Dreams are real while they last; can one say more of life?
– Havelock Ellis
Yes, dreams are real phenomena.
But most people don’t get this. In the western world, dreams are either seen as something secondary to the lives we lead every day, a kind of shadow world cast by events in our real lives, or as something even less than that – chaotic meaningless fantasies unrelated to daily life.
The Australian aborigines see dreaming as a greater reality. In his book Voices of the First Day: Awakening in the Aboriginal Dreamtime, author Robert Lawlor tells us how, in some tribes, the first thing a person does upon waking is to wander alone in the bush, or along the seashore, and devise a song to fit a dream from the previous night.
In that world dreams and the day world are connected.
Yes, I know most people dismiss the beliefs of hunter-gatherers as primitive superstitions activated by wishful delusional thinking. The idea that the people outside our civilization might know things that we don’t know is hard for many people to grasp.
Just because you can destroy a people – our civilization has destroyed uncountable peoples – doesn’t mean you are superior to them.
Watching my own dreams over decades, I came to the realization that they follow paths of their own. They have agendas of their own. They don’t seek interpretation. Though I don’t understand what they’re doing most of the time, they continue anyway, as if what I think about them is not very important.
Hiding from dreams when you wake up – refusing to think about them – doesn’t change anything. The dreams continue, occasionally producing powerful nightmares when the dreaming mind, whatever or whoever that is, decides that it is time for you to pay more attention.
Just pay attention to your dreams and they will show you how real they are.