How I learned that dreams are helpful.
Many years back, I felt the impulse to learn French. I didn’t have time to take a class. I also knew that pronunciation is the big challenge in French so it would be best to wait till I could study under someone. Then for two nights in a row, I dreamt whole dreams in French! I didn’t know what I was saying, as my conscious mind doesn’t know French, but I knew I was talking in French all night as my dream adventures moved on.
So, I figured that perhaps it was safe for me to try to teach myself as I seemed to already know French at some level. I had a little tourist book that had common French phrases with a phonetic description of how to pronounce words and I began to work with that. I should say “play” as I promised myself this would be a hobby and not something I make myself stress over. The French phrase book became my bathroom study. My grandfather had kept his Bible by the toilet so I figured anything was fair game for quick reading there. And this was supposed to be “play.”
I was enjoying this diversion for a couple weeks when I came upon something I couldn’t figure out: the pronunciation of the simple common words leand la; these both mean the article the in its masculine and feminine forms. The description in the phrase book of how to pronounce these came out the same for me.
Then one night I had this dream: I saw a little boy. Then I saw the inside of a mouth. The tongue was touching the roof of the mouth towards the back of the mouth. Thus the sound would come out more in the throat, like luh. Then I saw a little girl and then the inside of a mouth. The tip of the tongue was now touching the top of the mouth toward the front of the mouth. The sound would thus come out more like lah.
To this day I do not know from who or where this information came to me, but it greatly encouraged me to ask for help and advice before I go to sleep. Many more times I’ve received responses like this, where a dream has clarified something for me.
Perhaps I should add that I often wondered “Why does it feel so important for me to learn French?” There was no practical reason. But I noticed that one has to hold one’s face and even body in a slightly different way when speaking French than one does when speaking English. There’s a demeanor required in order to speak French properly. I think there’s a demeanor to every language. This demeanor felt like “not me,” very foreign. It felt more self confident than I usually felt! It was an assertive stance. I began to think something in me was trying to strengthen my personality a bit! To this day, that’s my interpretation of this phenomena in my life. And, incidentally, I taught myself French well enough to pass out of first semester college French!