Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Chalkboard Dreamer

I usually don't think to tell people about my dreams. Some people know that I'm a lucid dreamer, which means I usually know I'm dreaming when I sleep. People who lucid dream have a degree of control over what happens in their mind as they slumber. Fewer people know that I have recurring lucid dreams.

While this isn't news for me, since I've had them for a while, I realize that quite a few people don't know this about me. I just never think to discuss something that is mundane, in my eyes. I bring this up because I had the dream again, recently.

In the dream, I find myself standing in a classroom. The camera pans around me as I'm holding a piece of thick white chalk. Ok, there actually are no camera angles in my dreams, but I'll be dramatic anyway. The classroom seems a lot like the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark; the room is mostly wood paneling with old, fixed seating. Each panel is a raised, beveled square within a larger wooden backing. Bright light enters the rooms from large, tall windows in the front of the class.

I'm standing up on the small raised stage. It has a green floor. There's an old, wooden chalkboard between myself and the windows. You know, the chalkboard that flip around to another side. In fact, the chalkboard is the main reason this dream is interesting.

Nothing too fancy and just a dream

If I choose to do so, I can write on this chalkboard with the white chalk in my hand. However, whatever I start will finish itself. For instance, if I write out the beginning of a phrase, the phrase will start to finish itself. This works for everything I have tried so far, except mathematical equations. The chalk even finishes itself for theoretical questions. I have done some of my best work on this chalkboard.

One memorable time in my first semester of college, I was doing moderately extensive reading into HIV vaccine research. I especially liked the theoretical questions of how to 'out-smart' viruses, considering the disease kills the immune cells that are most important to vaccine operation. I posed this problem to the board... and it gave me a solution. I wrote up this solution and contacted a researcher at my current university.

I got the best compliment I'd ever gotten in my life from that correspondence. For a brief while, I did HIV vaccine research with monkeys here. I know I got that position because of the thoughts I got from that chalkboard.

I keep on hearing that we should all "dream big." Funny that my big dreams come from a dream that's pretty small and simple.