By Nathan Garnett © 2017
I’m outside at a cafe having a rich cup of coffee, enjoying a crisp morning. I’m not sure why I’m here or how I got here, but I ignore that for now and start thinking about my plans for the day. I can’t really think of anything I have to do today though. That’s strange. I reach for my cup of coffee and I notice a couple of extra fingers on my left hand. Am I going crazy? I give my hand a shake, and all of a sudden I count nine fingers on one hand! This is a dream, it has to be. It all makes sense: not knowing how I got here, not having any plans, extra fingers. I see everything around me so clearly, including the people and their faces.
I interrupt a couple sitting next to me, saying, “Sorry, this is going to sound strange, but are we in a dream right now?” They look at each other and then look back at me like I’m crazy, but they don’t say anything. How embarrassing; there’s nothing as humiliating as asking someone if we’re in the middle of a dream. So much for that theory. I guess I can’t come to this cafe anymore since people now think I’m a lunatic.
I casually grab a menu and hold it up to my face so I don’t have to make eye contact with the couple. I’m starting to feel very self-conscious mixed in with a lot of anxiety. But as I open up the menu, I notice something else that’s strange: I can’t read any of the menu items. The menu is written in English, but none of the words or letters make any sense to me, they’re all just kind of floating and wiggling on the pages. Again, this is very dreamlike. This happens all the time in my dreams where I never seem to be able to read words.
All of a sudden, I feel a wave of confidence washing over me. This is a dream, I’m sure of it. My anxiety, worry, and doubt are completely gone. It’s the middle of the night, early Tuesday morning, and I’m fast asleep in my bed next to my wife. I should be ecstatic right now; I’m dreaming and I am completely aware that I’m dreaming! But I’m not ecstatic, I’m angry. I’m angry at the couple sitting next to me for making me doubt that I was dreaming. Why would they do that?
I put down the menu and go back to their table. I say “Fuck you! I knew I was dreaming beforehand, why did you have to look at me like that and make me doubt myself?” They both look at each other and smile. The woman looks at me and says, “Welcome, I’m glad you’re finally here.” It immediately dawns on me that this couple is not real, they’re projections that have been produced by my unconscious. Everything around me, in fact—the cars in the parking lot, the cafe, the trees, and the sky—are all projections from my own mind. This is my creation, and this couple represents a part of me, a part of my psyche.
This is a lot to process, but I’m excited. Still aware that I’m fast asleep, I sit down next to the couple, having to continually remind myself that they are me although they feel like strangers. I realize they represent a portal to my unconscious mind. They feel like best friends whom I’ve been avoiding my whole life. I have so many questions, but instead of asking one, I simply say, “I want to have a relationship with you, I want to listen to you more, and I want us to work together.” I’m aware of the ridiculousness of this, but I don’t care. After all, most of us go our entire lives ignoring our unconscious minds.
But here I am with a direct line of communication with my unconscious, which stores an entire life of memories, emotions, wisdom, experiences and desires for my conscious mind to access. I say to the couple, “I can’t wait to chat your ears off and listen to all that you have to say. But not right now. We have a whole lifetime for that. Right now there’s something else I have to do.” They don’t say anything but they nod and smile and seem to understand.
Knowing full well this is all happening in my mind, where things like gravity can be ignored with enough focus, I start to float out of my chair and then hover a few feet above the roof of the cafe, looking down at the tops of the couple’s heads. I stay just like this for a minute, suspended in the air in total awe. It’s time, I tell myself, to fly.
My heart is pounding with excitement. My childhood dream of flying is literally coming true. I start off slow, soaring horizontally about 15 feet above the ground. I outstretch my arms like Superman. My speed increases, and I find the highway to fly above the cars. As I turn my head left, I fly left. I turn my head right, I fly right. I bob my head up and then down as I feel my body turn upward and then fall back toward the earth. I pull my head straight up as I shoot toward the sun, then let myself tumble back down and feel my stomach in my throat as I pull myself back up in the air right before I hit the ground.
This is euphoria. As I fly higher and higher above the trees and above the buildings, I realize this is just the beginning. I’m so happy I could cry. This is a whole new world happening inside of my mind that I can access every single night.
I think about all the places I could fly and about all the different ways to fly. I could fly fast, slow, I could hover, I could use a broom. I could find the tallest building, fly up to it, and just watch my dreams from there unfold like a movie to see what my mind is really capable of. I could shout out to the dream, my own unconscious, and ask questions. I could find people in the dream to talk to, I could even ask them what part of me they represent. I could have superpowers. I could practice activities for the waking world. I could explore the depths of my mind. I realize I’m only limited to my imagination, and then I realize this is the case in waking life too. The only reason any of us are limited is because of our minds. I’m starting to get overwhelmed about the potential of all of this. I feel the need to start making plans about what to do next in my dreams.
I look around, still fully conscious that I’m asleep and dreaming. This is amazing. My brain is amazing, how can it produce all of this? Look at how real everything looks and feels. What a wild adventure this has been. I’ve never felt more excited about just being present, both in the waking world and the dream world.
I realize that dreams aren’t just an escape or a weird thing that happens while we sleep. Our dreams are us trying to communicate with ourselves. They’re saying “Wake up! Look at this! Look at what you can do! Look at what I’m trying to tell you! Look at how amazing all of this is!” My mind is completely blown. I wake up feeling grateful, excited, and full of wonder and joy. This is how it must feel to be alive.