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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 30-Jul-15 18:35:38

Do you dream?

Rob Parsons contemplates dreams - both the waking and those we experience during sleep. What is the difference? Is one more powerful than the other?

Rob Parsons

Do you dream?

Posted on: Thu 30-Jul-15 18:35:38


Lead photo

Do you encourage your grandchildren to dream big?

Do you dream? I'm sure you do. Somebody once told me that there are three common nightmares that many people have regularly: being naked in a public place, falling off a cliff (apparently if you hit the bottom in the dream you die in real life, but to date nobody has been able to confirm that), and being just a few weeks away from a major examination without having done any revision. I get that last one at least once a year (unfortunately for me, it is not so much a dream as a memory!).

Lawrence of Arabia, as he came to be known, had a different view of dreams as he grew up in Oxford, the 'city of dreaming spires'. He had a dream of an Arabia for the Arabs, free from the imperialism of the Turks, British, Italians and French. His was not a dream that was experienced during the course of sleep, but a vision worked out in the harsh sands of the Arabian Desert. In the introduction to his classic work, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, he writes: "All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.”

I sometimes wonder whether we find our dreams so hard to pursue because we simply cannot imagine them.

Don't you find those last three words compelling? "This I did." In those three words is the determination not just to dream, but (even allowing for the possibility of failure) to give everything to seeing those dreams fulfilled. And it is a determination to have those dreams fulfilled not just for ourselves, but for the greater good.

I sometimes wonder whether we find our dreams so hard to pursue because we simply cannot imagine them. When I was a small boy, I used to sit in front of the coal fire in our living room, gaze into the labyrinth of glowing ash and flame and just...imagine. I wish I did more of that now. I think we too easily imprison imagination in the world of childhood. Sometimes it's difficult to imagine things being any different. That's not hard to understand; our very survival depends on us taking reality seriously. And yet, a lack of the ability to imagine will tie us to the belief that life can never be different to how it is today.

Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world and all there ever will be to know and understand." Perhaps there's a kind of imagination that takes vision, courage, and even faith.

Dale Carnegie said, "Are you bored with life? Then throw yourself into some work you believe in with all your heart, live for it, die for it, and you will find happiness that you had thought could never be yours."

What do you dream of? Do you encourage your children and grandchildren to dream big?

Rob Parsons is the founder of national charity Care for the Family and author of The Wisdom House, a series of life lessons from a grandfather to his grandchildren, available at Amazon.

By Rob Parsons

Twitter: @Gransnet

Anne58 Thu 30-Jul-15 19:57:35

With regard to sleeping dreams, I often have ones that involve my DS2, who died by his own hand, as they say, at the age of 19 in 2008. Sometimes they are wonderful, and I am almost sorry to wake up, but at other times they are just awful. These (the awful ones) were noticeably more frequent and worse when I was taking a particular anti-depressant earlier this year, which I stopped after a month purely because of the dreams.

vampirequeen Thu 30-Jul-15 20:13:12

I have nightmares most nights. I don't remember most of them but I wake up screaming or crying. DH says I shout, "No!" a lot and try to push someone/something away.

downtoearth Thu 30-Jul-15 20:17:51

I am the same Phoenix...for exactly the same reason,in 2004.
In my dreams I am always searching for her,when she does appear she is always distant and running away...I wake up tears running,this has been with and without the anti depressants.....pants isn't itxxflowers

chloe1984 Thu 30-Jul-15 20:36:49

I too have vivid nightmares two or three times a week. My DH says I scream and shout and he worries in case the neighbours think he is attacking me. I cannot remember a time when this didn't happen, they follow the same theme of being attacked,held against my will etc etc. they are made worse by drinking hot chocolate before bedtime. grin

merlotgran Thu 30-Jul-15 20:48:40

phoenix and downtoearth. I can't imagine how awful dreams like that must be. You are both so brave.

granjura Thu 30-Jul-15 21:36:07

agreed- I am so sorry.

Grannyknot Thu 30-Jul-15 21:54:21

And from me ... hugs to you both.l Phoenix and downtoearth.

I dream a lot. I have a recurring dream in which I am a passenger in a big commercial jet but the plane is flying low through cities (the "view" changes), so low that I can see tall buildings pass by the window. In the dream I wonder why we are flying so low, but I am not afraid. It goes on and on. I always remember the dream when I wake up.

What I find really interesting is the "using dreams" that people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction report, even after years of abstinence.

I seldom have nightmares.

merlotgran Thu 30-Jul-15 22:19:08

grannyknot, I have exactly the same dream. It doesn't matter what kind of plane it is but it never really gets airborn. I also have a dream where I'm driving a car but sitting in the back seat.

I guess I'm not quite the achiever I hoped to be. hmm grin

Anne58 Thu 30-Jul-15 22:28:17

On a lighter note, I absolutely LOVE a thing that seems to be part of some of my dreams, it is never the whole focus of the dream. In these dreams I am able to do something that is not ^quite" flying, but sort of hovering between 3 and 6 ft above the floor. In the dream I don't seem to need to run and take off (as I understand many "flying" dreams involve, either that or the strides get longer and longer until you begin to rise) rather I just start to move forward at a normal rate and then move my feet in a certain way until I achieve the elevation! I can then maintain it without having to move forward.

Even in the dreams I seem to be aware that it is a special skill, as in a recent one I remember saying to someone else in the dream "see, look! I'm doing it now! Isn't it wonderful!", and also even within the dream I seem to find it a joyous sensation.

Heaven only knows what a dream analyst would make of it, but I thoroughly enjoy it! (Just wish I could do it it real life, not for any practical reason, but just because it feels so lovely)

Grannyknot Thu 30-Jul-15 22:41:07

Phoenix back in the 60s one of neighbours used to say he did "astral travelling" and he described much the same thing. As kids we were always very intrigued by this man and his astral travelling.

merlot someone told me that it means "you feel that you are in control of your life, but not all aspects of it". confused Erm, well, yes! grin

Ana Thu 30-Jul-15 22:41:09

I used to have a recurring dream where I was underwater (in the sea)and suddenly realised that I could breathe!

I haven't had this dream for a long time, but when I did it was a wonderful - I'm sure it meant that I could overcome problems that I thought at the time to be insurmountable but it's rather disappointing that I haven't had it more recently...

ninathenana Fri 31-Jul-15 00:47:50

They say everyone dreams it's just that some don't remember.
I remember quiet often. I don't have reoccurring dreams. I dream about what's on my mind when I go to bed.

Grandma2213 Fri 31-Jul-15 02:40:23

I am fascinated by dreams and I dream every night though do not always remember them.

Phoenix and downtoearth yours must be so sad for you. Hugs to you both. xx

Phoenix I also have a similar above the ground walking dream but I nearly always realise that it is happening and then I know that I am dreaming (in the dream) so what happens next does not really matter.

I also dream that I am swimming without effort sometimes. I am not a good swimmer normally.

The other recurring dream is that I am driving a double decker bus (or lorry) but from the upstairs. I once read that this meant I'm doing something I'm not qualified for. Er... I think that might be 'life' in general!

I also drive cars on footpaths or down/up steps but just pick up the car and walk. What on earth does that mean?

Most recently I have had dreams (nightmares) about my youngest DGD drowning, being lost or in trouble. As I look after her more than the others maybe I am feeling inadequate, but the dreams make me wake in terror.

Marmight Fri 31-Jul-15 03:16:10

I dream a lot, always have but since DH died I rarely remember them which is very frustrating. I used to bore the socks off him every morning by recounting my dream! Now, I can have a lovely dream and then, boom, it's gone. However, I have just been disturbed by voices outside my bedroom window when in the middle of a complicated dream, which on this occasion I do recall. A recurring one I have had for years is being in a lift which whizzes up at speed and never seems to arrive. In another, I am driving around a series of complicated lanes in the country - always the same route - and never actually arrive at a particular destination.

Falconbird Fri 31-Jul-15 06:36:49

When my Dh passed away I thought I would have lots of nightmares but fortunately I didn't which was a huge relief.

I used to have a recurring dream about being shown around a house by an Estate Agent.

The house was always full of rubbish.

At the end of the dream the Estate Agent would open a curtained window to reveal that the house was perched on the edge of a precipice. shock

whitewave Fri 31-Jul-15 07:16:16

I think dreaming of houses definitely means something. During the time and for quite a number of years after I had breast cancer I used to dream of a house that was filled with absolute evil. I can't describe how ghastly it was. I am sure it was to do with the cancer.
I dream a huge amount and generally enjoy them, although occasionally they aren't particularly pleasant.

Falconbird Fri 31-Jul-15 08:11:37

Sorry about the dreams about the evil house Whitewave. I hope you don't get them now and you are clear of cancer.


NfkDumpling Fri 31-Jul-15 08:25:54

My dreams are always a chaotic muddle with one theme running into another. I'm always mislaying things and people. A bit like my real life I suppose.

My father once said he thought he went into another world. He always met the same people - but no one whom he knew in his waking world.

vampirequeen Fri 31-Jul-15 08:32:16

Last night sleep paralysis failed completely and poor DH suffered the consequences.

I don't remember much about the dream but at the end I had walked into a giant spider web. I started to wake up flailing about trying to brush the spider and web off my shoulder and arm. As I knocked the spider off I started to try to move out of it's way whilst still trying to wipe web off my arm. DH got hit as I knocked the spider off and again as I continued wiping my arm whilst moving around to avoid the now running spider. I only stopped flailing and moving when I finally woke up by which time poor DH had been hit several times and was wide awake. I, of course, went straight back to sleep blush

downtoearth Fri 31-Jul-15 08:42:40

my OH can never remember his dreams.
Lately have had weird dreams about dancing,all with the most unlikeliest of partners,few night ago it was with the vet paddy from Emmerdale,and also has featured Max Branning form Eastenders,other times I am a brilliant swimmer and can race around the pool,in real life I can do neither.
I talk a lot in my sleep and OH says he can have a conversation with me,I also sleep with my eyes open,apparently, when I was little my mum was freaked out thinking I was departed....I just don't like to miss anything[grin

I have heard about the astral out of body experiences,prince Charles I believe can do this,was fascinated when I first learned about it as a teenager.

AshTree Fri 31-Jul-15 09:09:57

I dream a lot, a vast variety of dreams which are sometimes surreal, sometimes chaotic, and sometimes very real and mundane. The worst are when I dream of having had an extremely busy day, slogging my way through one chore after another - I wake up exhausted and feel fit for nothing all day!
Recurring themes are: that I've taken up smoking again, waking up so relieved to find this is untrue (I gave up many years ago); that I'm back at work (I've been retired for 5 years) and faced with a mountain of tasks and paperwork that I've been procrastinating over for far too long - I open files and find important letters that I should have dealt with months previously and I'm in a complete panic.
I have also dreamt many times of being able to fly - I just leap into the air and throw myself forward and I'm off. I usually fly quite low, around urban areas, along roads in the dark (it's always at night), and I hover around buildings looking through windows to see what's inside - I'll see empty offices, or children cosily tucked up in bed, or schoolrooms with all the chairs on top of the desks - I can never quite read what's written on the blackboard. Sometimes I'm in a fantasy world of tall pointy spires and fairy tale castles, all with open windows that I can fly through and explore, then out of another window and onto the next building.

AshTree Fri 31-Jul-15 09:11:25

Phoenix and downtoearth, yours are the very worst of dreams, so sad for you both. flowers

merlotgran Fri 31-Jul-15 09:21:30

I sometimes dream I'm out somewhere and need the loo but wherever I look they are absolutely filthy - overflowing with the most disgusting stuff imaginable.

The funny thing is that when I wake up I don't need the loo at all hmm

annsixty Fri 31-Jul-15 09:35:43

My recurring dream is being back at work in the job I did 50 years ago but I am the age I am now and everyone else is young. They react very well to me and ask advice which I like. The other one is being pregnant again,again in later life,and I always wanted a third child so that is delayed wishful thinking.