In our waking and working lives, we are encouraged to be rational and objective, to have all the facts and figures, and just to ignore our dreams and forget our dreaming. Our dreams seem to have no value. They are just dreams. You can’t write them down on a balance sheet, you can’t lock them in a safety deposit box, you can’t peg them to the dollar, you can’t fund a research programme with them. There seems to be no point in opening up those envelopes and seeing what dreams they might contain.
However, some people do pause on that threshold before they step into the outside world and read the messages from their unconscious. And not just people who are mysterious mystics and explorers of the esoteric, but people like Albert Einstein who used to dream about riding on a beam of light and used this inspiration to bring the Theory of Relativity into his own waking light.
Orville and Wilbur Wright used to dream about bicycles that could fly and realised their vision on the wind scoured sands of Kitty Hawk. Nobel Prize winning physicist Neils Bohr developed his model of the atom from a vivid dream in which he was sitting on the Sun and all the planets were whizzing around him on separate racetracks. The organic chemist Frederick Kekule discovered the benzene ring structure through dreaming, and after announcing his breakthrough he urged his fellow scientists to ‘Learn to dream, gentlemen, learn to dream’.
What Frederick recognised, and what we all unconsciously recognise is that we all automatically know how to dream. It’s one of our gifts of being a human, like knowing how to breathe, knowing how to smile, knowing how to cry. It is something that we do so naturally that we all tend to take the evolutionary gift of dreaming for granted. Try not to breathe today. And then try not to dream tonight.
But rather than learning to become more aware of the huge reservoir of awareness and understanding expressed in our dreams we have learned how to forget them. We trample on our own dreams as we rush from the inside to the outside and leave the fragments lying broken and discarded in shattered heaps. The splintered shards of our broken dreams bounce our light back at us from strange angles, distracting and perplexing us.