Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Recurring Dreams

Most people have recurring dreams, which isn't surprising given the whirlwind activity of the subconscious in processing our experiences and thoughts. Although I'm sure psychologists/psychiatrists explain recurring dreams in myriad ways, I'm guessing from my inexpert vantage point that many of these episodes are a product of stress. For example, when I'm under pressure at work and have deadlines looming I'll often have a dream in which I'm back at VMI. Typically in these dreams I'm late to a parade, inspection, or class and can't locate all of the pieces of my uniform. Ironically, I've talked to other graduates of VMI, including a friend from the Class of '69, and they've reported having the same dream. Obviously the intensity of the VMI experience rewired circuits in our subconscious and - decades later - still exerts an influence over the way we deal with stress.

Last night I had one of my recurring dreams . . . one that I've had for many years, although this was the first episode in quite some time. In this dream, I'm in a multi-story house and at the start I'm on the first floor. I recall that when I was younger, the house was rather small, just a narrow two-story. In recent years the house in the dream has expanded and often resembles a giant, rambling English country house or castle. On some occasions it seems vast, a rabbit warren of rooms, grand halls and numerous staircases. I've even had multiple episodes of this dream in which there's a vast room with cases full of the antiques I've either collected or lusted for over the years. There have been pools. Elevators (including last night). In short, the house has varied considerably over the history of this dream. But one thing never varies - and here's the critical point of this dream. In this dream house, regardless of its size and orientation, there's always a top floor or attic that is dark, forbidding, and always seems to harbor some awful, malevolent presence. I never actually make it to that top floor. I'll stand at the foot of the stairs, looking up at the hazy darkness, which sometimes appears fog-like. It's at that point, encountering the stairway to the darkness, that I wake up.

My last shrink concluded that the house represents my "world" . . . and just as my world has expanded since childhood, the house has expanded from narrow row-house to expansive mansion. And the darkness? The darkness represents my inability or unwillingness to deal with the darker aspects of my existence, whatever those might be. My wife, who is always quick to jump on the Freudian dream bandwagon, concurs with this evaluation. Any thoughts?

1 comment:

One Wink at a Time said...

I'm in a rush, but will come back to comment. Dreams are my thing, I love helping people interpret theirs. Ciao for niao.