Print Story I had a dream last night
By sugar spun (Sat Apr 16, 2011 at 02:58:06 AM EST) (all tags)
and it stayed with me through the morning rush.

I don't usually have the sorts of dreams where people claim to have found some sort of meaning or enlightenment. Too much study of minds and brains and the way the brain functions to process the day's information and keep the body in a sleeping state has led to a mishmash of no memorable dreams at all, jumbled flashes of the previous day's events and, on rare occasions when I'm having trouble figuring out something in my waking state, a carefully selected person from my past sitting my dream-self down with a coffee or a glass of wine and spelling out the problem. Those are my favourite dreams; the first one involved a not-quite-ex calmly informing me that I wasn't going to get what I wanted while refusing to get close enough to others and while I was quite aggrieved at the time (how dare That Guy tell me what was wrong with me, brain? what the hell?) he/my sleeping analysis was absolutely right and I begrudgingly took his advice.

Having said that, I have a recurring nightmare that I've had since I was four years old. In it, the house I am in catches fire and I try to put out the flames, fail, and get everyone except one person out of the burning house. When I was younger, the person left behind was always someone I had had an ambivalent sort of day with, I knew I loved them but was genuinely angry/hurt/upset with them and felt guilt and terror as I watched the house burning that they would think I'd not rescued them on purpose and would die thinking that. [Note: this reminds me a bit of my terrifying younger brother's habit of creating a Sims character for anyone who pissed him off, closing them into a room with no door and setting it alight, but I kid myself that my brain was not so calculating.]

As I grew older, the person left behind would be the most vulnerable, as though my brain was exploring my responsibilities and how much I could reasonably be expected to deal with. This was heavily compounded by my grad student housing's building architect having put wheelchair-accessible rooms on higher floors without ever explaining to anyone how to work the antiquated evac chairs. Since I had a child it has been particularly horrific, although frequency has diminished as time has gone on.

I had the dream last night, but it was different. Without going into too much detail about our current existence, things are uncertain and difficult and I am filled with worry and rage and awareness of my shortcomings and fear that I'll reach my limits before the period of uncertainty is over. The dream started the way it always does, nice house, lots of people in it, something happens, people scatter to their own rooms or to do their own things (why is it that there is unlimited space in dream houses? where can I get one outside my sleeping head?). I walk down the stairs and see a flickering around a lamp, sitting beside a laptop on a pile of books. Rather than doing what I have always done in previous dreams and tackled the fire myself, I immediately call for help. People arrive and start to put out the fire and as soon as that's being taken care of, I tell people I'm going upstairs to get everyone out and do so.

Everyone leaves the house, the fire brigade arrives, the fire is put out, there is some structural damage but everyone is safe. I have my daughter in my arms, my smoke-blackened husband is beside me, everyone is accounted for and following some serious airing-out and a couple of coats of paint the house is fine too. The difference this time is that I asked for help when I needed it instead of trying to do everything myself. While I don't believe there is intrinsic meaning in dreams and do believe that cavers can dream of caves without it meaning that they want to disappear back inside a giant vagina, I do believe that humans seek meaning because meaning is important to us. And this time I think the meaning is clear and justified: I am fortunate in being surrounded by people who will help if I ask, and really I shouldn't hold back from asking when I need it.
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Dreams with meaning by lm (4.00 / 1) #1 Sat Apr 16, 2011 at 09:33:23 AM EST
I've had one, maybe two dreams, that I would say had any sort of meaning beyond the random sort of images and narratives one might expect from the brain cleaning out its garbage pit over night.

That one dream with meaning (or was it two?) was similar to yours int that the "meaning" helped me uncover something in my subconscious that I hadn't fully become aware of. Did the dream really mean that? Who knows? The relevant thing is the the sequence pointed something out to me that I wouldn't have realized without seeing that sequence of images and feeling those emotions.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Dreams by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #2 Sat Apr 16, 2011 at 02:26:03 PM EST
I always think of the brain re-indexing the main context tables used in daily lookups that provide you with the basis of the construct that is "me". 

Sometimes old crap is dug out of the archives and the dream me deals with situations differently to it.  Suppressed memories being dusted off for consideration perhaps?

Who knows.

There's also some seriously weird stuff in there too which I enjoy immensely.

I can do without the dream of stepping off a kerb and then falling, falling falling until I wake up in terror, though.  More flying dreams, please.  Had a lovely one where I was flying with all the immediate family, which was just brilliant.

I hope your uncertainty resolves itself happily for all concerned though.

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