Many years ago, while I was working on my undergrad dissertation, I was tasked with completing a short study on dream interpretations and their meanings. My primary focus being the historical research done by Sigmund Freud, however; not limited to just his viewpoints which are quite arguable skewed. (anyone familiar with Mr. Freud may understand what I mean)
It got me thinking recently about that study I had done and the path in which I was trying to decipher subliminal dream meanings. It was nearly overwhelming trying to understand and process all of the available information out there since, like many paths of religion, they are all subject to an individuals interpretation. If you think about it, Native American Cultures have very specific meaning behind certain animals that appear in your dreams. Same can be said for the Chinese culture or even Greek mythology. With so many thoughts and meanings, how would one try to understand their dreams and find the hidden message within?
The answer is simple, you dont. While many people want to know what their subconscious mind is trying to show or tell them, we really dont know why we dream what we do and/or if it offers something deeper than the face value presented.
A good example is dreaming about fire. Depending on how the fire is presented might mean many different things. Is it a camp fire? Are you relaxed? Is it a house fire and you are trapped? Are you engulfed in flames? Each one can mean and represent something deeper or it could just be a cumulation of irrational thoughts all jumbled together.
It is thought that when we dream the part of our brain that is functioning is incapable of deciphering letters and numbers, so we may see a clock and know it is 3 but we cant visually see it reading 3 in our dreams. Same has been said for faces. We know who the person is, but we cant actually see their face.
Much research has been done on the different stages of sleep and the importance of the sleep cycle. The timeline in which the brain activity is heightened to allow for dreaming is done towards the end of the sleep stage in REM sleep. (Rapid eye movement) For those looking to improve their lucid dreaming ability, the concept is to understand during the REM sleep phase that you are asleep. Once you are cognitively aware you are asleep, you can then control your dream. I remember watching one study in which participants were hooked up to a monitor to register their brain waves. When they reached REM sleep, a blue light was set up near their eyelids and it flashed several times. The light was the trigger that allowed the individual to be consciously aware they were asleep, and they were able to take control of their dreams.
Lucid dreaming can also be done with shorter cat naps or quick phase one and two of the sleep cycle. While the dreaming stage usually isnt as significant or extensive, it is easier to practice acknowledging you are asleep.
In all, I believe that dreams are only what you make of them. Most people who ask me to decipher what their dreams mean want to look at the factual picture. So, if you had a dream you were burned at the stake, you may think this is a regressive dream from a prior life. I tend to disregard those face value beliefs and look at it more on an emotional level. Perhaps they feel like their life is out of their control (burning fire) and they dont have the ability or power to change what is happening (bound to a stake-immobile) You dont need to read a ton of books on theories, you only need to sit down and look at the stressors in your life at that moment. Anxiety and stress can cause some very weird emotional dream patterns that often come across as confusing or nightmarish. Try writing them down when you wake. When you are better situated later in the day, go back and read the dream and think more on an emotional scale as to why you had those thoughts.
Again, dreaming is always subject to interpretation to each individuals body, mind and beliefs. The significance of one thing to someone, may have a completely different meaning to someone else.
I am curious to hearing what strange dream interpretations some of you may have heard or feel are accurate to you. Does anyone have a significant re-occurring dream? How do you decipher that for yourself?
I like your post. Normally when I interpretation a person dreams I based mime on emotions. How are they feeling, what were they feeling at the time, what do they most fear? I have found that eight out of ten of the people who ask for help with their dreams normally do have a strong emotion linked to that said dream. From worry to even happiness and joy. Sometimes people don't even know their carrying that emotion or denial it. So, dreams try and scream a red flag at us to pay attention at least that's how I take it.
It works easier for me this way since my dreams also react to my emotions. If I'm worried about something my dreams happen fast. If there is a toxic female in my life. Boom, attack by a red back spider, a toxic male in my life Dobermans chasing me down the street. Often animals appeared in my own dreams to give me messages that I have either ignored in waking life or warn me of incoming damage. It's all about listening to yourself, what is my body trying to tell me, what emotion am I'm linking into about this upcoming stressful situation.
Even nightmares in the past have occur due to poor health issues. What's this? Dealing with emotional stress and depression seven nightmares in my face. What's this I have to trust that spirit knows what Its doing. Have your teeth falling out in your dreams. It normally means that I need to look after myself, don't eat too much unhealthy food before I go to bed and don't drink too much coffee.
Even when there is a spirit around that wishes to make contact with me. I normally get the fist few signs to say hey, pay attention to me. And than I know my dreams are going to be crazy with so many symbolism that I lost count before and after some deer I saw in my dream, their normally so vidi those one.
Re-occurring dreams don't know if anybody else has the same experience, but I find those when my body is at the most peace. It's like going over to an old friend place just to chill. I do find that there are people in my life that may be in are-occurring dream, but most of the time it's either a message or they need healing.While I don't have the same dream over and over again. I definitely do have dreams where I've been to that place in a dream before and it's just like going to my favourite library or my favourite local park again type of feel. For me it always happens when I'm at peace.
While other people can help someone to understand your dreams and it is always great for second thoughts on a dream. Nobody really knows what is going inside of your head, but you. Listen to the body, your emotions and nine out of ten I can happily say that your body is trying to tell you something and because of that it's going to give you a dream. Either a nightmare to pay attention to or a dream that make you question the works of your own mind.