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Dreaming is one of the most common forms of hallucinations experienced by our conscious minds. It is also one of the most powerful, to the point where it is life-changing for many individuals including myself. Many people in my life tend to overlook their dreams without reflecting them to their own awakened reality. Whenever I talk to my friends and family members about our dreams, they often describe them as “nothing interesting,” “awesome,” or a “horrible nightmare.” When I became more aware of my dreams, I started to realize they are a path towards a greater awareness of the world around me. Dreams are an opportunity to learn new lessons and receive inspiration so that I can gain more self-discipline and self-improvement. There is one particular dream I experienced that had the most impact on my perspective of life. This dream taught me how to accept failure, accept the fact that I may not succeed in everything I do, and use past failures as a way of learning how to improve. More importantly, due to past experiences, it taught me that hard work and dedication are the key factors to success, not self-esteem and intelligence level.
During my high school years, I had many memorable experiences I reminisce about. However, I also experienced many failures and setbacks. All throughout my first two years in high school, I had high expectations and standards for myself. I strived to score an A in every single one of my classes and to be one of the top students. Fortunately, due to my competitive nature and self-esteem, I succeeded in my goals and received honour roll. Near the end of my second year, I decided to try something new and attend the tryouts for my school’s football team. I attended every tryout and applied all of my focus and effort into the practice drills, but unfortunately, I was rejected from the team by the head coach. I felt a heavy load of shame and dishonour inside me, knowing that I failed made me feel like trying my hardest was pointless and soon, I lost hope in my abilities. Since I lost all hope in my abilities, I stopped putting effort and time into my studies and my marks started to drop. My mindset about my education drastically changed, doing just good enough to receive a good enough mark, instead of an excellent mark. I was performing at the mediocre level throughout Grade 11, 12, and sadly, the first year of university.
It wasn't until the summer of 2016, where I had this one particular dream. It took place at my high school, where a series of events took place. I was participating in a field lacrosse match that was the championship match. After we were tied with the opposing team 8-8, I managed to score the final goal at the final second of the final quarter. The spectators were cheering loudly and all my teammates and I gathered around in the centre of the field to celebrate our victory. We received a brass trophy cup, and gathered together with our coach for a team photograph. We put on broad smiles and held our index fingers pointed up in the air to signify that we won first place in our high school city league. After the match, I received an award at the athletic banquet for the most dedicated athlete of the year. The final event was my graduation, and this was where I received a scholarship that goes to the student who displayed the most dedication and hard work. At the end of the graduation ceremony, all the students stood up and threw their caps up into the air, and at that moment in my dream, I was in a state of bliss. As my friends and I congratulated each other, we exited the school building and started our trip home. The sun was setting and the sky was filled with a beautiful orange-pink color. After we crossed Concordia road, I decided turn around to take a final look of my school and indulge in all the wonderful experiences I had there. All of a sudden, a massive body of gray cloud was approaching our direction from behind the school building and a funnel started to form down from the cloud, eventually it touched the ground turning into a tornado. I told my friends not to worry as it was very far off into the distance and we continued our trip home. I felt wind blowing against my back and it got stronger and stronger, I looked behind us and the tornado was suddenly a lot closer to us, so we started to run. Another tornado flanked us from the corner of our right hand side blocking our path to go straight. I yelled to go left and we ran through a back alley, but before we reached the end of the ally, another tornado blocked the exit and came towards us. I yelled to turn back the other way, but we were blocked by the tornado that flanked us. Out of desperation, I yelled at my friends to climb over the fence beside us so that we can take shelter in one of the houses, and I was first to climb the fence. I looked back just to see my friends get sucked into one of the tornadoes, and then I saw a strange humanoid creature that had pale white skin and long scraggly hair squatting on top of the roof beside me. It was the Oni, who is a demon that is well known in old Japanese folklore. While I was clinging on to the fence, he looked at me with a large grin clenching his teeth, and he had large bulging eyes with long horns protruding from his forehead. He asked me:
“You are about to die, do you want to become a demon?”
It was at this moment where I got sucked up away by one of the tornadoes. Finally, I awoke jolting up from my bed all sweaty and breathing heavily.
In this dream, I experienced many successes and felt a great sense of joy. The dream then turned dark and sinister very fast. I came to realize that the Oni symbolized my shame I felt whenever I failed and the tornadoes symbolized my inevitable death in the future. Ultimately, the lesson I learned from this dream was to not look down on myself when I fail at something and allow failures to make me lose hope in my abilities. This dream also made me realize that successes are always worthwhile to achieve, despite the circumstances, because life is too short to let opportunities of success slip away.