What’s in a dream?
By vpc
November 6th, 2016 |

Have you ever wondered if there’s any meaning or validity behind dreams? Maybe you dreamt something that eventually came true? Or, had a lucid dream that felt so real it gave you goosebumps? I’ll say, I have, but never pursued any sort of explanation, until I decided to attend the Rubin Museum dream-over, an event I read about in Time Out NY.

Each year, the Rubin Museum has its annual dream-over. Think childhood museum sleepover trips, but for 100 adults who want to dream under the watch of the hundreds of Tibetan and Himalayan buddhas on display throughout the galleries. Participants sleep next to a work of art specifically chosen for them, are serenaded by bedtime stories and lullabies, and are awakened by a psychoanalyst who helps you capture and interpret your dream. 

The evening began with a talk led by Dr. Vanessa Sinclair, psychologist and dream expert, and Khenpo Pema, lama. They imparted their philosophies and tips on how to actively recall a dream for review in the morning. We then broke out to groups by floor and shared reasons for being there and personal dream beliefs. Most people there had some level of experience in dream analysis.

Every person had a different reason for being there, one girl wanted to connect with her late father, another couple wanted to deepen their meditation practice, other attendees believed in infinite manifestation (the belief that dreams help us access our lives in alternate dimensions) and wanted to further their exploration. I simply wanted to try something new and explore a museum after hours, any dream revelations would have been a bonus.

Sadly, I woke up with no recollection of any dream, so my dream interpreter left my bedside fruitless. Nonetheless, here’s a photo chronicle of my experience:

8:30PM – Check-in at our assigned artwork to learn about our piece, and set up our sleeping area. 


Beds needed to be carefully placed so that our feet were never directly pointing to a buddha, which is considered a sign of disrespect.


9:15PM – Talk with Dr. Sinclair and Lama Khenpo


Live zitar instrumentals echoed throughout the museum and gently set us up for sound sleep.

11:30PM – Our dream analyst came to our bedside around and read us a bedtime story that she had written herself, a narrative about the buddha in our chosen piece.


9AM – At the morning breakfast we were asked to draw our dreams. After breakfast, our group gathered again to reflect on the evening. And upon departing, we saw our drawings strung throughout the lobby of the museum