Dreams so odd they cannot even be expressed

I’ve been trying to record my dreams for a while, on and off, and have noticed something odd that happens fairly consistently. I keep a recorder by my bed. As I start to awaken early in the night, I will be aware of a dream that I was having. But as I regain full awareness of my surroundings, the dream will make less and less sense, to the point where I cannot express in words what was going on when I actually attempt to record it.

It is not that I simply have trouble remembering the dream – it is that I lose the ability to comprehend it!

It is as if my dream consists of unrelated ideas and concepts that are randomly jumbled together but somehow have relationships to each other that make perfect sense in the dream state of consciousness. Very hard to describe what I mean…but it is as if verbs could serve as nouns and numbers can work as verbs and all rules of logic are out the window – that sort of craziness.

As the night goes on, my dreams become normal.

Anyone ever experienced what I am talking about?

That’s normal for me. I can describe bits and pieces of the dream, but it just doesn’t hold together.

Yes. It appears (to me) that such dreams represent the part of the brain that does not function on a rational level but on a conceptual level.

Many times I’ve awakened with the intent to remember the dream and the meaning fades with each passing second.


You know what else I find fascinating? How we just know something in our dreams. As an example, last night I had a dream where I just knew that if I threaded a large needle [like one of the bargello needles I have] in a particular way in combination with some sort of pamphlet and yarn I had, it would protect me from evil. How the hell can you explain that :D, yarn, needle and booklet as a protection against evil?! And there really wasnt any overt evil monsters in the dream - we were going on a sailboat ride.

I’m not very good in remembering details of my dreams (and sometimes the details are as confusing as the OP describes), but frequently I can recall a certain feeling inherent in a dream. It’s strange, since sometimes I can’t even describe the emotion evoked by the memory of a dream other than that it is pleasant or unpleasant. This ability to evoke these emotions by remembering a dream of uncertain content fades during the day.

That surely sounds a little weird, but maybe it’s similar to what the OP is after.

These dreams are definitely my kind of dreams.

I will dream that the car engine has to rev to lift me by my beltloops over the thatched roof. Which somehow followed in an important and obvious way from something about clorox and shoelaces and laughing from the ceiling before the laughing stops making me mad which would be bad if it did.

My dreams are similarly incoherent in the cold light of day, and I am puzzled by other people’s accounts of dreams that proceed like a little movie, with a plot and everything! Mine are just a jumble of feelings and fleeting situations that somehow segue into each other in a way that seems to make sense at the time.
As for the really incoherent upside-down logic dreams described by the OP, yes I get those occasionally too, particularly in the dozing-off phase of sleep.

Yes!! Good job with that.
I can see you know exactly what I’m talking about. And the strangest thing is that, in that state of consciousness, it all makes perfect sense!
It is a very bizarre experience to have something in your mind go in 45 seconds from being completely logical to utterly incomprehensible. I wonder if having some kind of episode of insanity would feel like that.

Maybe similar to what you’re talking about, but sometimes, as I’m falling asleep, I’ll be trying to figure something out. As I workout the solution in my mind, it will suddenly occur to me that the question itself has left me. Then, as I’m off in search of the question, I realize I’ve lost the answer.

I’m sure there’s something genius there, if I could just keep it all straight.

Sometimes when I wake up I can remember funny or remarkable situations from a dream, or a powerful emotional response such as fear or wistfulness or passion, or even a bit of what might’ve been said, but it’s very rare that I can remember much more than that.

I just dream of a ghost story.

The couple (I am with another girl) enter this broken-down, Chinese style inn (think bamboo walls, thatched roof and chickens in the courtyard). The girl (wife?) goes to prepare dinner, while I am sitting in a hall, surfing the Internet and keeping in touch with an old friend (strange thing, dreams). There’s a Chinese altar in the far end, the type used for ancestor worship, with a wooden plaque and a pot of incense.

Then I see this lady in white, hair let down, face smashed (not faceless, just that her facial features look like someone has smashed it with a hammer), in a loose robe-type of garment floating in mid air. Then it was gone.

This repeats a couple of time until I know that the place is haunted. Wife and me went to pray at the altar, asking for permission to stay (even stranger, I’m don’t believe in Chinese Taoist ancestor worship) and this is when two pair of gnarled hands extended out from the altar (arghh!) and … patted mine… in a reassuring manner.

I was thinking about leaving behind food offering when I woke up.

A dream I had last night centered around a character, a person, whose identity is inexpressible. I mean, within the dream, it was somebody I was interacting with, but it wasn’t a particular person. More precisely, it isn’t that the character in the dream was a stranger, or kept changing. It is more like the character deviated from the normal human property of having an identity (whether known or unknown). A real person always has an identity, whether we know that identity or not. This person did not. So, I guess, in some senses, this entity in a dream was a character, a person, and in other senses this entity was not.

In physics there is often the problem that language, or at least English and the other languages I’m dimly aware of, implies a certain structure to the world that might not actually be true. For example, in English there is a concept of “now”, whereas in physics there isn’t any agency that behaves the way the English “now” behaves.

Perhaps this is sometimes the case for dreams also.

Does anyone else experience the odd phenonomen where you’re just falling asleep and you suddenly have a series of apparently random images flashing through your mind and images you’re fairly sure you’ve never seen in real life, on TV or whatever?

Its quite fun actually and tends to stop if you concentrate on it.

Dreams are strange in general though, a couple of nights ago I dreamt that I was caught up in a riot in Poland and ended up arrested by the Polish police! :eek:

I’ve never even been to Poland…

Heh, I almost posted that. Yes, I get exactly the same thing occasionally, and yes, it’s fun! You’re still awake but aware that you on the cusp of falling asleep, and you can sort of lie back and enjoy the show. It’s like one of those photo montage things they do on TV.

But dreams don’t have meaning. Dreaming involves the random firing of electrical impulses and we as humans, take these visualizations we see and try to assign some meaning to them. This is why dreams are so symbolic.

This training starts young, ever notice a mother will take a kid to the park and the kid looks at the cloud. The first thing a mother says is, “What do you see in the clouds.” Well there is nothing in the clouds, it’s random patterns. But we are encouraged to make up a visualization.

This is similar to a dream. We “see” things in our mind’s eye because of random electrical impulses in our brain and we take them and try to put them in an order to cope with this body function.

All I can say is, thank goodness someone else has experienced this.

I had a couple of these when I was going through a traumatic period in my life. They were impossible to describe or even comprehend, and all I really retain of them is the memory of me awakening and going “shit, that wasn’t even about this physical universe - it was completely and utterly unrelated to reality in any way I understand it”.

I’m not talking stuff like “there I was, naked, on a different planet wearing giant bunnyrabbits for shoes”. It was way other than that: I didn’t exist, just my consciousness, and what I was seeing and experiencing was beyond human understanding. The nearest I can liken it to was some of the conceptions one gets when on a very very strong hallucinogenic trip, when the ego just disappears into something indescribable.

I began to call them “ill logic”. As I got happier, they ceased to occur.

OK, I’ve remembered one from last night.

As I was falling asleep, I was thinking about the narrative of a story I’m working on. At some point in the hypnagogic zone, I thought to myself:

“This is fine, but I need to pass one end of the narrative through pannetone dough in order to make it more acceptable to the female market.”

ETA: I even had a vision of what this would look like - something I am entirely unable to describe.

The conscious part of my brain immediately woke up, and I committed the thought to memory.

I mean, seriously, what on earth does that mean?!