I bet you've had a dream that left you with an emotional hangover. I've woken up feeling scared, joyful, frustrated, amazed, sad, and more. Sometimes I want to shake those feelings, sometimes I want to hold on to them a little longer. Sometimes it feels like I don't have a choice.
In this recent dream I was traveling, with friends, but unlikely travel companions. We were visiting Japan, but we were visiting religious ruins that were very European for Japan. Unlikely things and people in unlikely places are pretty normal for my dreams. It was difficult to get to places that were close by, rooms and store fronts kept moving. Again, pretty normal dream fair. I also had an apartment over a stationary shop, close to the ruins and shops that I couldn't navigate.
There was a small stack of letters on the coffee table in my newly acquired apartment. They weren't addressed to me in particular. They were in different languages and the stationary was very colorful. They were intriguing, I'd have to ask my friends to help me translate them, but they weren't written to me, so they didn't feel urgent.
There was commotion from the shop below. From an open stairwell I could see a pale bald man in front of the cashier shouting something, prosthelytizing something, with a bomb strapped to his waist. I narrowly escaped through the stairwell to the outside before seeing debris fly through the hallway and out the windows. It killed the man and hurt others in the shop. I felt guilty for being able to escape. Somehow there wasn't much damage to the building (dream physics).
A friend and I returned to my room later and started looking at the letters. There was one addressed for that day. She translated it for me. It was a story about the people in the shop, the people who were injured but survived. It was their life stories. Not every detail, but these incredible highlights, low points, and insights. The letter suggested that if someone could relay these stories to the bomber, that he could be stopped. If he knew how much he would hurt people including people he cared about, he would stop.
It was amazing and terrible news all at once. We had the ability to stop it, but we didn't know so at the time. We quickly looked through the other letters, all had dates set in the future. We started translating all the letters to find out what sort of terrible events they predicted and if they offered ways to diffuse the situations.
There was something extraordinary about my connection to the letters. While reading I could feel the lives of the people, briefly. I saw their life through their eyes. I recognized their friends and family and felt their connections. It was more intense than I can describe. What became clear was how each person is a world in themselves, and each of those worlds are connected. In each of the stories, the person inflicting harm was also hurting people he cared about. His world suffered as well. The ripple of each event reached great distances.
I was supposed to take this information and somehow use it to stop people from hurting each other. I quickly discovered that spoken language is woefully inadequate at relaying the depth of connection that exists. I was able to get physically close to the danger without being hurt, but each time I was unsuccessful at changing the course of events.
I woke up crying and depressed with this empty, heavy feeling of hopelessness in my gut. I failed. I couldn't convince anyone that they were connected to each other. I couldn't convince anyone of how the ripples of a violent act move in every direction, and always reflect back. It felt horrible. It still doesn't feel good. And I'm still not able to put into words the feeling I felt.
On a fun note, as if my entire dream was an ad placement for Netflix, I woke up and found out that there's another season of Sense8 available.