Introduction to Using the Dream Dictionary
Introduction To Using The Dream Dictionary
Dreams are one of natures miracles, not the result of a wandering mind in sleep. A dream is an interface between the process of life, our core self and our conscious personality. Life existed quite capably for millions of years before the self-aware human personality came on the scene. In all that time the ancestors of the modern human being survived without having a rational mind to reason with, or self consciousness to ask such questions as ‘What do I do about this?’ Nevertheless survival strategies were still developed in their unconscious intelligence. Dreams express this unconscious wisdom that was developed in humans and animals through millennia.
Life’s age old unconscious processes are still the major part of our being, yet we seldom consciously meet them – except in dreams. As our physical and psychological health depend upon a reasonable co-operation between the spontaneous processes of life and our conscious decisions and actions, the encounter in dreams is vital. As I often point out to those I am advising we are a human face on a long line of beautiful animals. In fact “You ride an ancient beast.” The ancient beast is your body, and your conscious self is the modern and recent rider of it. Some ‘riders’ do not understand their animal needs – and the fact that we have several levels of brain that are independent of each other proves this. Still active in us are our Reptile Brain, Our mammalian Brain, and our Human Brain, and the reptile and mammalian brains are still very active and constitute a large part of our human unconscious. See Brain Levels and Dreams and Levels of Awareness in Sleeping and Waking.
Dreams cannot be defined under any one heading. Like human beings, they are enormously varied in what they express. Just as one cannot say the human mind is simply a system of memory, one cannot say dreams are just the reflection of experienced events. The mind also deals with problem solving, predicting outcomes of action, playing with possibilities via imagination, creating the new out of old material, replaying disturbing events in order to find ways of meeting them constructively. Dreams, being the mental phenomena they are, deal with all of these issues and more. The following definitions give the main functions observable in dreams.
- An expression of what is happening in the physical body. Some doctors consider dreams to show signs of illness long before they are evident in other ways. Women frequently know they are pregnant very early on through sleep awareness in a dream. See: body; body dreams; Kasatkin_Vasily; consciousness-mind body split.
- A link between the sleeping mind and what is occurring externally. For instance, a person may be falling out of bed and dream of flying or falling.
- A way of balancing the physiological and psychological activities in us. When a person is deprived of dreaming in experiments, a breakdown in mind and body quickly occurs. This type of dreaming can often be a safety valve releasing tension and emotion not dealt with in waking life. See: compensation theory; self-regulation dreams and fantasy; science and dreams.
- An enormously original source of insight and information. Dreams tap our memory, our experience, and scan information held in our unconscious to form new insights from old experience. Dreams often present to us summaries or details of experience we have been unable to access consciously. Sometimes this is as early as life in the womb. See: creativity and problem solving in dreams.
- A means of compensating for failure or deprivation in everyday life, and as a means of expressing the otherwise unacknowledged aspects of oneself. Such dreams are a move toward wholeness. See: compensation theory.
- In dreams we may be integrating new experience with what we have already gathered and digested. In this way our abilities, such as social skills, are gradually upgraded. See: computer, computer-dream process as a; Evans, Christopher.
- Dreams often stand in place of actual experience. So through dreams we may experiment with new experience or practice things we have not yet done externally. For instance many young women dream in detail of giving birth. This function of what might be called ‘imagination’ is tremendously undervalued, but is a foundation upon which human survival is built. See: imagination and dreaming.
- An means of exercise for the psyche or soul. Just as the body will become sick if not moved and stressed, so the mind and emotions need stimulus and exercise. Dreams fulfil this need.
- An expression of human supersenses. Humans have an unconscious ability to read body language – so they can assess other humans very quickly. Humans have an unimaginable ability to absorb information, not simply from books, but from everyday events. With it they constantly arrive at new insights and realisations. Humans frequently correctly predict the future – not out of a bizarre ability, but from the information gathered about the present. All these abilities and more show in our dreams. See: esp in dreams.
- A means of solving problems, or formulating creative ideas, both in our personal life, and also in relationships and work. Many people have produced highly creative work directly from dreams
- A presentation in symbols of past traumatic experience. If met this can lead to deep psychological healing. Such dreams are therefore an attempt on the part of our spontaneous inner processes to bring about healing change. See: abreaction; compensation theory; nightmares.
- In the widest sense nearly all dreams act as a process of growth or a move toward maturing. Some dreams are very obviously presenting internal forces or dimensions of experience that might lead the conscious personality toward a greater balance and inclusiveness. See: individuation; LifeStream.
- A way of reaching beyond the known world of experience and presenting intimations from the unknown. Many people have dreams in which ESP, out of the body experiences, and knowledge transcending time and space occur. This type of dream may indicate a link between the present person and people who had lived in the distant past; or between the dreamer and all existing life. Some of these dreams present powerful insights into how the transitory human personality may arise out of an eternal consciousness. They thus deal with the spiritual aspects of human nature. See: Buddhism and dreams; Cayce, Edgar; collective unconscious; Bible and dreams; esp in dreams; hallucinations; history of dreaming; religion and dreams; yoga and dreams; Dream Yoga.