The retired life allows you to wake up slowly. I’ve found that when that happens and you’re not jolted awake by an alarm going off you are much more likely to retain some of your dreams. In my case, at least, quick wakes wipe dreams from my mind, while a slow waking gives me at least a short time to recall them. The details still end up fading from my mind in a short time, but for a brief period I have good recollection and a general impression tends to last.
As a result I’ve noted my dreams a lot more in recent times, and I’ve always been intrigued by their richness and complexity. Sometimes I’ll wake from a dream and be totally in awe at the detail and originality in a particular dream plot or setting. I am very impressed at my own mind’s ability to build some really strange and detailed images in my mind, often wishing I could muster the same originality in waking life. Now I know where those ideas and insights that just seem to “come out of nowhere” actually come from.
Last night was a particularly interesting incident. I realize that telling people about your dreams is a bit mundane, but this incident was special. My dream involved me watching a talent show where people were singing original songs. That means that my mind needed to weave original songs into the dream. Now, I know what you’re thinking. You just think that you’re looking at original songs, but it’s just an impression in you’re dream. But on waking, I could remember the final song without any trouble. It was a bit cliche, but it was original and it wasn’t too bad. I could actually remember enough of it to replay it in my mind.
I find this fascinating. The fact that the unconscious mind is capable of this kind of creative activity really brings up all sorts of questions about the structure of the conscious and unconscious mind. This is the kind of example that Eagleman used in his book, Incognito. It points to unconscious compartments in the mind which are always working and which could be accessible with proper training, perhaps through meditation.
Perhaps with my new access to dreams, I should be doing some dream work.