Dreams. We all have them, but how many of us pay attention to them? Most dismiss their nightly mental meanderings before even waking, or just after waking. Simply put, dreams aren’t that important in the daily grind. They’re a distraction and often a muddle of images and sounds that make little sense anyway. But, what if they meant something?
Crossing that border into the unknown, perhaps the paranormal is uncomfortable and that might be yet another reason so many dismiss their dreams. No one wants to be thought of as that crack-pot down the street with too much eye makeup, who smokes long cigarettes and waxes on about past lives, breath possibly reeking of alcohol. That stereotype of the new age dream guru, or eccentric psychic is way off base. For the most part, those who believe or lean toward believing in the paranormal look and act like everyone else. The phenomena that makes up the form of study is simply unexplained happenings and there are real scientists out there looking into the anomalies.
For instance, Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, psychiatrists of the 20th century, thought dream interpretation was a worthwhile art. To them, this could reveal a great deal about one’s psyche. Some of us don’t want aspects of our mind revealed to the world, and dreaming allows us the anonymity of it only happening in our minds, instead of out in the world to be seen. Both Freud and Jung found that the dreams of the average human could be rather disturbing at times, and, so, no wonder they would rather let them fade with the rise of dawn. Jung advanced the study of psychology a great deal by defining archetypes and framing dreams and ideas in a way that humans could separate themselves from the things in their head and fell a lot less strange about them. His greatest contribution was the recognition of the universal mind—what we’re probably going to be calling genetic memory from this point forward. Genetic memory is a more recent confirmed phenomena by which memories are transferred from generation to generation. They drive our instincts and provide us with skills for survival. We all have them. This helped to connect his theory of the archetype. We all share similar definitions of the mother, father, God, darkness, light and so on. These fundamentals are inherent in the human psyche according the Jungian psychology.
In this way, our dreams can tell us a great deal about our humanity. What we are and what drives us. I like to think of my dreams as my own Dr. Jung working me through things, so I don’t combust. Psychologists mostly agree with that assessment. The brain processes the day as we sleep. Because it’s a super computer, it can make connections and predictions, as well. The better the processor, the better the information being processed, the more likely the predictions will be spot on. I am not dismissing those who have some pretty uncanny predictive dreams, or the existence of psychic phenomena. Science hasn’t disproven either and the mind is still a young study.
For my newest work, I took dreams, their interpretation and existence, to the next level. The narrative is actually a rendering of dreams I’ve had my whole life, placed into a sequential order that can be more readily understood. Hindsight is a great friend, and that is why dream journals can be so useful. The information your brain processes during the nightly REM may not make much sense until a cycle has completely played out for you. I have to admit, even though I can string the dreams together and make sense of them as far as a narrative—they don’t make much sense out of their context. I will leave that to the literary theorists who can pry it apart and make some interesting guesses.
But why use dreams? Where else can you go on a sudden adventure with angels and demons, dragons and wolves? Dreams allow us a landscape that isn’t bound by reality’s physics. The astral is a place that responds to our thoughts and alters to create that which we think it is. It’s the ultimate holodeck! It renders itself my tool for thinking up the most absurd tales, to experience the emotions and events that I otherwise would be unable to experience, because things simply do not exist that way in waking life.
Jung laid groundwork for us to better enjoy the gift of dreams. So try to remember them better and reflect on them, even when they are disturbing to find out the truth within. You don’t have to share them with anyone. You can write a private journal, or just safely tuck it into your thoughts for the day. I had recurring dreams as a child that I still vividly recall to this day (yes, they’re part of the book, and in ways obvious and obscure). And, for those who write, the tool dreams could provide you with is priceless. Regardless of your faith, or lack of, allow the depths of your mind to commune with you. You’ll find existential growth as well as new possibilities.
For more on Jung, read my essay on The Psychology and History of Film Noir: Film Noir as Genre to the Present Day. And, check out the first 30 pages of The Trailokya Trilogy, Book One: The Shadow Soul on Wattpad. To be released May 2015.
Bio: Born in Saratoga Springs, New York, K.Williams embarked on a now twenty year career in writing. After a childhood, which consisted of voracious reading and hours of film watching, it was a natural progression to study and produce art.
K attended Morrisville State College, majoring in the Biological Sciences, and then continued with English and Historical studies at the University at Albany, home of the New York State Writer’s Institute, gaining her Bachelor’s Degree. While attending UA, K interned with the 13th Moon Feminist Literary Magazine, bridging her interests in social movements and art. Topics of K’s writing include the environment, animal welfare, gender limitations, racial disparities, and the trauma of war.
Published novels by K include the Civil War drama Blue Honor, the Second World War spy thriller OP-DEC:Operation Deceit, and the controversial science fiction/fantasy series The Trailokya Trilogy. In addition to writing novels, K enjoy’s the art of screenwriting and has worked on the screen spec 8 Days in Ireland, and the adaptations of her current novels. Currently, K has completed the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program for Film Studies and Screenwriting at Empire State College (SUNY), and is the 2013-2014 recipient of the Foner Fellowship in Arts and Social Justice. In 2015, K. Williams became an official member of International Thriller Writers.
K continues to write on this blog weekly, producing commentary Mondays and Fridays on hot topics with some fun diversions for your work week. Whether it’s cooking, learning a foreign language, history or dogs, you’ll find something to enjoy and keep coming back for. Always a promoter of other artists, K uses Guest Blog Wednesdays to showcase artists from around the web and bring you interesting readings to expand your horizons. A sequel to her second novel, OP-DEC, is in the research phase, while the screen adaptation is being considered for production by film companies.
Words By Writers is a weekly segment featuring posts from other authors. If you are an author and would like to submit a post, you may do so by emailing me a document of your post. Please remember to include a quick bio, a photo and your promotional links. Thank you!