The spectrum of how we define dreams is vast, from scientists claiming it is the brain’s hallucinations during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep to researchers who claim that the occurrence of dreaming can happen during meditation. Through centuries of speculation, the question remains: what is dreaming?
Dreaming as Psychoanalysis
Many researchers and scientists agree that humans sometimes dream in order to work through life issues. In 1897 Sigmund Freud first published his groundbreaking book, “The Interpretation of Dreams”. In this, Freud explains how dreams can act on two levels. The first level is the ‘what you see is what you get’ level, that a dream about a dog winning a car race is nothing more than a dream about a dog winning a car race. According to Freud, it is the second level that is important, the level with hidden meanings and symbols that provide insight to buried emotions. In this instance, the dog winning a car race could be related to unresolved feelings about a pet, unresolved feelings about a car, or situational anxiety. Using dreams as part of the process of psychoanalysis helps make hidden emotions and anxieties more transparent.
Dreaming as Premonition
People often describe dreams that predict future events, such as accidents, births or travel. Sometimes one might only recall a dream at the moment an incident occurs, leading to a sense of déjà vu, or the feeling of having been in a particular place before or meeting a person who is extremely familiar. This sense of familiarity might indicate that the dream is now coming true, a premonition of words spoken or places traveled.
Larry Dossey, MD is the author of The Power of Premonitions: How Knowing the Future Can Shape Our Lives. In his book, he suggests that dream premonitions are actually a form of survival. Dr. Dossey states that understanding future events can increase our chance of survival, as it makes us aware of tragic future events that might be avoided.
There is not a significant amount of research done to support the theory that certain dreams are premonitions, but it may be important to recognize them when they occur. These types of dreams might have a different texture or feeling to them, or might simply be scary enough that you decide to pay attention to the fact that you dreamt that next Tuesday night a tree will fall on your house. The proof will be in the event. If the tree falls, the dream was in fact a premonition.
Dreaming of the Dead
Dreams in which deceased people appear, or dreams having to do with the dead, are a very common occurrence. Dreams of this type are very often connected to a person’s grieving process, and can reflect how a person feels about the deceased. Occasionally a dream of a deceased person might be a visitation from the grave or a message from beyond.
What is Dreaming?
It is obvious from the above information that drams can be a number of things. What is most clear, however, is that the experience of dreaming is uniquely personal. As individuals, dreams can guide, answer questions and connect us with the past and future. Trust that any dream communication, whether from the personal subconscious or from those that have passed on, is enough to illuminate the answers you need most for life’s current questions.