Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Dreams, Part 1

I would like to open a discussion about dreams. Several readers have already sent Comments about dreams, and with this post I want to create a home for further Comments.

I think we will all enjoy reading true accounts of dreams, and comments about dreams generally, without limitations. Of course dreams which foresee events are particularly fascinating, but so are dreams which involve out of body experiences or astral travel or visions or inexplicable contacts. There are many reasons one might share stories and theories about dreams.

I’ve already told you about the one precognitive dream I can recall. The other “dream data” that come first to mind are my repetitive dreams.

For years, probably beginning when I was 11 or 12 years old, I often dreamed about flying. The story was long and progressive. When I first tried to fly by flapping my arms, the air was too thin for my flapping to have any effect. I would run along the ground, flapping away, with the same result I would have if I went outdoors and tried it today. Then, over months, the air seemed to thicken, and I could flap myself a few inches off the ground for a short stretch. I remember the first time that I managed to get to the height of the telephone wires before I had to descend. What a thrill! And then, finally, I was able to fly above nearby trees, and eventually to go longer distances. Flying became more like swimming because I no longer had to flap so hard, and I could glide for long distances.

I remember once standing on top of a very high fortress tower, summoning my courage, and gliding a mile or more before a safe landing in a meadow. Over time I flew for very long distances which took me over various fields and towns and buildings, more than once in a medieval landscape. I recall skimming just above a group of dark-clad witches who were threatening me from the roof of a castle. A narrow escape.

I don’t know when the flying dreams dwindled, but they seemed to have served their purpose when I could fly skillfully almost anywhere and had lived through (or dreamed through) various adventures. They had kept me busy at night for years – interspersed, of course, with other dreams.

The next category of repetitive dreams became a major feature in my life because they were so frequent and vivid and occurred over several years – more or less ending only in the past couple of years.

Those dreams involved trying to get back “home”, or back to someplace like a hotel or a car. They usually took place at night. In all the dreams there was a great deal of frustration. For one thing, I could not remember the location to which I was trying to return – usually in a strange city. I couldn’t recall the name of my hotel or the street it was on. When I was looking for my parked car, information about its location was also wiped from my memory. I rarely was able to get any meaningful help from people I encountered. If there was someone (usually in a wife role) waiting for me to return, I could not recall a telephone number.

A variation was when I knew where I needed to go – as to my parents’ house on the other side of a town – but got lost when I tried to find my way. In trying to cross the town, for example, I would lose track of my direction, would wander around dim side streets, and would have to make my way through complex buildings.

In another frequent form of the dream I was living outside the United States (usually in England, where I’d actually lived), and was planning to return home to the other side of the Atlantic. I seemed to have waited until the last day to make travel arrangements, and the dreams were a mad rush to get a ticket, to pack, to store things I couldn’t take, and somehow to be ready for a departure time which was impossibly close. Usually I was to travel on a ship, but sometimes it was an airliner. Every effort I made was thwarted. Here it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the ship leaves in the morning, and I had made no preparations whatsoever! I needed to call a travel agent but the telephone book was indecipherable. If I needed glasses to read something, I couldn’t find the glasses. The phone didn't work. Once when it did work, I tried calling for information and got an answer from some man in Wyoming who told me I had the wrong place. I think it’s fair to say that in all the dreams I can remember but one, I missed the boat. (Interesting choice of phrase?)

The common theme of all those dreams was that I had been somewhere previously, was trying to return, and encountered impediments of many kinds. I was unable to think of anything happening in my life which would explain the dreams. As years passed and I became more interested in things spiritual, it occurred to me that I was dreaming about the soul’s longing to return Home. I felt pretty strongly that there was truth in that interpretation, even though I thought I might be reaching.

I’ve written enough for one day, and so I won’t expand on that idea now. I’ll plan to return to dreams in the next post. In the meantime, please click “Comments” and leave a dream post of your own.


  1. Fleming,
    Dreams inspire, fascinate, teach, frighten, confuse, entertain, etc. Recurrent dreams, or themes in dreams, are particularly fascinating.

    I am attempting to practice dream recall, having always been a rather prolific dreamer, some dreams sticking with me, but like most people, fading over the day. I find that focusing on dream recall in those moments of awakening, particularly with eyes closed, increases dream recall quite a bit.

    I do think different dreams have different qualities to them, some dreams seeming to be just a movie playing in the head, other dreams providing a sense of something more deeply meaningful, emotional and spiritual.

    Interesting post with much to think about, as always.

  2. Serenity, it's always good to receive a comment from you, and your comment about dreams having different qualities is especially interesting to me. Some of my dreams seem much more "lifelike", more vivid, than most -- leaving me with the feeling that I've lived through a "real" experience during the night. Some of those seem to be calling out for me to pay attention to them. They come to mind again and again. Other dreams feel like "just dreams", and don't have that quality of reality.

    Thank you, Serenity. I'm sure we can build on this discussion.

  3. Hi Fleming

    I enjoy reading your dream posts. I wish I had something here to share...I can't remember my dreams much. My daughter dreams of flying and my husband has dreams (always had since childhood) flying around in other parts of the world.

    I feel like I'm missing out on something :(

    Oh well...I'll keep trying :)

  4. Thanks, Kathy. I'd like to compare you daughter's and husband's flying dreams to mine. Do they flap their arms? It's interesting that your husband flies around in other parts of the world. The locale of flying dreams is something I hadn't thought much about.

    Maybe you are dreaming and just don't remember. Try Serenity's technique. If you recall even a bit of a dream you may be able to bring the whole dream up.

    I'm going through a period where I've been aware of 2 dreams in the past month.

    You say your're going to keep trying to dream. I've heard that if you get into that half-awake state before falling asleep and order yourself to dream about something, it can happen.

  5. Hi Fleming

    you asked "Do they flap their arms"? in their flying dreams? i don't know? I'll ask them when I get the chance..interesting question. (I'll report back later on that :) I've heard Richard say that he could see the roof tops very clearly as he flys over them. Marcy tells me that she knows she is dreaming and can command what happens being the director of her own dream!

    I daydream a lot while I'm awake...does that count? LOL :-D I wonder if daydreaming is anymore or less important than dreaming at night?


    whether this was a dream or something else, it is part of my consciousness and this sort of experience has been consistant in my life since my memories here began.

    i have had flying dreams since i was quite small. they are less frquent now but as a child they were frequent, vivid and some verifyable upon waking.

    one dream in particular i flew above my father`s head and out through the bathrooom window and into the lane between the houses. in recollection i had the impression that i was sitting on a carpet.....

    the next morning i went out into the lane and looked up at the bathroom window and the brickwork, window frames and pipes were exactly as i`d seen them while dreaming.

    the water pipe was pulling away slightly in my dream and i could see in the daylight exactly the same thing.

  7. My meditation teacher once said, "What does a dream mean? It means you have been asleep so wake up!"

  8. hey rob, you meditation teacher was absolutely no help, eh!

  9. I asked my daughter if she flapped her arms in her flying dreams...she said yes! "In most flying dreams I usually flap my arms" she said.

    looking forward to more dream posts.
    Have a great day! :)

  10. Dr. Alistair, thanks for one of the most interesting dream stories I've ever read. I think it was an out-of-body experience, or astral travel. I'm not sure what the difference is, but you were actually seeing things in a different place from where your physical body was!

    Kathy, thanks for finding out about that arm flapping. I couldn't imagine any other way to fly until Dr. Alistair told us he flew on a carpet. I think that he is more advanced. : )

  11. i don`t know about advanced so much as allowed to keep my experiences.

    for whatever reason i didn`t get the typical reaction from my parents. the "oh, it was only a dream" type comments.

    so the event has remained as an experience.

    yesterday i woke up to thinking about leopard print gloves. the gloves were the ones that a woman at starbucks wears.

    after work i went to starbucks and stopped at the bakery to get a bagel and behind the counter were the gloves.

    i just knew that when i got to starbucks she would be there. so i wasn`t surprised when i saw her sitting there when i walked in.

    she was quite surprised when i told her where her gloves were though!

  12. Dr. Alistair, you were fortunate to have understanding parents.

    Your psychic experience with the leopard print gloves is especially impressive because you saw them behind the counter and told the owner about them rather than just happening to see her. That's a valuable true example. Thanks.

  13. my parents were long suffering but understanding.

    i did get tested at 6 or 7 because there were some concerns on thier part.

    it turned out that i was bright.

    i can see my dad scratching his head over that one.

    i can remember the day trip across the bridge from reading to caversham like it was yesterday.

    up to the large red brick home that was the office of the people in the white coats who were waiting with the standard tests to find out where the boy was at.

    i did puzzles and solved problems and looked at pictures and for the first time in my life wasn`t judged or pressed to be right or wrong.

    then we went home.

    i think my dad was hoping to find that there was some cognitive issues or lack of intellect.

    but no. just bright.


  14. Alistair, your story about your parents hoping you weren't bright is really amusing. I have a similar story. The high school that my brothers and I attended informed my mother that my youngest brother had tested for a very high IQ. Apparently she had already been told the same thing about me. She was sincerely distressed when she got the news, even though pleased at the same time, and she exclaimed to me, "I don't want my boys to be geniuses! I want them to be normal."