A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of my normal morning routine when I suddenly remembered my dream from the night before: I was driving my car when one of the tires went flat, leaving me stranded on the side of the road. The details are foggy, but as soon as I turned the key in my car’s ignition that morning, the memory of the stressful dream abruptly returned. I shook off the anxiety and registered relief– it was only a dream!
Well, guess what happened on the way to work. I hit a horrible, hidden pothole, and a moment later, my car’s “low tire pressure” alarm sounded. I couldn’t believe it was happening. But sure enough, by the time I parked my car, the back left tire was completely flat.
Who knows? Maybe I’m psychic, or maybe I subconsciously cruised over the pothole because flat tires were on my mind. In any case, after a coincidence like that, it’s hard not to be intrigued by the stuff that pops up in dreamland.
Dreams fascinate us because they reflect all the random little fragments that our minds collect during the day. In the dream state, our brains are like automatic story generators, spinning rambling epics from the stray threads of our thoughts, fears, and fantasies. Some people never remember their dreams; others recall vivid details. Some are plagued by nightmares, while others enjoy blissful dreamscapes of rainbows and romance. Some people keep dream journals to track themes and symbols, and many philosophers, neurologists, and psychologists have devoted their professional prowess to unlocking the secrets of the slumbering mind.
With all this fixation on dreaming, it’s no surprise that human culture is packed with stories about the mysteries of our nighttime visions. Check out some of these tales for more on the peculiar power of your subconscious at work.
Gossamer by Lois Lowry
Enter the whimsical world of dream-givers, who gather fragments from people in waking life and then spin stories to bestow on them as they sleep. The novel’s narrator discovers that she’s a gifted dream-giver but soon must delve into the underside of dreaming where nightmares are made.
The Science of Sleep (2006)
Director Michel Gondry is known for his fantastical films that explore the complexities of human consciousness. In The Science of Sleep, Stephane is so wrapped up in his dreams that they begin to blend into his waking life. As he explores his whimsical dreamscapes, it becomes difficult to figure out where the dreams end and reality begins.
Wake by Lisa McMann
Ever since she was a kid, Janie has been able to see into other people’s dreams. She keeps her secret hidden, but soon her extraordinary power begins to impact her life in huge ways. What happens when you can watch the dreams of the people you love?
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Sixteen year-old Ethan keeps having the same dream about a mysterious girl—then she shows up in real life. Her name is Lena, she smells like lemon and rosemary, and she comes from a long line of magic-makers. Ethan must figure out the mystery of Lena’s peculiar lineage and his powerful connection to her before her sixteenth birthday.
Maybe you believe your dreams are packed with hidden meanings, or maybe you think they’re just random, nonsensical movie reels of the subconscious mind. Either way, if you’re compelled to become a dream detective, there are plenty of guides to dream interpretation & symbolism available at the library. Sweet dreams!
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