John has always been interested in the study and interpretation of dreams. He has read widely on the topic.
What Do Our Dreams Mean?
Are dreams prophesies, and can they predict the future? Are there different types of dreams, and are some more significant than others? Is it possible to learn the meaning of dreams and unlock their messages? These are just a few of the common questions people may ask concerning their dreams.
Dreams offer us useful information about our unconscious minds. For thousands of years, people have believed in the power of dreams to heal illness, foretell the future, provide spiritual insight, and solve daily problems and dilemmas.
When dreaming, our unconscious minds are aware of certain aspects of our personalities that our conscious minds are reluctant to acknowledge. Dreams are one way of bringing up issues that our waking selves choose to ignore at significant risk to our emotional, mental, and physical health.
Creative types like writers, artists, actors and inventors often get their ideas and inspiration from dreams. One such person that comes to mind is the best-selling author Stephen King, who admits most ideas for his novels have come to him in dreams.
It is important to keep in mind that dreams reflect our innermost thoughts and feelings and that all events and actions that happen in our dreams are personal to us. If we are in tune with our waking lives, dreams can help us understand ourselves better. By interpreting them correctly, we may be amazed by the hidden treasures they reveal.
Why Do We Dream and What Is Their Purpose?
Three of the main theories of why we dream are as follows:
- Sigmund Freud theorized that the main function of dreams was simply to preserve sleep. This thinking has been contradicted by more modern studies showing that because dreams happen so regularly—at least four or five times per night during REM sleep—they should not actually be beneficial to sound sleep.
- Carl Jung, on the other hand, claimed that the main reason for dreaming is to compensate for those parts of our psyche or personality that are suppressed or undeveloped in our waking life.
- Other dream theorists believe that the main purpose of dreams is for problem-solving. Dreams help us to deal with problems that we have trouble facing or solving in our waking life and may offer some form of solution.
Realistically, a dream is a hallucination. It is like a fantasy story unfolding in our sleep that either reduces our stress levels or lets us live out our greatest fears in the safety of sleep. Dreams allow us to relax and let our minds drift away into different worlds and realities. We can interact in this non-physical state with people, places, and things (real or imagined.)
Everyone dreams every night, but not everyone remembers dreams regularly. One thing that is likely to hinder your dream recall is actually fear. All of us enjoy a beautiful dream and are upset when we are woken from one, but one frightening dream or nightmare can stop us from remembering our dreams for years to come. Well, because you are still dreaming those scary dreams, but because you can't remember, you are forgoing the opportunity to learn something from them.
When you ignore a situation that is troubling you, it grows out of proportion. If you face those worries head-on and study them closely, they are rarely as bad as they seem, and you usually find a solution. It is the same with dreams. You need to welcome back your dream and recall and confront those scary dreams—when you face your fears, you grow and learn.
Between your dreams and your reality, there is no distance, there is no time. WAKE UP to your dreams. Live them as the reality they are.
My Own Dreams and How I Interpret Them
The interpretation of dreams is too complex a subject to be able to cover in one article, but there are countless excellent resources for you to turn to. Just two such books are Dictionary of Dreams by Rose Inserra and 101 Dream Interpretation Tips by Jane Teresa Anderson. I have both of these in my collection and can genuinely recommend both.
The following strange dream came to me as I slept last night, so I have not yet had time to interpret it. I am currently reading through these two wonderful books to see if I can make some sort of logical sense out of it all. Anyway, I thought I would put my dream to poetry as a way of remembering it.
The Strangest Dream
I had the strangest dream last night,
It really verged on weird.
Trying to make sense of it
Has me scratching at my beard.
It started in a forest green,
In a cabin off the grid,
Where I lived sustainably with my wife -
There was no sign of kids.
But, suddenly the scene had changed -
We were in a shopping mall,
Engaged in grocery shopping,
But from farmer’s market stalls.
Exchanging produce we required
For crops, we’d grown at home.
Not a dollar crossed a palm –
A better way was shown.
Quickly the scene had changed again –
In a hospital, we appeared.
But my memory is blurry,
I can’t remember why we’re here.
The doctors were alternative,
One mixed potions with his feet,
And diagnosed his patients
Just by measuring their heat.
He felt my dear wife’s shoulder,
Said, "I sense there’s cancer there.
I need to phone a specialist
To confirm initial fears."
He called and left a message
For them to call him back,
But the hospital had disappeared
And I was in the dry outback.
The land was flat and treeless,
Just a windmill and a tank.
Some kangaroos were hopping by,
And from a trough, cows drank.
A helicopter hovered,
And a black-clad man jumped out.
He had a box of ice creams,
Which he handed all about.
Where there’d been no one just before,
Except for me alone,
Now suddenly there was a crowd
Eating ice cream cones.
I called my wife, who wasn’t there.
I don’t know where she’d gone,
And then I woke up with a start
To the ringing of our phone.
I don't dream at night, I dream all day; I dream for a living.
— Steven Spielberg
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 John Hansen