By Christopher Cudworth
It doesn’t always pay to try to relate dreams to others. It seems you can never fully capture the weirdness and reality of a dream when you describe it to someone else in conversation.
Yet sometimes the impact of our dreams is so powerful we feel the need to relate the experience in waking life. “I just remembered,” you tell a friend, “I had this weird dream last night…” And then you describe it. And your friend sits there looking at you like you have a third eye, until you realize just how nonsensical the dream really sounds and you go, “Oh, never mind. It was too weird anyway.”
Yet throughout history dreams have formed the plotline for many a major decision in kingdoms and politics. For example, the Bible relates instances where kings struggled to interpret their own dreams, only to find out their dreams were a portent of very bad things to come. In the book of Daniel a great king is vexed by a strange dream…
2 In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. 2 So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers[a] to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, 3 he said to them, “I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.[b]”
As it turns out, the king found out through his dream that things were not going to turn out that well for him. So perhaps in some respect dreams are sometimes better left alone, particularly if they predict your own end.
The Devil’s work?
Or not? The wife of Pilate had a dream too, and she tried without success to warn her husband to leave that Jewish guy alone. The Bible doesn’t tell us what happens to Pilate after he washes his hands and seals the fate of Jesus––to quote that Stones song––Sympathy for the Devil––but we do know that many people would love to tell rulers and bureaucrats to go to hell. So perhaps his fate is implied.
Run away, run away!
It seems we’ve all had those dreams where we’re trying to run away from something awful only to find ourselves mired in some sort of heavy gravity, unable to move, much less run. If we’re lucky, we wake up before we get eaten or die. But isn’t it frustrating when you can’t run away from your problems? Maybe that’s why some of us run and ride in the first place. To escape the negative gravity of our dreams.
Crashing into dreamland
Last night I had a dream in which I was riding my bike and crashed––out of nowhere. It happened fast, and when I woke up I had nothing but but a bony stub for a left arm. The stump wasn’t bloody or mangled. In fact the bone sticking out was thick and white, not anatomically correct at all.
A great sadness at this event came over me and I immediately tried hard to figure out what it would mean to not have a hand or a left arm. What would it mean to my career and daily functions?
As a writer it hurt me to think that I would not be able to type any more. What would my career be like now? I said out loud to someone in the dream that at least I still had my right arm.
My brain might have been processing many things through this dream. The fact that I was cycling through a childhood neighborhood on my current carbon fiber bike might represent some twist of the subconscious mind. But the crash itself did not seem to be the purpose of the dream. It was dealing with the difficulty of having no arm that was the “theme” of the dream.
That made me curious what it all meant. So I decided to search the web and look up what dreams about losing an arm might mean. What I found was certainly interesting about losing an..
To see your arms as the emphasis in your dream indicates your nurturance side and your ability to reach out and care for people. Alternatively, it may represent the struggles and challenges in your life. Consider the pun “arm yourself” which implies that you need to protect yourself, be more aggressive and take a firmer stance on things or the pun “up in arms”, representing anger and your readiness to argue.
To dream that your arm has been injured, signifies your inability to care for yourself or your helplessness in reaching out to others. You may have been feeling limited and restricted in terms of your freedom or activities. The right arm signifies your outgoing nature and is associated with masculine energy, while your left arm signifies your supportive or nurturing nature and is associated with feminine qualities. Losing either arm may suggest that you are failing to recognize its respective characteristics.
To dream that you rip someone else’s arms out, indicates that you are extremely upset with something that this person has done, but you have not been able to fully express your anger. Because you tend to keep your emotions inside, it is finding expression in your dreams in a violent way.
Okay, so I know now why I was dreaming about losing an arm, especially a left arm, which according to dream translation has much to do with our nurturing side.
My children and I continue to wrestle with the loss of their mother to cancer last March. I’ve recently been feeling at a loss as to how to guide them in how to feel about now and the future. And so I dream… “To dream that your arm has been injured, signifies your inability to care for yourself or your helplessness in reaching out to others.”
Riding through the subconscious
The remaining question is how the whole cycling accident enters into the picture. Why was I riding my bike in this dream when I lost my arm and gained a bony stump?
Well, the answer there may not be so mysterious.
In one week I’m returning to participate in a Century ride where last year during Labor Day weekend I experienced bike wobble at 40 mph and crashed into a ditch in front of the American Player’s Theater near Spring Green Wisconsin.
My whole world turned very weird for 10 seconds, like a bad dream you might say. I made it to the grassy ditch and after that the bike flipped out from under me and I went sliding under a cable (thank God) that might otherwise have decapitated me. Lucky fellow.
I wound up with a busted left collarbone and a terrifically strained right hamstring. It took a few weeks to recover, but I was back on the bike before October was over.
Smart or not, that’s how we cyclists and runners roll. Active rehabilitation. A close friend has also been going through active rehab necessitated by a sliding crash of her tri-bike on a curved and downhill section of a bike path through the woods.
Now you know why us roadies like to avoid the bike paths. All it takes is some slick vegetation and you’re out of commission. Or glass. Or a hyper dog. The hazards are many. Not that we’re all that much safer out on the bike roads or the urban streets. Cyclists can get busted up a thousand ways.
Good grief and dream on
You never dream it will happen to you. Except, sometimes you do dream it will happen to you. And then you’re left to figure out what it all means. In my case the meaning is clear. The ride through grief for my children and I is not through. It is a long journey, sometimes never complete. But I’d give my left arm to help them.