WHY DO WE DREAM?
For thousands of years, to most, dreams have been a mystery. Scientists, spiritualists and atheists alike have all questioned why we dream and what our dreams might mean. Though each has developed their own reasoning, the commonality between them is that they are quite intriguing.
There are a myriad of dream symbols, dream concepts and dream meanings. Some dreams can be interpreted respective to the dreamer and some respective to collective dreamers. Some dreams carry messages of healing and some dreams are messages that come about from deep within our subconscious. Some dreams even carry messages of prophecy.
As with all endeavours, focusing energy on interpreting dreams will promote success in understanding them. And those who focus will realize that the more focus is put on remembering dreams, the more they begin to take shape into a larger, abstract theme. And with study, they begin to connect themselves together as links on a chain.
Though there is no definitive answer as to why we dream and what our dreams mean, there are definitive connections between what we dream, our subconscious mind and our spiritual path (if we are on one). The subconscious mind, when desiring to pass a message onto our conscious mind, will extend the message repeatedly into our dreams. It will continue to do so, time and time again until we recognize the pattern or theme, acknowledge it and begin to heal. This is where we can begin to examine recurring dreams.
Recurring dreams are dreams that we have with the same or similar themes which occur more than once or even on a regular basis. These dreams can have been occurring since childhood, they may have stopped a few years and come back or they can be more recent. The bottom line is the same: there is a message that your subconscious wishes for your conscious mind to receive. In fact, we will continue to have dreams with the same theme until we receive the message of the dreams. To obtain the message, there is a series of questions we can ask ourselves: How do we feel in the dream? Do we feel happy, sad, anxious, fearful, etc. What kind of symbols are in the dream? Landscapes, animals, day/night… and the list of questions goes on. By asking ourselves these probing questions, we can begin to notice a pattern. It will also help to journal. By journaling our dreams in detail for prolonged periods of time- to include how we are feeling when we wake up and any other pertinent details such as significant colours, location, time of day, other people in our dreams and what they represent to us; we can begin to put the details together on a larger scale.
In addition to the subconscious messages of recurring dreams, dream meanings can also be as simple as your dreaming about what happened that day. That is to say, not every dream has a profound meaning. In fact, sometimes we may just be dreaming about going to the bathroom because we actually have to go to the bathroom! It may just be that simple. We may dream about food because we’re hungry, we may dream about work because we’re thinking about work and we may dream about our long lost relative because we were thinking about them before we fell asleep.
Some of the deeper schools of thought about what our dreams mean include why we dream about something we experienced that day. For example, given that the average North American is bombarded with thousands upon thousands of images throughout any given day, some may question why we dreamt about one specific image in particular? The thought process is this: Our brains receive millions of pieces of information every day. These pieces can come from media, walking in the woods, even driving from your home to a restaurant down the street. Most of these pieces of information go completely unnoticed by your conscious mind. However, when we go to sleep, we may have a dream about an image we just quickly passed by on a billboard. Or we may dream about a commercial that we were barely paying attention to. Even though consciously, we are not focused directly on that image, our subconscious has chosen that image to dream about because of what it represents. For example, let’s say you were out driving with your family and out of the corner of your eye, you saw a sign with a dog’s face on it. You barely noticed it, except to say that it was the face of a dog. Then later that night, you dreamt very vividly of this dog wandering around your house. You wake up and think you’re crazy for dreaming about a dog on a billboard! Before you call the therapist, take a moment and reflect: what does “dog” mean to you? Commonly, dreaming of a dog implies that you are dreaming of someone who is loyal. And dreaming of a house is a reflection of yourself- in dreams, commonly your house is an extension of your body. So, it would be fair to say in this assessment that you are dreaming of a loyal friend or lover in your life.
What does all of this mean? All of this is to say that what we perceive subconsciously during the day fires specific synapses in our brains that send messages to us when our conscious mind is at rest and more readily able to receive messages. This means that whichever signs, symbols and scenarios we encounter during the day will more easily be reflected back to us while we dream. These symbols carry meaning in our conscious mind so that we can easily decipher what our subconscious wants us to know. These messages are of healing, unresolved issues from our past, bodily messages of health and function, and of course messages of Spirit that will give us the extra push we need to succeed.
Dreams are truly fascinating. Though there is yet no definitive answer to the why’s and how’s, it s always fun to keep track of our dreams and see where their messages take us!
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