The gift of laughter and mythology is fundamentally built into our very existence, from our dreams right through into our waking life. Anyone who takes life too seriously is making a joke about their whole existence. No, I’m not joking either… Ok, maybe my cynical wit came on a little too strong there. The point I’m making is that life is meant to be funny. Ironic. Laughable. Albeit a little mystical and magical at times.
This is why dreams are something amazing to partake in and to give more serious consideration as to what they can show us. Yes I said dreams should be taken more seriously! By that I mean you should perhaps pay a little more attention to their playfully inspired messages and how they affect you; that is where the fun and magic begins!
Our dreams can give us not only a framework to look at our lives differently, but also show us more about deeper patterns engrained into our psyche.
Our dreams tell us a story, which draws on the power of images, narrative, symbols and metaphors to convey us key messages. As you may have noticed, our dreams do not merely mimic the world we experience every day. Our mind has this magical ability to process images, language, objects and people, symbolically; taking into consideration qualitative and associative characteristics of everything we experience. Why is this important?
You may not realize it, but our subconscious equates for about 90% of our brains activity. To ignore that fact is like judging a book only by it’s cover and reading the last chapter. There are some things we don’t need to think about consciously, like touching flames will burn you, or green means go at the traffic lights. Although systematic, our brains can work in a way that is almost a poetic.
It is useful however to take into conscious consideration how our unconscious brain processes what we need not think about. For example, when we look at a rose, an array of information is firing off in our heads. It’s beautiful. It’s soft. It’s red. The thorns are prickly if I’m not careful. You send them to your lover for special events. It’s my Grandfathers favourite flower etc. We don’t always consciously think of all this when we encounter a rose or bouquet, but our subconscious sure receives the trigger for remembering such qualities.
Every object, place, event and person embodies certain characteristics. When you witness anything in a dream, it is a reflection of your association or relationship with the key qualities being represented.
When you look to literature, our language used to be far more associative, metaphorical and poetic. Think of all those classic verses where a beautiful woman is likened to a delicate object such as a rose. Sometimes we have to think about how that association makes us feel to understand the fundamental message behind the story – much like our dreams.
When we miss our train in our dreams, it doesn’t mean you’re going to be late for work tomorrow; unless you forgot to set your alarm of course then the dream would become somewhat amusing if you can laugh at yourself in your state of panic. The train is not auguring a literal journey over a rail, but instead is showing that you’re probably feeling like you’re not getting to where you want to go in life any time soon. In this sense the train is instead a metaphor or symbol of what your subconscious is communicating with you.
What is so special about these metaphors and symbols?
To our mind, a metaphor is something acting as a symbolic representation of another thing, often something abstract. The powerful thing about symbols is that on the whole, they are universal. Like the rose and train above, what they mean for me, will be almost the same for everyone. I say almost because every object, person, place, etc can also have additional connotations and therefore symbolism attached.
This is the other powerful thing about our minds and creating symbols; we also have the power to create individual associations, and metaphors that make something into a symbol. Like the rose being my grandfathers’ favourite flower, may mean when I dream about one it would touch a bit closer to home. Trains for me are an extra potent symbol when I dream about them, as I grew up along a train line. So dreaming of a train will certainly be the forefront of my dreams and meditations if I am being shown where I am in my life.
This is where our subconscious really gets to have fun creating a new world every time we dream, using a bank of experience, knowledge, people, things, places, symbols. We may not have seen a real tidal wave before, but if our subconscious wants us to remind you that you’re susceptible to being emotionally overpowered, it will create one!
Just the same as you invent people you haven’t met to give you a message. I know I’d wake up laughing knowing I met Bill Hicks in my dream, a man who has lived life and is an omen of great conviction and humor! But someone more conservative may find him repulsive and offensive. You make these metaphors and associations come to life by how you feel about something!
So what does any of this have to do about life being humorous and mythical?
There are a few key things that make us laugh. The easiest one at times, being complete absurdity, and dreams provide us with scenarios that are definitely that! Why else would you be frying an egg on your Mum’s head whilst she’s plucking feathers out of a feather duster? Ok I’ve not ever dreampt that. It was the first silly thing that boiled over from my unconscious and poured into my thinking head.
Metaphors are a type of humor in itself. Your mind uses metaphors in dreams draw on the power making something seemingly impossible real, just because it wants to show you a different world, concept or idea.
For example, would you not laugh if you really got to lick Johnny Depp’s face like it was an ice cream? Maybe more strangely so if you are a male. There would be a vast array of things that he could represent to people, but your first reaction would most likely be to laugh. Or alternatively, being able to have a taste of fame or success, not to mention having fun doing it, may just be the message you need to make you go after something you truly desire. Be it a job, a steamy fling or something else. Would you prefer to be given a lecture from your Mum saying go find yourself a career change? I know which dream I would prefer!
The element of surprise is entrenched in humor, and when anything mythical surprises us, it’s like magic.
Myths and dreams have very similar qualities. A myth is just a way of describing a story that is of no direct or substantiated relevance. Mythology is engrained into our psyche as a framework to explain parts of our human existence, and fabric of who we really are as a person. We then apply the messages from these stories as guidance on how or how not to live our lives. Hundreds of years ago many would dream of religious deities and figures, like say Jesus,
Ganesh or Athena to convey messages. These days, it may be more relevant to dream of a person with a high public profile, like our actors, musicians, sporting heroes, politicians - you name it. Again, this brings us beyond our rational thought, offering us a new perspective entirely.
Dreams have that power to send us in a different direction in life entirely, if we are geared to hear it’s messages – sometimes, we don’t have the choice to control their potency and impact!
As humans we get to laugh at many paradoxes and absurdities. Our dreams and waking life both contain events that just make us rethink the big thing and little things. Metaphors become the omens and signs that can make us reconsider everything entirely. Going to sleep at night, we get to create a new myth, and new life and a new perspective. Again, you are creating these realities just like you’re creating the one you’re in now. Isn’t that magical itself?
By not paying attention to your dreams, you’re missing information and clues from the untapped subconscious, which accounts for more thoughts and knowledge than you could even contemplate. This power to project and create realities makes your whole existence possible. What sets people aside from animals, is our mind. Our creativity. And importantly, people have a sense of humour. This adds the unique sound of laughter to our play, and makes our unconscious musings and lives even more dynamic.
So bask in the absurdity. Relish the surprises. Be like a happy child and take the clues from your dreams like you would use them to solve a puzzle or game. More importantly, don’t forget to smile and laugh at when suddenly something seemingly innocent and unexpected from your dream suddenly manifests, as if to tell you that life is about to change.
In the odd chance I do get to meet Johnny Depp one day, I’m not sure I’d lick him like an ice cream, but I certainly will see him as an omen I’ve chased after my dreams of success. On first thought, my initial reaction of remembering such a dream would certainly be to laugh first. Hey, it would make for a funny icebreaker if I did want us to start a conversation!
© Lauren Neko 2012