Entering the Dream World
It’s happening again.
The departure time for my flight is fast approaching. I have so many items to pack in my suitcase, but it is still half empty. Things happen one after another to take me away from packing. The clock is ticking. I have to leave for the airport very soon, but I’m not ready. I will miss my flight–anxiety covers me like a heavy blanket. The more I try to pack in a hurry, the more obstacles get in my way.
I will be late for my flight.
I wake up from the stressful dream just before the tension reaches climax. I release a sigh and feel the tightness around my jaws gradually fading away.
It is one of the dreams that keep returning to me throughout my adult life. There are different versions with the same basic storyline. I’m with my son or late husband in some of those dreams. None of us is getting ready, or I might be the only one still trying to pack my suitcase. I’m back in Japan in some other dreams. I see my parents in the background.
Whoever is in the dream, whatever variation it is, the overall feeling is the same: gut-stirring anxiety. The dream often came to me while I was going through a major life transition. I hardly have it anymore, but it still visits me once in a while.
Dreams. They reveal a lot about what we are going through at our subconscious levels. Any deep-seated emotions could emerge as dream images or stories. The message of a dream is sometimes crystal clear as the one in my suitcase dream. Some dreams are too incoherent to understand due to unrelated objects and people.
Dreams may also show us what will happen in the future. I would dream about arguing with my late husband, only to find myself in a verbal fight with him the following day.
. . .
There is a recurring dream that has been bothering me since my husband’s passing. Whatever version it is, the intense, raw feeling woven through the dream is disturbing, to say the least. Because I had the dream less frequently as more time passed after my husband’s death, I no longer thought about it until it showed up again a few months ago. I woke up weeping, feeling wasted.
I asked myself why this dream returned to me and what it meant three years after my husband’s passing. No answers surfaced.
Throughout my life, obstacles appeared and stayed until I learned life’s lessons and discovered something new about myself. I wondered if it could be the same with dreams. What if my most troubling dream keeps returning to me to reveal unresolved business from the past?
Later in the evening, before going to sleep, I asked my dream world to show me what I needed to gaze at with my inner eyes: the truth that I had been unconsciously avoiding or my ignorance had blocked me from seeing. Instead of calling my recurring dream a nightmare, I decided to think of it as my guide who leads me to the hidden part of myself. Instead of being afraid of having another nightmare, I wished to see it again so I could begin solving my mystery.
The dream returned to me that night. After waking up at midnight with a grappling sense of despair, I started jotting down whatever came to my mind instead of trying to shake off the dream and go back to sleep. I recalled the storyline, jarring images, and feelings. As I wrote them down, new thoughts, words, and emotions came to me. Some things that I had almost forgotten returned fresh from the past. I started to circle and underline the certain words I had just recorded.
When I had done with my work, I knew exactly why I kept having the same dream, what it meant to me, and what I should do with it.
The following morning, I made several colored drawings to express what I had experienced in my dream and dream-recording work. They were the reflections of my whole being, the integration of my subconscious and conscious selves. I gathered my drawings and headed for the nature reserve to do a dream-releasing ritual.
After meditating by the river, I released into the water white flowers, the symbol of my recurring dream and unfinished business from the past. As the flowers floated down the stream far away and finally disappeared into the scenery, I released what I had been carrying for three years since my husband’s passing. A profound sense of peace and deep love filled my heart.
Every night, my dreams invited me to look into my subconscious mind. They revealed hidden parts of me, shedding light on the truth or giving me heads-ups for future development. They gave me opportunities to work out unfinished business and reconcile the fragment of myself that had not been fully integrated. Dreams presented keys to the mystery. The answers were right there, but I didn’t choose to see them until now.
A few weeks later, the recurring dream appeared again with a new ending.
I woke up smiling.
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” ― C.G. Jung