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partly shared or collective, a grammar of universal symbols out of which we create meaning. “Carl Jung taught us that there are many dream symbols that are universal and occur in people living in all types of life circumstances, such as being lost, unprepared for a responsibility or threatened by forces of the natural world,” she says. This fascinates me. If the symbolic language of dreams is universal, do our dreams know more than we do? And can they affect us—or we, them? DREAM MASTERY It’s hard, but not impossible, to manipulate one’s dreams. Some medications, for instance, produce good or bad dreams. Dementia patients who take donepezil may experience nightmares, Sullivan says. And personally, I find one happy side effect of allergy season is the delicious flying dreams I get while taking Montelukast sodium. On the other hand, people who suffer from nightmares, such as veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, may experience relief from prazosin, which is also a blood-pressure medication, Sullivan says. Then, there are people who believe they can direct their dreams, re-writing unpleasant scripts or just planning a happy adventure. I remember my granny putting me to sleep by telling me a story about a unicorn or mermaid. “Now fall asleep to see what happens next,” she would say, tucking me in. I don’t remember whether it worked, though! But other groups claim to teach directed or “lucid” dreaming. DREAM AWAKE Like the ballet by the same name, dreams are when some of us feel the most awake: colors are brighter. People and places seem more real. Others of us never remember dreams, or only recall traces. Whether they feel true or, well, dreamy, dreams are typically composed of things that are more the purvey of art, myth and religion than of science: stories. Here are a few ways humans have understood dream-as-story. • Divine messages; for example, the God of the Christian Bible directs Joseph to take his family and flee from Herod. • Predictions; for example, Harriet Tubman said that she previously dreamed much of what later happened to her as she began to rescue slaves from the South. • Creation; for example, in the Abenaki creation story, the Creator dreams of all the animals, and when he awakes he finds that they have come into existence. How do you interpret your dreams? Through the lens of biology, psychology or myth? Whatever your approach, there’s probably more to your dreams than meets the eye. 26

OutreachNC.com | AUGUST 2018

Profile for OutreachNC magazine

OutreachNC August 2018  

Living Healthy, Dream Sleep Science & Mystery, Birding in NC Dunn-Erwin Trail, The Importance of the Right Fitness Equipment, Cancer Survivo...

OutreachNC August 2018  

Living Healthy, Dream Sleep Science & Mystery, Birding in NC Dunn-Erwin Trail, The Importance of the Right Fitness Equipment, Cancer Survivo...