What Your Dreams Actually Mean - A Beginner's Guide

Clairvoyant psychics say that dreams are a collection of images, sounds, thoughts and feelings that a person experiences while sleeping. Dreams mainly occur during REM sleep. During a lucid dream the dreamer is aware of the fact that he is dreaming. What a dream is and what exactly it is for is not known, although there are suspicions. For example, it has been found that people often dream about things that they have experienced during the day. This is called the day rest. Dreams would help to process the events. In the past, dreams were seen as messages from the gods and ascribed a predictive function to them. There are several examples of this in the Bible, for example Joseph in Genesis and Daniel. To analyze the different dream symbols, there are dream interpreters and dream books that clarify the interpretation of a dream so that you can understand your dreams.

Dreaming as a form of repression

In the book that Traumdeutung involved, Sigmund Freud included the dream in his view of psychoanalysis. The work is based on what Freud called the unconscious. Freud himself said of this book: The Dream Interpretation is in reality the royal road to the unconscious, the safest basis for psychoanalysis. During sleep, the level of consciousness is greatly reduced. The resistance has not been completely eliminated, but its strength has weakened. The repressed psychic contents are given an unrecognizable disguise in the dream, through which they manage to outwit the censors.

Dreams are thus substitute gratifications of repressed complexes. Dreams therefore have a secret side, the latent dream content. To be explained, dream interpretation. Carl Gustav Jung, a student of Freud, was also convinced that dreams carry messages for the dreamer and that dreamers should pay attention to this for their own good. It could also help them gain insight into their own emotional problems. According to Jung, recurring dreams in particular have a special meaning. They are a warning that the dreamer should focus his attention on certain problems, which he is currently neglecting. As long as that is not the case, the dream keeps returning with the same images and symbols.

Dreaming as a synthesis of brain activation

An entirely different and more recent theory of the dream is based on the physiology of the brain and comes from Hobson and McCarley. This theory has come to be known as the ‘activation synthesis theory’. In short, this theory means that rapid eye movements occur during dream sleep. This is also known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. During REM sleep, areas in the brain are activated that are only active in the waking state when they receive visual impressions from the environment. During sleep this input is missing, and the rational brain tries to forge the chaotic (especially visual) experiences in the brain into a somewhat cohesive story.

This theory may also explain why dream content is often strange or bizarre. According to Freud’s psychoanalytic dream theory, this is because a censor distorts the dream content. It contains suppressed wishes that are threatening to consciousness. The censor thus acts as a sort of scrambler: a machine that wraps the dream content in a symbolic code. Activation synthesis theory is based on a simpler principle. The dream content is indeed chaotic and bizarre. But that is because the physiological activations in the visual cortex, due to the lack of external stimuli, lack structure in time and space. The ‘rational’ brain is now trying to integrate this raw information flow. According to this view, dream sleep rather functions as a synthesizer: a machine that combines raw impressions and experiences.

Dreaming when falling asleep and waking up

Sometimes when falling asleep or waking up, extremely vivid dream images can occur, which are difficult to distinguish from reality. This is also known as slumber hallucinations. These states can still be distinguished in two forms: during falling asleep (hypnagogic hallucinations, or: Hypnagogia) or during awakening (hypnopompic hallucinations, or Hypnopompia).