What is the origin of our dreams? Where do they come from? Who is the gatekeeper of our dreams? Surely, there is a genie that decides what our dreams will be on a certain night, what order they come and nature of the visual data that flows into our brain’s receptors.
We have all had dreams, so life-like that we cannot tell the difference until we shake the nighttime from our consciousness. Here is an example.
On a recent morning, I woke up thinking about a group of employees, not mine, but a group I was suddenly responsible for leading. They were all working remotely, and for some reason, I had never met them in person (dreams set up their own reality) and only knew them from their video chat and brief work interaction. These eight folks were of all backgrounds and personalities. This was a dream.
I was awaken, and on my way to the bathroom I was thinking about these folks. Not fully awake, but in twilight time as I call it. That dream/wake state that is a blend of both. What’s reality? You are dreaming but awake. One foot in reality and the other on a banana peel of fantasy.
In my real world, I have employees who are working from home and some in the office. I try to look after them all, with varying results. My employees I know very well and I do not use video chat, so there are pieces of overlap. I do wonder about the long-term impact of working remotely and the organization being on a reduced mission. Will these folks always be employed? I believe so, but these are different times.
In this dream, I was under pressure from management to justify why we needed all eight employees. Each employee and I visited by online chat where I learned more about their backgrounds and skills. Each had a different motivation along with their own challenges in their life. I also realized that I probably could not keep them all.
Over the course of the early morning, I was drawn deeper into this dream, while at the same time I was becoming more aware of the morning around me. What happens when the line dissolves between the dream world and reality; you struggle to comprehend where you are. The manager-person in this dream was not a fantasy person; it was becoming the real me.
I woke up about 4 a.m. thinking about the next thing I had to do in the dream. Soon I was back to sleep, back to my job. Not everything in a dream makes sense, particularly when you apply real-life logic.
Each of my “dream” employees seemed a real and distinct person, although now I do not recall a specific thing about any of them. What I do remember is trying to advise each of them on their challenges, even though I knew little about the particular. If all I cared about was work productivity, I might have left it there, but I tried to create a community of nine remote people. If we were all in the same physical office environment, I would care about their attitudes, social skills and emotional health. Initially, they all wanted to please me and I got their best efforts. Later, the bloom came off the rose, as the remote nature of the environment and was made worse when I did group video sessions and their frustrations came roaring out. All of this happened in a condensed period of time; real time and dream time are not alike.
This may be an example of lucid dreaming, when you are aware of your dream and even participate in it. I was aware of the dream but not really a willing participant. Perhaps it was the dream genie, the source of choosing our nighttime agenda. Dreams are thought to represent what the brain gathers offline, combining and processing thoughts, desires and stimuli going on in our lives, and then sending it back to us at night. Do dreams consist of sensory and cognitive information filtered into episodic fantasies and themes reflecting unresolved emotional states kept managed by our daily state of mind? Perhaps that is a fancy way of saying our subconscious skips off the leash at night. What in the brain determines the fantasies served up on any night? Researchers say we have multiple dreams each night of short duration, most of which we forget by daybreak. For as vivid as dreams can be while experiencing them, they evaporate before the morning mist wiped from the eye.
Why did I dream of these employees and why did it occur early in the morning when I would retain some information of it? Closer to the time I would awake, the more chance I would experience this twilight time, a blending of dream and reality, and it was seem to imitate real life. Groggily, I thought I was dealing with eight real people, each interacting with me in a state where I cared about them. How weird is that?
Even after I woke up, those eight people were on my mind. While I do not know their names and their images were already fading from view, I hope to get a card on boss’ day.
What will the dream genie deal me tonight?