Sunday, 1 December 2013

I seek to give my dreams a second run

In my dream there were no doors to knock on because every house had a secret method of gaining access. So I was escorted everywhere. After crossing a railway bridge on the rotten boards I feared I would not keep up with my hosts and, as they disappeared into the distance, I realised I would end up alone, with nowhere to go, and no way to communicate with anyone. Even the serpent that had bit me benignly in greeting, and which looked like a big, green cat, had disappeared. I was a dependent but I had my own agenda, so I was an anomaly without any solution except to wake up.

It would be easy to interpret this dream as a metaphor for death, a very elaborate and intricate one, to be sure, but the transition could be made without stretching the boundaries of understanding too far. This kind of interpretation is the stuff of ancient texts, texts rescued from the ravages of time by scribes or archaeologists. It is because in us there is a built-in need to find meaning, and if religion is the answer to questions posed by dead generations, then reasoned critique of religion now arises from the same font.

If I don't understand the religious impulse it might of course be because I haven't examined myself adequately. What do I rely on in times of trouble, and what inspires me? I am more equable in the face of the questions that come out of my own reason - which discerns patterns among the random phenomena of existence - and which has served me so well for so long. So in a sense I am being more honest, and more adventurous than the religious individual for instead of relying on the wisdom of the ancients I am creating my identity anew each day that I wake from my dreams.

But yet I ask: what was the green cat that mumbled softly on my arm, and whose back I stroked so affectionately? We may stand aside from ruminations like this and assert that dreams are the mind's way of cleansing itself, as well as the body's way of telling us how healthy - or otherwise - it is. Even if we do, however, there will always be moments when we regret that our waking mind cannot see as clearly as our dreaming consciousness. We are all dreamers at heart.

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