Someone told me recently that I had done an unexpected remarkable thing in a dream of theirs, and it got me to thinking about dreams. We appear in our own dreams, of course, but we also play a part in the dreams of others.
Most people would consider my life to be rather ordinary. In fact, the people who know me best think my life would need a major upgrade to be ordinary. I may be the quintessential “ordinary Joe.” Yet who would dare to guess that last night I slew a dragon, captained a starship, flew like an eagle, or won the World Series and the Super Bowl on the same day? But I may have done all of those things, and more, in the dream world.
No, not in my own dreams. I may be doing wonderful things, every night, in other people’s dreams. For in their dreams I am not bound by what I perceive as my limitations. The people we meet daily, the friends we make, the distant and not-distant-enough relatives, the colleagues – they all see us differently. They see a flat projection of us on a screen, not our true multi-dimensional selves. In fact, their image of us may have little or nothing to do with reality.
Think about your own dreams for a minute. Haven’t you seen your friends doing things in your dreams that surprise you? Whether they are acting in character is really unknown, for it’s a life’s work to know ourselves, let alone others.
I find it an eerie notion that I am, in essence, living another life in other people’s minds, whether they are awake or asleep. It surely happens, though, and probably more often than we might think. Consider all those nightly dreams by humanity that need guest-starring roles to be filled. It’s as if there is a huge industry that is in insatiable need of actors, of a Central Casting Company to supply endless individuals to populate the dream world, to be featured in the end credits of our dreams.
So what do these people have us doing? They rarely tell us. Let’s face it, many dreams by their nature are weird, and most people wouldn’t want to tell us, “Hey, Fred, you should have seen what whacked-out stuff you were doing last night! You’re lucky you’re not in jail!”
I suppose that’s why I chose in the opening of this musing to think I would be doing great or noble things. Who wants to hear we are even less successful when asleep than awake? No, I choose to think that I may be the hero, rather than the goat, in someone’s dream. We could even help out each other in that respect.
How about a dream bartering system? You have a good dream about me, I’ll have a good dream about you. I should point out that some people believe that once something exists in any medium, such as a dream, it’s more likely to take concrete form in reality. So there could be tangible benefits to this cooperative system.
To facilitate these dream roles being in a positive context, merely have some good thoughts about others before retiring for the night. Surely nothing but good can come of that, even if it’s not a dream. We might even awake to find we’re thinking well of people we were previously on the fence about. And thinking well of people is rarely a bad thing, except in the case of internet scammers.
You may think all of this is irrelevant drivel (although I maintain that much of my drivel is quite relevant). You may think that no one would be dreaming about you. You may say that you rarely remember dreams. But I say it’s happening nightly. I say your friends and not-friends are already doing it. You are on a recurring nocturnal stage, reciting lines not of your own making.
Don’t believe me? Sleep on it. Then get back to me.
And I’ll see you in my dreams.