A Dream Within A Dream

UPDATE 12/8/2010

You can read my more recent posts on dreams:

Dreaming The Inception
My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’

A Half Remembered Dream
A more recent posts on my dreams plus with references to the movie, Inception

I have always been fascinated with dreams. Anything can happen in dreams and for most people they are beyond their control. It can be exciting or frightening but most of all, it is mind-boggling. It is a place where you experience your heightened fantasies and fears that you most probably don’t know you even have. I believe that the best way to understand your own mind is to dive directly into your subconscious part of the mind and dreams are the easiest place to do it. Some seek to fully control their dreams but I prefer not to. I want them to surprise me…I want to see what kinda of stuff my mind can create.

Most of the time, I tried to mentally recall my dreams as soon as I wake up but recently I’ve scribbled down notes every time I have a chance to wake up (Nov 1 – 11 2009; May 11 – June 2 2010). The fun part begins when you are fully awake and you start reading the stuff you wrote. Some of them actually create a coherent narrative:

May 14

Group of students in a theatre with an empty stage – trying to create a play but there is no script – a teacher shows up warning us to leave if we don’t have anything to show – the scriptwriter (a white girl) and her friend (a black girl with curly hair) wrote the first scene – a casual talk between characters at a dining table and they find a mysterious origami – they asked us for suggestion on the next scene – my friend, Ida stood up and start giving some elaborate suggestion – I disagree and suggest another scene – we argued

Some of them are randomly funny:

May 23

Watching TV – saw a music video of a new catchy song by Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan – titled “Candy Time” – lyric – “wake up, it’s the morning, It’s Candy TIME!”

And some are just…it made me pause and say WTF? because it seemed to be gibberish:

May 17

The city got its ‘Voice’ back. I told Joan that I’ll be the new voice of Amy’s town.

“Building a dream from your memory is the easiest way to lose your grasp on what’s real and what is a dream”

But as strange these dreams may sound like, they can be dissected and explained. The first dream is just an alternative representation of a real life situation between me and my friend (in this case, arguing about direction of a script we’re working on). Furthermore, the origami is a reference to the game ‘Heavy Rain’.

The second one is strange because as far as I know Mischa Barton is not a singer. But I could tell that the ‘Candy Time’ lyrics have its basis from Robin Thicke’s ‘It’s in the Morning’ song. As for the third dream, the only image that I remember from that dream was an animated city from the Facebook game, ‘Social City’. As for the inclusion of my friends and the whole business of ‘Voice’…that I have no clue.

Therefore, a dream will always have its basis from aspects of your memory. But can it have a basis from things that hasn’t happen yet?

Dreams as prophecy

Throughout history, some people have associated dreams with predicting the future. I lost a comic book once and I dreamed that I would find it in a drawer. I woke up the next day and guided by my dream, I found the comic on that very same drawer. A divine message? Or was I just thinking about the possible areas where the comic is and the dream was just a mental representation of my thought process?

Let’s take another recent example. I dreamt about me and my brother trying to climb over a fence. My brother climbed first and when he did, I noticed a big centipede on his back and then I woke up. Later that day, me and my brother were watching Bear Gryll’s Man vs Wild and there is a scene where he encounters a big centipede! Was my dream predicting this? Or was it just my mind taking something from my memory (a movie called ‘Human Centipede’) and it manifest itself in the dream? Back in November, I tried to not only write down what I dreamt about but also what happens during the day just to see if there is any connection.

I found out that there is a connection between what goes on in your day with what you dream about later that night. Here’s one notable example where on Nov 4, one of the things I noted that happened that day was “Laptop got fucked up” and this is what I strangely dreamt about that night:

Nov 4

I was walking on the street – my laptop was in the middle of the street – went to plug it out and shut it down – three kids/siblings (a girl, a boy and an older brother) starts stepping on my laptop intentionally – I pleaded them to stop – they refused to stop – I got furious – I punched the little girl and choked the little boy to the ground and threaten him – the older brother was standing up and too scared to do anything – they all fled. I met them later – they were scared – smiled at me – one shook my hand

And all of that was created by my mind only because I was frustrated with how my laptop got fucked up earlier in that day. Now it is really an interesting exercise to keep a record on your dreams however I stopped doing it mainly because it got more difficult to keep up especially when you encounter this situation….

Dream within a dream (DWD)

On May 16, I dreamt about a wrestling match involving Shane McMahon and another wrestler beating up Goldberg. Peter Petrelli, from the TV show Heroes, later arrive at the ring to assist Goldberg. I ‘woke up’ and wrote about the dream in my notebook and then I went back to sleep. A few hours later, I woke up again and was eager to re-read what I wrote. BLANK. I didn’t write anything and never did!! because it was a dream!! A Dream within a Dream! My plan has backfired! This went on several times where I started having dreams of writing about my dreams!!

“This can’t be done. Dreams within dreams is too unstable.”

My method was to write when I’m in a half-awake state because I believe that’s the best time to get a more accurate recollection of your dreams. What I didn’t take into account is I can easily drift back into a dream state OR be deceived into believing that I’m actually awake! Hence, the occasional occurrence of ‘dream within a dream’ (DWD) situation whenever I tried writing in my journal.

But DWD isn’t anything new to me. The first DWD that I remember was when I was kid, I dreamt about watching a cartoon where one of the main characters died. I ‘woke up’ and watched the same cartoon only to see that very same character die. I told my brother that I actually dreamt about it!!! THEN I woke up again….for real this time.

Here’s another more recent DWD:

I took a bath in this large expensive bathroom. Then suddenly a lot of people (from both gender) came in. I was embarrassed and asked one of them “What the hell are you people doing here?!”They said that this was a public place and we are all sharing it. I ‘woke up’. I met three of my friends and told them about my dream. They started debating  about it and came up with ridiculous explanation.  Later, I was in Starbucks and I was discussing about my dream to my classmates and the subsequent debate among my friends. When I left Starbucks, I couldn’t find my car on the street and started searching for it at a mall (why? Don’t ask). This is where the logical part of my brain kicks in and I said “My car is not here because it’s back at the garage in Brunei”. I woke up for real.

The thing that I noticed in this dream is the amount of time jumps. One moment I’m debating with friends and instantly the next moment I’m at Starbucks. Later, the streets where I lost my car was instantly transformed into a mall. That is entirely illogical and it should’ve been an obvious sign that I was in a dream. But it didn’t wake me up because I haven’t reached that level where I could logically grasp the concept of time and space when I’m in a dream state. Then how could I finally put some logical thinking at the end of the dream?

Wake up call

I’ve noticed that I can only wake up from a dream when I’m in trouble or in fear. I couldn’t find my car so my logical thinking kicks in to escape from the nightmare. I got chased by a monster and force myself to wake up. I had to do an examination and my logical part of the brain instantly creeps up to tell me that I don’t need to because I’ve already sat through it and I passed! I used to think that these are evidence that I’m capable of controlling my dream but I now think I’m merely just reacting than controlling.

Morphing location

Let’s go back to the concept of space in a dream. For me, it is rare for a dream to take place in a single location. I usually end up in an environment that is radically different from where the dream started. Look no further than the dreams that I’ve managed to record:

Nov 1 – Walking on a brick road at night – hallway with red carpet – a shopping mall

Nov 3 – climb a steep green hill – climb down – reach a muddy lake and could only be crossed with the floating logs – entering a club with changing coloured floors

Nov 6 – shopping mall full of people – went upstairs to a casino – went down and the mall was dark and empty – walked further and end up at an airport

Nov 11 – in a ‘Counter Strike’ map (CS assault) – parking lot – swamp – residential area

What was amazing is that these locations morphed in a seamless way that you don’t even realize it.

Here’s an example of one of my recorded dream that seemed to combine all of the major aspects that I’ve mentioned so far (Real life basis, Dream within Dream & Morphing location) plus a surprising twist at the end that I will get to later:

May 29

It started with me and my friends on a road trip around New York. We didn’t have any maps so we followed our guts (real life basis: we recently did a road trip). We eventually end up at a shopping mall that was about to close. The girls rushed around and shop a lot while I only bought one shirt.

I woke up and I wrote down what I dreamt about (‘Dream within a dream’).  I was suddenly at McDonald’s, writing in my dream journal (‘Morphing location’). I was surrounded by my friends who wanted to see what I wrote but I refused to show it them.  A guy walked past with three dogs. The three dogs started fighting with a cat and another dog. One of the three dogs was a bulldog who starts spitting his saliva all over the place. A lot of the saliva washed over my burger and I got furious at the dog!

It was suddenly night-time and McDonald’s was no longer located in town but beside a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. My friends and I followed the dirt road and found ourselves at a quiet abandoned resort. We came upon a swimming pool. I recognized the place and told my friend that this was a place where we had a New Year party. She didn’t recall that party.

Now this is where things got interesting. The reason why she didn’t recall that party was because she wasn’t there….actually, NO ONE WAS THERE! IT DIDN’T EVEN HAPPEN….at least in real life. I was actually referring to another dream!!

Memory of other dreams/de javu

I’ve visited the resort many times in my dreams. Of course in another dream, it was full of people and joy (certainly not abandoned). There are many places that I’ve visited many times (creating a sense of de ja vu within a dream) and the most notable one was the fountain room. I’ve talked about this place in my blog few years ago and you can click here to read it. One possible explanation for why I seemed to recognized places that I’ve dreamed  before is because these places, just like a lot of things in dreams, have their real life counterparts. I admit that the ‘Fountain’ that I usually come across in my dreams is just a supersized exaggerated version of a fountain at Glorietta shopping mall in The Philippines. Yet, it doesn’t explain one particular dream: My friend and I found a secret passage at our Elementary school that leads us to a magical place with dancing fountains. Years later, I dreamt about returning to that place and actively seeking the very same secret passage (and successfully found it too!).

***

And that was my weird account on dreams and I’m not sure if other people share similar experiences. But what I do know is that there is an upcoming movie that I’m REALLY excited to see!! From the director of The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan…

…directs an international cast in an original sci-fi actioner that travels around the globe and into the intimate and infinite world of dreams. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible—inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming. This summer, your mind is the scene of the crime.

Things I noticed:

– a mention about creating a dreamworld not based from your memory. I find that almost impossible (“You gotta draw from something right” said Ellen Paige’s character)
– A mention on ‘Dream within a dream’
– A ‘Kick’ – sense of falling that snaps the person out of his dreams. ‘Falling’ in a dream tend to wake you up.

Inception – July 16 2010

**

Well I’m off to bed now! Let’s see what’s in store for me tonight! 🙂

***

UPDATE 24/06/2010

My dream the night after I posted this entry. Enjoy

– Made my way to an old run down hospital located somewhere at a backalley of futuristic industrial Blade Runner-esque city

– Met a Chinese doctor and nurse. I needed an special medical treatment to prevent myself from being infected with a new disease.

– The treatment involved making a minor incision on my shoulder. Then they heat up this small but thick disc shape object – place that on the area of my shoulder that has been cut – the object sticks to my skin and eventually gets absorb

– the doctor even introduced to me another procedure where several of these heated disc shaped object gets put on people’s head to increase their memories

– went out of the hospital – Walked through the rainy and dark city – had to pass through a chocolate cake factory – managed to steal one too – arrived at a toy shop but it was closed – I was disappointed but a security guard lady came to me and told me that I will get a discount on my next visit

– I was watching TV and it was showing a documentary on ghosts. The show depicted a scene where a guy was sleeping and his laptop automatically switched on – showed some scary but blurry images – the images seems to be showing a particular room

– next thing I know, I was no longer watching the TV show BUT was part of it! I was part of a team who are experts on the paranormal. My speciality was that I study the connection between ghosts and electrical energy (thus explaining how the guy’s laptop got messed up) – we arrived at an abandoned hospital and there is a dark room – some entered the room (a cop and a scientist) – we suddenly hear a scream and two fingers flung out of the room and hit one of the cameraman!! The cop and the scientist got out of the room – the scientist were screaming and showing his bloody hands (missing fingers!) – the rest of us were closing the door and try hard to prevent whatever is inside the room from getting out – THEN a head pops out of the door – A PALE FACE WITH WHITE BLANK EYES!!! – EVERYONE SCREAMED! – I shouted MOTHERFUCKER!

– I woke up.

***

Read my other writings on my dreams:

Here’s one where I outlined several instances where I visit the same place in my dreams again and again.
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2007/11/29/i-have-a-dream/

My dreams the night after I watched ‘Inception’
http://trylobyte.tumblr.com/post/827995205/dreaming-the-inception

A more recent posts on my dreams plus with references to the movie, Inception
https://trylobyte.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/a-half-remembered-dream/

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2 thoughts on “A Dream Within A Dream

  1. Pingback: A Half Remembered Dream « Trylobyte’s Corner

  2. Pingback: My Top 10 Movies – 2010 « Trylobyte’s Corner

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