My mom had scheduled an appointment for me to see a therapist who specializes in dreams. I had been remembering so many dreams each night, that by morning, I felt like I had no rest. I was living in two different worlds and it was exhausting. Actually more than that, since the 4-6 dreams per night were usually all different.
The day of my appointment, I had 100s of dreams in notebooks and in my memory banks. I brought one notebook with me, anxious and apprehensive, but mostly feeling grateful for the opportunity to have some help. Finally, I was going to get some answers.
He started by asking some general questions about my life. Once he made an evaluation that I was pretty stable and an average 24 year old, he said, “so tell me about a dream you’ve had.”
“Which one?” I reached for my notebook. I was suddenly overwhelmed by the prospect of picking one. There were so many.
“It doesn’t matter. How about a recent one?”
A memory flashed in my head. “Okay,” I answered, suddenly feeling very apprehensive. I put the notebook down and began to describe my dream.
“I was in a big mansion, more like a castle, and there was a party in progress. People were excitedly looking at clues in their hands. There were people in groups and some individuals working on their own. They were on a big treasure hunt, looking for something very precious hidden in the castle. I was in the room where most of them were searching. It was a very large ballroom, with a big stage at the front of the room. To my surprise, I saw a big treasure chest sitting in the middle of the stage. “You have to be kidding?” I thought to myself in the dream. “It’s right there, where everyone can see it. Why doesn’t anyone see it?”
The therapist interjected, “Tell me about the chest. What does it look like?”
I hesitated. I didn’t understand why it mattered what the actual chest looked like. “Well, it seems old, but solid. It’s functional and isn’t fancy, but it’s a pretty cool chest. It’s made out of wood with some metal bands around it, and has a simple design.”
Then he said something completely unexpected.
“How is the treasure chest like you?”
I found myself looking down at the ground and unconsciously began rocking back and forth. He pressed on.
“Many things in dreams will represent the dreamer; even inanimate objects. How is the chest like you?”
“Well,” I cautiously answered, “I’m not fancy. I’m more plain and simple. I’m also solid and functioning.
“Is the chest locked?”
“No. There’s no lock on it.” I was surprised. I hadn’t noticed that in my dream.
“What happens if you open it?”
At this point, I realized my body was rocking back and forth at a much faster pace. There was a part of me that was incredibly uncomfortable with this line of questioning. Yet the therapist remained still and calm, and patiently waited for me to continue. I drew courage and imagined myself opening the treasure chest. It was hard to see. Then I realized there were two possible answers to the question.
“One of two things happen, I’m not sure why. But if you open it you will either find a treasure of gold and precious jewels, beautiful and overflowing, or you will fall into the chest succumbed by darkness and fall forever.”
“And no one sees the treasure chest still?”
“No.” The rocking increased, faster and faster.
“It’s right there in the open for all to see, and it’s not locked?”
“Yes.” I rocked at a feverish rate.
He gently put his hand on my shoulder and said, “It’s okay. You can stop telling me about the dream now.”
It was as if I had been pulled out of a daze. He apologized for the intensity, saying he doesn’t like to do that too often. He knew it was hard to see that I was the treasure that no one was bothering to look at. No one in my life (he was referring to my family) was willing to approach it and open it, even though it was right there for all to see. It was a difficult awareness that filled me with sadness. I felt the truth in what he was saying.
I didn’t want to do that again. And he assured me we wouldn’t get that intense again. The next session, he realized that I was getting no relief from the number of dreams I was having and the blending from reality versus dreams. He tried a different approach and gave me some great advice. He told me to not put so much stock in dreams. Before I went to bed each night, he told me to say, “Everybody dreams. It’s a natural thing for everyone to have several dreams a night. It’s not a big deal. Everyone dreams….it’s a natural human thing….” After a few weeks of reiterating the statements before I went to bed, things started to calm down. And over time I learned to not have expectations of my dreams, or spend time recounting them every morning. It worked. That was the last time I saw the therapist.
But the most amazing thing happened from all of this process. I’ve had very significant dreams in my life since then. Dreams have given me clarity, wisdom, and information from the other side. God worked (and still does) through my dreams, knowing I would remember, when it became a blessing for me to remember. Sometimes I was me, or I was someone else, sometimes I was watching it like a movie, and sometimes it would flow in and out – me watching and then me participating. I have had dreams of flying, falling, dying, running, breathing under water, been attacked, and running for my life only to find my feet won’t move. I also escaped being caught by some “bad guys” by hiding in someone else. I merged into a women’s body and “hid” without her knowing it. She was very tall, slender and had dark hair. I remember thinking, “Wow, this is what it’s like to be tall and thin. This is pretty cool.”
One night I dreamed I was standing in a line of about 20 people, and my hands were tied in front of me. We were told that we were to be executed – firing squad style. All I knew was that I was innocent, and we were all selected for this execution because of some regime taking power. The feeling of waiting, knowing that my life was about to end, was almost too much to endure. I knew, that in less than an hour, I was going to face a person with a gun, and they were going to shoot me down. The terror was like nothing I had ever imagined. The strangest part of it was they were going to show us a 15-minute movie about whales and dolphins first. They were going to have us watch something beautiful about the earth, so that we would feel a bigger impact of the beautiful world we were about to leave. It was unnerving and terrifying to think that another human could have so much power over your own life and death. After I had that dream, my opinion that prisoners should never be executed became solid. No human ever has the right to decide whether someone else should be put to death.
Have you ever heard anyone say that if you dream you die, you really will die? It’s not true. I had a dream that I was driving a Volkswagon Beetle up a winding mountainside. The steering wheel locked up and I couldn’t turn it. I headed right for the guardrail. I hit my brakes but it was too late and I went right over the cliff. After the initial shock and terror, I noticed I kept falling. I remember thinking, “I would have hit the ground by now, - this must be a dream. Oh yea, and if you dream you actually hit, you can really die, so I’m glad I won’t hit.” Then I hit. End of dream, but not the end of me. Everything just blacked out.
I had another dream, many years later, that the road by my house had flooded. I drove through the water, thinking I would be fine, and it went right into the river. “Oh that was stupid,” was the commentary to myself. I figured I’d just roll down the windows and swim out. But the windows wouldn’t open. And neither would the doors. Before I knew it, I was floating out of my body and hovered above the river and watched my car make its final descent under water. “I can’t believe it! Really? That was so stupid, I can’t believe I made that mistake and I’m dead!” But then I noticed how free and light I felt. It was great! No worries, no problems, no physical issues. It was truly awesome. I felt great joy in my freedom. Then my next thought was, “What are my kids and husband doing right now?” and I found myself whisked away from the scene and flying at an unidentifiable speed. I was in the house, hovering above them in the living room within seconds. They were playing a card game, laughing and laughing. I delighted in how much fun they were having. I was feeling free and full of joy, and they were having a great time being with each other. Then the thought came to me, “Oh no! They don’t know I’m dead! They’re going to be so sad. Oh no! Please don’t be sad. Please stay like this – happy and having fun with each other. I’m fine, really I am. I’m better than fine! I’m awesome! Please don’t be sad.” And ever since that dream, my grieving process has been very different when a close friend or relative dies.
There are many dreams that I remember that have guided me in unfathomable ways. But the strangest dream of all, was when my husband and I experienced being in the same dream together. I never heard of such a thing, and didn’t even know it was possible. I’ll tell you about that in my next blog.