I’ve enjoyed thinking about my dreams and finding ways of understanding and appreciating them without demanding meaning from them. I’ve found my own remembered dreams would inspire poems I’d write or fit into ones I’d already started writing.
I wrote yesterday of deciding to not watch the movie The Prophet, which features the poet Kahlil Gibran, at this time, and last night I dreamed of him and woke suddenly as if from a bad dream or nightmare.
I thought of the dream after I’d just woken from it; in the dream, I was sleeping exactly as I was then in my bed and what I’d worn and everything in the room was the same and on the other side of my open door Kahlil Gibran was looking in, but he was in muted tones very much like a black and white with a hint of sepia photograph and was very much looking still in the early to mid 1900s while I was exactly as I am in 2021. I saw him clearly and I know when I first felt upset or startled was when I’d heard his voice speaking in English but a very distinct sound, and yet I can’t recall it now that the dream has faded away with my real day going on. In the dream, he glanced from the side toward me from his antique room into my room of today and said, “Are you okay?” and that’s when I woke suddenly and upset.
I’ve recently found a way of being with a bad dream and waking from it has been for me to not think I should go right to sleep right after waking from it as if that might be expected just because the dream maybe doesn’t ‘sound scary’ to myself or seem like it would be scary to someone else. I know all feelings are valid and if a feeling comes up it’s worth allowing oneself to acknowledge it even if it’s confusing or not perfectly clear to explain in precise words.
I considered going right back to sleep like ‘That’s not even a nightmare; why should I be upset when in the dream he’d just asked if I am okay? And I’ve never even known him.’ But once I allowed myself to be awake in the night and consider the dream without judgment, I understood I’d felt upset partly because his voice was so distinct and real for someone I’d not known but even more because he looked and sounded to me like he’d asked out of some duty and not real concern at all.
In that quick dream, deeper thoughts were swirling beneath the surface then like, ‘Does he really not care how I feel at all?’ as in the dream there was an understanding we’d known each other. ‘And how is it possible for someone so well-respected, revered, and spiritual and connected to spiritual things to seem like he doesn’t really much about me when we know each other? And why would he ask at all if he really didn’t care? But why does it feel cold to me? Does anyone else feel this way or is there something that is unlovable about me particularly?’
I let those thoughts come that had been found in the world of that dream and didn’t try to draw a final conclusion or resolution from it. I felt then to pray, for myself, not that I’d instantly be relaxed or expect to be, but to know how to care for others in a way that they can feel. And that I know it is nice to love but it also isn’t selfish to enjoy being loved either. And that could be necessary, to receive too.
I prayed for anyone awake, too from a bad dream or who were feeling lonely at the time. And then I began to naturally remember the feeling of a very happy dream I’d not remembered specifically but had woken peaceful from and as though I’d been interested and involved in the dream and was the one I’d had the night before or the night before that. I’d felt I’d been with these people back in an earlier time, like the 1900s, and we were all around the same age, and were with the poet and writer, May Ziadeh who had also known the others.
Soon, I was beginning to calm and fell back asleep even though I don’t think I’d said a closing line of my prayer but maybe fell asleep before I had, and I don’t know that I’d dreamed anything else, but this morning I’d remembered the bad dream with interest like, ‘That is something different, to dream in a way that is halfway in 2021 and half in the 1900s and not just in idea but in the whole scene visually…’
I may create a kind of dream when I’m awake and when I wake I may consider the dream I’d had that night and often with myself and any others all considered there as if an appreciative embrace. And I hope you’ll do this too if it appeals to you.