Throughout my life, falling asleep has shown me to be a prolific dreamer. I consider this one of the great fortunes of my existence, and am grateful that the vast majority of my dreams are fascinating, enjoyable, and perhaps I should just say fascinating again.
When bad dreams do come, I mostly meet them with confusion – like there’s something I’ve forgotten to attend to and now there’s a jarring of the narrative that is unacceptable, but nevertheless happens.
I woke from one of these recently, involving the losing track of children to a departed train, and was very frustrated and disturbed not to have been accorded any resolution or dreamworld remedying of such dread.
In retrospect, I recognize waking up from a nightmare as a gift: giving deep appreciation for the reality of waking life as truly teeming with the highest blessings. Mainly, the profound relief of opening my eyes to the house that contains my family, together safe and intact.
In this instructive dance between realms, even good dreams function to alert us to the wonder and intensity of a waking life that can be experienced with just as much freedom and intensity of mind as is found in dreams. After all, the consciousness and personhood that is present in a dream about flying springs from the very same mind that greets the waking day.
Perhaps the deep, bodily relaxation of sleep eases our entry into a lived awareness of wonder, and accessing those gifts is a matter of freeing the constant presence of that dream life.
Maybe that’s what meditation is for? Which may also explain why the best part of yoga has, for me, always been savasana/deep relaxation/ corpse pose at the end. Practice perfects.