The Significance of Dreams
Regarding the significance of dreams, have you ever considered how much time we spend sleeping? And how much of that time is spent dreaming? And why do we dream? What’s the purpose? It’s amazing to me that while we spend 1/3 of lives sleeping and dreaming, we give little attention to it besides that we need to get some rest from time to time and so we sleep. Dreams are ignored by most people.
The purpose of dreams is still hotly contested in the scientific community. However, I have the advantage of studying at the School of Metaphysics many years ago, and dream interpretation was a central focus of that education. While scientists continue to dither about this and that regarding dreams and consciousness, I formed my own hypothesis and operate accordingly until they come up with some solid evidence to refute my conclusions.
If we have a consciousness that has the ability to learn, and if we are moving along an evolutionary track to higher consciousness of mind, body and emotions would we not have automatically developed the inner workings to keep that ability in shape and use it effectively? It works that way for the body, why not the mind?
For instance, millennia ago complex physical bodies were developed. In order for those bodies to continue to function there were systems put in place that would ensure the continuation of the body. Automatic and instinctual respiration in plants evolved to more complex systems in animals, but both operate without conscious thought. We simply breathe. Our heart pumps without our needing to consciously give it attention. Body temperature is regulated, food is processed and waste eliminated and so on. All of these things operate without any conscious attention. The parasympathetic nervous system handles the electrochemical signals necessary to carry out these functions based on a blueprint that we don’t really have access to. We just know that these functions will continue — until they don’t.
To take this point further, we can also use the information received from the sense organs and systems to assist. And indeed, we must in some cases respond to the signals or we die. Think thirst, hunger, sensation of hot and cold, the smell of fire in your woodland home. These all stimulate instinctual responses for the survival and continuation of life. They require action and that requires the sympathetic nervous system. Those are the nerves that move things, like legs for running away or chasing food, or knowing when shelter is warming us or keeping us dry (unless we are fish and we want to NOT be dry.)
I say all of this as a precursor to saying that dreams and dreaming is a system designed to help our consciousness to continue, and in the case of humans, to imagine something different. With animals, they learn that a certain experience creates a certain result. Think Pavlov’s dog experiment. Ring the bell, give the dog the food. Ring the bell give the dog the food. Ring the bell, give the food. Ultimately a point is reached when “ring the bell” produces salivation on the part of the dog because of the anticipation that food will happen next. All of the experiences were assimilated and the dog learned. And science contends that dreams are a part of this learning, in humans at least. It’s hard to get the data on the dog because they can’t communicate what exactly they are dreaming. So, we correlate. The dog learns during the dream and then acts accordingly.
Taking this a step further, if we humans also use dreams for learning about how to function toward pleasure and away from pain, what could we do if we had the most accurate information possible about what we actually experienced.
Does your awareness of the limitation stop there? That puts you in the category of having a level of imagination equal to your dog. As long as you continue to do the same thing, you will continue to get the same results. You will also always be dependent on the environment to stay the same so that your comfort level stays the same. You are dependent upon your environment to give you pain and pleasure signals to help you learn. But humans are not dogs. We can imagine a better life without having to experience the pain. Or we can take a relatively pain-free life and imagine even more.
So how might human dreams be a little more helpful than animal dreams? Well, they would have the same ability to provide information and offer instinctual learning and automatic behaviors. But humans have a consciousness that can look at that information and use it to understand the current situation better and to imagine a situation that does not already exist.
Let’s go back to the dog example for a moment. The dog can know how to look for shelter from the cold by finding a place out of the wind and he will consistently come back to that place once he has scoped it out. That place exists with or without the dog. A human, while sitting in that place out of the wind, can imagine finding a better place next time. A human can imagine how to reproduce the fire that lightening showed him can happen. Human dreams would likely also contain that element of imagination. The trick would be identifying what all that weird fire and lightening and sticks and grass and flames all means and how to make it happen on purpose.
Dream Symbols, The Language of Mind
That brings me to using the value and significance of dreams and what they offer to evolve our consciousness to the next level, and the next and the next. As with any other skill that you might want to build, it takes practice. As with learning a musical instrument, first you learn the notes, then simple steps of playing the scales, then simple melodies, then more complex pieces and finally you just play the music. You can even play music in a group – from a small 2, 3, or 4-piece group to a full orchestra.
So with using dreams effectively in your life, the similar steps would be learning the symbols, learning common symbols and practicing with them, then moving on to more and more complex dreams. In the end, you will be able to know immediately the underlying tone of the current situation, the course of the action producing it and where it leads. You might also find insight into possible resolutions and ways forward. The primary purpose is for understanding your own dreams but you can help others to understand their dreams as well. You will be able to hear someone recite a dream and understand the intricacies just as you would understand the some of the intricacies of a piece of music if you had even the basic knowledge of music appreciation. You would never know it completely. Only the original composer would know that. And so it is with dreams. But you would know plenty. And one more little tidbit that is a mind-bender. If playing the music with others is possible, is common dreaming with others possible? And if so, what could be accomplished?
- Why do we dream?
- Dream Symbols, the Language of Mind
- Remembering and Recording Dreams
- Interpreting the Symbols
- Interpreting the Dream and Using the Information
- The Dreamer’s Dictionary, by Dr. Barbara Condron
- Every Dream is About the Dream, by Dr. Barbara Condron
- Freedom Project Academy
- Zootopia, Home Free cover, Home Free’s Patreon Page — Please support their music