colorful-1868353_1920For many years I’ve been recording my dreams each morning and trying to listen to the messages they bring me from the depths. I subscribe to Jung’s view that dreams are messengers from the unconscious, both personal and collective. To ignore them is like refusing to open and read letters from beloved friends that come in the mail. Not spam. Not advertisements. But serious, heartfelt missives.

What kind of messages do dreams bring? It depends. Sometimes they comment imagistically on our daily routines, pointing out, perhaps, areas in our relationships with others that might be lacking. Other times they bring news from afar, tossing onto the shore of our conscious minds images and narratives from a more primal level in our psyches. These dreams resemble ancient myths in the way they evoke universal themes that still play out in the modern mind. To ignore them is similar to turning away a wise uncle or grandparent, someone who has lived through it all and has a valuable perspective on things.

In simpler times, dreams held the place of honor in our morning conversations with each other (and still do in some more “primitive” societies), giving dreamers guidance and a starting point for interaction with each other. They’ve been replaced by our preoccupation with a variety of digital gadgets. We are so involved with iPhones, iPads, iPods, computers, video games, and all the variations, we have little time not only for face-to-face relationships with others but also with in-depth conversations with ourselves. These toys collude to distract us from anything but the more superficial, mechanical elements in our daily lives: the hours some people spend on social networks like Facebook that gives the illusion of “friending” when it really does the opposite. It provides a soapbox for one-way monologues, the kind of behavior that can kill an actual relationship. It reminds me of sitting through a meal with someone whose only interest is in him/herself and the words coming out of his/her mouth. There are no eyes to look into—mirrors of the soul. There are no souls!

Of course, just by keeping a blog I’m engaging in the kind of action I’m criticizing, climbing up on my soapbox to vent into the stratosphere. But anything that subverts the imagination and impoverishes it concerns me. Perhaps by reflecting on this situation here I can be more careful in the future, limiting the times I spend digitizing rather than dreaming.