The meaning of Australia in dream | Dream interpretation


Congeniality and friendship.

The Element Encyclopedia | Theresa Cheung

Get your affairs in order for an important change if you dreamed of this4 interesting continent.

The Complete Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams | Stearn Robinson - Tom Corbett

To dream about Australia means that you believe you are being tugged toward opposing poles. It might also symbolize a deep look into your unfettered inner self. Australia, known as the ‘land down under,’ could represent your innermost buried thoughts.

Dream Symbols and Analysis | DreamForth

See places

Dream Meanings of Versatile | Versatile - Anonymous

In a dream whose scenes take place in Australia, you may be called to examine a rugged country where outcasts and criminals were once exiled. Australia may also represent your feelings of being displaced or persecuted.

Ariadne's Book of Dream | Ariadne Green


Australia | Dream Interpretation

The keywords of this dream: Australia


AFFAIR

Example: I was on board a pleasure cruiser with my wife. As I stood on a high deck I looked down and saw her sitting below with very tight knickers on and nothing else. As a man walked towards her the knickers came off or slipped down.

The man was sexually aroused and started attempting to penetrate her. She only put up a token resistance, mewing a bit, but not fighting him off. I rushed towards them and kicked him off’ (Andrew P). In this dream Andrew’s fear of his wife’s desire for another man is being expressed, but the dream really depicts Andrew’s feelings of sexual inadequacy. Adultery dreams may also express release of sexual feelings; desire for another partner, desire for one’s partner to have sex with someone else. See sex in dreams; last example in dark.

African This may refer to one’s own feelings about col­oured people or racial prejudices; Africa may have been the birthplace for the human race. In dreams we still use primi­tive Africans or Australian aborigines to represent our own natural inner life. See aboriginal; black people; native. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

WOMAN

Example: 41 gave birth to a baby girl I named Char­lotte. I had mixed emotions about this, uncertainty, excite­ment. I wanted to share the news with my friends. I phoned one, a woman in Australia. I told her with enthusiasm, but she listened quietly and remained silent. I felt uneasy, then she said “We lost Luke”—her son—”the week before.” I then woke with muddled feelings’ (Mo).

A woman in a woman’s dream: an aspect of herself, but often a facet of herself she is not immediately identifying with.

The above example helps make this plain. Mo explored her feelings about the dream characters. It all fell into place when she asked herself what she had ‘lost’ recently. She had left a lover of some years’ standing. This gave her a lot more free­dom and new opportunity, depicted by the baby, but also muddled feelings of loss. Her Australian friend represents her feelings of grieving for the death’ of her relationship. Her muddled feelings arise because she both loves the new life which opens up, but grieves for the death of her romance.

A woman’s sister, female children: particularly used to rep­resent herself.

The character of the dream woman, loving, angry, businesslike, lazy, sexual, gives a clue to what pan of the dreamer it is referring to.

If the dream woman is a person known well, the above can still be the case, but the woman may represent what the dreamer feels about that person.

A woman younger than the dreamer oneself at that age.

An older woman: could be the dreamer’s mother, her feelings about aging, her sense of inherited wisdom. Two women and the dreamer, conflicting feelings or drives. One woman, one man: behaviour patterns arising from parental relationship.

A goddess or holy woman, the dreamer’s highest potential; what she is capable of but may not yet have lived.

Man dreaming of a woman

Example: ‘On a raised mobile platform a goddess stood. I loved her and flew to her, skim­ming above the heads of the people. I calked to her. She told me the only love I could receive from her was that which I gave to a human woman. Inasmuch as I gave love to a human female, she would love me. She was all women’ (Andrew P).

The example shows Andrew meeting his archetypal concep­tion of a woman, his ideal. But he understands that you can­not love an ideal. His love must find a real woman. Through a real love he would call love from out of himself, out of his unconscious reserve.

In a man’s dream: his present relationship with his own feelings and intuitive self; his sensitivity and contact with his unconscious through receptivity; or how he is relating to his female partner.

The latter is especially so if the woman in the dream is his partner, how capable he is of loving a woman.

An old woman, usually the dreamer’s mother.

The woman, because she is his feelings, is obviously also his sexual desires and how he meets them.

A younger woman: can depict his desires for a woman of that age, or his more vulnerable emo­tions. Two women and the dreamer: an ‘eternal triangle’; con­flicting feelings.

If one woman and one man: pattern of be­haviour developed in relationship with parents.

The conditions or situations of the woman, see under ap­propriate entries, such as illness; murder, swimming; etc. See anima and the Great Mother under archetypes. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

FOSTER’S BEER

Brewed in Australia and in an oversized can, Foster’s beer may comment on fostenng good cheer or on expressing brute strength. It may point to a foster parent or a substitute parent as well.... Ariadne's Book of Dream

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Ariadne's Book of Dream

KANGAROO

Native to Australia, this marsupial’s appearance in a dream can represent the mothering aspect when carrying its baby in a pouch. It can represent the need to incubate an idea or project for a long period of time.

The leaping movement of a kangaroo comes tc signify spnnging forward with an idea or making a leap of faith.... Ariadne's Book of Dream

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Ariadne's Book of Dream

WOMBAT

Nanve to Australia, this large marsupial burrows a home in the din. W&ddling forward on short legs, it looks pretty silly but it displays an enormous ability to hold on for dear life. Wombats come to bnng the message of the power of the element of eanh as a home, which can protect you as long as you are grounded. Wombats may be saying to you, “Make your home here on eanh. It’s a safe shelter.” In other words, get grounded on the planet.... Ariadne's Book of Dream

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Ariadne's Book of Dream

BRUSH

(1) In both senses of the word - undergrowth, as well as the implement with brisdes. The brush may be a sexual symbol, representing pubic hair. (In Australia a girl or young woman is sometimes called a brush.)

(2) A cleaning brush may be saying something about your attitude towards cleanliness or tidiness. Are you obsessed with these things? If so, what guilt-feelings are you trying to hide?

(3) Are you brushing your teeth? If so, perhaps it is saying you need to be careful about how you speak to people; or perhaps you are anxious about getting older. See also Teeth.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

MOON

(1) From prehistoric times the moon has been regarded as the source of all fertility. It governs ocean tides and rainfall, menstruation and birth. (Even when seen as male, the moon has been associated with fertility: for example, in Australian aboriginal tradition, the moon makes women pregnant.) It may therefore symbolize (the possibility of) personal growth.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

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A Dictionary of Dream Symbols

DOOR

It is a beautiful symbol full of meaning, especially if it is opening. In that case, it generally represents personal development and desire to explore your inner world, or it suggests that you are about to cross the threshold of a new life stage or to begin an important new project.

If in the dream they shut the door in your face, you may have the feeling of being excluded or ignored by others.

If you are not able to open it, it is a reminder that, right now, you should not try to alter the situation in which you are.

If the door is too narrow you may have to give up some of your demands in order to succeed. For Freud, this dream has a clear sexual reading: door represents the vagina. Consequently, if it is narrow it is a symbol of sexual difficulties, and the act of opening and closing it continuously is a clear allusion to intercourse.

The doorknob predicts unexpected good luck; its hinges, family problems. A closed door predicts lost opportunities; an open one, fortune; a revolving one, the arrival of a monotonous period; and a trapdoor, shocking news.

DOOR - analysis of the dream

Mireia dreamed: “I dreamed I was in a dark hallway surrounded by rooms on either side. Hanging on the walls there were old portraits of people who seemed to follow me with their eyes. I was terrified. I knew it was a test and needed to choose a door and walk through it, but I was afraid to be wrong; I was afraid that if I chose wrong I could fall into the void. Suddenly, one of the doors opened. I decided to go in. I found myself on a light and airy corridor; at the end I could see another golden door. I walked toward it, this time without fear and with confidence that something wonderful was waiting for me inside. I opened it, confident, and realized it was in my own room. I felt safe and calm but very tired. I laid on my cozy bed and gave myself up to a peaceful sleep. Then I woke up.”

Mireia’s dream reflects a very specific time in her life when she had to make important decisions that would affect her future. Her company had offered her a promotion that involved a transfer across the world: Australia. The dark and gloomy corridor reflects the situation at the moment of her dream, full of doubts and fears. The ancient portraits of people who seemed to be looking at her signal the pressure she was under. However, the door opening represented the opportunity that fate was offering to her; suggesting that she was about to cross the threshold of a new phase of her life.

The golden gate was the confirmation that her decision to leave would be the right one. Her unconscious was encouraging her to accept it. The fact that the door led her to her own room is a message that she did not have be afraid of changes, because home was also waiting for her over there.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams

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The Big Dictionary of Dreams

PHALLUS

In addition to masculine sexuality, the phallus represents life’s creative force.

It is a symbol of energy and power. A phallus in dreams indicates a time of high creativity.

If a woman sees herself with a phallus, the dream indicates that she wants to develop her masculine side. Similarly, if a man dreams of an unknown woman with a phallus, he may feel like highlighting his feminine side.

The phallus is the representation of all things masculine, bright, and Yang. Symbol of fertility, regeneration, power, and immortality, to many ethnic groups and tribes the phallus is the most commonly worshipped symbol. The ancient cave paintings found in Australia, Senegal, Niger, France, China, Japan, and India contain drawings of human reproductive systems. They prove the power of this symbol. Similarly, the Romans used phallic charms to ward off evil spirits. Furthermore, the god Priapus was represented as a large phallus with human face. Other Mexican peoples worshiped a winged serpent and the Hindus still pay homage to Shiva, a phallic emblem. On the other hand, the favorite deity in China is Shoulao, the god of longevity. This god has an enormous and elongated bald head like a phallus. For some traditions, dreaming of your own phallus predicts transient wealth, because it grows and shrinks. It can also denote secret projects, poverty, and captivity.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams

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The Big Dictionary of Dreams

GEMSTONE

Because of the different colors in gemstones and the different things associated with them, they can all have slightly different meanings when they appear in dreams.

If a specific gemstone or precious stone appears in your dream, try to work out what that stone means to you. Was it your birth stone or the birth stone of someone you know? You should also consider its color. The texture and any associations or myths connected should also help with your interpretation. It would be impossible to list all precious and semiprecious gemstones, but the following associations with some of the most well-known gemstones should give you some guidelines regarding interpretation; but please note that it is always worth your while to do your own research.

Purple has long been considered a royal color so it is not surprising that amethyst has been so much in demand during history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Amethyst, transparent purple quartz, is the most important quartz variety used in jewelry. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence, and in dreams the appearance of amethyst suggests healing and transcendence. The gemstone is also a symbol of sobriety and remorse, due to the legend of the origin of amethyst. Dionysus, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws of the tigers. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god’s tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.

Diamond is the symbol of incorruptibility, integrity, perfection and wisdom, so if you dream of it, these may be themes that would repay further investigation in your interpretation. But your dream may also be hinting that you need to look at various facets of a problem. There is also the association with human greed. As a symbol of fertility and regeneration, emerald in dreams suggests personal growth and a connection with the natural in life. The green of the emerald is the color of life and of the springtime, which comes round again and again. But emerald is also the traditional color of beauty and of constant love. In ancient Rome, green was the color of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love. In dreams, emerald can convey harmony, love of Nature and elemental joie de vivre.

According to Chinese legend, jade is the sperm of the Celestial dragon that fell to earth; it therefore represents a union between heaven and earth. In the West, jade is more likely to bear the symbolism of its color green. It may also appear in dream word-play. Is there something in your waking life about which you feel jaded and would like to change? In gemstone therapy, it is said that jade stimulates creativity and mental agility on the one hand, whilst also having a balancing and harmonizing effect

A symbol of the inner world of fantasies and dreams, opal stands for intuitive awareness. All of nature’s splendor seems to be reflected in the manifold opulence of fine opals: fire and lightning, all the colors of the rainbow and the soft shine of far seas. Almost ninety-five per cent of all fine opals come from the dry and remote outback deserts of Australia. For ages, people have believed in the healing power of opals. It is reported to be able to cure depression and to help its wearer find true and lasting love. The fantastic color- play of opals may reflect changing emotions and moods; either your own or of the people around you. For example, the sparkling images of boulder opal, the vivid light flashes of black opal or the soft shine of milk opal characterize the colorful world of this fascinating gemstone.

Rubies are a symbol of emotion, passion, empathy and reaching out to others. The most important characteristic about this valuable stone is its color. There is of course a reason for this: the name ‘Ruby’ was derived from the Latin word ‘rubens’, meaning ‘red’. The red of rubies is in a class of its own, being peculiarly warm and fiery. Two magical elements are associated with the symbolism of this color: fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind. In the light of this, ruby-red is not just any old color red; it is the epitome of the color: hot, passionate and powerful. Like no other gemstone, ruby is the perfect symbol of powerful feelings. To dream of a ring set with a precious ruby does not symbolize a calm and moderate sympathy that one might feel for someone else, but rather the passionate and unbridled love which two people feel for each other.

Sapphires are symbols of hope, joy and aspiration, and blue is the color most often association with this precious stone. This color is also linked to emotions such as sympathy and harmony, friendship and loyalty. These emotions are permanent and reliable—they are emotions in which overwhelming and fiery passion is not the main element, but rather composure, mutual understanding and unshakeable trust. Sapphire blue has thus become a color related to anything permanent and reliable, and this is one of the reasons why women in many countries settle on sapphire for their engagement rings. Sapphire symbolizes loyalty and faithfulness, whilst at the same time expressing love and yearning.

The most famous musical example for this melancholic shade of blue can be found in George Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’. Sapphire’s blue color is also evoked where clear competence and controlled brainwork are the issue. After all, the first computer ever to wrangle a victory from a chess grandmaster and world champion was named ‘Deep Blue’.

In many cultures of the Old and New World turquoise has for thousands of years been appreciated as a holy stone, a good-luck charm or a talisman. In Asia and Europe, turquoise is often worn as protection against the evil eye and its exquisite shade of blue is associated with heaven. In dreams it can represent healing and higher aspirations.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

NEW ZEALAND

Located to the southeast of Australia, New Zealand consists of two main islands and a number of smaller outlying islands so scattered that they range from the tropical to the polar. In dreams it suggests diversity but also pastoral respite.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

A BRIEF HISTORY OF DREAM INTERPRETATION

‘Now Allah has created the dream not only as a means of guidance and instruction, I refer to the dream, but he has made it a window on the World of the Unseen.’
Mohammed, the Prophet

Ancient art and literature are crowded with references to dreams. For thousands of years dreams have been credited with supernatural or prophetic significance by the majority of the world’s spiritual traditions. The Bible, for instance, makes it clear that dreams are divine messages and this explanation for dreams was shared by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, all of whom also believed that dreams had healing powers.

Certain cultures, such as the Australian Aborigines and many African and Native American tribes, have always believed dreaming to be a way in which an individual can enter into the collective spirit memory. To this day, dream pooling plays an important role in those societies where tribal members gather together for the purpose of interpreting dreams. Another view is held by the Inuit of Hudson Bay in Canada, who believe that when a person falls asleep and dreams, their soul goes wandering.

The Egyptians are thought to have been the first to develop a system of contrary dream interpretation; a positive dream, for example, predicts misfortune and a nightmare predicts an improvement in waking fortunes. They produced the earliest known dream dictionary, written approximately 4,000 years ago. Now called the Chester Beatty Papyrus, it came from Thebes in Egypt and is kept in the British Museum.

It was the ancient Greeks, however, who first proposed the theory that dreams were not from some external, divine source but internal communications, or the divine spark within. Plato (427-347 BC) suggested that dreams were expressions of a person’s hidden desires, whilst his pupil Aristotle (384-322 BC) speculated that dreams shared similar themes and were not divine oracles but coincidences. It was the ‘father of medicine’ Hippocrates (460-377 BC) who proposed that dream symbols reflect the state of the dreamer’s body—for example, fire denoted indigestion—and should be regarded as valuable diagnostic tools.

The first fully-fledged dream researcher to focus on dream symbols and dream themes was a Roman living in Greek Asia Minor called Artemidorus (AD 138-180), who wrote a book about dream interpretation that is still in print. As far as Artemidorus was concerned, dream symbols had certain meanings but the most important aspect of dream interpretation was the symbols’ personal significance to the dreamer, along with the dreamer’s personal circumstances.

In much of Europe, even though the early Christians respected dreams for their spiritual significance, the repressive control of the Roman Catholic Church put a stop to any attempts at dream interpretation. By the fifteenth century, dreams were regarded as no longer significant or important. Even a century or so later, Shakespeare called them ‘children of the idle brain’. This school of thought persisted into the eighteenth century, when dreams were still thought to be meaningless.

In the early nineteenth century, when the restrictive influence of the Church began to wane and members of the German Romantic movement—in their quest for spontaneous expression—rediscovered the potential of dreams, a revival of interest in dream interpretation began to trickle into the mainstream with the publication of popular dream dictionaries such as Raphael’s Royal Book of Dreams (1830). The stage was now set for Freud and Jung; two men who continue to have the greatest impact on the way we interpret dreams today.... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

OTHER IMPORTANT DREAM THEORISTS

Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler (1870-1937) suggested that dreams are all about wish-fulfillment because they allow the dreamer to have skills and powers denied to him or her in waking life. According to Adler, ‘the purpose of dreams must be in the feelings they arouse.’

Gestalt psychologist Fritz Perls (1893-1970) believed that dreams project hidden aspects of our personalities and the best way to interpret them is to use a non-interpretative interviewing technique. In other words, you ask your dream character or object what they are trying to say. Then you try to adopt the dream’s mindset and answer the questions.

Australian dream expert Gayle Delaney suggests using an interviewing technique that addresses questions such as ‘how did the dream make you feel?’ or ‘how can you connect your dream with your waking life?’

Some dream theorists believe dreams deal with problems we can’t solve in waking life and offer solutions. Looking at them in the light of waking day, and believing them to be full of insight, we may sometimes come up with new ideas or insights while studying and interpreting them.

Thanks to the work of Jung and Freud and other influential dream theorists, dream interpretation is now accessible to everyone. It’s as popular today as it has ever been, with people from all walks of life using dreams as unique and personal sources of guidance and inspiration, or as tools for change, growth and personal development. As we’ve seen, there are many approaches to the study and interpretation of dreams and you’ll find a fusion of all of these in this book.... Dreampedia

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Dreampedia

WHY DO WE DREAM? PHYSIOLOGY OF DREAMS

“Everything serious comes to us at night.”
CICERO

What happens when we sleep?

Why do we sleep? The answer is not as simple as it seems. We sleep so that our body can rest, we think at first. However, science has not been able to prove concretely that sleep is necessary for physical recuperation of the body. Experiments performed on rats have proven that when deprived of sleep, these animals die.

But human nature is not as simple as that of rats. Everyone knows people who barely sleep. The most extreme case, published in some scientific magazines, is that of a man who claims not to have slept since contracting a serious illness. In a similar vein, some individuals with a highly developed spirituality are able to remain conscious all night. We’re not referring to a student during exam time drinking coffee or taking stimulants to stay awake more than twenty-four hours straight. We’re talking about people who can achieve advanced levels of relaxation through deep meditation.

It is known that anxiety and lack of concentration increase considerably after a night or two without sleep. One theory related to sleep affirms that we sleep to conserve energy. However, another suggests that we rest to conserve our food stores, since when we lose consciousness, we repress the hunger mechanism.


How much do we sleep?

Sleep at different ages

In the course of his life, a person has, on average, 300,000 dreams. As we age, both the time we spend sleeping and the time we spend dreaming decrease gradually.

Newborns sleep almost all day, alternating hours of sleep with short spells of wakefulness. By one year of age, they sleep fewer sessions but for longer in total: they have cycles of 90 minutes of sleep followed by another 90 minutes of waking time. Gradually, the child will sleep more at night and less during the day. By 9 years of age, most need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a day.

The average for an adult is between 7 and 8.5 hours. But after age 70, we return to the sleep phases of childhood and sleep fewer hours continuously.

There are arguments that even claim we have slept since ancient times in order to appear a less tasty snack for nocturnal predators (when we sleep, our body looks like a corpse).

There are theories to suit everyone, but we shouldn’t forget the fundamental: for almost all of us, sleeping is a relaxing and pleasant experience that lasts between six and eight hours each night, an experience that is utterly necessary to “recharge the batteries” of our bodies.

It’s no coincidence that we choose nighttime to sleep. In the darkness our vision is reduced, the world becomes strange, and as a result, our imagination runs wild. Our minds remain occupied with images (that is, dreams). At night, our eyes don’t work, but we have a need to create images. If for some reason we are deprived of sleep, the following nights our dream production increases, since we spend more time in the REM phase (the period of sleep when oneiric thoughts are most active). Therefore it seems evident that we need dreams to live.

Some ancient civilizations believed that dreaming served, more than anything, to be able to dream. They were convinced that oneiric activity wasn’t the result of sleeping, but rather the reason for it. Some scientists, however, don’t share the theories of our ancestors when it comes to the reason behind our dreams.

There is a scientific school of thought that asserts that oneiric thoughts are simply a neurophysiological activity that comes with sleep. According to this theory, when we sleep we generate spontaneous signals that stimulate the sensory channels in the mind. The brain transforms these signals into visual images and induces the dreamer to believe that he is living real experiences.

Up to that point, perfect. But, why do dreams have such an interesting narrative? Why do they so often express metaphoric language? Why do they narrate stories that directly affect us? There is no concrete or scientific answer to these questions.

Percentages of REM sleep

Cold-blooded animals never dream; the cold temperatures at night cause them to hibernate and all their vital functions, including the brain, slow down. Only when the sun comes out or the temperature rises to an acceptable level do they recuperate all vital functions. The only cold-blooded animal that has shown signs of dreaming is the chameleon.

On the other hand, we know all warm-blooded animals dream, since REM-phase activity has been detected in all of them. Birds dream only about 0.5% of the time they spend asleep, while humans dream up to 20% of the time. There are exceptional cases, such as that of the Australian platypus, that never dream.

Other theories suggest that dreams serve to eliminate unnecessary facts from memory, since we can’t store everything that happens every day. According to this thesis, at night we erase the “archives” we don’t need, just like a computer. The sleeping mind tests the process of erasing in the form of dreams, which would explain why they’re so difficult to remember. There are obvious limitations to this theory if you keep in mind that, occasionally, oneiric thoughts work creatively (they go beyond the information that we give them). These don’t have much to do with the merely “hygienic” function that the aforementioned scientific community claims. Often, dreams don’t eliminate the useless leftovers of daily experiences. Quite the opposite: they give them a surprising new shape, so when we wake up, we can reflect more deeply on their meaning.

The phases of sleep

Even though we don’t realize it, when we sleep at night we pass through four different phases of sleep. Each phase is distinguished by the deepness of sleep. That is, when we are in phase 1, it is a fairly light sleep; during phase 4, we reach maximum intensity.

When we go to sleep, we enter a period in which we gradually pull away from the exterior world. Little by little, our sleep deepens until finally (phase 4) our breathing slows and becomes regular, our cardiac rhythm slows down, and our body temperature decreases. Therefore the body’s metabolism also reduces its activity.

More or less an hour after falling asleep, your body has already gone through the four phases. At this point you begin to go back through the levels until you return to phase 1. This brings along an increase in respiratory and cardiac rhythm. Parallel to this, brain waves once again start to register an activity close to that of consciousness. You are therefore in a moment of transition, demonstrated by the fact that at this point the body tends to change position.

All signs indicate that any noise might wake us. But that’s not the case: since your muscle tone has been reduced, this is actually the moment when it’s most difficult to regain consciousness. At the same time, your eyes begin to move behind your eyelids (up and down and side to side). This ocular phenomenon, which anyone can observe easily, is known as the REM phases, which stands for “rapid eye movement.”

Certain areas of the brain are associated with different functions and human skills, translating external sensory stimuli into a well-organized picture of the world. In dreams, those same stimuli produce different reactions. If a sleeping person hears a sound or touches something repulsive, those stimuli will probably be integrated into their dream before they wake up.

The REM phase

The REM phase is particularly important for those interested in dreams. All studies indicate that during this brief spell (from five to ten minutes) we typically experience the most intense oneiric activity. Some of these studies, done in a sleep laboratory, have observed that eight out of ten individuals relate very vivid dreams when woken up right at the end of the REM phase. These periods alternate at night with what we could call non-REM phases, that is, periods when no ocular movement is registered.

How many times do we reach a REM stage at night? It is estimated that each cycle is repeated four to seven times. As the hours pass, each phase gets longer. This way, the final REM stage might last twenty to forty minutes. On average, an adult enjoys an hour and a half of REM sleep each night, although for older individuals it may be less than an hour and a quarter. Babies, on the other hand, remain in the REM phase for 60 percent of the time they spend asleep.

In any case, let’s make this clear: not all dreams are produced during this period. It has also been demonstrated that humans generate images in other stages. However, these are dreams of a different quality, since during the non-REM phases, our oneiric activity tends to generate only undefined thoughts, vague sensations, etc. Nothing close to the emotional content that characterizes dreams produced in the REM phase.

The oneiric images produced in the most intense phase (REM) are more difficult to remember. One method to remember them consists of waking up just after each REM phase.

As we’ve commented already, those who wish to read their dreams have to first do the work of remembering them. If we want this work to be 100 percent effective, we can use a method that, although uncomfortable, almost never fails: wake up just after every REM phase. If you want to try this method, set your alarm (without music or radio) to go off four, five, six, or seven and a half hours after falling asleep. You can be sure that if you wake up just after one of the REM phases you go through each night, you will enjoy vivid memories.

This is the process used in sleep laboratories, where oneiric activity is studied through encephalographic registry of electrical brain activity.

The people in the study—who are volunteers—sleep connected to machines that register their physiological reactions (brain waves, cardiac rhythm, blood pressure, muscle activity, eye movement, etc).

At certain points during the night, these reactions indicate that, if you wake them, they will be able to tell you what they dreamed. This is because the phase that produces the most intense dreams (REM) is characterized by a physical reaction easily observed: the rapid movement of the eyes of the dreamer.

With this method, sleep laboratories can collect proof of precisely

when subjects are dreaming. And given that oneiric images are difficult to remember, the lab techniques have been a great advance in dream research. Some experts assert that thanks to the scientific advances of the second half of the twentieth century, we have learned more about sleep processes in the last fifty years than in all the history of humanity.

What do we dream?

A wide study done in France on the subject of dreams produced these results:

  • Relationships with partners (18%)
  • Home, especially that of our childhood (15%) -Aggressors, thieves, being chased, etc. (10%)
  • Missing the train; embarrassing baggage (8%) -Water, wells, tunnels; traffic accidents (6%) -Forgotten children or babies (5%)
  • Snakes, fires, stairs (5%)
  • Negative animals: spiders, cockroaches, rats, etc. (4%) -Clothing or lack of clothing; nakedness (3%)
  • Losing teeth or other alarming situations (2%)

Hypnagogic images: between waking and sleep

As we’ve seen, throughout the night our sleep is divided into four distinct phases. But what happens just before we sink into the first phase? Are we still awake? Not exactly. In the moments when our mind decides between wakefulness and sleep, we begin to lose contact with the world around us, without the characteristic physiological changes of sleep.

This intermediate point has been called the “hypnagogic state” by psychologists. This is a period when, despite the fact that we’re not asleep, our brains generate images that can sometimes be very beautiful. In some ways, these images rival those found in our dreams.

Hypnagogic images of great visual beauty evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and are barely remembered.

However, the hypnagogic state cannot be considered a truly oneiric state. Among other reasons, the scenes produced in this phase are unrelated to the episodes with a more or less coherent plot that characterize dreams.

In the hypnagogic state we produce unrelated images that hardly connect to each other and that, unlike dreams, are not linked to our daily experiences. This phenomenon occurs not only before sleeping but also in the moments before waking up, when we are not yet conscious enough to be aware of them.

Sometimes, before falling asleep we also experience a curious sensation of floating or flying, or we may see very sharp scenes, with a clarity comparable to that of real visual experiences. These types of images, like dreams, evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and we barely remember them, which is a shame because their beauty slips from our minds. In any case, unlike oneiric thoughts, the hypnagogic state is little use for understanding the messages our subconscious wants to send us, and we should value it more for its beauty than its transcendental content.

Salvador Dali, painter of dreams.

To remember them you must not lose consciousness during the apparition. That is, you must observe the process of the hypnagogic state without falling asleep. It seems simple but it is not, because you must submerge yourself in sleep while the mind remains aware of the events happening in its interior. With a little luck, we can see some of the marvelous “paintings” of our private museum.

The surrealist artists of the 20s and 30s knew all about this. This is how Salvador Dali, fervent lover of hypnagogic scenes, turned to what is known as “the monk’s sleep.” He went to bed with a large iron key in his hand. With the first dream, the key would fall to the floor and he would wake up suddenly. In his mind he recorded the hypnagogic images he would later transfer to the canvas in his masterful style.

The seven “chakras,” or centers of subtle energy in the ayurvedic hindu medicine (1).
The nadis according to Tibetan tradition (2).
The meridians of traditional Chinese medicine (3).

If you have difficulty retaining the hypnagogic state, try centering your attention on a concrete point. For example the “third eye” of the yogis (that is, between your eyes), in the area of the heart, or in the top of the head. These three positions are, according to the philosophy of yoga, the centers of subtle rather than physical energy in the human body. You need a place to direct the mind. Another trick to hold attention without effort is to think abstractly about the name of the object you wish to see. This doesn’t mean you have to “create” the images; you just have to induce its appearance during the hypnagogic state. Entering through meditation is also very useful and beneficial.

Sometimes, the hypnagogic scenes are not as pleasant as we would like, but we must confront them in order to strengthen our ability for self-control. If they persist, try following the previous advice. Think abstractly about the name of what you want to see, resisting the temptation to construct it in a certain way from the conscious mind.

The main advantage of the hypnagogic state is that it brings us progressively closer to our deep Self . . . and all that helps to understand and better benefit from dreams.

The same subject can have very different meanings depending on the circumstances and personal situation of the dreamer.... Dreampedia

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