Dreams. We think it’s a fun subject to kick around until it gets down to the nitty-gritty of it all. Dubby began this subject thread with an invitation to the rest of the Smiling Heart bloggers to share their dreams, and the blog went an entire week without another post. That’s just not normal for this normally talkative group! I am glad that I’m not the only one a bit shy about those crazy things going on inside the privacy of our own heads.
The truth is it’s very difficult subject matter to grasp, and extremely personal to share. The New York Times recently ran an article wherein the author declared Dream Groups to be the next Book Clubs. Not to be cynical, but I’m in doubt about the existence of large numbers of usually all-business New Yorkers sitting down on a regular basis exposing “their most vulnerable and uncensored selves,” as the author contends.
Dreams are often highly personal and very vivid. This can cause us to feel disturbed, agitated, or even scared. Unless one is oblivious. Like me.
It is my opinion that dreams take place more often and in more places than we realize. I have experienced ‘waking dreams’ (some might call them ‘visions’) during meditation, as well as garden variety night dreams, but I’ve also experienced recurring dreams that are very vivid, which I now know is the equivalent to hitting me over the head with information I’m supposed to have for some reason. But I’m oblivious (or I was), and so the information becomes more and more insistent in a futile attempt for me to ‘get it.’
About thirty years ago, I began having a recurring dream. In this dream, I am a passenger in a car (who’s in control here?), and we are driving along a busy highway. Suddenly, we come upon a hillside, where there has just been a jet airliner crash. No one seems affected but me. Everyone is driving along like nothing has happened, but I feel a HEAVY sadness overtake me. Sadness so heavy I can’t breathe. I watch the wreckage as we drive by, unable to take my eyes off the scene, and wonder at the loss of life. I can’t understand why I’m so deeply affected while others are untouched.
Oblivious. Although this dream was upsetting, I rarely gave it much thought. I was a busy, busy young mother of a growing family at the time, and not excited at the prospect of delving one bit deeper into the dream to find any potential messages hiding within. I just wished it would go away.
A few years later, that recurring dream became an actual living nightmare. One hot August night in 1992, I learned that my older brother, Mike, had died in a plane crash in Phoenix. He had been valedictorian of the senior class of Ruskin High School, 1970, and flying was all important to him. He had moved to Phoenix in order to pursue his love of flying. After selling his vintage WWI biplane (a Bucher Jungmeister) a year earlier, he contented himself with taking out rented airplanes from time to time in order to keep his license current. Mike had rented a Cessna that August afternoon, and the plane, according to the NTSB, had simply come apart in the air, the wreckage strewn across a hillside in the desert. It was only after learningabout that small piece of information that I realized I had been offered advanced warning about Mike’s death, but hadn’t wanted to open the message.
The next day my parents, my twin (Joyce), and I arrived in Phoenix to handle the dizzying arrangements connected with a sudden death, and naturally, we were devastated. Most of all, I found myself wondering what would become of Mike’s soul, which was very bright and beautiful. Mike had been an atheist since his high school years, but was still a very loving, ethical man. One of his favorite phrases was, "Good for the sake of Good, not for the sake of God.” For what it’s worth, I always felt he used the words, ‘God’ and ‘Religion’ interchangeably, which I consider to be a mistake. But through it all, Mike was the best man he could be. I hoped his soul was okay. After a mind-numbing day of wretched decision making, the four of us finally turned in for the night.
I dreamed this dream in neon Technicolor, more wildly vivid than anything my mind could ever imagine. I wasn’t in this dream. In fact, no one was in the dream. Not one person was visible in the setting. As I observed the scene, I realized that it was our old Ruskin neighborhood. East 112th Street, to be exact. I had not seen the Ruskin area for almost 20 years, but there it was, right before me. I recognized the street signs. I recognized the neat rows of little houses. I recognized the white stone in front of our house with the numerals ‘7806’ etched into it. I even recognized the old junk heap of a car that sat in the neighbor’s driveway for so many years. There was just one difference. It was Technicolor Ruskin. The colors were so vibrant they actually VIBRATED. Everything. Every tree, every sidewalk, every vehicle, every house, everything was vibrating with life and color, and radiating happiness. I could feel the vibrations, the colors, and the joy inside me.
As I experienced this wonder, I began to hear the voices of children playing. Happy, delighted laughter sprang up from the earth, from the large neighborhood trees, and even from the sky. Laughter was coming from the clouds, and coming from the cars. It was everywhere. Everywhere. The laughter of the invisible children was palpable. Suddenly, it was alive inside me. Suddenly, I was laughter and love and joy.
Then, I could hear another voice above the excited voices of the children. Only I couldn’t really hear it. At least, I can’t begin to describe the voice in words. But I understood the voice to say this,
“Now children, I want to let you all know that another little boy will be joining us today. He’s had a very difficult time, so I want everyone to be especially nice to him.”
With that, the laughter began again, but this time every child’s laughter was on the same wave length, and the vibrations of love built up so high that they lifted me into the air. I experienced a feeling of elation as I never had before. I could hear the cries of welcome to the newcomer, and the loving reception he had been given.
I woke with a start, smiling, and then gradually felt the grief sink in once again. But, oh! That dream stayed with me. It would not leave my body for a good long while. Restless and still full of the dream, I could NOT lay still, and so I rose and went into the hotel room's bathroom so as not to wake Joyce. But, as twins sometimes do, she felt something unusual, and woke, too. We sat in the bathroom as I told her every detail of the strange dream. We cried. We hugged. We commiserated. We marveled. We knew Mike was back home in Technicolor Ruskin…with friends.
I have learned since that day to keep the doors of my heart, mind, and soul open to the messages I might receive. I regret how closed I was for such a long time. Today I encourage everyone to “do me a favor and open the door.”
Oh, yes, I forgot. Although I still think of my brother nearly every day, and have been preoccupied on many occasions with airplanes, travel, and my brother's untimely death, I never had the dream again about the airplane crash on the hillside.