The importance of dreams

From 1951 to 1955, renowned journalist Edward R. Murrow hosted “This I Believe,” a daily radio show where individuals read brief essays about their personal philosophies, values, and core beliefs that shaped their daily actions. In 2005, National Public Radio resurrected the essay series and again invited Americans of all ages and perspectives to write brief essays about their core beliefs. This year, the Advocate also invites anyone in the MHCC community to contribute the same.

Once, I had a dream. Not the kind of dream that inspires an entire nation to unite, like Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream, but the kind where there were raccoons blocking my friend’s porch, so I was unable to enter her house.

In the dream, I was able to contact my friend so she could scare off the raccoons and I could come inside. When this dream became a reality three weeks later, it got me thinking about the power of dreams, not just for their ability to predict the future, but for their power to help us understand our subconscious.

I believe we need to pay more attention to our dreams, even the boring, stale ones about raccoons, or the ones where we’re just sitting in class or at work or having a normal day. Odds are, there is something in that dream that was there in your mind for a reason. One useful thing I’ve started doing is writing my dreams down, to remember them. It’s helped me realize who and what are the important factors in my life, and has helped me identify what is causing me stress and anxiety. If I dream about a certain person or place, it probably means I’m spending too much time stressing about that thing.

I quote a passage from my dream journal from Nov. 15: “Sto mano nella mano con uno dei miei migliori amici, perche io sono segretamente innamorato di lei.” (Oh yeah, it’s probably important to mention that I translate my most personal or intimate dreams into Italian, just for added privacy. And if you know Italian, then you now know a very deep secret of mine, congratulations.)

Dreams like this one make me view things differently. And frankly, since I’ve had this epiphany, I’ve changed the way that I go about things so I can attempt to resolve the problem presented to me in my dream. Dreams often provide a first chance to try out a situation that could occur in real life. They can be good practice for a job interview, a presentation, or asking someone on a date – and if I’m really stressing about one of these things, I tend to dream about it, and when the worst-case scenario happens in a dream, I often let myself feel relieved that it probably won’t happen in real life.

I feel that many of us don’t really take our dreams into consideration when making life choices, but we should. Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen, kept a dream journal and a piano beside his bed. It’s how many of Queen’s great songs were written, including “Bohemian Rhapsody.” So. you never know, a boring dream about raccoons could be translated into one of the greatest music hits of the century. It could also just help someone realize what’s really going on in their brain, and possibly help them sort things out.

I know many people say “follow your dreams,” but I believe that we should just listen to them, instead.

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