A story someone had written for a workshop a little while ago dealt somewhat with dreams, and someone in the workshop made a point that the dreamer wouldn’t be able to feel something in the dream as written, because you don’t actually feel things in dreams. Then half the workshop started talking, some of them saying, “What? Yes you do!” and it was all discussed quite heavily and pointlessly.
I’ve had similar thoughts about dreams. I have noticed while lucid dreaming that the most prominent sensations are those that I have in real life–for instance, having dreams about relieving myself and then waking to find a pressing need to use the bathroom. One thing mentioned in the workshop that I’ve noticed myself is trying to pinch yourself while dreaming–if you pinch yourself and there is no pain, you know you’re dreaming. The physical body doesn’t feel it, so you can’t feel it in the dream.
Another interesting example of this is a dream I had where I was walking along a path, carrying a cat cradled in my arms. It felt so real, I could feel the soft the fur and the weight of the animal. When I awoke, in that fleeting moment when you’re still half-asleep and you don’t know where you are and you haven’t taken stock of where are your limbs are, it still felt like I was holding the cat. As I came into greater consciousness, I discovered that my arm was wrapped around my head–the feeling I had experienced was the physical sensation of my own head against my arm, the feeling of my hair, etc.
I’m fascinated by the workings of dreams. Sometimes, while lucid dreaming, I can consciously control parts of the environment or characters in the dream. But often, I try to conjure up a character and find that they’re not as fully real as the rest of the dream. And if I think too much about the fact that I am, in fact, in a dream, the whole dream loses substance and I drift toward wakefulness.
Recurring dreams are intriguing as well. I find myself in a dream I’ve had before, and sometimes I even realize this while still in the dream.
In many dreams, I find myself in a location I know–my high school, for instance–but it doesn’t look like the real thing. I know I’m in my high school, the scenario dictates that I’m in high school and my mind tells me that this building is the high school, but it looks nothing like the actual high school I went to.
Over the last few years, most of the dreams I remember took place during high school, during that period of my life.
The most fascinating thing, to me, is that I’ll find myself in a dream I’ve never had before, but in a location I’ve dreamed before. I’ll have a second dream that takes place in my high school, months later, and it looks the same as it did in the last dream, even though it’s purely a construction of my subconscious. This happens in many different locations–the house I lived in in high school, and the street outside of it (interestingly, that street seems to be a combination of the real street and the last street I lived on), and others.
I think it would be endlessly interesting to sit down and try to map out those recurring locations, the world in which my dreams take place, how all the locations connect to each other. In other words, map out my dreamscape.
I wonder how that would affect my dreams.