Ever felt strange happenings while dreaming? Or whatever you dream about just came true? Or maybe whatever you dream about was your childhood wish?
Dreams have fascinated people from the beginning of time. People believe dreams foretell the future; that they have psychological meanings; we commune with spirits and the dead; that there are visitations from ancestors; dreams make prophesies and are filled with omens and auguries. They are steeped in mystery, as if written in some kind of secret code, decipherable to a special few.
Isn’t it enthralling how different meaning dreams can have? Let’s find out some interesting things about dreams!
“Macrobius” a Roman, described 5 types of dreams:
- Somnium: an enigmatic mysterious dream requiring interpretation; think Freud and psychoanalysis.
- Visio: a prophetic vision that predicts a future that comes true; think Jacob’s Dream in the Bible
- Oraculum: prophetic dream in which an authority figure plays a role; think of the visions of Joan of Arc in which three saints instruct her to recover France from the English.
- Insomnium: a nightmare or false or disturbing dream caused by a pathological condition; think the repetitive nightmares of PTSD
- Visum: a nightmare that include apparitions and contact with supernatural beings; think Scrooge’s journeys into the past and future in Dickens’ Christmas Carol.
Dreaming is another form of consciousness and it is defined as, “A hallucinatory experience during sleep consisting of visual images related in a story-like structure, which are accepted as reality at the time.”
The average person spends about 6 years of their life dreaming. Most dreams serve as a review of the day and are related to the day’s activities. Interestingly, our brains register more stimuli during the day than we realize and our brains will then take this unnoticed information and incorporate it into our dreams.
While there is no scientific evidence for dreams having any symbolic meaning there are many theories about dreams and their purposes.
Some of these theories include:
- “The information processing theory proposers that our dreams help us sort our tan process the day’s events and fix them into our memory”
- “The Physiological Function Theory suggests that dreaming may promote neural development and preserve neural pathways by providing the brain with stimulation”
- “Dreams are part of our cognitive development, they draw on our knowledge and understanding of the world, mimicking reality”
- “REM sleep triggers neural activity, and dreams are an accidental side-effect”
Explication of dream:
How is it that Eddie went to bed that night and was awakened eight hours later by killing a monster in a dream?
The meaning of the dream is as follows: The anxiety that generated the dream derived from the argument with the professor. The way a dream operates is that the surface conflict is like the crust of a piece of pie. The deeper meaning of the dream cuts all the way to the center of the pie, to his core. Eddie re-enacts a form of the already established internal play to digest the surface conflict. The feeling relatedness in Eddie’s dream is one of sadomasochism. The ogre, a monomaniacal bully, hates Eddie. He is stalking Eddie in order to kill him. Eddie is in the masochistic position of this relationship. He is threatened, terrified, humiliated, and impotent. By his actions later in the dream, it is clear that the masochist in this relationship is also filled with hatred and murderous rage. The limbic system clearly creates the feeling relationship between dream characters.
The inner context for the dream, then, was a story that already existed inside Eddie. This story and inner world derived from Eddie’s formative emotional experience with his mother and father. The emotional conflict with the professor resonated with this inner story. The surface of his inner story was the problematic relationship with his father, who was an arrogant, self-involved, and cruel man. Eddie spent his childhood hopelessly seeking his father’s approval but to no avail. When Eddie sought approval from his professor, sure enough, his hopes were dashed once again. He was forced to submit to unresponsive disapproval from male authority.
More profoundly, the inner story of Eddie and his father telescoped to the more disturbing relationship with his mother. Hers was a secret world of physical and emotional sadism and violence. In fact, his father’s humiliations were an extension of the core violations by his mother. Eddie’s experience of his father was already filtered by what had come before. The relationship between Eddie and his mother was one of unadulterated sadomasochism. Mother related to Eddie by her sadistic and violent rage. As the masochistic object of this rage, Eddie was on the receiving end of unrelenting physical and emotional abuse, cruelty, humiliation, and threat. He was helpless, impotent, and intimidated.
This dream is a model as to how dreams operate. For the most part we have to digest emotional conflicts which happen on a daily basis. The issues that may occupy the dream stage are combats, quests, challenges, boredoms, wishes, hopes, curiosities, pain, disappointments, sexual interests and stimulations, fantasies, competitions, fears, anxieties, cruelty, sadism, humiliations, sufferings, abuse, deprivations, traumas, envies, jealousies, sadness’s, and otherwise the full panoply of life’s dramas, engagements, and relationship adventures. The conflicts to be digested aren’t always emotional ones. Sometimes when a person is cognitively trying to solve a problem, and this is the context that is on his plate when he goes to sleep. The dream may through its dream work digest the problem and come up with a solution. On awakening if one remembers the dream he will see the solution. If one doesn’t remember the dream he’ll come to the solution refreshed in the morning.
Do you want to know about some interesting facts about dreams?
- Not everybody can dream in color: Approximately 12% of people dream only in black-and-white and the rest can dream in full color. That’s a fascinating fact. And, this can be linked to technology and invention of color media/television. So is there something called dream colors meaning? I’m pretty sure, there is.
- We forget at least 90% of the dreams: Hasn’t it happened to you that as soon as you wake up, you can’t seem to remember what you were dreaming about? This is true that within 5 minutes of us waking up from a dream, half the dream is already forgotten. And within 10 minutes, 90% of the dream is lost. This is why we have such a hard time remembering dreams.
- Emotions experienced in our dreams are real: People tend to experience anxiety the most in their dreams. Such negative emotions appear more in our dreams than positive ones.
- Blind people can dream too: People who’ve lost their eye-sight after birth can see some images while asleep. Now those who are blind since birth don’t see any images, however, they experience vivid dreams that involve their sense of smell, touch, emotions and sound. All physical situations help make dreams, which in short provides blind people ability to dream.
- Animals dream as well, it’s not just a human thing: Do dogs dream? Or how about cats? Any other animals? Studies have actually proven that many different animals show similar brain waves during “dream sleep” as we do. If you have a dog or cat, watch when he/she is sleeping. Any kind of paw movements that indicate that they are running (while making a yapping sound) will mean that they are chasing someone/something.
- External stimuli tend to invade our dreams: Also called “dream incorporation”, our mind starts to interpret the external stimuli that storm our senses while we sleep and they become a part of our dreams. For example, we hear a sound in reality and then incorporate it in our dreams in some way or another.
- We can only dream of what we know:There may be strange faces and/or places in our dreams, but your mind is not making any of this up. You may not remember the places and faces during your life, but your mind does. And hence, when you feel you don’t know someone, in fact, you have seen him/her sometime in your life.
Looking forward to what will you dream next? 😉