Dreams Decoded

Have you ever had a dream that haunts you long after waking? Were you being chased? Or flying? Maybe you were visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future? Since as early as 4,000 BC people have been interested in dreams and their interpretations. Of course many are still skeptical. Like Scrooge, they might explain it away as being ‘just a bit of undigested potato.’ Still, isn’t it curious that while all people dream, many have the same dreams? Whether you believe in dream interpretation or not, let’s face it, it is fun to think about!

Dreams are cognitive experiences that occur during our REM (Rapid Eye Movement) state of sleep. They are made up of a combination of images, feelings and reflections that occur 25% of the time we are sleeping. People who get a full night’s sleep will experience three to five REM sleep phases, and have four to six dreams. Unfortunately, most of us will forget about 90% of our dreams within the first minute of waking.

Here are a few fun facts about dreaming. Did you know…

  • People dream about what they know and see in their life
  • Everyone dreams
  • Even visually impaired people dream!
  • Not everyone dreams in color
  • Dreams are said to prevent psychosis

What are these dreams? Why do we have vivid dreams and nightmares that linger? And what about those re-occurring dreams? Many believe dreams are unresolved thoughts of the day. Of course, that could be true. They believe our subconscious is suggesting we missed something, or that we should resolve unresolved issues. Others suggest dreams are a way of warning us when the road ahead might be slippery-when-wet. Whatever the reason, it seems to be a good idea to pay attention. If the puzzle is too difficult to piece together, why not try dream interpretations.

The foundations of interpretation are rooted in universal or common dream themes. Think about this: we know at some time, most people have had the same kind of dream, e.g., falling or chasing. Our dreams remind us we are not all that different. Dream analysts believe these universal experiences can have common interpretations. Now, aren’t you just a little bit curious?

The most common dream themes are:

  • Chase Dreams – If you are being chased, notice by what or by whom. You may need to face your fears. If you are doing the chasing, are you feeling rushed? Slow down.
  • Cheating Dreams – Are not always about the “doing” but about an insecurity or lack of confidence in a relationship.
  • Falling Dreams – Implies a feeling of losing control. Holding on – indicates attempting to fix something. Losing your balance – something (or someone) is making you feel off balance. Pushed – someone, maybe yourself, is pushing you too hard.
  • Flying Dreams – Flying dreams are very positive dreams that can reflect high points in your waking life.
  • Naked Dreams – Four out of five people will have these once in their lives. If you are naked and embarrassed in front of people, you might be feeling inadequate, exposed, and overly stressed about something in your public or professional life. On the other hand, if you feel good about being naked in front of others, you are feeling proud, confident, and without a care.
  • Test Dreams – Are you prepared? Late? Did you forget about the test? Each scenario has a slightly different interpretation but could indicate that somewhere in your current experience you are feeling stressed, under the gun or afraid of failing. It could mean that you are afraid of advancing i.e., questioning, ‘Am I on the right track?’ It’s worth looking at; these dreams tend to repeat until resolved.

Remember, dreams come to us like metaphors. They are often indirect references to something specific in our lives. We are very busy people; sometimes it takes a subconscious nudge to remind us to pay attention or resolve an issue. Try keeping a dream journal beside the bed. Upon rising, jot a few notes about the dream. Later, see if there is something going on in your life that your subconscious is trying to tell you. This exercise may be helpful, but if nothing else, it will be entertaining! Sweet dreams.