12/06/2016

Dreams (Part 1)


I am a dreamer.

No longer in my waking hours, but in my catnaps, siestas, and sleep. Each time I nod off (even for just a few seconds), I dream.

These dreams are totally disjointed, incoherent, timeless and aimless. But they are always in spectacular colors.

I meet people I have not seen in years and we converse as though we see each other every day. Then the scene changes to another room, or another field, with different people each time, often under bizarre circumstances. Even my relationships with these characters are switched and sometimes illogical.

On some nights, Tony is my younger brother or grandfather or boss; our home, either a palace, a haunted house, or a shack.

Sometimes, I am suddenly awakened by Tony because he says I am either mumbling or screaming. “Nightmare,” he calls them.

“Dreams,” I insist.

In those cavalcade of images, people, and events, I experience stories that don’t make sense, but some ideas make it to the real stories that I write.

Countless poems have been written about dreams. And every single one is the writer’s truth.
Sigmund Freud’s controversial theories about the meaning of dreams in 1900 have not led to solid, objective data. In short, they are all unproven.

With today’s brain imaging in sleep labs, dreaming is being probed more deeply. Although scientists have discovered that dreaming occurs in REM sleep, they disagree on what happens during that state.

Some say the emotional part of the brain is activated and the executive part, deactivated.

Some believe that it is a complex interplay between emotional and cognitive information—dreams serve to help our brains process emotional memories and integrate them into our long-term memories. And because “traumatic events are associated with higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, they can cause nightmares.”

Whatever.

The debate and studies continue. But as I do when I can’t explain a complex phenomenon, I reduce it to one word: grace.

Everything that happens inside my brain (awake or asleep) and in my heart (awake or asleep) come from a deep resource of my being that has been “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  (Psalm 139:14)

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