Monday, June 20, 2016

Dreams and Nightmares

In the darkness of the night, when the universe opens up so vast you can see the beginnings of time -- most of us are fast asleep, exploring the inner reaches of our mind.  What we find there may be simple and kind, colorful or gray, fanciful or macabre, or just plain frightening.  I often wonder who controls the channel selection for our dreams? 
Sigmund Freud theorized dreams were our way to fulfill suppressed wishes, and could serve as a roadmap to the unconscious self.  Since he owned the couch everyone listened to him.
One of the techniques taught in relaxation therapy to calm yourself is to begin your first dream while you are still awake.  This is a form of meditation helping to focus your mind and clear it of the stress that keeps you from sleep.  Just as in any meditation, each of us would have a unique focus point or dreamscape.  For some it might be some legendary tale, others might seek the quiet refuge of a forest glen, while others might like the idea of unicorns.  Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, far too many of now focus on kittens.
My grandfather, a stoic man who passed away far too early, used to swear he did not dream.  He was one quarter Tuscarora Indian so maybe that was true, but I doubt it.  Again, as Freud famously pointed out, the unconscious mind has a way of remaining unconscious, if it didn’t it wouldn’t be unconscious now would it?
Martin Luther King had a dream.  I know this because he made a big deal about it.  It was a great dream in the tradition of great Southern Baptist ministers who would go on and on about these kind of things.  I buy into Mr. King’s dream, and I just wish others would too, but equality is impossible to achieve if people are not treated equal.  My point is when one group is separated out for preferential treatment, the other groups are displaced.  Society then becomes a teeter-totter of ups and downs where almost everyone is unhappy, even the ones who are supposed to be benefiting.
Gerald Ford once said, “Our long national nightmare is over…” I wonder what he would say today if he saw state of our government and the choices being offered by the two dominate parties.  I suspect we are just beginning our next nightmare, so you might want to grab hold of your teddy bear and hang on tight.

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