I walk across the dreaming sands under the pale moon: through the dreams of countries and cities, past dreams of places long gone and times beyond recall.
Dream, in Sandman: “Brief Lives” by Neil Gaiman

Do you dream? Or do you think you do not dream, because you cannot remember any dreams when you wake up?

Personally, dreams always were a wonderful escape for me. A time and space where my imagination goes wild. Hmm, I think the best description of that world I’ve ever read about dreaming was in Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman”. Beautiful graphic novel. Loved the idea of a “Library of Dreams” — actually so much that I once created library cards to it as part of a gift (images of the moon and stars from a box of matches):

dreams_1.jpg dreams_2.jpg

Library card to the best library in this world (and in others as well).

But, seriously, in my dreams, I’ve lived countless lives, grew old, died young, was killed, did kill, was a hero and a coward, walked in strange cities or flew over them. Recently, my imagination provided a nice distraction by letting me fight against aliens (yup, the Ripley kind, and nope, it didn’t end well) or against cannibals in a zombie apocalypse (It’s interesting what you can do with a hammer. I blame thank “The Walking Dead” and “Zombies, Run!”. Hey, it’s fun! :-)).

And yup, funny how the brain keeps you entertained when things are stressful. Stressful not because of work, although I’m facing some major changes this year, but mostly because of my private life. Living perfectly happy far (enough) away from the family is one thing, but when something bad happens at home, it suddenly overshadows everything. Family is strange this way.

In this sense, I agree with the sentiment of:

“When I sleep, I dream about it. Them. Every night. All around me, in me. I used to be afraid to dream, but I’m not anymore.”
“Because no matter how bad the dreams get … when I wake up it’s always worse.”
Ripley and Call in “Alien 4”

Nightmares? With the exception of — I think — three nightmares I had as a child? Never a problem. Dreams are fun because you never know what happens.

But I wonder whether I should make the effort to try to learn lucid dreaming, i.e., learning to become aware when you dream. It happened to me a few times naturally — and it was always cool. You can take control over your dreams. Not exactly holodeck like, but close.

It would make the dreams less like a surprise program, but more like that library of dreams, where I can pick and chose my dreams like books. And more, letting me actively edit these stories. And that it is something I would like very much. When it happened naturally, it was the closest I’ve ever come to playing god. The power of creation you have in lucid dreams … breathtaking. But on the other hand, part of the appeal of the dreams is not knowing where I end up.

Hmm, but perhaps there’s a compromise. I doubt that all dreams would be lucid dreams, and perhaps even knowing when you are dreaming doesn’t remove the surprising events. Yup, there are a lot of instructions online, e.g., at wikiHow. I guess it’s time to try out a few things.

What about you? Ever wanted to take control of your dreams?