I have long been fascinated by dreams. The idea that they might mean something, and affect our lives- not simply reflect our lives, is not a new concept. It is a concept, however, that I feel should be delved into more deeply.
From Freud to Jeanne Dixon, people have been telling us that our dreams mean something. You can take a completely scientific approach to decoding messages in dreams, or you can lean toward the more prophetic, or supernatural theories. Finally, you might chalk them all up to random brain activity. Perhaps the brain gets bored while we sleep, and needs to process the happenings of the day as it sees fit.
I believe there are many types of dreams. There are the crazy dreams. You dream you are flying over Manhattan like Superman, and your boss has your mom’s face, and a three-eyed dog yells at you in the elevator. When you wake from this type of dream, you usually feel amused, or confused. You might tell someone, “Wow, I had the weirdest dream last night!” I am not sure that this type of dream can always be interpreted. I think of these as mental graffiti, or the brain might be starved for more creative expression.
Then there’s the dream that seems to be trying to tell you something that you need to do, or figure out, in the waking world. An anonymous source confided in me that she dreamed that older men in her life, which had been pursuing her romantically, were trying to molest or rape her , and as she dashes into a random house to be safe, her dad is at the top of the stairs. She was able to put together a theory that others already had- but that she could not accept- that authority and ‘daddy issues’ truly were at the root of her real-life struggles with feeling attracted to inappropriately older men. I think she was able to see the truth that she already knew. The dream made the truth easier to accept than hearing it from someone else. After all, it came from her own mind.
It could be argued that the dreams come from and speak to our subconscious, the place where our true nature and motivation lies. Hypnotists tap into the subconscious to help people make positive changes in their lives (or dance like chickens while ‘smelling’ popcorn). So, the question I would like to answer begins with an attempt to understand the importance of the subconscious and dreams. Lucid dreaming, the concept of controlling the direction of our dreams, is another topic we will delve into. Finally, what about all the dreams we have that we don’t remember? Are those also affecting us in our daily lives? I can recall waking up feeling quite disturbed on many occasions, with a dream fleeting from me faster than I could get out of the bed. All the same, I knew I’d had some sort of nightmare or disturbing dream. You shake it off, and go on with your day, but how much do these dreams affect us?
My favorite dream: The prophetic dream. A relative of my ex-husband’s died. His grandmother. We had never met. I dreamed that I walked into a house from a sliding glass door, that the bedroom was in the back, and on my right, against the wall, was the bed. Someone elderly with pure white hair peeked from under the covers and told me that she was alright, and that everything was going to be OK. I got the impression so strongly that it was my grandma, but I didn’t recognize the lady in my dream. I just figured it was a weird dream. Often, the main point of a dream will be accurate to reality, but the details get skewed. That’s normal for me.
I was so worried, though, that I called my mom in Florida to check on my grandma. She was fine. I told my then-boyfriend, now ex-husband, all about the dream. He got very interested when I described the house, and the white-haired lady. His eyes grew big. Turns out his grandparent lived on the lake, with a glass-sliding door as the main entrance. The bedroom was in the back, the bed up against the back wall, and her hair was pure snow-white. His mom called an hour later to tell him that his grandma had just passed on. I never met her, had never seen her picture, and I hadn’t learned much about her yet from my boyfriend at the time. So, I believe there is a supernatural possibility to dreams. Being in a completely relaxed, unguarded state may be what we need to hear communications we would normally not be able to.
Nightmares and Warning Dreams: Not anyone’s favorite. These tap into fears, causing a traumatic event to be replayed, over and over. Sometimes the details change, but the fear can be all-consuming. Theories that I would like to prove or disprove include the idea that children have nightmares more often than adults because they do not have the ability yet to step outside of the dream, and get out of it. ( Lucid dreaming) and that the recurring nightmare is a clear signal that we still need healing from the past traumatic event if we want to get rid of the nightmares. Warning dreams are different , though. If you dream that there will be a terrorist bomb in a cafe in Europe you are planning to visit on vacation soon, maybe you should heed the warning and make other plans. Ditto for crumbling bridges and crashing airplanes. Sometimes it’s just fear, but sometimes it could truly be a warning we should not ignore. I will bring stories of warning dreams that came true. I will let you be the judge of the integrity of the tales.
I plan to do a lot of research for the Dream Scapes posts, and will do my best to properly APA cite it all. If you wish to share your dream stories, please do so. Let me know if I would have permission to quote you, or refer to your story. Thank you!