Why it is important to pay attention to our dreams
It is believed that when we change something in our lives, we also change it in our dreams because we are letting go of restrictions and allowing new events to take place. Dreams hold no boundaries and when we settle down in the late evening to rest our weary minds we come to face messages, symbols and people that we may not even be aware of in our waking lives.
Many of us wake up with relief each morning that our dreams are not a reality but more of a nightmare. It can be very difficult to understand why we dream such bizarre stories that often make no sense but this is why it is important to always keep a dream journal by your bed. This way we can allow ourselves the space and time to figure out the significance behind our dreams and nightmares. We can also start to ensure that we have a peaceful night’s rest once we have discovered the hidden meaning. Dream messages are important, they can be a warning that it is time to let go of something or that there is something that you need to be paying a little more attention to.
When we pay attention to our dreams, another world can often emerge, unravelling some of our deepest thoughts that we have perhaps been hiding from. If we allow ourselves to study and analyse are dreams we may feel more in control of our lives which will help us to grow spiritually. Many Eastern dream analysts believe that a dreamer can actually take control of his or her dream world and pursue a path of personal growth and spiritual development and seem to claim in contrast to most Western thinkers with the belief that the dreamer can actually remain conscious whilst dreaming. It is then this conscious dreaming that enables the dreamer to gain the greatest spiritual rewards.
Native Americans are also believers in dreams and use a variety of techniques to induce the dream state and to then interpret the dreams, but they all share a profound belief in the will power of the dreamer. The belief is that the dreamer can actually will the occurrence of a specific type of dream by concentrating upon the desired themes in the pre-dream state.
The dream that then follows can act as a guide to show the dreamer how he or she should act upon waking. In order to prepare for the dream many will mediate and pray at peaceful locations. This is also how many spiritual people today prepare to receive messages from the other side and the Native Americans believe that they can encounter a spiritual guide in their dreams who may then assist them in some way. We too can do the same if we want to connect with someone from spirit. Sometimes, we don’t ask to connect with our loved ones through dreams, they just tend to appear in front of us, depending on how relaxed our state of mind is.
Many of us dream out our desires when we sleep and this can clarify a number of different aspects in our waking life. For example, to dream of a new job, hitting your target or leaving your partner for someone you fancy. Freud argued that the mind operates on both a primary and a secondary level. Therefore, during the act of dreaming a “primary process” occurs, in which the dreamer’s unconscious desires or fears are turned into symbols, which then appear in the dream.
The “secondary process” refers to the repression of any symbols by the conscious waking mind. So for Freud dreams were generally intertwined with the dreamer’ deepest desires and the rest derived from emotions or experiences that took place in childhood. He also claimed that dreams were the mind’s way of expressing sexual or erotic desires. He then claimed that the function of dream symbols were to allow humans to continue sleeping while permitting the id to express animalistic desires but do not enter the conscious mind unless the dreams symbols are interpreted.
However, this idea was rejected by many scientists and psychologists in the 1920s, Carl Jung collaborated with Freud for a while but they eventually parted due to different academic levels of understanding. Jung was more inclined to go down the route of “spiritual growth” and was convinced that Freud’s method lead the dreamer away from the dream which could then lead the dreamer to lose touch with who they were. Jung had a strong interest in mythology, world religions and the occult and he also noticed associations between key elements of those studies and recurrent themes in peoples’ dreams.
His belief was that common themes derived from a shared body of historical and cultural myths worldwide and concluded that there must be some form of “collective unconscious” – an inborn store of information linked with a human tendency to organize and interpret experiences in similar ways regardless of culture and background. Jung decided to develop a technique which he labelled as “direct association” which required dreamers to reflect on and make associations with specific aspects of the dream rather than dwelling on the dream as a whole.
Jung decided to use the image of a beautiful house that most humans inhabit. The house that Jung created had fascinating and diverse rooms representing the enormous potential for creative and spiritual growth which all humans have. Many of us may confine ourselves to the basement, denying that there is no room for growth but Jung suggested that we explore the house as best we can. So for Jung, dreams were a means of gaining access to the other rooms in the house that we perhaps leave empty. The dream interpretation was then about exploring those rooms.
We too can explore our dreams in the way that Jung has described and make room for both our personal and spiritual growth. We can also prepare ourselves before we go to sleep, asking our guides and ancestors to help guide us in the right direction of our beautiful houses. If we visualise that our minds are full of windows and doors and beautiful rooms then we can lead ourselves onto a wonderful and unique path of self discovery. Why not try mapping out your own house before you go to bed? So that you can explore some of those magical rooms and learn a little more about the amazing person you are.
Freud and Jung – Dream Decoder, Reveal your unconscious desires, Dr Fiona Zucker and Jonny Zucker