Friday, March 20, 2009

On dreams - The Book of Disquietude


Although I'm passionate about reading, I rarely get attached to books. I much rather see them going from hand to hand than covered in dust on a bookshelf. So, in our household books are always pased on to somebody else once they've been read. Sometimes they're returned, sometimes they aren't. That doesn't really bother me. Except for this one book. You know I'm badly in need of a holiday when I get out the Book of Disquietude. It's a clear sign that I'm stressed out, overworked and unable to juggle the various components of my life. Here I am supposed to be writing my infertility story to be used as basis for a workshop a psychologist friend of mine is giving next week, but instead the Book of Disquietude is here by my side tempting me with its disturbing truths.

There's a part of me that I rarely share with others. Just as I was reaching the end of the line on my infertility journey, I completely lost my ability to dream. I woke up one day from surgery wishing I could just drift back into a deep sleep, one which would prevent me from ever dreaming again. That's quite a frightening feeling as dreams are for me just as essential to survival as the very air we breathe. Fernando Pessoa, in the Book of Disquietude, speaks of two kind of dreamers. Those who dream the impossible, and spend their lives in a deep sleep, and those who dream the possible, and are awake to life. I could be neither for dreams were my traitors. That set me out on a parallel quest to recover a side of me that was completely numb. This was an incredible journey into the deep meanders of my soul. For this reason, I'm constantly searching with a hawk's eyes every single passage on dreams in the Book of Disquietude.

And to get this out of my system and to be able to get back to work, I wish to share with you one such passage on dreams, found randomly when leafing through the book just now:
"I ask myself who you are, you this figure who traverses all my languid visions of unknown landscapes and ancient interiors and splendid pageants of silence. In all of my dreams you appear, in dream form, or you accompany me as a false reality. With you I visit regions that are perhaps dreams of yours, lands that are perhaps your bodies of absence and inhumanity, your essential body dissolved into the shape of a tranquil plain and a stark hill on the grounds of some secret place. Perhaps I have no dream but you. Perhaps it is in your eyes, when my face leans into yours, that I read these impossible landscapes, these unreal tediums, these feelings that inhabit the shadows of my weariness and the caves of my disquiet. Perhaps the landscapes of my dreams are my way of not dreaming about you. How do I know that you’re not a part of me, perhaps the real and essential part? And how do I know it’s not I who am the dream and you the reality, I who am your dream instead of you being mine?"

The Book of Disquietude, Fernando Pessoa

1 comment:

Martha said...

Wow, this is amazing. It reminds me of the Chopra book I am reading. I need to find this book. Thank you so much, RA xx