What do our dreams mean? How can their content connect with our waking lives?
There’re many theories and formulae for interpreting dreams. Using dreams as tools of divination seems to be as old as human culture. Freud saw the interpretation of dreams as royal road to the unconscious and assumed that dreams dealt with the passions and unwanted thoughts that the conscious mind would not be able to handle. Jung’s work offered legacy in this area which is also still used today. Our dreams have content directly relating to our waking life, albeit they are often symbolic or coded in some other way. One suggestion is that dreams come from a part of the brain that is primarily prelinguistic and thus presents its messages in pictures rather than words. When we begin to decode our dreams in words, we often lose a lot in translation.
Research into the nature of dreams is neverending. One way of looking at what we know in NLP terms is that the dreaming process enables us to deal with any emotionally arousing events of the day that remain unresolved. Dreaming deactivates the emotion and leaves the brain rested and ready to handle the next day’s emotionally arousing onslaught by playing out any unfinished business to conclusion via metaphoric images. The idea that dreams are a way to process emotionally arousing experiences has interesting implications. When things are more emotionally charged for you, your dreams will be more vivid not only about what happened, but often in anticipation of what may happen. It’s how much something matters to you that determines this, not the external magnitude of any event. If the events of your waking life are highly emotionally charged, you may be restless or feel like you’re endlessly dreaming, or you may have trouble remaining asleep.
While you won’t find the meaning of your dreams by looking up symbols in dream dictionaries, it makes sense to assume that your dreams are highly individual creations which have personal significance to your waking life rather than lending themselves to being interpreted in accordance with standardized meanings. It is better to reflect on the impact a dream had on you, and then do your best to translate it into a coherent story and find connections between the stories of your dreams and those of your waking life.
Paying attention to your dreams will create a better link between your conscious and unconscious. Noting reference experiences and imagining our future and our actions in future situations are devices of our conscious mind to enhance what our unconscious mind does anyway. We can think of dreaming as a way of learning from our experience and future pacing ourselves.
Contact me for more on how NLP can help with interpreting dreams.