Dreams: Where grass doesn’t have to be green

As of late, I’ve been thinking a lot about dreaming, both in the literal and figurative sense.  You see, I am a very vivid dreamer – in the literal sense, sadly, rather than the figurative sense.  Night after night, I remember countless dreams I have.  Each dream is vivid and well-remembered.  However, the most lamented component of my dreams is that they expose my true anxieties and inhibitions to me far too clearly.  You see – I long to escape from all the things the world bombards me with when I lay my head on the pillow, but usually they just come swarming at me in a multitude of figurative representations. 

Although I do not pretend to fully understand dreams, I am still amazed by the compelling emotions we seem to feel during them and often, as a result of them.  So many mornings I have woken up deeply sad, anxious, excited, and irritated amongst a smorgesbord of emotions.  They influence my day and the happenings thereafter.  But it is my literal dreams that often drive me to try out more dreaming in my real life.  If I can’t escape the anxieties of everyday life in my real dreams, why not start dreaming about better things in real life?

I sometimes wonder where the term “day dreaming” came from.  I could do a long background of research to discover the origins of this term, but I’d rather just speculate for now.  You see – people who day dream are often accused of meditating on the impossible or unimaginable (in the real world) during hours in which one is awake.  To take the concept even further, when we talk about our “dreams” we are often referring to those almost-too-amazing-to-happen components of our lives that we hope will one day come true.  But why do we put such boundaries around ourselves and our thoughts?  That is my favorite thing about dreams – no real boundaries exist.  The grass doesn’t have to be green in a dream.

And so I sit here, wondering if I can imagine a world which figuratively speaking has different colored grass.  This could be a world where there is less racial tension and oppression of the weak.  Maybe it’s imagining a world where no matter what one’s faith is, one can be accepted lovingly and do the same to others.  When I say accepted, I don’t mean that you have to agree with the others’ viewpoint.  In fact, accepting all points of view as “right” is full of logical flaws and might represent either lack of knowledge, lack of conviction, or lack of a spine.  What I am talking about is not making disagreement and hate synonymous terms.  Believe what you believe in passionately, but try to love people who do not see that same point of view.  Easier said than done, I know. 

So what am I dreaming of today?  A lot of things – or at least trying to.  I’m trying to dream that I could do great things with my (few) talents.  I’m dreaming that racial and faith tensions could decrease, at least in some regard by understanding the components that drive them.  My own research is fulled around this dream – understanding what makes religious individuals prejudiced or tolerant toward various groups (e.g., homosexuals, African Americans, Arabs, atheists).  I dream of one day being able to say to someone,  “I’m a devout Christian who really loves Jesus,” and they instantly know that means I love others rather than judge them.  I dream of making a difference, as much as anyone does I suppose.  Even if these dreams are a little too big, I say, “Someone has to dream them first.”  Although I’ll never be a MLK, Jr. or Ghandi, I don’t want to give up the practices they practiced so well – dreaming.  Dreaming, meditating, and doing.  I think those are the three things that are required of a life to make it impactful.  More on the others later, perhaps. But for now, I’m trying to dream more.  It’s just sad that “real life” gets in the way sometimes.

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About Megan Johnson Shen

I am a social psychologist graduating with my Ph.D. from Baylor University this May and moving to NYC this summer to start a new job as a postdoctoral researcher at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine in the Cancer Prevention and Control Department. I love the brain, human behavior, and anything to do with understanding them better. I love research and a good dinner party. Fine wine and cheese - I'm there. Interesting experimental data? I'll probably show for that too. View all posts by Megan Johnson Shen

2 responses to “Dreams: Where grass doesn’t have to be green

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