Opinion Columnists

Wednesday 13 November 2019

I'll always be dreaming my dreams... with me

Photo posed
Photo posed

John Masterson

Like lots of people I have one of those brains that open up the files when I am asleep. It does a bit of reorganisation. Most mornings I have only the vaguest of ideas of what I dreamt about. Some nights I fall asleep with the radio or TV on and that leads to great confusion as I drift from reality to dreams triggered by content or a presenter's voice.

There are plenty of sites on the internet and no shortage of books that offer to interpret your dreams. I take most of them with a pinch of salt, but, like reading your horoscope, they are a bit of fun. I do think there are some broad patterns in my nightlife. If I am under pressure, or anxious, I have dreams, bordering on nightmares, where all my worries translate into situations where I am powerless. Apparently it is common to dream of being naked in public when nervous about beginning a new job, or project, or relationship. I have had that dream repeatedly, though only the bottom half of my body is naked and nobody else seems to notice. Perhaps I am thinking I will get away with my inadequacies. Again, I do not take the notion of images and symbols having precise meanings very seriously.

There is one dream that I have had repeatedly for at least the last decade that I do find unsettling. It is a version of one of those dreams where you need to run but your feet are too heavy and everything is in slow motion and you never get anywhere. Apparently this can mean that you have a guilty conscience and I can assure you that I usually do. There are things I have said when I was about six that still haunt me but I will dream my way out of them in time!

The dream that I find most unsettling concerns trying to get in touch with my parents by telephone. Neither of them is alive. For years I have tossed and turned and groaned in my sleep as I try desperately to push the buttons on the phone but I cannot remember their number and also I do not have the strength to push the button or dial. Try as I might I am helpless and I desperately need to contact them. Then I wake up, look at the clock, and thankfully have plenty of time to have some proper sleep. By morning I can only remember the actual dream in very broad outline, but I can remember the feelings.

Last year I had a conversation with a friend that gave me a new way of looking at an event long past that had involved both of my parents. It had been a painful time, at the time, but long since resolved. My friend told me of something that I would have liked my parents to know. Some nights later I went into my usual 'try to contact my parents' dream, but with a difference. This time I decided to phone them at the house that they retired to. I knew the number this time and pressed it on my iPhone as it was not in the memory. I heard the ringing tone. A man answered who I did not recognise. I asked to speak to my parents. He told me he lived there now and that they were long gone. I thanked him. They have not appeared in my dreams since.

Maybe that is what closure is about. I am sure our dreams are telling us something about our waking state of mind. Just what is beyond me. And beyond Freud too.

Sunday Indo Living

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss