones. I couldn't get through. I lost the number. I could hear them but they couldn't hear me. The phone was broken. On and on. After the divorce I never had that dream again.

Several years back and off and on over the years I've dreamed about returning to school. I can't find my classes . I'm late, etc. Those didn't correspond to a particular period in my life and many people have had that dream. If I was supposed to learn something, I suppose I did, since the dreams wax and wane.

My most recent recurring dream of over a year now is me planning to go to school or move to a cold climate except no store anywhere sells warm coats or boots, not even when I get to the place I'm going. I search and search but am unprepared for the coldness. I have ideas about what that means but since it's current, read my poems to get some clues on that one.

So, I'm curious. How many reading this post remember your dreams and have had recurring ones you've figured out? Don't share what's too private to share. It's an interesting topic, though, and I hope I have some responses.


Jo said...

Oh yeah! My dream life is very important to me too. I've had some crackers.

About a year before I got ill with the CFS I dreamt I jumped onto a sailing barge on a river. The river divided, we (me and the old mariner sailing it) took a fork which got narrower and narrower. Eventually we had to get out and dig. I was all for turning back but the mariner just wanted to keep on digging. Hmmmm.

Some say dreams are random firing of synapses. I think that is rubbish.

Pris said...

Hi Jo,
That was a fascinating dream. I suppose we could say our thoughts, our daydreams..everything is random firing but then nothing would mean anything. I agree with you.

I sensed CFS before it hit me, too, but not in my dream. I just suddenly saw a big blank whenever I tried to visualize doing things in the future. It hit me with a bang two weeks later. That blank scared the hell out of me. Our bodies speak.

Anna G Raman said...

I dream a lot too. I too often dream about school, those are probably my only recurring dreams, like being late for an exam or not finishing a lab record before the exam etc. I have a whole range of dreams from funny to horrible and terrible. The funny one I remember is a dinosaur chasing my family and how we all hid under a cot to escape, then the one about a red car stuck in a tornado which wasn't moving very much. I remember about 70% of my dreams and most of the time, they don't have much to do with my day's activities or thoughts.

Pris said...

Hi Anna, thanks for sharing yours, too. The dinosaur one was esp interesting.

Gabriella said...

Hi ! I have been dreaming about my childhood and always about my costumes for plays , the repairing of a tutu etc always my great aunts laughing and i can smell in my dreams and she worn my sin and i smell it anyway i got the call sat evening my great aunt died, was someone telling me something?

Pris said...

Gabby, I'm sorry to hear about your great aunt. Was this one of Betsy T's sisters? We'll never know if your dream was telling you that but it's wonderful you saw her again in it before she died.

Mike said...

Thanks for bringing this subject up, Pris. Like your take on it how dreams can tell you things, lovely autobio things in yours.

I'm a believer in the power of dreams...

Moineau En France said...

enjoyed this very much. i had many lucid and repetitive dreams as a very young child; they were terrifying and led to insomnia due to a fear of sleeping! i had a classic anima-animus dream that repeated when i was around three, and i write about it in my poem, "The Dream".

Take care of yourself, but do, please, as you are able, continue to enlighten us with your wonderful blog! your readers love you, pris, and that includes me. ~lt xoxoxoxo

Lyle Daggett said...

I dream often, and I tend to remember dreams. I've also had the recurring dream of being back in school, can't find the class, running late, etc. I've also had variations of it being back at an old job, or wandering a deserted city at night.

I associate those dreams with the myth or archetype of the ancient labyrinth, going underground, a search or turning inward, mulling things over.

I've occasionally made what turned out to be very important decisions in my life based on things I dreamed (i.e. based on what the dreams said to me).

As far as random firing of synapses -- as I understand it, some researchers have observed high-energy random activity (synapses firing) in some part of the hypothalamus during REM sleep. Some researchers have speculated that dreams may be, in part, a result of other parts of the brain trying to sort out or make sense of the random synaptic firings. I guess it seems to me that could be possible, though I'm in no way anything resembling a neuroscientist. I don't even play one on T.V. :)

Many years ago I found and read Robert Bosnak's book A Little Course in Dreams, which I found a helpful introduction to some of the basics of Jungian dreamwork, very readable and not overthick with terminology. I found that some of the techniques Bosnak talks about helped me in remembering dreams.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pris
I have dedicated my latest blog post to this topic you have brought up...go see.

Middle Ditch said...

Interesting topic Pris. I don't have recurring dreams, never have had. Is that a good sign? Or am I subconsciously hiding my fears?

Pris said...

Lyle, I like your perspective.

Ellen, I will indeed look. Thanks.

Hi M...everyone doesn't have to have recurring dreams:-)

burning moon said...

I always pay attention to my dreams. Once or twice I've had dreams that turned out to be prophetic.

The most reasonable theory I've ever heard that explains dreams, and the one that resonates with me the most, says that what we should pay attention to in dreams is not so much the symbolism or strange creatures pulled up by our subconcious, but rather, the way what is happening in our dream makes us feel. If we think about our waking lives, the theory proposes, something in our waking life is making us feel the same way we feel in our dreams. While we sleep, our subconscious works to relieve our feelings, or perhaps to communicate them to us in some way.

Whenever I've had vivid, or recurring dreams, if I think about them in terms of this theory they usually make perfect sense to me.

Very interesting though. I love discussing dreams with people.

Pris said...

That resonates with me, too, when I read what you said. I do know that when I have an upsetting dream it's often after an upsetting occurrence, one that sometimes I've acknowledged and other times stuffed inside. Thanks!