Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Awake inside a dream

Sell your waking life for minimum wage, but your dreams are for free.
-- Waking Life

I recently got in touch with a friend last night over IM. I told him too many bottles of beer have been wasted on a great conversation in the internet. For all it has done to make communication easier, talking to a person face to face can never be replaced by technology. We just have to meet for a couple of bottles next year. I need to write that on stone.

Catching up, he told me about a recent dream he had which scared him out of his wits. From what he narrated, it was a series of dreams inside a dream where he'd happen to wake up only to realize he was still in the dream. It's not exactly a nightmare with ghosts or eerie creatures out to get him, but like he said, once you're in that dark room, you know and feel fear. I imagined it must have been like meeting fear face to face, only you can't see anyone or anything. Just an ambiguous idea of something you've been afraid to find out all your life.

The dream finally broke it's cycle after a couple of times when 1) he realized he was still dreaming, 2) he tried screaming at the top of his lungs. My friend was calling out to his mother, and he also knew his sister was in the same room. It freaked the hell out of him when he screamed a murderous shriek only to hear no sound come out from his strained throat. In the dream, he said the next room had "something". He didn't know what was beyond it, yet it instilled greater fear in him. When he decided to confront what was in the other room, his dream cycle broke and things started happening differently. And, only after screaming for a long time did his voice finally break. He heard it come through even outside his physical body. At that point, his sister rushed to his side. She herself trembled upon hearing her brother scream. It could be like hearing fear come out from the confines of his dream. Then, he woke up, but he never got to know what was in the other room.

I suppose he gathered enough strength to confront what frightened him, otherwise, some dreams won't permit people to wake. I think that's what we call bangungot. Although he was glad to be out of that dream, which to me seemed like an alternate universe in the reality of people's minds, all he really wanted after was to find out what was in the other room. Strange how dreams always end in the climax. We're always left with cliffhangers to fill.

I've had similar dreams before. The only difference is that after waking, I become afraid to sleep back again. Eventually, I started dreaming I don't remember having any dreams. I thought it better that way. On the downside, I tend to forget how good it is to be in a pleasant dream, in separate world where logic ceases to exist.


I watched Waking Life for the first time last night. The entire film consists of lengthy monologues and conversations, first about existentialism, science and the origin of life's systems and evolution, different philosophies, constructs, and well, dreams. It was a whole bunch of theories that you may or may not exactly subscribe to. In relation to dreams, the main character in the film had a similar problem with my friend. The series of ideas, theories and events happening all occurred within his dreams, and he had trouble waking up. Again, like my friend, he wakes up only to find out hours later that he's still inside his dream. Around the end, he began to worry that maybe he couldn't wake up because he was dead.

With that thought, I don't think people who just sleep would have that kind of dream in their life. It's just too intense and full of detailed ideas which were ambiguous, but nevertheless, sort of real. I think this film was successful in marrying reality with the surreal, when it said that how you perceive your waking life is just the same as how you would perceive dreams in the biological sense (but hey, don't listen to a junkie like me, I just happened to like this movie).

Apart from the barrage of interesting/thought provoking quotations in the film, I found a particular scene very striking. It was when the main character became aware he was in a dream while talking to this girl he bumped into at some random subway. He asked her what it's like to be a character inside a dream, and though he never really got an answer, It was clear the girl knew she was but a perceived idea/character in another person's dream.

For some reason, I have been heavily pondering over the idea of what could have happened next if I did not force myself to wake after an unpleasant dream, if I wasn't to wake after reaching turning points in my dreams. I suppose curiosity led me to actually want to have dreams once again.


Last night, I was finally able to recall a dream I had, after a long while of not remembering dreams. It was rather different because this time, in my dream, I was aware and trying to control what was going to happen in it.

I won't divulge on all the details, but just like the film, I spoke to a person in the dream I had and asked him what it's like to be a character in my dream. I don't remember the exact words he said, but I think he answered something like "Well, it's pretty complicated." And I think I sort of agreed. Fast forward, I ended up kissing this person, until I finally woke up. I've never seen him before in my life, but If you happen to notice the screen cap I posted below, it's just how I was positioned with the person in my dream.

Call it crazy, but that's a dream I'd want to wake into, over and over, not minding if I'll ever wake.

screen cap from a scene in Waking Life

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Music for the morning after

people live a lifetime in a minute."
Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman

If some people really do live a lifetime in a minute, then I must say a lot of things can really happen in a span of weeks or even just a few days, which can change the entire trajectory of your life. But of course, a huge part of it goes with your wanting to change or letting yourself be influenced.

I do not intend to elaborate on details right now. All I really want to say is a lot happened this past weekend. Funny how a lot of these events come fleeting, and when they're all over, we always think about ifs. Well, sometimes, I think It's best to let sleeping dogs lie-- things are better left that way.

Right now, I'm sobering up from the emotional/mental roller coaster I got myself in to. Yes, it's all me, it was my choice. Not blaming anyone for the strange condition I have or have had recently. In any case, I can only settle on one thing: It was all a long and hazy dream.

I've no room for regrets here. I'm just learning.