Memory, Dreams, and Remembrance of Things Past
My dreamscapes are rather vivid most of the time, from adventures in my childhood home (so so many of these!) to flying across colorful canyons in complete bliss. They can be so utterly bizarre (like my older sister adopting an extremely feral child to add to her currently growing family) and scary — where I wake up in a shutter and then try my hardest to forget the dream before morningtime — to so fantastically happy where I am sitting with my friend Susie and we are hysterically laughing our heads off for the entirety of the dream…for who knows why.
Dreams fascinate me to no end and I am always trying to connect them to my current life events. I’ve never remembered having zombie encounters, but as of late, zombies have infiltrated my dreamscape. I haven’t had any connection that I can recall that would bring zombies up in my dream, but alas, they wander around at times, ready to take out their next victim.
Last night I tried to communicate with a girl who was mute (it was especially difficult in my dream — much harder than what it would have been in waking life.) I didn’t realize she was choosing to be silent until I had asked her roommate, who informed me that she has been practicing silence for the last year. I kind of felt as though I’d been made a fool. Now I sit awake, trying to understand my own desire to maybe be more silent, more aware of others, more forgiving, and to figure out why it was so hard for me to communicate or make sense of the girl’s actions. I must remember though — the experience never really happened, so I shouldn’t fret for more than a mili-moment of self analyzing.
After my dream interactions with the mute girl, I went off to pick ripe, February apples with Bob, my former roommate. It was lovely.
I thoroughly enjoy analyzing my dreams, taking into account the effects of memory consolidation, and the result of not only our waking memories meshing into our dreams, but our dreamscapes meshing into our waking memories. In the book Proust Was a Neuroscientist, Jonah Lehrer goes into a fascinating connection between our memories and the present moment, reminding us that a “memory is only as real as the last time you remembered it. The more you remember something, the less accurate the memory becomes.”
as long as we have memories to recall, the margins of those memories are being modified to fit what we know now. Synapses are crossed out, dendrites are tweaked, and the memorized moment that feels so honest is thoroughly revised. – J. Lehrer
And this is where I can simply remind myself that these dreams happened hours ago. My mind has made them into something understandable, and I am trying to decipher their meaning, only growing further and further away from the original remembrance. Each morning when I wake, I spend a few minutes recalling my rollercoaster dreamscape. Sometimes I like to write the dreams down for future moments of laughter, but overall, I must recognize it as a dream and not stress out about the unfolding or re-telling of events.
More importantly, it is a nice reminder that this way of thinking — of not actually remembering –needs to carry over into the everyday. There is time, and there is memory, and it is a good reminder that time mutates memory. I tend to find more peace in my self and in my everyday when I’m not spending the present moment recalling past memories or dreams that instantly became so malleable and moldable to my current mood, being, and situation.
So, my morning mantra goes: Enjoy the fleeting moment, remember it as fun, loving, happy, sad, trying, frightening, or perplexing, and, in the spirit of Marcel Proust, let it be a remembrance of things past. These kind actions will allow room for more peaceful living in the fleeting moment of present time. Like right now.