Friday, June 25, 2010

All I have to do is dream . . .

While many people claim that they don't ever dream, I am certainly not one of them. My dreams are most vivid on those Saturday mornings when I am lying in bed, trying to force myself to take advantage of my free morning by sleeping in as long as I can stand it. This week has been full of Saturdays for me because I am "on vacation." Right now I am enjoying a few moments of paradise as I sit in the shade on my porch, listening to the wind rustle through the trees and watching the birds hop around the lawn. I keep wanting to start singing, "The sun is shining, the grass is green. The orange and palm trees sway . . ." but that is a Christmas song, and today is definitely not a Christmasy day. It's more of a 4th of July day. I love the 4th of July.

But I was talking about dreams. So far, this week I have dreamed that my grandpa was making a giant quilt that took up his entire attic, that a few guys I went to high school with went skiing on their motorcycles and didn't live to tell the tale, and that I went to Lagoon with my parents and Kimberly and a hot guy that just showed up after we went on the Japanese ride that, according to my dad, was a very accurate representation of what life is like in Japan (it involved a lot humongous slides and falling through the air). Unfortunately, Kimberly always seemed to get to sit by the hot guy, although he did fall on me once. That was exciting.

I have often wondered if dreams serve more of a purpose than to simply entertain, confuse, or terrify. I know that to some extent, dreams are a reflection of who we are and what we care about. I am sure that some dreams come about because of obessessions we may have. For instance, I once had a dream that I was Harry Potter (big shock, I know) and that Voldemort was trying to track me down during sacrament meeting. He and his Death Eaters just flocked into the chapel and started handing out notecards for us to put our names and numbers on, while Voldemort made the announcement at the pulpit that he was looking for me. Another time I had a Lost dream (again, big shocker there) that involved Hurley, Sawyer, Charlie, and Desmond floating around in giant bubbles, and Jack and Kate performing at Payson's Opera House wearing bright purple suits. And of course, there are always the dreams of marrying strangers (or cousins), the dreams of having kids, and the frustratingly annoying Domino's dreams that refuse to go away. I haven't delivered a pizza for two years now, but I still have Domino's dreams fairly regularly. My favorite is still the one where I was working at the store in St. George and the delivery range was from Santaquin to Australia.

Then there is the recurring dream of driving up a steep mountain and then driving down the other end at a 90 degree angle. The last time I had the dream was also the only time I ever managed to stay asleep till I reached the bottom. Strangely enough, my aunt Lore was usually the one driving when I was hurtling down the cliff of death. That dream obviously represents my fear of heights (although Lore's mad driving skills may have had something to do with it). I think I have also always had a fear of natural disasters, because since I was a child, I have had many dreams of floods, tornados, volcanos, and earthquakes. Just recently I had two end-of-the-world dreams in one: death my fire and by water. That dream, however, was far from scary. It is actually one of the most humorous dreams I have had to date.

But what about the seemingly unimportant (and very random) dreams, the dreams of melted water, men in blue capes, and different flavors of lemonade that make you float? And more importantly, what about the more personal and spiritual dreams, the dreams that have a different feel to them and that leave me pondering for days afterward? Are dreams really just random figments of our imaginations, or do they serve a greater purpose?

I am not saying that all of my dreams are deeply significant and that the interpretation of them would change the world. I'm not sure I want my dreams to change the fate of our world. However, there would be a lot more humor in the world; I'm pretty sure there is a reason why I laugh in my sleep. But I don't think dreams should be entirely brushed aside, either. As strange as some dreams may be, I think they tell us a lot about ourselves, even things that we don't realize about ourselves at the time.

But I also sometimes wonder if dreams come from sources beyond our understanding. I have never had a visionary dream like Nephi's vision of the Tree of Life, but I have had dreams that have affected me deeply. Blame it on emotions triggered by the brain if you wish, but I don't think that is all that is going on here. While most dreams probably are trivial, I think that some of them are still important and worth being reflected upon.

After all, we spend a huge chunk of our lives sleeping, and our brains are not resting with the rest of our bodies. Sometimes I wonder if our brains are unraveling the secrets of the universe while we are enjoying our deep slumber, and then sneakily tucking that information away long before we are conscious enough to notice it.

The world of dreams is a fascinating place, regardless of whether our dreams are important or not. Maybe we dream simply so we can get a wake-up call every now and then, or maybe we dream simply so we can have a good story on hand when a conversation starts to drag awkwardly. But I don't think we would dream unless there was a reason for it. We could very well live in a world in which sleep is simply a black hole of nonactivity, but we don't. For some reason, we we continue to think and "dream" even after our eyes are closed and the world has been shut aside for a few hours. I don't think that dreams are a mere act of chance; even if some of our dreams are just plain stupid, we don't dream for nothing. Nuggets of truth and enlightenment can be found anywhere, even in places we don't expect to find it.

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