To C. Beauregard,
In regards to the altercation of Thursday last, I am afraid I am to remain in staunch opposition of your claim: not simply that dreams mean nothing, but rather they are a product of nothing but idle thoughts. For after all, what are idle thoughts but our invasive, unspoken desires? To be so readily malleable that they pervade our sleeping senses proves that they are thoughts of merit, simply hidden away. If these are indeed our secrets, then the unconscious exploration of such thoughts should, though with questionable clarity, explain something about ourselves that we could not discover while distracted by our waking ego. It is perhaps for this self-exploration that we are so reluctant to take dreaming seriously. Facing our moral maladies is a chore at best and utterly impossible at worst, yet if we cannot trust our own minds to be critical of ourselves, how can we trust our peers; and without critical analysis, can there be spiritual development?
I suggest taking this critical view on dreams a step further, not that some dreams address truths we grapple with, but that indeed all dreams do so; that we are fraught, nightly, by our innermost demons, yet we choose to ignore those visions with no overt meanings. I have long suspected this, and largely for my own curiosity I have meticulously documented my own dreams and, with your indulgence, I would like to share one of my most bewildering and beguiling dreams for the benefit of your interpretation.
I find myself in a large, open meadow. I am running from something, but I cannot seem to ascertain what. My fear is unparalleled. My laborious running leads me to trample the vibrant flowers that surround me and the sky above me turns dark. I cannot recall where I was before the meadow, nor how I arrived there, but it doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters is that my legs keep moving. All that matters is that whatever unknown presence chasing me remains unknown. I feel petals being mashed into a pulpy paste between my toes. It wasn’t until this moment that I realized my feet were bare, and even then I’m unconvinced I wasn’t wearing shoes moments prior.
As I run my breathing becomes heavy and I can feel the air ripping my throat raw. Every exhale is accompanied by sharp pain that briefly distracts me from the strain of my body. A singular detail that I remember, perhaps the most terrifying, is the silence. Though I am acutely aware of my hunter, I hear nothing. The only sounds are that of my feet on the ground, the drum of my heart, my breath, and the wind whipping past my ears.
I’m in a rare state of delirium when I see the tree line of the approaching forest. I push myself harder to reach sanctuary, my vision becoming blinded by the stinging sweat dripping into my eyes. I can’t see at all by the time I feel branches enveloping me. Stones and twigs replace the grass and flowers under foot, and the pulp that had covered my feet is washed away by my own blood.
As my sprint continues the blood on my feet becomes slippery, causing me to falter. As I stumble my hands reach for a nearby branch. I hold on tight, and for a brief instant I am still. It is only a moment, but a moment is all it takes for my stalker to break the distance, I turn to face behind me and I am immediately drawn to a large crimson iris. In my shock I instinctively launch myself away from the beast. I fall out of place in time, it feels as though I’ve been falling forever. The trees pass me by and I watch the ground rise above me. I realize now that I have fallen from a cliff, but I cannot seem to turn myself to see what impact awaits me.
The anticipation is unbearable, as I fall for what seems like an hour. Instead of the weightlessness one usually experiences during a fall, I find myself all too aware of gravity and its hold on me. Through my plummet I am attacked by large birds; their talons shredding my flesh as they attempt to claim me for their own. The pain is severe. They attack with such speed that it is hard to get a good look at them, but they are roughly half my size and entirely black. There is one I managed to get a decent glimpse of, but it is so haunting I try to forget it. It is unlike any bird of the living realm, and I’m fairly certain its eyes are of the same color as the one I saw in the forest.
My impact coincides with a sharp pain and the horror of being buried alive, as earth opens around me and swallows me whole. A moment later I am sinking deeper, only now I am surrounded by water. I am stricken by fear of drowning until I realize that I no longer need to breathe. Instead of alarm, there is a moment of relief. That is, until I feel the pull of a strong undercurrent, dragging me downward. I want to swim against it, but it is useless. My body is as limp as a discarded marionette, and I cannot seem to initiate the slightest of movements.
As I am pulled along, gigantic nautical monsters attach themselves to my limbs. Teeth and tentacles wrap around me, and after a moment of the most exquisite agony I am ripped from myself. My physical body is in scattered pieces, but I still exist. Maybe I am a soul, or perhaps I am merely a thought, mirroring what I had once been. The dark around me becomes darker still.
I notice now that my motion has ceased and one by one tiny glowing lights pierce the darkness. It takes time for my eyes to adjust, but when they finally do I see that I am surrounded by colors, the likes of which have never been seen. Hues of purples and blues intertwined the black in extraordinary patchwork, laced with reds and oranges and greens. I had arrived deep within the cosmos, and as the stars around me flourished and dimmed with the passing of eons I finally felt my lingering anxiety disperse. Perhaps it is only in this moment, having shed my mortal being, that I can truly understand what freedom is offered by understanding ones insignificance in the universe. How immense the very expanse of it is. I am so close to an emotional catharsis, but I suddenly feel a force beyond my knowledge pulling my essence back through time and space into my waking body, displacing this nirvana I stood at the cusp of. It is at this point that I awake, and though I attempt to reenter my slumber, to gain another glimpse of this tranquil paradise, I never succeed.
I present this dream to you for your interpretation. From the end of the dream I am able to surmise some conclusions, but some moments throughout still baffle me. Though I’ve come to realize that the meanings of some symbols may be exclusive to my own life and experiences, and that it may be a complete impossibility for you to begin to decode them, I believe an outside interpretation may awaken ideas dormant within me. I also do this for your benefit. Please use this as the first step into interpreting your own dreams. Take them wholeheartedly and let them speak to you.
I look forward to your next letter.
© 2013 by Dwight Evan Young. All rights reserved.