“The best dreams happen when you’re awake.” – Cherie Gilderbloom
I’m not sure where I saw this quote, but I knew I wanted to save it and write about it eventually. I’ve opined about having dreams and hopes many times and even about day dreaming; but this quote is really talking about our ability to “see” (to dream) a better future for ourselves.
The dreams that we have when we are asleep are mostly random, unruly and mostly without any point. The dreams that you can conjure up while awake have more context and meaning for your life. They don’t have to be constrained by your current reality, but they usually take that into consideration as a starting point. It’s where you end up in those dreams that really makes them fun.
You may say that a dream while you’re awake is just letting your imagination run away with you. That’s true that it takes a vivid imagination; but, it is running away with you in a direction that you control. It is a mix of fantasy and reality that is unshackled from the constraints that we normally place upon ourselves. Maybe you see yourself scoring the winning touchdown or slugging the winning home run. Perhaps you envision yourself relaxing on the beach on a tropical island or maybe you’re out on a date with the girl that you could never get up the nerve to ask out. These dreams go one step beyond the visualization that many professional athletes use to “see” their next play or move. You can come very close to actually feeling like you are experiencing the moment that is in the dream.
We often hear people who have just won something – an event, a prize or contest – say that it feels like they are in a dream; maybe the same is true about actually being in an awake dream – it feels like it’s real. It’s fun to think that could be the case; but, I suspect that Cherie Gilderbloom was actually talking about more than day dreaming. She may have been saying that the things that we actually experience in life, while wide awake, are much better than the things that we dream about. While dreams are fun, they are also disconcerting, because you don’t have a frame of reference in them. Dreaming while wide awake maintains a frame of reference that both anchors you and allows you to snap back into full consciousness at any time. In some cases it allows you to fold some reality back into the dream to change its direction if needed. In an awake dream you don’t forget where you left your car.
Perhaps dreaming while you are awake is really letting your hopes direct your mind for a while. Hopes often get pushed aside or pushed out into the future. Dreaming about them brings them back to the forefront and allow you to explore them and imagine possible outcomes. Dreams based upon hopes can be a great antidote to a numbing life. Call it escapism if you like, but escaping even for a moment or two into the future that you are striving to reach can be a great motivator to continue the struggle.
Whatever the case, I think taking a little time to dream, even while you are awake, is necessary for our mental health, just like taking a little time every now and then to be silly or to play or to laugh. We cannot go through life constantly constraining ourselves to the situation at hand. We cannot always be on guard, on the ready, constantly serious and on the defense. We all have dreams that need to get out and breathe every now and then. We have aspirations that we’ve never shared with anyone that need a stage upon which to rehearse. Dreaming while we are wake provides the release necessary to let those hopes stay alive and grow. Don’t stifle yourself when it comes to dreaming.
What do you dream about while you’re awake?