Trigger Notice: while the images in my dreams are just that (subconscious projections), they may be scary or triggering to some. The most triggering part (for me anyway) has to do with a pet. Take care of yourself. That being said, dream imagery is neither "good" nor "bad". Our subconscious minds simply gives back to us images that we can understand to demonstrate what's already happening in our lives.
One thing I notice consistently is that when I pursue an inspiration more deeply, it gets in my face. I can tell you that dreams have been no disappointment in this regard. Once I started exploring them, they got more vivid and powerful.
For over six months, I’ve been composing and arranging the four suites in the DreamState series. Obviously, my interest in and attention to dreams started before this project. But these suites have deepened that exploration. Over this time, I’ve noticed a marked increase in the quantity of dreams I can remember. In addition, the quality of dreaming that I’ve experienced has shifted.
Some of this deepening has been scary. For several months, the most recent addition to our family — a young “rescue” dog — has featured significantly in my dream images. (If you’ve been following along here, you’ve “met” this puppy.) In particular, our early morning walks have been a feature in that imagery.
At the moment, it’s winter here so these walks are in the dark. R.B. (the puppy) and I get up quite early and definitely before the sun rises. I wear a headlamp, but there’s often no other illumination. The spaces outside our country home are often relatively quiet and still.
But occasionally, R.B. and I will hear coyotes baying in the darkness. While I am often startled and frightened by their howling, R.B. seems mostly curious. She sniffs the air to see if she can “find” these other canines. Because smell is her favorite sense, finding a scent always appears to deepen her experience.
Now, let’s shift to my dreams about this. Unlike waking reality, in my dreams the coyote pack is upon us before we hear anything. Suddenly, their eyes sparkle in my headlamp. And they are only a few paces away. The first time I dreamed about this, I was startled awake.
These images repeated several times over the past month or so. R.B. and I would not both escape the coyote pack in those early versions of the dream. Because I’ve also been deepening my practice of lucid dreaming, I began to adapt the “story” in these dreams so that R.B. and I could try to escape.
One morning, I looked at R.B.’s harness and it triggered a memory of one of the worst and most bloody versions of this dream. I determined that I would shift the story using lucidity in that moment.
One of the keys for me in lucid dreaming is to explore what the dream might mean. Since R.B. and I are the main characters in this dream, I ask myself who R.B. is to me. She is a mentor, someone who I see as fearful or needy, and intensely loyal or relational. In short, she represents my brilliance, my neediness, and my loyalty.
Just a few nights ago, I woke from one of the scary versions of this dream and let myself sink back into sleep for a lucid version. Knowing that this was not the “real” R.B. in my dream though she is a character I can trust, I followed her lead. When the coyote pack appeared right in front of us, I went with her curiosity rather than my fear.
Instead of attacking us (as they often had in prior versions), these beautiful canines sniffed at us. It took me a few moments — even in my lucid state — to calm my fearful response. But it soon became clear that we could discover each other and then move on.
So, R.B. and I headed for home (both in my dream and in my consciousness). Now that I had experienced the lucid version of this dream imagery, I have begun to ponder who the coyotes might be for me. I don’t have that answer yet.
For now, the cool thing is to remember curiosity and loyalty to each other. Both of these are excellent at shifting away from fear. Once again, I’m grateful to R.B. and to exploring DreamStates more deeply.