Do you ever wake up from a dream, and wonder for a few moments which world you’re living in? The one from the dream, or the one you really live in?
I often dream that I am somewhere, lost, and I cannot find my way home. I am always looking for someone to guide me home.
I search for phone books, scraps of paper with numbers written on them. I ask people if they know the person I want to contact.
But I always come up empty. No phone books. No scraps of paper with names and phone numbers written on them. No one who knows them.
Then sometimes I actually find a phone (oh my, the end is near!) and I think I have the number to get help. But I can’t see the numbers. Or my fingers won’t dial it correctly.
Or I have a phone book or piece of paper, but I somehow can’t read the number written on it.
The dream continues in panic mode until I wake up.
I sometimes try to figure out what my dreams mean. I think that when there are no answers to our most significant questions in life, then perhaps the fear derived from that event or events does not go away.
I think that anxiety and fear may drive some of our dreams, as we try to work them out in our daily life when we’re awake, and somehow aren’t able to come to a satisfactory conclusion.
Maybe this anxiety or trauma is tucked away into a place where we don’t think about it everyday. But still it is there, just waiting to float to the surface.
And perhaps it bubbles up to the surface in our dreams, because we find it hard to think about when we’re awake.
According to an article I found in Scientific American about the science of dreaming…
“Dreams seem to help us process emotions by encoding and constructing memories of them. What we see and experience in our dreams might not necessarily be real, but the emotions attached to these experiences certainly are.
“Our dream stories essentially try to strip the emotion out of a certain experience by creating a memory of it. This way, the emotion itself is no longer active.
“This mechanism fulfills an important role because when we don’t process our emotions, especially negative ones, this increases personal worry and anxiety.
“In fact, severe REM sleep-deprivation is increasingly correlated to the development of mental disorders. In short, dreams help regulate traffic on that fragile bridge which connects our experiences with our emotions and memories.”
While there has always been a great interest in the interpretation of human dreams, it wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung put forth some of the most widely-known modern theories of dreaming.
Freud’s theory centered around the notion of repressed longing — the idea that dreaming allows us to sort through unresolved, repressed wishes.
Carl Jung (who studied under Freud) also believed that dreams had psychological importance, but proposed different theories about their meaning.
Do you find that some of your dreams stay with you more than others? Do you have the same dream over and over again?