Generally, when asleep, I don't dream much, or if I do, a return to consciousness seems to have a built-in suppression mechanism. It's as if dreaming, with all of its open-ended, chuckling panoramas might be too much nakedness for this conscious, much-dressed beast.
But yesterday, during an afternoon nap, I had a long and detailed dream I was unable to forget when I woke up. Old people dream more when asleep, I think, because there are fewer dreams in waking life. Anyway, this dream seemed to pivot on the fact that I had somehow gotten the wrong car from the parking lot. The keys fit and the car (a Nissan Maxima station wagon) worked, but it was the wrong car and I was trying to get on the highway to go home. But re-finding the parking lot, and hence the right car, went on and on and on and on. There was one effort after another. The tenor of the dream was not desperate or especially sad-making. It was just that the efforts didn't work. I had the right keys and the wrong car and ... where the hell was the parking lot? There were corners to turn, hills to climb, people to ask, scribbled Buddhist drawings ... but no parking lot by the time I woke up.
The whole thing left me somehow edgy as dreams sometimes can. I can imagine interpretations that would bring the panorama under the control of some 'explanation,' but what interested me was the challenge it seemed to present -- a challenge to a bedrock assumption that when doing something or thinking something, I needed to know what I was doing and be somehow assured that I knew why I was doing it.
Assured and reassured ... meaning.
But the edginess remaining after the dream was compelling enough and undispersable enough to make me feel that trying to get away from it was going in the wrong direction. Why the bedrock insistence on meaning and explanation and 'knowing what I am doing?'
Would the world fall apart if I didn't know where I was going and if the results were endlessly for nothing? As long as I didn't become a serial killer or some other harmful agent, what was wrong or unsettling about not-knowing, not-succeeding ... with going forward without pretending the future might cough up some satisfactory and gratifying success? Perhaps a thoroughly symphonic fart in the present made a lot more sense than all the vast philosophies that attempted to tame the future, to find meaning, to be in some self-serving control. Maybe having the keys is enough and needing the car is just icing on an already-iced cake.
The edginess that dreams can impart is informative stuff, I imagine. It's always naked. Defense mechanisms don't work. The edginess may be uncomfortable-making, but it's a good advertisement ... what's wrong with naked ... the 'naked' no one can escape?
The car keys are on the hall table. Have a nice trip.