Tuesday, May 27, 2014


I have very vivid dreams, and have had them since I was quite small.  But unlike my mother who has long since been able to achieve awareness in her dreams and then take control, I'm never aware.  That is especially unfortunate for me as I have suffered with recurring nightmares for my whole life.  These nightmares-on-repeat include:

  • Giant Ants invade my family's house and eat everyone while I hide, terrified.
  • I crash a car I'm driving - either because I can't open my eyes or because I'm suddenly incredibly stupid (those usually involve the car falling in a giant hole).
  • Xenomorphs (the monsters from Alien) hatch in my house that is, unfortuantely, filled with my family and friends.  I watch my loved ones die painfully, one by one.  This dream is the scariest, and I always wake up from it shaking and crying.
  • Large bridges suddenly becoming impossibly steep - like giant rollercoasters.  No one in the car is ever terrified; just me.
  • Giant waves (ocean/lakes/wave pools) relentlessly hit me, and I am unable to breathe or escape and no one will help me.
I'm not joking about the recurrence thing - I've had all of these dreams within the last year.  One of the ONLY benefits of their recurrences is that I know what they mean now.  Well, I know because my mother has helped me interpret them over the years.  I seriously think that one of her spiritual gifts is dream interpretation.  She's always spot on, and did I mention that sometimes she dreams the FUTURE?  Anyway, with her help, I've realized these dreams usually mean the following:

  • Giant Ants/Xenomorphs = watching my loved ones suffer and being unable to help them
  • Crashing a Car/The Bridge = feeling out of control/handicapped 
  • Giant Waves = being barraged by circumstance and feeling desperate for a break/help
I'm a believer in the significance of dreams; in my experience, especially vivid dreams are a bright neon sign about your internal life.  Sometimes I think it's my subconscious trying to alert me to something I refuse to acknowledge with my waking brain.  Sometimes I think it is the Holy Spirit trying to alert me to an essential truth.  I can never be sure which is which, but I take dreams seriously.    I think these nightmares recurr because they tap into my primal fears and so I'm less likely to dismiss or immediately forget them upon waking. They function as a spiritual stop-sign for me, a time to pause and ask important self-reflective quesions: why am I feeling out of control/like I'm drowning/desperately afraid?  And what do I do about that?

My son has started telling me about his dreams, and it seems as if he has inherited my vivid dreamlife.  He wakes up from nightmares at least once a week.  I'm trying to take note of recurring themes so I can have better insight into his precious brain, into his fears and joys and internal life.  Experience tells me we have to learn to interpret these regular nightime narratives, so the boy and I talk about his dreams in an effort to understand them.  But he's only 4; the introspection is brief.

Scripture tells me that we are not just our fleshly bodies, but that we are soul and body inextricably wrapped together.  I think, then, it is important to listen to the stories told in our dreamworlds, stories unbound from physical limits and rationalizing tendencies.  Who knows?  We may be meeting God in these especially vivid interludes, encountering the Divine, which is better known to us when we are vulnerable and freed from environmental limits.

What are you dreaming of?  What truths are you trying to face?   


1 comment:

lm said...

I've had the dream where I'm driving blind. Or driving from the backseat. I never think to pull over or stop. Logic doesn't work in that dream. I always wondered if before cars were invented, people had a similar dream where they're maneuvering their horse and buggy blind, or they're horseback riding and the horse has lost control and they can't see for whatever reason.

My least favorite is where all of my teeth crunch into bits and fall out. In the dream, I'm mostly dreading the inevitable visit to the dentist's office. Loss of control, helplessness, etc.

Tornadoes is another one I've had multiple times. Fear of change, I think.

I hope you and your darling son have sweet dreams!

- L. Madrid