I sometimes follow the trail in dreams, and I wake up, startled and sad. Perhaps you know something of it. The search for resolution we never got from a relationship or situation in the past. The sadness we feel at some lost experience of youth, or residual mourning over the loss of youth altogether.
I rarely talk about these deep sleep regressions except with my husband, so I don’t know how common those dreams are, but I’m pretty sure that most of us have some version of the “loss, grief, and frustration” dream.
I awaken from these journeys tired and mentally muddled, as if the trip had been real. After some mental processing, newly resolved to see and appreciate what’s here in my life now, I acknowledge that pieces of myself will never leave me as long as I’m sentient. That’s a good thing, whether the memories are good or not. Dream fragments represent experience, there for me to reflect upon, there for me to keep learning from. Occasionally, there is a resolution of sorts, or at least a way to fit the lesson into the image of the self I want to be. This self-integration fuels the intention to make use of experience and apply it toward something good.
I had one of these disturbing, muddle-of-loose-ends dreams last night. Probably prompted by the horror of yesterday’s news, it typified the dream genre I’ve described. I was down a rabbit hole searching for answers to unsolved puzzles. The details are personal and not relevant here, but I was dealing with a common mystery: Why? Souls, some living, some lost, appeared to help me find a way (Where? Dreams aren’t always clear.)
I awakened to a reality that momentarily felt different. Mourning, trying to interpret. As usual, I conjured up a few reasons for the dream that seemed to make sense, and moved on with real life. This moving on is what resilient humans do, but one thing dreams have taught me is the significance of the questions themselves.
It’s important, I think, that mourning does not overtake us in life. That terror and numbness don’t prevail over spirits already half-weary over real life’s sudden surprises. But we need not lose the grip on the significance of our personal experiences and those shared with others.
Failing to find answers to the mysteries of dream states or life, experiences and memories still have something to teach us. When so many of us have been trained to love answers above everything, it’s the active, manifest love of questions that will lead us to a direction that perhaps is more significant in its way than any answer could possibly be.
Whether in dreams, or fully awakened, it matters that we learn to love questions, wherever they lead us.
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