Why do we dream? Mankind has asked that question probably since the first person ever dreamed. We have always been fascinated by dreams and what they are trying to tell us.
Can a Dream be Prophetic?
We have different types of dreams. Often our dreams consist of imagery from our most pressing thoughts and/or personal experiences. Sometimes, however, our dreams can be special. Our dreams can communicate with us if we allow them too. All we need to do is listen and learn to interpret the symbols as they apply to our own life.
Here is one dream I had that comes to mind as an example of an intuitive or prophetic dream:
I dreamed of death. All I could remember from the dream was seeing a hand laying in gravels. The most noticeable thing was the ring on the hand. It was my ring. I recognized it without any doubt. Even though this was the only image I could recall from the nightmare I knew that the dream was about a death. I could feel it strongly when I woke up. I had all but forgotten the events of the dream but the emotions were still vivid.
Read the rest of this article at ~ How to Understand the Personal Meaning of Dream Symbols
Excerpt from Stephen Laberge's Lucid dreaming:
"Why do we have dreams and what do they mean? These questions have for centuries been the subject of a debate that has recently become the center of a heated controversy. In one camp we have a number of prominent scientists who argue that we dream for physiological reasons alone and that dreams are essentially mental nonsense devoid of psychological meaning: "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." The idea that dreams are nothing more than "meaningless biology" sounds absurd and rather blasphemous to the opposing camp, a coalition of Freudians and other dream workers committed to the view that we dream for psychological reasons and that dreams always contain important information about the self or some aspects of one's life which can be extracted by various methods of interpretation. This camp takes its credo from the Talmudic aphorism that "an uninterpreted dream is like an unopened letter." There is also a third camp occupying the middle ground, that believes both of the extreme positions on the function and meaning of dreams to be partly right and partly wrong. Its proponents argue that dreams may have both physiological and psychological determinants, and therefore can be either meaningful or meaningless, varying greatly in terms of psychological significance." (Copyright © Stephen LaBerge)
Have you ever had a lucid dream?
A lucid dream is when you are aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. Many lucid dreamers are able to completely control their dreams! Learn about dream research and find out what you can do to have your own lucid dream.
Learn How To Control the Action in Your Dreams
There exists a tribe of people known as the Senoi. They are destined to be famous for only one thing, since they have no great military strategists, no crime problems, serious health or addiction problems, no wars, and only minimal conflict in their own society. The thing that makes their otherwise dull-sounding tribe great, and in fact, what makes the harmony they experience possible, is their approach to dreaming. They can and do control their dreams and live them as part of their daily lives.
Read How To Control the Action in Your Dreams
Journey into Your Dreams: Control Your Dreams and Meet Lost Loved Ones
Somewhere between hither and yon exists a place where dreams are made. In this secret location, you can be whatever you want to be, and even see almost anything and anyone you want to see. The key to making this quest a success is to unlock the secret of dreaming.
For the last half of my life, I have spent a lot of time trying to learn more about dreams and dreaming. My first step was learning how to control my dreams. It isn't like a video game where I control everything that happens in a dream, but I have been able to control my own actions when I am dreaming something that doesn't feel right or leaves me feeling uncomfortable. The ability to release yourself from a bad dream or even remove yourself from an uncomfortable position is an amazing feeling, and learning how to do this through controlling your dreams starts with one simple exercise.
Read Journey into Your Dreams: Control Your Dreams and Meet Lost Loved Ones
The Repetition Principle in Dreams:
Is It a Possible Clue to a Function of Dreams?
This is an updated paper about the possibility that dreams have a "function," that is, that they play an adaptive role psychologically or physiologically. It was written in 1989 and then published in 1993 in an obscure book that was very late in coming out. The paper explores the topic of dream function by showing there is a considerable amount of dream content that is repetitive for each individual. This repetition is often overlooked by those who study one dream at a time in a clinical situation and by those who look at large samples of dreams from many individuals. Whether dreams have an adaptive function or not, this "repetition principle" can be useful in understanding them.
Read The Repetition Principle in Dreams: Is It a Possible Clue to a Function of Dreams?.
Dreams and Parapsychology
Can dreams predict the future? Can people receive thoughts from other people during dreaming? There is a long historical association in people's minds between the everyday phenomenon of dreaming and allegedly paranormal phenomena. Parapsychologists have therefore taken an interest in the study of dreams, with the hope that dreams can be used to support their claims about extrasensory perception. But there are numerous reasons why the connection is a spurious one.
Read Dreams and Parapsychology.
The "Purpose" of Dreams
Dreams are so compelling, and they often seem so weird and strange -- surely they must have a "purpose"; that is, an "adaptive role" in the maintenance of our bodily or psychological health. Furthermore, all the famous theorists who talk about dreams claim that dreams do have one or another purpose (although the famous theorists disagree on just what those functions are), but the best current evidence suggests otherwise. Dreams probably have no purpose!
Read The "Purpose" of Dreams.
Dreaming the Field: The Importance of Dreams
Seven months before my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I was plagued by a series of unsettling dreams; some pointed unequivocally to his subsequent death; others spoke as oracles did with forked tongues. However, there was one dream in particular that convinced me not only of life beyond life as we know it, but also of life beyond death.
I was awakened by my husband's voice: "Who's coming up the stairs?" And I remembered seeing in my dream two translucent shadows ( like wings) coming up the stairs and standing before us at the foot of our bed. These were strange beings without human features, shapeless, giving the impression of wings--translucent, elusive wings. Yet I knew somehow they were wise and sentient beings, deep with a knowing beyond this world. They were coming for my husband.
Read Dreaming the Field: The Importance of Dreams.
Have you had disturbing dreams or nightmares?
Read our sections on Nightmares and Night Terrors.
"Dreams occur during all stages of sleep. Nightmares are common. They can be associated with poor sleep and diminished daytime performance. Frequent nightmares are not related to underlying psychopathology in most children and in some "creative" adults. However, recurrent nightmares are the most defining symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder and may be associated with other psychiatric illnesses. Night terrors are arousal disorders that occur most often in children and usually occur early in the sleep period. Patients with rapid-eye-movement behavior disorder often present with nocturnal injury resulting from the acting out of dreams. Dream disorders may respond to medication, but behavioral treatment approaches have shown excellent results, particularly in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder and recurrent nightmares." Citation from Nightmares and Disorders of Dreaming. Copyright © American Academy of Family Physicians.
We spend as much as a third of our lifetime asleep. It has been estimated that we spend 4-8% of our life in dreams. For a person of 50 that adds up to 2-4 years spent dreaming!
The average person will dream over 150,000 dreams in a lifetime. You can use dreams as tools for better understanding yourself, solving problems, or even increasing creativity and productivity. You can enhance relationships and gain insight into your well-being. In fact, if you learn to program your dreams correctly, you may be able to experience the ultimate whole body experience, and travel back-or forward-into time.
Dreaming is the subjective experience of imaginary images, sounds/voices, words, thoughts or sensations during sleep, usually involuntarily. The scientific discipline of dream research is oneirology. Dreaming is associated with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a lighter form of sleep that occurs during the later portion of the sleep cycle, characterized by rapid horizontal eye movements, stimulation of the pons, increased respiratory and heart rate, and temporary paralysis of the body. It can also occur in other phases of sleep, though this is less common. Hypnogogia, which occurs spontaneously during the approach to deep sleep, is thought to be related to dreaming.
Dreams are a language of imagery. This imagery ranges from the normal to the surreal; in fact, dreams often provoke artistic and other forms of inspiration. Forms of dream include the frightening or upsetting nightmare and erotic dreams with sexual images and nocturnal emission.
Most scientists believe that dreams occur in all humans with about equal frequency per amount of sleep. Therefore, if individuals feel that they did not dream or that they only had one dream in any given night, it is because their memory of the dream has faded. This "memory erasure" aspect of the dream state is mostly found when a person naturally awakes via a smooth transition from REM sleep through delta sleep to the awake state. If a person is awoken directly from REM sleep (e.g. by an alarm clock), they are much more likely to remember the dream from that REM cycle (although it's most likely that not all dreams will be remembered because they occur in REM cycles, which are interrupted by periods of delta sleep which in turn have a tendency to cause the memory of previous dreams to fade.)
True, dreaming has only been positively confirmed in Homo sapiens, but many believe that dreaming occurs in other animals as well. Animals certainly undergo REM sleep, but their subjective experience is difficult to determine. The animal with the longest average periods of REM sleep is the armadillo. It would appear that mammals are the only, or at least most frequent, dreamers in nature, which is perhaps related to their sleep patterns.
There are two competing stories as to the neurological cause of the dreaming experience. The state of REM sleep is known to be produced by a brain region known as the pons. The activation-synthesis theory states that the brain tries to interpret random impulses from the pons as sensory input, producing the vivid hallucinations we know as dreams. Sensory-based input interpretation is in turn based on past experience. Perhaps this is the reason why our dreams contain many characters and scenes from our regular lives. For some people, there are dreams that recur again and again over many years, sometimes with new additions from new experiences during the waken-up life. However, research by Mark Solms seems to suggest that dreams are generated in the forebrain, and that REM sleep and dreaming are two different brain systems. The debate between these two theories is ongoing.
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