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     F.A.Q about Dreams

Part 1b of Dream Interpretation Introduction

We all dream and at some time we all have dreams which we want to understand.  It may be simply curiosity or we may have a troublling dream, perhaps a recurring dream which we want to understand and work through.  While every dream is unique to the person who dreams it, the world of dream interpretation is a rich, fascinating and exciting one.  I have included here some of the most commonly asked questions about dreams and their analysis.

What is the significance of dreams?

Yes, dreams do have significance in the real world.  Dreams are told in a symbolic language, and the images in dreams tend to contain hidden meanings and hidden messages.  When analyzing and interpreting dreams, it is important to understand that the stories told in dreams are symbolic and not meant to be taken literally.  The significance of dreams for each dreamer is a personal matter related to each personís experience and emotions.  

Why do recurring dreams happen?

Recurring dreams are very common.  Most often, recurring dreams indicate that the dreamer has some issue that is not being confronted in his or her waking life.  Examining these recurring dreams, and understanding what triggers them, can often allow the dreamer to resolve the underlying issue and banish the recurring dream. Once we have solved a problem our unconsious has no need to come back to it again and again  

Do most people dream in color?

Most people do dream in color, but many may not notice the colors in the dream world.  Since color is such a natural part of our normal day to day experience, color may be overlooked in the dream world.  In addition, because dreams fade so quickly, the sense of color may be the first thing to leave the conscious mind.  Often dreams which we describe as 'vivid' have very strong colors but this doesn't mean others are in black and white, it simply means the color is of less significance in them and we remember the parts of the dream that we experience as most important.

Do animals dream as well?

Anyone who has watched a pet sleep will be able to attest that they look as if they are dreaming and indeed all mammals studied have exhibited the same brain activity that humans exhibit during dream sleep.  Many scientists see this as proof that animals do in fact dream, although what they dream about is likely to remain a mystery.

How are dreams affected by our daily lives?

Any feelings or thoughts repressed during the day are likely to make an appearance in your dreams during the night.  For example, if you wanted to show your anger to someone but were unable to do so, you may express anger to that person or a similar figure in a dream.  In addition, those who have experienced traumatic events are often troubled by nightmares in which they relive that trauma. It is possible to solve problems in your dreams which is indeed one of their main functions - if we would only listen to them!!  I have also found that often my dreams will use situations from the previous day to try to tell me their message. Our dreams are significantly affected by our daily life in many areas and this is how by understanding them we can often make changes which will help us to make changes to our life so that it becomes more suitable to who we really are.

Do men and women dream differently?

Men and women both experience the same brain wave activity during dream sleep.  The content of the dreams of men and women do differ, however.  Studies of dream content have shown that men tend to dream more about other men than about women, while women tend to dream about men and women equally. That being said both men and women have dreams wehich are trying to tell us things we need to look at and which work on quietly solving our problems.

Why do I remember only bad dreams and never good ones?

This is certainly not true of everyone and tends to be more true for people who have a difficulty in remembering dreams. One reason is that the most vivid dreams tend to be those that are remembered, and nightmares are generally more vivid than good dreams.  In addition, sleepers are often awakened by a particularly vivid nightmare, and waking during dream sleep means that the dream will most likely be remembered in its minutest details. Rest assured our sleep is packed with a variety of dreams some of which are most enjoyable.

What does it mean to dream about dreaming?

Experiencing a dream within a dream may be a way to deal with items from the subconscious mind.  A dream within a dream may prevent the dreamer from waking up prematurely, and they often are reflections of a critical issue that the dreamer needs to confront and gain control of.

Will I really die if I hit the ground during a falling dream?

The many people who have described hitting the ground during a dream about falling are proof positive that hitting the ground in a dream is not a terminal experience.  It is true, however, that dreams of falling often wake the dreamer, and that is probably where that old legend got its start.

Can I influence my dreams?

Absolutely and this is where the fun begins! As a child I used to ask for a particular dream before I went to sleep and surprisingly often my dream was centered around the theme I asked.  Likewise if we have a problem we can ask for an answer in the dream and often will receive one.   Our dreams are part of us.  They are our unconscious talking to us.  Yes we can most definitely interact with them. We can even get involved in lucid dreaming where we are completely aware we are dreaming and choose to work with the characters in our dreams. This obviously is a more advanced way of working with our dreams and only possible once we have mastered remembering them and begun to understand them.

Here are some other interesting facts about dreaming that you may not be aware of -

  1. One third of most peopleís lives is spent asleep, and a good portion of that time is spent in dream sleep.
  2. In the average lifetime, a person will have spent approximately six years in dream sleep, equivalent to more than 2,100 days of dreaming.
  3. Dreams have existed as long as human beings.  There are records of dreams going back over 4,000 years.
  4. Dream interpretation has existed almost as long as dreaming, and Roman senators in the ancient world often engaged the services of dream interpreters before making important political and social decisions.
  5. Every human being dreams.  Even if you do not remember your dreams, you dream between four and seven times a night, every night.
  6. If people are prevented from dreaming, they suffer a variety of personality disorders and psychological problems.  The exact function of dream sleep is still not known, but it is known that dreaming is an indispensable part of life.
  7. The average person spends two hours per night sleeping, and has from four to seven dreams during that time.
  8. Even blind people dream.  The dreams of blind people who were previously sighted sometimes contain visual images, while the dreams of those who have been blind from birth do not.  Vision is not the only component of a dream, however.  Dreams also contain sounds, sights, smells and touch sensations.
  9. Dreams are forgotten very quickly upon waking.  It is estimated that 50% of the content of a dream is lost within five minutes of waking, and after 10 minutes as much as 90% of the dream can be forgotten.
  10. The word dream is derived from a word in Middle English.  This word, dreme, translates to "music" and "joy"..  It is therefore apparent that dreams have long been looked at as a source of wonder and inspiration.
  11. Studies of brain wave activity have revealed greater activity during dreaming than during waking periods.
  12. People who are awakened during dream sleep are able to recall their dreams vividly, while those who wait until morning to wake often are not.
  13. Everyone, men and women, seem to experience sexual arousal during their dreams, regardless of whether or not the content of the dream is overtly sexual.
  14. Smokers who are trying to quit often report greater intensity in their dreams.
  15. Studies have shown that toddlers do not dream about themselves.  In general, toddlers do not appear in their own dreams until they reach the age of three or four.
  16. It is impossible to snore and dream at the same time!
  17. Children commonly experience nightmares, and these nightmares usually begin by the age of three and last until the child is seven or eight years old.
  18. More than 60% of people surveyed have reported experiencing Déjà vu in their dreams.  Déjà vu dreams occur more frequently in women than in men.

Dream Interpretation Introduction Part 1c Keys to Understanding Dreams


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