What are dreams made of and why are they important? Dreaming has always been a fascination in various cultures, something that happens to all of us and something remaining a mystery still. There are several philosophies of dreams, but the most eye opening and revealing has been that of Freud himself, in his groundbreaking book “The Interpretation of Dreams”. Your dreams are an important aspect of you, your thoughts, your wishes, your feelings, your conflicts. In a way our brain continues to be active even though we are asleep, and at times we remember what it is our brain was up to. Why do our dreams not make sense to us? Why do we dream in a different language? in visuals and not words? Because our most primative method of processing information and responding is sensory, when we were infants, before we developed advanced thought. And we still think that way, apart from our evolved yet limited form of thinking and processing. There is quite a lot that we know and feel that we are unaware of, called our unconscious mind! interpreting our dreams is one way to access that world! Our internal world! The popular culture interprets dreams based on universal meanings. (Just google dream interpretation and you’ll see for yourself). Why that doesn’t work for me or doesn’t seem as valid is that we are all unique individuals with our own set of beliefs and norms. As an example, water for one person could mean peace, but for a person who has almost drowned or been traumatized by water in some way, it could mean danger. A dream in a vacuum without the dreamer is absolutely nothing.
So you see, our dreams are messeges to us from us. Even one dream not interpreted is like a letter from yourself unopened. So what’s the best way to “open” your letters? First thing is to remember your dreams to be able to recount them. Get a good night’s rest. Waking up naturally rather than to an alarm is also a way to help recall dreams. And as soon as you awaken, just lay there still and re-experience the feeling you just had waking up. The feelings that accompany the dreams are as important as the details, if not more. You may even want to jot down what comes to mind about your dream and keeping a small dream journal by your bed can be handy. If you spend that moment remaining in the dream, you are more likely to recall the dream and details later. And as the day progresses you may recall even more details. When feeling lost and confused about your dream, that is normal and a valid feeling too….keep that feeling in mind…of confusion, or what ever it may be. To gain further access, try to think of the color(s) of the dream, the smells, the sounds, tastes, touch, darkness, light, depth, texture, any random objects that don’t fit, any detail you can think of, whether you saw yourself as a third person or through your perspective, who else was in the dream, what those people/things may represent. The more you seek the more you may find. And remember if all you come up with is a feeling, that is still very huge. That may be a feeling that is bothering you but you are not fully aware of it but feel uneasy about some part of your life. It may clear things up, but more likely it will give you more questions than answers. Particularly if you are new to this.
Therapy can be a great way to help with dream interpretation and dream interpretation is a great way to assist therapy. The unconscious mind is a powerful and beautiful entity. Access to it is a privileged gift! Dream interpretation without you, your knowledge and insight about yourself, may be fun but is superficial and not helpful. Viewing dreams as information about yourself and making the puzzle fit takes more effort, but is that much more rewarding. Stay tuned for another post about the unconscious mind and how it works and why it does what it does. Why somethings are in our awareness and others remain hidden. Why we hide from ourselves! And what it takes for material to emerge into conscious awareness and be integrated in a healthy way. Sleep snuggly and dream sweetly!