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Do Dreams Control You or Do You Control Your Dreams?

by Andrew White  |  May 3, 2017  |  1 Comment

So I woke up this morning with a bad back – you know – one of those aching pains in my lower right back, off toward the hip.  It is hurting a little even now as I stand and write this blog.  But there is a funny story attached to how I hurt my back.

I awoke this morning two minutes before my watch alarm was to vibrate.  That was when I felt the pain in my back.  I had not gone to bed last night with the pain – it was new to me.  But then I remembered a dream I had experienced in the night.   The parts of the dream that are relevant to the back ache are these…

For some reason I was in a house that looked a lot like a pub – a classic English pub with oak beams in the roof and white painted walls; lots of old wooden tables and chairs and stone floors.  I was in this house (I don’t remember there being any beer involved) with, of all people, Doug Laney.  Why on earth Doug should partake of this dream with me is beyond my understanding.  Maybe it’s because we have been talking about his infonomics work recently – I don’t know.  Anyway, why were Doug and I in this old English house? 

Suddenly I heard the maddening sound of what I thought to be a wide-body jet plane over head.  I looked out of the window and true enough, a large 4-engine jet was right over head – but flying nearly vertical! Clearly this was not right and I knew what was going to happen.  I could see the plane slowing down and about to fall- backwards towards the house!  The engines were screaming in defiance at the impossible angle being asked of the plane.

In the dream I shouted at Doug to “Get down!!!” and I remember diving for cover as the world exploded about me.  I have clear (as in lucid) memory of being blown to the side and off the ground in a massive crash, and of being bent backwards in pain.  I also remember extreme heat as if I was being burned alive.

The next thing I knew I awoke with a few minutes to go before my regular alarm was to trigger.  I arose and immediately felt the twinge in my lower back, right side.  Then I remembered the dream – or nightmare.

So how can this be?

Did the dream influence my physical position in bed and as the dream came to a crashing ending, did my bend backward and pull a muscle in my back?  Or was I moving around in bed, and accidentally hurt my back that then influenced the dream?

If this was a case of the physical world impacting my unconscious dream-state, how is it that my dream was able to conjure up a house and a flight going wrong, seconds ahead of the injury?  Did I get injured and then nanoseconds my dream made the story up in response?  Was there a delay between the injury and the plane crashing?  Maybe there wasn’t one and my unconscious mind just made one up so as to assure my conscious mind that nothing odd happened last night.

If the dream was running the show and it caused me to convulse in bed and cause the injury, then what happened to the extreme heat I have a clear dream memory of?  Was my physical temperature actually going up in response to the dream, much as my physical exertions seem to have been in unison?  I do monitor some dream patterns (i.e. REM) from time to time, but maybe I need to track my sleeping body temperature too!

This was quite an interesting dream.  And I still don’t know why Doug was there.  Or what happened to him (in the dream).  I will share this blog with him, just in case.  If he happened to have had a similar or related dream, then maybe we are all in trouble 🙂


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Category: dreaming  personal  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Do Dreams Control You or Do You Control Your Dreams?

  1. Doug Laney says:

    No similar dream. But I did have one that night about being back and university, and a guy who looked a bit like you lived in the attached unit.

    We’ve been working together for too long mate!

    Sweet Dreams,

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