WHAT DO YOUR DREAMS ACTUALLY MEAN?
The stories and images played out in our minds while we sleep are commonly known as dreams. Dreams make us happy or sad, anxious or calm. They raise questions and give answers too. They are filled with joy and hope, and sometimes even with dread. They are whimsical and fantastical.
For centuries humanity has wondered about the significance of dreams. Is it a message from another realm? Is it God trying to talk to us? Are they premonitions about something that is going to happen? Everyone has struggled with these questions, and once in a while, wondered what our dreams actually mean.
This is not in Patricia’s book.
Patricia Eltinge’s, The Dream Class: You’re your Dreams, Know Yourself! explores the dream realm and decodes the mysteries behind the dreams. In the book’s foreword, Dr. Pat Allen discusses the importance of dreams and why we should not ignore what we are dreaming about.
Dreams are the most important and effective way to get into our deepest secrets, our hidden traumas, and our unseen behavioral patterns. Dreams give us insights into our destinies. Dreams are sacred tools for deep discoveries that every culture since homo sapiens started walking the earth more than 200,000 years ago has used. Today, with all our technological advances and conveniences separating us more and more from our soul’s journey, we urgently need to return to our dreams for guidance, inspiration, and healing.
Why Do We Dream?
There are many theories regarding dreams, one of which believes that dreams are our subconscious’s way of dealing with all that has happened during the day. The good and the bad. The happy and the sad. The anticipation and the apprehensions. Every thought that passes through our head and every emotion that we feel is in its beautiful way processed by our brain as we sleep.
Author Patricia Eltinge has explored this question in detail in the book, which gives us a comprehensive understanding of the causes of our dreams.
To Awaken Insights
These types of dreams are instinctive and intuitive. While the instinctive side gives us insights into how we truly feel about people, situations, and things, the intuitive side tells us how we think about the people, situations, and things in our life.
To Enhance the Quality of Our Life
A dream may help us to improve areas of our life like health and work qualitatively.
Becoming more aware of our brain’s inner workings may help us improve the areas of our life that we have been ignoring or not paying due attention to.
To Gauge Our Relationships
Dreams with water images, i.e., oceans, lakes, ponds, puddles, showers, pools, and all forms of water indicate the level of commitment or emotional involvement in our relationships.
These dreams help us unravel the complications of our personal relationships and examine whether we are happy with certain things or want to bring about some change.
To Establish Emotional Stability Within Oneself
Dreams that represent extreme emotional content such as fear, anger, or hate are a source of insight for our personal growth and development.
These dreams can help us to identify which aspects of our lives are stable and where there is instability. They help us get clarity about our emotional state.
To Relieve Stress and Anxiety
These dreams can actually relieve a person, help them adjust to the stress and anxiety in their waking life.
They cannot just act as a coping mechanism but also guide us in finding out what exactly is causing stress in our lives and what needs to change.
Simply put, we dream because our subconscious mind is trying to make sense of what is happening not just within us but also around us. We can be sure that anything that we dream about is in some way connected to our emotional and mental state and requires further scrutiny.
Why somethings are highlighted and why some never bother to show up in the dream realm is still a mystery. What is known from various case studies is that dreams are rarely straightforward and precise.
What Do Our Dreams Actually Mean?
Most dreams are fragments and images that are flashed on your inner eye, and most of the time, completely random. In fact, you may dream of three or four things together that are in no way connected to each other. This happens because what we feel or go through is not organized. Most of the time, our thoughts, emotions, and experiences are jumbled up.
These random fragments and images generally represent something, and in dream parlance, they are known as symbols. If we want to understand our dreams, we need to learn to decipher the symbols and the hidden meaning behind them.
The symbol is neither abstract nor concrete, neither rational nor irrational, neither real nor unreal. – Carl Jung
Symbols are the keys to unlocking the mysteries of the unconscious, helping us to navigate the unknown.
If we happen to see a book in real life, it would mean that we are looking at a book in front of us. But in the unconscious state of mind, a book may represent a thirst for knowledge or a desire to learn something particular. It could also be a symbol of judgment or communication.
What the book represents in our dream, would depend on what we are going through in our life, what kind of a person we are, and our general feelings towards books.
When symbols manifest in dreams, they resonate meaningfully to us but in their own non-rational way.
The process of understanding our dreams is, in fact, just another way to discover ourselves. The symbols in our dreams are loaded with signs and hints, but they are not easy to understand.
Let us now take a look at some of the common dream symbols.
You may find many dictionary-style books or dream ledgers that will state the thousands of dream symbols and their meanings. PATRICIA, in her book, tries to explore a few common symbols and bring some clarity about them to the reader. Before we start the process of looking into symbols, it is also important to remember that symbols appearing in a dream are highly subjective.
For example, dreaming of a dog, by a dog lover can be interpreted differently from someone who is scared of dogs dreaming about them. So, the same symbol represents different emotions in different people.
Age- Past, Present, and Future
The age of a symbol (people, nature, or thing) gives us an indication of either the developmental stage of a feeling or thought in the dreamer’s unconscious.
Articles include all kinds of things or personal belongings. Articles are categorized as either yin (feminine or feeling aspects) or yang (masculine or doing aspects). The simplest way to determine the dreamer’s association with an article is to ask and help the dreamer to define the function or purpose of that article in waking life.
Body & Bodily Health
When a body part figures noticeably in a dream, the unconscious is pointing the dreamer toward something that may need attention energetically. If there is an ear injury in the dream, it might be a metaphor for something the dreamer does not want to hear or is not listening to in their life.
Dreaming of any building symbol relates generally to the dreamer’s whole self or identity. Where the dreamer actually finds him or herself in the building is important. Building dreams also represent the dreamer’s relationship with their body.
Clothing can be thematically understood as the dreamer’s persona or the identity they present in their waking state to the world. While underwear is a foundational layer of the dreamer’s identity, outerwear such as coats depicts armoring oneself.
Typically, we don’t notice colors in our dreams, but a particular color or color quality of the dream that stands out will add extra emphasis and meaning to that symbol. Research into colors in dreams has found that they relate to our subliminal human emotional responses.
Games in dreams may indicate a scheming or strategizing time in the dreamer’s life with qualities of competitiveness and drive, one-upmanship in business matters, or advancement. The dreamer may be getting geared up for a challenge in their life.
Food & Drink
Food dreams can represent how one is symbolically being nourished or not being nourished in their life. Being deprived of love, one may dream of food and drink as a form of self-pleasuring. The meaning of a feast or banquet in a dream can be a symbol of abundance.
As said before, buildings represent our current psychological state or situation in life. Therefore, if some prominent furniture symbol appears in the dream, the unconscious is pointing to a more specific aspect within the dreamer’s current state.
When one dreams of people, the dreamer moves closest to the consciousness of a particular area that the unconscious is addressing. Any person appearing in one’s dream represents an aspect of the dreamer themselves.
What we have discussed above is just a glimpse of a few symbols and their meaning that are most common. In the book, many more such symbols are explained in detail and enable the reader to gain comprehensive knowledge about Dream Symbols.
What Are Some Mind-blowing Facts About Our Dreams?
1. Everybody, including babies, dreams. Roughly for around 2 hours every night.
2. Men and women dream differently.
3. Wet dreams are more common than guys admit to.
4. Most of you will remember only 10% of your dreams.
5. For most of us, dreams are colorful. But some people’s dreams can be black and white.
6. Blind people dream too. For those who are blind from birth, their dreams contain only sounds.
7. You can dream anywhere from four to seven times a night.
8. The strangers you meet in your dream may actually be people you have met in real life but don’t remember.
9. Animals are believed to have dreams too.
10. There is a theory called Lucid Dreaming, where you can train your brain to control your dreams.
What is the neurological basis of dreaming?
The emerging view in neuroscience is that dreams are related to memory consolidation happening in the brain during sleep. This may include reorganizing and recording memories in relation to drives as well as transferring memories between brain regions.
Studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between the generation of dreams and activation of brain networks associated with memory, emotional and reward processes, and sensory and visual imagery.
Most mental health experts say dreams are suitable for the health of your mind. They help you deal with grief and trauma, and the chance of a non-dreamer getting depressed is higher than a person who dreams regularly.
We can be sure of one thing, and that is the importance of dreams. There is no denying that there is a lot that we don’t know about dreams yet. But there is a lot we can learn and understand from what is already known.
In the end, we hope we have been able to answer some questions related to dreams and clear up some confusion.
Patricia Eltinge’s, The Dream Class: Know your Dreams, Know Yourself, is an excellent book to pick up to understand in detail how the dream world works and how we can take help from our dreams and get some clarity in our lives.