this was just one image from last night's dream.
the dream began when a friend and i were in a basement and turned to try to run back up the stairs out of it. but instead of being a basement staircase, we found ourselves on an aircraft carrier, with raised-dot metal floors, battleship gray everywhere, and the staircase up was narrow and tall. as we ran for the stairs, a uniformed man stopped us. we tried to stammer our way out of why we were there, and he said, "what kind of air force people are you, anyway?" i said, "um...new ones?" he was friendly about this and whisked us off to his office, tiny and gray, with lots of computers scanning radar of the islands, the ocean, and the weather. he showed us one with a huge, colorful touch screen. he pivoted gridlines to zoom in and change angles, zooming in on a small set of islands, and then made little circles to create weather systems. soon, a huge tornado threatened the largest island, hovering over a volcano. he changed the view slightly, then made a dozen or so smaller hurricanes over the surrounding islands.
after he released us to leave, we made our way to the ship's deck. soon, it began to pitch and roll (it was now much smaller than any aircraft carrier, just a big boat now), water washing over the deck. people began to struggle toward the railings at the stern, where a safe dock seemed to be looming and a larger-than-life woman appeared ready to help--but not everyone. she asked us a riddle and said that the first person to respond correctly or to give a "come up" (i didn't know what that meant, either) would be saved. i cannot remember right now what the riddle was, but i remember that someone else gave an answer that was wrong and was swept away into the water, much to the horror of the rest of us, clamoring for the woman's hand. then something occurred to me, and i responded to the riddle--not with an answer, exactly, but a "but wouldn't this make this happen?" kind of question in response. she brightened, offering me her hand, and said, "you came up with a come up!" as she lifted me to safety. the cries of the people left behind faded as i walked up the dock.
at the top of the dock, which wasn't a wooden dock but cement, like the kind you'd back your boat up to from your car hitch, lowering it directly into the water, i found myself in sort of an ethereal park. people there were at peace, some alone and some in pairs. i felt the same way. i heard a voiceover, sort of, the whole time i was there, as though i were explaining to someone (myself?) what this place was all about. no one here felt anger or pain. but we could feel anyone else's feelings by becoming part of them. not like living people did--we didn't absorb others' pain in any kind of pathological or harmful way--but in the deepest sort of empathy and compassion.
and we could feel the rainbows. not just the stripes, but the whole thing. doing this looked sort of like looking at a supersaturated photograph, but with the kind of splash across the image that one might create accidentally by letting acid wash over it quickly. a silvery-gold, translucent sheen over the scene that covered us in the warm, peaceful feeling of complete love and goodness.
there was a lot of interaction during this part of the dream, me meeting people and feeling their feelings. it was a beautiful time, a good feeling that stayed with me throughout the day in kind of a bloodstream kind of way.
one bad part came when the friend i was with (a different friend from the first part of the dream) and i went to the dock again. he asked a question about the passage, something about living people, something that made the woman who'd helped us out of the boat and to safety very angry. she said that this meant that he would have to go back, and he protested to no avail as she lifted him easily from the dock and back onto the boat. those of us on the safe side who had watched this were horror-struck. i made my way back to the beautiful spot again.
the worst part of the dream, which was quite brief, had me back on the struggling side of the boat again--i'm not sure how i got there, but you know how dreams are. i was frightened this time--not completely peaceful and unafraid like i'd been the first time i'd seen the water wash over the deck. the first time, i'd known no fear and knew that i was going to be all right, even as the water swept over me. but this time, i knew that i would not be safe. i was alternately terrified and just sad, feeling the terror in the people around me. i watched as our hands reached in vain for railings and the water sucked us under. it was an awful feeling, and i knew that this was hell.
most of the dream was joyful and full of reunions with past loves and friends. somehow, the message throughout the dream and especially upon waking was live without fear. i think that it came from this idea that i could deeply interact with those around me, relating to them on a profound level, but remain safe, sane, and at peace. somehow it was helpful to me as well as to them to do this, and somehow that translated to living without fear. and it's how i've felt all day. i wish i could explain it all better, but i hope that the feeling stays. i've had dreams like this before--i mean, not like this one in subject matter, but in terms of depth of feeling and message--and it's lasted for months.