Articles - Dream analysis and the metaphysical

Per Chance to Dream
By Robert Wallis

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To dream or not to dream… Do you, and what does it mean?

There are those of you who say "I don’t dream at all, ever, end of discussion." Nay say the experts! We all dream. Even to this day there is still research claiming that one doesn’t dream. You may not remember it, but everyone dreams. In fact dreaming is essential to your health.

You must go through several levels of sleep in order to dream. We begin at surface sleeping where you are aware enough to still hear things, and then we move all the way down to deep sleep where you wouldn’t hear a tornado if it slammed a car through the front window of your house.

Deep sleep doesn’t actually last as long as you would think—typically a half hour or so. Once you have hit this deep sleep point you then rise upward in your sleep levels and as your brain begins to "wake up", you then begin to dream. Alcohol, drugs or medical problems can and do disrupt the sequence of sleep. If you are unable to hit the deepest level of sleep you are not going to dream.

Dreaming is a time for your mind to rationalize or make sense of the day’s activities. As each dream is resolved you go back into deep sleep. This cycle repeats four to six times each night. Without this cycle you won’t receive the restorative sleep your body needs. You could sleep 12 hours without this cycle, and you would still wake up tired. Without this dream work, you get edgy, irritable, and prone to frustrations. Creativity dwindles and dullness sets in with lack of sleep, along with a sense of fatigue that is quite real. This can lead to further health complications requiring medical intervention.

Your body will demand to get the sleep that it needs. This could lead to bizarre events such as "waking sleep" or "micro-sleep" where your brain says to your body, stop for a minute I need a break. If you’re sitting you’ll wind up with a blank stare for several minutes while your mind struggles with what should be two seconds of material. When you snap out of it to your amazement 5 or 10 minutes have passed. If the boss notices this you’ll need a better excuse than "I’m meditating on your latest project." If you're driving down the road and this happens, you may find yourself paraphrasing the late Jimi Hendrix "excuse me while I kiss the bridge."

Hallucinations are another result of not being able to sleep or dream properly. If you reach this point, you definitely need to contact your physician. You will feel fatigued all the time because your body has been deprived of the deep sleep you so desperately need. Early stages show a street sign appearing to read one way or maybe incorrect until a second glance surprises you and shows the wording to be entirely different. When things get worse you may notice walls bending or bowing as you walk past them. When total exhaustion hits you might notice road signs pulling themselves out of the ground and walking in front of you. You might hit the brakes to avoid running over them.

These symptoms are rare but if something rings true seek medical help. Without sleep cycles, serious problems could impact our health and lives. The point is we all need to dream when we sleep. It’s a natural part of life.

Dreams are many people’s introduction to the metaphysical. From the earliest recorded times, dreams have been harbingers of events to come and explanations of events from the past. In the simplest of terms, your dreams are your own subconscious psychic-self explaining what is happening to you and your world.

The ancients interpreted dreams as omens. The Bible reveals messages were sent to people of high and low station. The ancient Greeks had a temple where one could go to sleep and dream in order to find guidance. Freud, of more modern times, devised a method of dream interpretation that found great favor for a while, and his protégé, Carl Jung, devised a system that is in common use today. During the past 50 years, many others have also contributed to the body of dream interpretation as we now know it.

While each method has validity, no one method works 100% for all dreams. The types of dreams can be broken into rough categories. The most common type is the symbolic dream that tries to clarify current events around you. Jungian interpretation does a very good job with this type. For example, a house will represent the self, and activities taking place around hallways represent transitions in life. A bathroom would represent cleansing of spirit; a basement indicates your subconscious and an attic or upper floor would be your super conscious. Even nightmares are not bad per say, but rather mean that something stressful in your life needs to be confronted and resolved.

This approach is good for perhaps 80% or more of dream analysis, but doesn’t cover other types of dreams such as lucid dreaming, out-of-body experiences in the sleep state, etc. Incidentally, since a house represents the self, and the upper levels in a house represent higher planes of the mind, sitting on top of a house doesn’t mean you’re out of your mind, just getting an overview!

Dreams are messages sent to all people. Some people remember their dreams and others not at all. Dreams help you make sense of what is happening around you. They can also be harbingers of things to come. Even if you don’t remember your dreams, studying dream interpretation and writing down what you can remember will improve your recall.