What is a Dream?
“A dream is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not fully understood, although they have been a topic of scientific, philosophical and religious interest throughout recorded history. Dream interpretation is the attempt at drawing meaning from dreams and searching for an underlying message. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology.
“Dreams mainly occur in the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of sleep—when brain activity is high and resembles that of being awake. REM sleep is revealed by continuous movements of the eyes during sleep. At times, dreams may occur during other stages of sleep. However, these dreams tend to be much less vivid or memorable. The length of a dream can vary; they may last for a few seconds, or approximately 20–30 minutes. People are more likely to remember the dream if they are awakened during the REM phase. The average person has three to five dreams per night, and some may have up to seven; however, most dreams are immediately or quickly forgotten. Dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full eight-hour night sleep, most dreams occur in the typical two hours of REM. Dreams related to waking-life experiences are associated with REM theta activity, which suggests that emotional memory processing takes place in REM sleep. ” – SOURCE – Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dream)
Dreams, when understood by the dreamer, have the potential to aid self-healing and enable one to discover more about oneself. The dream is often a reflection of the inner world of the dreamer, which is why I will be focusing on this rather than the technicalities of the dream itself. But we cannot discuss dreaming without touching on the types of dreams we experience. They are –
The Physiological Dream – when our dream is telling us something is occurring within the body such as needing to go to the toilet, pain or discomfort, sickness etc.
The Psychological Dream – when our dream is telling us we need to address some issue that is happening in our lives. These issues we may or may not be aware of. It all depends on the dream and its symbolism. Also related to the Recurring Dream.
The Nightmare – dreams that are in response to some sort of stressor in our lives. Also goes hand in hand with Psychological dreams. Pay close attention to what is in the dream as they will often present you with the solution to the problem if analysed correctly.
The Prophetic Dream – a dream in which you foresee a forthcoming event or events that are going on in the waking world that you have no knowledge of but dream about nonetheless.
The Recurring Dream – often repetitive with the same themes or symbolism. It is important to take note of these dreams as they, along with psychological dreams, often point to underlying internal issues that need to be resolved.
The Epic Dream – Dreams that are so huge and monumental you cannot ignore or forget them. Some of these dreams can be life-changing. More often than not, they are LUCID dreams, which I will go into detail with later on. Also known as God-dreams
The Lucid Dream – the dream in which you are fully aware you are dreaming and can control aspects of your dream and what is going on around you. False awakenings often happen in lucid dreams.
False Awakenings – false awakenings occur when you are dreaming, ‘wake up’ then realise you are still dreaming.
Dreams serve an important function in our lives. When we dream, our minds are free to wander and compartmentalise all that has happened throughout the day. Most of the dreams we cannot remember when we wake, but some dreams we do and these are the ones we need to take note of. The dreams we experience and remember long after we have dreamed them are usually stored in our long-term memory. I can remember dreams I had twenty years ago, as clear as though I dreamed them last night. It is easy to learn how to use our dreams to learn more about ourselves and how they can heal us and how they can help us solve our problems. But first we need to understand how dreams communicate with us.
I believe that, when we dream, we are actually talking to ourselves. Our Higher Selves are communicating with us from a higher plane and so the information imparted to us through dreams can be trusted. Dream interpretation can be complex and confusing so let me start by saying that dreams are like picture books. Dreams talk in symbols and metaphors. A dream will present information to you in a way you can understand so long as you have the code. The code will be your own. For example – I often have dragon dreams. Dragons, to me, mean personal power and spiritual ascension. But to someone else, a dragon may be a frightening beast that is to be overcome and slain. Dream dictionaries can be useful (I would stay away from dream dictionaries that ‘predict’ things such as if you dream of a ring it means you will get an offer of marriage etc.). Instead, I recommend books that refer to the psychological meanings of dreams. I have a dictionary by Tony Crisp that is old and well- thumbed. Carl Jung, the eminent psychologist, is also a good place to start. He discussed the Collective Unconscious – the shared knowledge we all have – and the importance of dreams. In time you will build up your own list of personal meanings of your own dream symbols.
Learning to Dream – Lucid Dreaming
Many people have asked me about lucid dreaming. To them, it appears like some sort of magical ability that only a select few can do. This is not true. Anyone can learn to dream lucidly. I started purely by accident. Here is how I started to train myself to dream lucidly. back in 2001 I had a very vivid dream. Not an epic dream, but one I thought was significant. It stuck with me for the rest of the day so I thought I’d better write it down. I took a new journal and wrote down my first dream. I didn’t analyse it, I just wrote down what I remembered then forgot about it. A few days later I had another vivid dream so I wrote that down too. This time I wrote down every detail I could remember and speculated on what it meant. I did this for a few months (and bought myself the Tony Crisp book) and eventually I had my first lucid dream. It was an awesome experience. I believe that the process of actively and consciously remembering my dreams somehow forged a pathway in my brain that allowed for me to dream lucidly. There was no ‘technique’ involved, no special breathing, no affirmations before sleep. It was the conscious and wilful recollection and analysis of dreams I could remember that enabled me to develop the ability of lucid dreaming. It was as simple as that.
During a lucid dream you will experience far more than you would in a ‘normal’ dream. Lucid dreaming allows you to solve long-standing problems and travel astrally to other places. The mind, in this state, can transcend even space and time. We can converse with those in the Otherworld and, indeed, take a glimpse through the Veil and see what lies in store for us when we leave the mortal world. Dreams, as well as being a means of self-discovery, are also a way of transcending the boundaries of this world to the next and to other dimensions. Such wisdom can be gained from such travels. Lucid dreaming is the ticket to other dimensions and to the vast storehouse of the Self.
Spirit will also find a way of speaking to you through dreams. Loved ones who have gone before find it easier to communicate with you in this state as you are open and receptive. But I will suggest you protect yourself from unwanted attention by sealing yourself inside a sphere of light before bed and repeating the affirmation “only the good and the pure may enter here. I am safe and protected by [your own personal belief system].”
If You Die in Your Dream, Can You Die in Real Life?
The simple answer to this is NO. This myth has been perpetuated for a very long time. “Death Dreams” are not to be ignored however. It means that you are undergoing a significant change that may involve the letting go of something or part of yourself that no longer serves you. A death dream sometimes involves a false awakening. When you ‘die’ in a dream, you essentially fall asleep, in the dream. After which you either wake up physically, or you experience a false awakening and find yourself in another place, environment or, in some cases, dimension. Death dreams are not to be feared. Examine them closely and see what is going on around you and what is happening in your waking life. It may mean that major changes are needed or are currently taking place. Either way, it is all for the highest good. You may even catch a glimpse of Heaven.