Why do we dream?

July 19, 2017



Do you ever wonder what your dreams mean? They can be fun, curious or even frightening and often stay with us throughout the day.  


Would you like to learn more about what your dreams mean?  

They are an incredibly useful tool in helping us in our daily lives - being a reflection of our waking lives - they can also include prophetic messages in the form of warnings to help guide us and keep us on the right path.

Dreams are never to be dismissed - whether taken literal or needing to be understood in more depth! Dreams are the language of the unconscious, interpreting them requires understanding your own unconscious mind - because all dreams are unique to the dreamer therefore no dream book can ever help you to interpret them.

"Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man."    
-Zhuangzi, The Butterfly as Companion: Meditations on the First Three Chapters of the Chuang-Tzu

Psychology and dreams.

Everyone dreams, and we have all sorts of dreams, whether that are exciting, frightening, dull, or plain ordinary like real life. We can report to friends about having similar dreams such as being chased or falling, we also have repetitive dreams, but one this is certain, whether we remember them or not, we always dream.

Dreams Reflect Our Daily Concerns.

It's certain that our dreams are mainly about our daily problems, whether it's about money, friends, work, or family. Dreams generally reproduce a symbolic theme of the issues we are having. These tend to be the negative aspects - maybe because negative events tend to get pushed away by the conscious, but the subconscious processes/filters the events through our dreaming. This is a way of our subconscious becoming conscious (more aware). Once you are aware, you can actively solve daily issues that add to stress and burdens on your life.

Dreams have been attributed to helping patients be cured of their anxieties, often used in therapies as a way to access the deeper levels of the psych.

Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud on dreams.

Carl Jung derived his method of dream interpretation from Sigmund Freud's theories. Jung, like Freud believed that dreams held the key to solving a persons neurosis. Jung had a more positive view of a persons subconscious than Freud, who believed people were driven by negative impulses, sexual desire and thought the subconscious ID held all negative aspects of the personality which was the driver in life, most particularly the sexual instinct. Freud argued humans must always control the impulses through using the voice of reason The Super Ego. Whereas, Jung thought the subconscious held both negative and positive aspects, he thought that by helping people to become more aware of their subconsciousness through the 'talking method' and dream interpretation, people could unlock their full potential releasing neurotic behaviours. His method is based on full integration of all aspects of the self.

Jung thought that there were many facets to our psych. The Persona being one, (the mask we show to the world), the ego being consciously aware of our processes (also what Freud thought), the unconscious is the part of the psych which is unaware, and the collective consciousness which is where all our ancestral elements are held as universal collective memories from past evolution. The collective consciousness is where the archetypes exists or have evolved from.

It was the spiritual aspect of Jung's theories based in the collective consciousness where Freud and Jung disagreed, this is where their friendship parted and they went their separate ways.

Jung's Archetypes.

Jung believed that inwardly humans were whole but outwardly we may have lost aspects of ourselves from conforming to the 'norm', this he believed caused neurosis. 

For Jung, the subconscious was trying to make us complete, with guiding messages from dreams. Jung calls this complete state individuation.

Jung recognised archetypes which are primordial images reflecting basic patterns or universal themes common to us all which are present in the unconscious. These symbolic images exist outside space and time. Examples: Shadow, animus, anima, the old wise person, the innocent child. There also seem to be nature archetypes, like fire, ocean, river, mountain.

One of Jung's archetypes is the shadow. The shadow is made up of all aspects of the self that we do not show to the world, these aspects are not particularly bad, but parts of us we may be ashamed of or do not accept just because of social/cultural conditioning. The shadow is usually the third person in our dreams the one who is there but we can't actually see properly (this would be due to pushing the shadow out of our own awareness). Again, integration of the shadow allows us to be free of our anxieties but we must first look at our dreams and find the hidden messages so that we can resolve our problems, recover all parts of our selves so that we are not living through a false persona but living as our complete selves.

Dreams are the language of the unconscious

Dreaming about images, objects, and scenes is more common in dreams than dreaming of words and speech. This is because objects/images represent a truer 'symbolic' meaning to the dreamer. If we realise that we all are unique in our perspectives on life (built up from our own idiosyncratic experiences, beliefs and values) - we can begin to understand that when one person thinks of a tree it conjures something different from when another person thinks of a tree and so, in dream language or in our dream world this is what is occurring - images and objects are representative of our unique perspectives, beliefs or even aspects of ourselves. Being able to interpret the images is to understand the language of the unconscious.

Dreams explained 

Often we go to bed with worries and concerns but in the morning wake up feeling much better. This is because through our dreaming a conclusion has been reached on an unconscious level, releasing any angst that we had been feeling. Our dreams will re-enact the problems so that they can be worked out in the deeper unconscious. 


Dreams have many layers - meaning there are many meanings that can be top level or very deep, deeper interpretations mean we are interpreting from out of the persons awareness (subconscious) this is useful to help people reinterprets lost aspects of the self back into awareness. Literal dreaming is the implied top layer interpretation where little interpretation is needed, it is what it is! 

Literal dreaming is dreaming a scenario that has already happened and is merely reflecting incidents that have occurred in our outer world, this is for the purpose of processing the actual events - literal dreaming doesn't have any deeper layered meaning as they should be taken for exactly what they are, often for the purpose of accepting a particular situations or occurrences in our lives.

Dreams are always unique to the dreamer but there is also always common factors. Such as objects, movement of some sort, and people. Although they collectively represent the same overall meaning - they will also convey their own meaning to the dreamer.
•Dreaming of people will symbolise relationships but the message will differ dreamer to dreamer. Such as dreaming of your mother is about a nurturing relationship but the issues are individual to the dreamer.
•Movement can be based on walking - cycling or a car journey, represent movement which is common to all dreamers but again the message is idiosyncratic to the dreamer.
•Objects are metaphors in our dream world. A building is one of the most common factors but the type of building gives deeper meaning and understanding into our dreams. 


Types of dreams 

Differentiating between the dreams is important in the process of interpretation.

Wish fulfilment dreams is a process of acting out our deepest desire but in the dream realm - this is like a safety valve so that we do not literally act out our wishes in reality because some of these can be either morally wrong in society or against our own way of life (to act out of deepest yearning literally may not always be ecological). To dream of our deepest desires is a way to release the pent up emotion that is attached - its a way of fully expressing who we are (or who we think we are) so that we can still be fully functioning in our everyday lives without causing alienation to ourselves or others. These kinds of dreams can show us what we are oppressing within us - we can decide whether to incorporate those desires in our literal life or not.

Creative dreaming is to solve a problem in a way that is 'out of the box' amazing - an example of my own is dreaming I had created an incredible invention of some sort - yet I forgot as soon as I woke, because catching these dreams once we have awoken can be very difficult, no doubt because the idea was so unique and fresh it's almost not connected to anything that you have yet learnt, there's almost a prophetic after feel to a creative dream. Mostly we are left knowing we have had an awesome dream - that's very important but just can't reestablish what it was.

Compensatory dreams are to help us counteract feelings of insecurity or inadequacy. To dream of winning, grandness or to be successful is to try and eradicate the feelings of less worth. These dreams could be linked to wish fulfilment - our deepest desire to be efficient and happy. Compensatory dreams could also help us to implant some positive beliefs in our sub conscious - especially if the dream has a lucid element.

Lucid dreams are where to some extent we are able to coerce what happens in ours dreams. We can use lucid dreaming to attain what we desire in our conscious life. By creating end results that we desire could have the effect of creating real positive outcomes in our lives seeing as dreaming often manifest in a prophetic way.

Recurring dreams or dream themes are incredibly important. They are trying to help us acknowledge material that we have 'forgotten' often because it's too painful to remember. The purpose of recurring dreams is to help us process the damage that has been left after the incident. Once we realise what the dream means - we have become conscious of the memory and the dreams then ceases. Recurring dreams are a gift to us, as hard as it is to remember painful memories - they are helping us to heal past pain which may be holding us back.

Clairvoyant dreaming. When we dream we are in the realm of dreaming, where the astral body leaves the physical one, astral bodies have no concept of time like our physical bodies. Without the constraints of time the astral body can be in our future and witness events - this is our prophetic dreaming - our astral body visiting or 'being' in a time within our future.
Dreams at this time can happen when we are very anxious, it's possible that it's a way of soothing our anxieties seeing as anxiety can stem from fear of the unknown.

Discover the hidden world within you - and allow it to help guide you to your full potential. 



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