Most of us remember dreaming, but few of us may remember full dreams, or even bother writing them down. At first sight they seem bizarre, confusing, nonsensical and irrational. We may tend to dismiss them as they don’t fit our idea of a narrative with a logical development that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Each of these parts should be set in a sequence that makes sense and each is related to the previous and the next, which is not what happens in dreams.
Despite their lack of logic – or maybe because of it – for other people dreams are very important, their meanings covering a vast range of views and philosophies. Some people attribute a predicting power to dreams, or attach specific meanings to individual elements in them.
Whatever your attitude about dreams, you must acknowledge they are fascinating, and have attracted and continue to attract our attention and imagination since the beginning of time and across many different cultures. This is so because they are a universal phenomenon, though one we have not been able to fully explain scientifically, or maybe, as I ventured earlier, just because of that.
Well, dreams may not make logical sense, yet they make sense, albeit of a different kind. If we were to pay attention to them and write them down as soon as we wake up each morning, we would begin to see a connection between our day lives and what happens at night while we are sleeping. We would begin to see patterns taking form, a theme or several themes becoming evident. In doing so, we would become more alerted to what is going on with us, with what our mind is grappling and trying to make sense, and what it may try to hold back and hide from our consciousness.
To me, personally, dreams offer a view of what is going on inside that I may not be fully conscious of at the time. As a psychotherapist, dreams provide me with an added view of what is going on in another person’s mind. In both cases they provide a different view of how our minds work, constantly going back and forth between the past and the present, connecting, integrating, comparing, overlapping, fusing and breaking up parts of our experiences. Dreams offer an added dimension to our understanding of the human mind and of how we process what is happening within and outside us.
Whether one believes in the powers of dreams, or regards them as mere irrational and meaningless mental activities, the process of paying attention to them, pausing and reflecting on their possible meanings facilitates self-reflection and understanding. Even if paying attention to our dreams is nothing but a need our brains have for order and logic and to organize our experiences, they encourage us to pause, think, look for recognizable patterns and find some explanations for them. This process, in and by itself, can affect the way we perceive ourselves and people around us, and can affect the way we think, feel and act, contributing to our choices and understanding of who we are. However, this does not mean we should take our dreams literally and follow what they tell us to do blindly. It just means we shouldn’t be too hasty in discarding them as nonsensical just because they don’t fit our logical view of how things should be.
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