"Big" Dream 3 (September, 2013)
(from the series of "Big" dreams)
This is not a "big" dream in the sense of its subject being of importance to more than the dreamer. The dreamer did not feel the dream was of importance to anyone but himself. I give it here because it is an example of a powerfully disturbing nightmare that feels real. Even if a dream is "only a dream," it can feel real and powerful and important, often as much as waking experiences.
The dreamer looked down at his right arm, at the side closest to his body, and noticed a hole about an inch in diameter, up from his wrist, maybe two inches. It was not just a superficial hole but was so deep the bottom was lost in shadows. It was more like a pit. When he peered in he saw there was a figure of an infant. He realized it was an ectopic embryo that seemed alive. It seemed unnatural and invasive, like a cancer, and sinister. It was out of place.
He forgot about it and went to a weekly card game of which he was a regular. However, the other players were not friendly and treated him as a stranger. This disturbed him also, so now he had three, or even four, sources of disturbance: the danger of the surfer friend (from an earlier part of the dream), the vague danger of the tidal wave (from an earlier part of the dream), the sinister ectopic embryo in his arm, and now social rejection by friends.
He returned to his male friend and found he was having similar problems. It seemed they were involved in a nightmarish horror movie. They were trying to escape and failing. The man looked down and saw that now there were two embryos! These both were cut off at the waist and didn't seem to be alive; they seemed more like wooden dolls. The fact that there were two, that they had no legs (one stump at the bottom of the pelvis), and that they were wood, which made them seem even more sinister than the single embryo he had seen earlier. — Again, his friend seemed to be struggling with a similar situation, and, even working, together, they were both overwhelmed and could not escape and were panicking.
At this point it became apparent to them that, somehow, this was all part of a movie, and that it wasn't real. It was, in reality, a nightmarish movie, and both had forgotten that it was taking place in their imagination and was not in outer reality. In fact, the maker of the movie was present and was laughing. He said that the reaction of the two friends was manipulated by him to test out whether the movie "worked." In fact, it did work to trick them, and this is why he was so happy. He thought it was so convincing that it proved it was one of the best horror films ever, one of the most captivating and realistic.
This was of some relief to the dreamer, but he was disturbed when he awoke, and this feeling held on for a few hours.
The dream can be analyzed as a more or less typical nightmare. There are the elements of a tidal wave, of the social rejection (in a gambling/money situation), of the invasion of the body by a sinister human figure, and so on. Each of these have archetypal meaning as well as meaning within the life of the dreamer.
My purpose is not to analyze the dream itself but to point out how real the imagination can feel. We have to say that, from the point of view of experience, the imagination can feel as real or more real than sensation. The feelings of reality are not identical but can be of equal power. The second point is that we can be absorbed in imagination just as much as in outer reality, and often we don't have the time or inclination or ability to pull ourselves out and examine and define the situation rationally. To recognize this is not to free oneself from the imagination and to extricate oneself from its power. The imagination is, as far as I can see, ever present. The most we can do is look back at an experience that has already happened and think about if it was imagination, sensation, or a combination of both. While we're in it, we are in it (see Metaphor and the Imagination for a fuller discussion).
If we decide an experience was part of the imagination, it does not mean it wasn't or isn't important to the person. It may not be literally true, and this may make it less disturbing, but the question remains of why this dream and why now? "Why am I being tortured in this way? What is the point and the meaning of it?"