October 8, 2019 · Write a comment · Categories: Musings · Tags:

I woke up in the middle of the night after dreaming about zombies. I was walking along a street when it suddenly seemed to tilt upward into a steep hill. All at once, the sunlight looked much brighter, and I got dizzy and began to feel very strange.

Street going up a steep hill.

(Creative Commons image via flickr)

I knew that meant I had caught the zombie virus, and I was trying to convince my husband not to give up hope. After all, I told him, we didn’t know for sure that everyone who caught the virus always became a zombie, so we shouldn’t assume it. Maybe some people were able to recover; or even if not, it was possible that a cure might be found soon.

Then I started to wake up. Unlike other dreams I’ve written about on this blog, I didn’t have to guess at the meaning of this one because it helpfully told me, just before I was fully awake. “The meaning of this dream,” a voice murmured in the back of my mind, “is to avoid assumptions and leave space for improvement.”

After a while I fell back to sleep and had more dreams, which I can’t remember. As each dream faded, I heard the same voice saying, “Don’t forget—avoid assumptions, leave space for improvement.”

That seemed strange enough in itself, but it got even weirder after I woke up. While I was getting a cup of coffee, the nagging voice in my head made an appearance once more. Nothing like this had ever happened to me before, and I couldn’t guess what was so urgent about the dream’s message.

When it showed up again mid-morning while I was sitting at my desk doing my usual work, I decided that I’d better do something about it. I wrote myself a note in all caps: AVOID ASSUMPTIONS, LEAVE SPACE FOR IMPROVEMENT. Then I put it prominently in the middle of my desk.

“There, subconscious mind, I won’t forget,” I said. “Are you happy now?”

Apparently it was, because I didn’t hear anything more from it after that. I was still left wondering, though, what exactly my nagging subconscious wanted me to do about the mysterious message. It seemed like reasonable advice, but what was so important about keeping it in my thoughts right now?

As far as I knew, there wasn’t anything going on in my life that put me at risk of turning into a zombie in some figurative sense of the word. Sometimes traveling to rowing races on the weekends with my husband left me feeling tired on Mondays, but not to the extent of being zombified, and I didn’t feel that I was making negative assumptions—or at least, none of which I was aware.

But of course, if people knew they were making assumptions, they wouldn’t be doing it. So I concluded that the nagging voice wanted me to watch out for harmful assumptions that might be holding me back from some kind of improvement. While it would have been much easier if my subconscious mind had given me any clues as to what those assumptions were, I suspected it probably thought I’d benefit from reflecting on the question for a while.

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