The meaning of Lists in dream | Dream interpretation
Making a list in a dream denotes that the dreamer is worried about forgetting an important item that looms large in his/her life. This is more in the form of a worry dream and must be correlated to the rest of the dream to do the dreamer any good at all.
Making a list in a dream denotes that the dreamer is worried about forgetting an important item that looms large in his/her life. This is more in the form of a worry dream and must be correlated to the rest of the dream to do the dreamer any good at all.
(a sect who believes in the freedom of will).
If he performs Salaah facing west (When Qiblah is not in that direction) it means he will advocate the beliefs of the Jabriyyahn i.e.
The sect of the fatalists, believing that man has no power of will: he is involuntarily forced by Allah to do good or bad).... Islamic Dream Interpretation
An erotic dream, announces Herr Freud, while flower symbolists proclaim the blossom as signifying “Rest to the Heart.” The Egyptians held it as sacred to woman.... The Fabric of Dream
The home, and particularly the parental home, can stand for all of these things. rIb dream of being at home signifies a return to the basic standards we learnt as a child.
2- Psychologically we all need to integrate our own primary personality trails with learnt behaviour.
Dreaming of a safe environment such as home allows us to do this.
3- Sanctuary, that is a place where we can be ourselves without fear of reprisal, is contained in this image. Spiritualists speak of ‘going home’ when they are approaching death since the physical state is a temporary one.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary
Freud lists four meanings of the bridge symbol:
(1) It may represent the male sexual organ, which ‘bridges the gap’ between male and female sexual partners.
(2) It may also symbolize birth - that is, the crossing from ‘the other world’ to this, or from womb to independent existence.
(3) It may represent (something that leads to) death - that is, a return to the womb, or to ‘the other world’, ‘the other side’.
(4) It may symbolize any sort of transition in the dreamer’s life. Freud gives the example of a woman who wants to be a man, and consequendy dreams of bridges that don’t quite reach the other side of the river. However, the symbolized change may be something that can be achieved more easily, but still possibly requiring will and determination; for example, a change of lifestyle, or a passing from middle years into old age.
To Freud’s list we may add the following:
(5) The bridge is a means of crossing a river, and even perhaps crossing from one country to another - foreign, new, strange - country. It may therefore svmbolize a critical juncture in the dreamer’s life, a situation that calls for a definitive decision, a decision which may be of such a radical kind that it could well be described figuratively as entering a new country.
(6) If the bridge you are crossing seems in danger of collapsing, this may reflect your anxiety about a transition in your life: for example, about whether you are going to be able to go through with a change from living on your own to living with a partner (or the reverse); from one job to another; from one set of values to another.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols
One might be tempted to say that the Christ figure means whatever it means for you. That mav be true; but you are advised to consider the following possibilities.
(1) The Christ figure may represent perfection for you.
If so, it may be
functioning in your dream as a representation of your own true self. There may be a sense in which the Christ / supreme value is outside and beyond us: we are not yet perfect. However, the Christ in your dream comes from your own unconscious and signifies that what is of supreme value is realizable in yourself: indeed, it is yoprself, your not- yet-realized but potential self.
(2) If the figure is that of the Christ as a child, the interpretation given above is strengthened. See also Child, sections (3) and (4).
(3) If there is any association of homosexuality or bisexuality with the Christ in your dream, this again would tend to confirm the interpretation in (1) above. The hermaphrodite (literally, a fusion of the god Hermes and the goddess Aphrodite) is a recurring figure in religious symbolism - for example, the Hindu representation of Shiva as part man, part woman. It stands for the union of opposites. In psychic terms, such a figure represents the bringing together of conflicting forces such as conscious and unconscious, thought and feeling, ‘spirit5 and ‘body5, extroversion and introversion. See also Marriage.
(4) If the Christ in your dream is the crucified Christ, it may be a symbol of martyrdom.
If you identify with this figure, so that you are the wronged sufferer, ask yourself what purpose is being served by adopting this role. Does it make you happy? Well, pain may give pleasure if it helps us to feel ‘different5 and superior. (And that is often the other side of a martyrdom complex: an inflated view of self - inflated by fantasy.) But to get happiness by making yourself unhappy is self contradictory.
Your dream is most likely telling you to look at yourself objectively, and to get rid of the fantasy that has taken possession of you. It may help you to do so if you can identify the occasion that first started off this programme of self-punishment, or - failing that - any later occasions that reinforced the programme. The first cause will probably be some childhood feelings of guilt; and almost certainly it will be an imagined guilt, with little or no justification. (For instance, did you have, as a child, erotic desires for your parent of the opposite sex? So did we all.)
Above all, realize that you are not in the grip of some inexorable fate. What we call fate is actually those unconscious self-programmings that
begin as attempts to ward off the anxious fears that arise when our desires conflict with (real or imagined) parental or other authoritative disapproval.
(5) What is the Christ in your dream doing or saying? Is he healing someone - you? If so, the figure probably represents Nature’s power of healing that lies within yourself. The fact that this inner healing power reveals itself in a symbol means that it lies in your unconscious. You need to activate it, and the first step towards this consists of getting to know yourself better - vour unconscious self. In particular you need to get to know the opposed positive and negative forces at work in you and that element within you - perhaps long neglected - that is essential for healing. In psychological terms ‘healing’ means wholeness and harmony (the resolution of all serious inner conflicts). What is it vou need in your life to bring about wholeness? What part of you has been neglected?
The fact that the healing Christ has appeared in your dream, however, is a very good sign. It means that your unconscious is offering you its healing power. Don’t refuse it.
(6) Is the Christ figure pronouncing forgiveness? If so, it may mean either that you have been suffering from guilt-feelings and you have identified these as the symptoms of an inner conflict and are now ready to let go of the guilt and the tension; or that your unconscious is now offering you the means by w hich those guilt-feelings and the associated paralysing anxiety’ can be laid to rest once and for all.
In essence, forgiveness is a dissolving of guilt and anxiety’ (i.e. fear of punishment); and the dissolving agent is objective intelligence which sees through the guilt-feelings to their innocent cause. How can an innocent cause give rise to guilt-feelings? The answer lies in the power of fantasy, w’hich, especially in early childhood (w’hen, according to the psychologist Jean Piaget, no distinction is made between fantasy and reality’), makes mortal sins out of natural and unavoidable desires and leads to a belief that the whole world is bent on punishing the ‘offender’.
(7) Does the Christ figure in vour dream suggest submission and self- surrender, or non-resistance? If so, the dream may be understood to be showing you a pattern in your life that you need to change - a negative pattern of submitting to ‘fate’ or ‘circumstances outside your control’. Alternatively, it could be urging you to practise a positive kind of submission, in w’hich the ego gives wray to the greater wisdom of the unconscious, and false ambitions give wav to the promptings of the
inner true self - which represents your true ‘destiny5 (not to be confused with ‘fate5: fate is external, destiny comes from within).
(8) Is it the risen - resurrected - Christ who appears in the dream? If so, this may be taken as an auspicious sign of potential self-renewal or self-transcendence: the possibility of rising to a new and fuller selfhood, leaving behind all deep internal conflict, anxiety and discontent.
(9) Is the Christ in your dream surrounded by four figures (the four evangelists, or their symbols - angel, lion, ox, eagle)? This is a mandala (see Mandala), which represents psychic wholeness.
NB It can be dangerous to rely too heavily on a being outside ourselves. For example, to think of our sins as being off-loaded on to an external Christ may be a useful and, indeed, healthy stratagem so long as the idea is not taken literally; so long, that is, as it is seen as a symbolic representation of an internal process in which the sin-dissolving agent is our own intelligent T. Otherwise, we are in danger of relinquishing responsibility for our actions and for our own future.
The Christ figure - like all other figures that occur in your dreams - is thrown up by your unconscious and is a pictorial representation of something in the depths of your psyche.
This does not contradict the religious view of the Christ as a universal reality. It would seem that there is a layer of the individual psyche which is not an individual possession but belongs to Nature as such and manifests itself in every existing being. Psychology and theology meet in the mystical understanding which sees the Christ as the universal T, the only subject there is. This is to see all things and all persons as incarnations or embodiments of one and the same reality. This mystical view is found in all the great religious traditions.
If this view is true, it provides a basis for an immediate and intimate relation between the individual and God, a relationship which can properly serve as a source of certainty and confidence, a correct self-esteem and immunity to anxiety.... A Dictionary of Dream Symbols
According to Freud, horses symbolize the sexual drive. Jung noted that horse dreams could often be indicative of health conditions. Horses, like dogs, represent urges and passions in ourselves that we have learned to harness or direct, and in general they represent positive things that are about to happen in a dreamer’s waking life. Horses suggest the sort of enthusiasm or feelings of well- being that can carry us through the day and through life. Having said that much depends on the context of the dream; for instance, if the dreamer falls off the horse, this may suggest relating badly to urges and passions and the resulting tension this creates.
If the horse is wild, this suggests undirected energy, such as sexual desires which override personal or interpersonal needs.... The Element Encyclopedia
Revenge or retaliation is not advisable.
If red features in your dream, perhaps you should consider the tone that was being used. Lighter shades of red can be representative of excitement (especially sexual), passion, energy, and life. However, deeper or ‘weighed- down’ shades of red may be indicative of the overheated emotions of lust and anger, and the impulsive desire for revenge. Notice again how the ‘stop’ sign is red; red can thus be seen as a hint from your subconscious to stop acting in a particular way.
Because red is the color of blood, it may also denote physical strength, vital energy and the life force which, depending on the context of the dream, may be ebbing away or throbbing with life. A red heart may stand for deep-seated sexual energy or desire in waking life, red ears may suggest embarrassment or guilt, whilst a red nose is often thought to indicate an inquisitive nature. Red flames are believed to indicate the threat of danger, red wine is often linked to feelings of satisfaction and contentment, and a red rose is typically tied to the idea of romance and passion. Who was holding the red rose in your dream?
Other considerations to take into account include whether the red in your dream suggests being ‘in the red’ (in debt), or brings to mind a person who holds socialists beliefs (a red). It can also refer to a scarlet (sexually permissive) woman, or to waving the proverbial red flag at something, or someone, who provoked you. Keywords: danger, shame, sexual impulses, passion and urges.
Perhaps you need to stop and think about your actions.... The Element Encyclopedia
Dream homes say very little about your real-life residence; instead, they say a great deal about your present circumstances, your perspective on life and the challenges you are currently facing. According to Jung, all of your experiences, stages of development, and parts of your conscious and unconscious life may be represented by dream homes. When trying to analyze the house in your dream, consider how it is kept and its condition, color and shape. The rooms in the house relate to facets of your personality and experience. Many people are amazed at the detail of their dream home. From the wallpaper patterns to the position of the dining room table, every detail seems planned and almost familiar, even though it may bear little or no resemblance to their real-life home. So when a dream shows you living in a particular home or setting, your dreaming mind is letting you know this is where you are coming from right now and this is how things are affecting you.
Dreams of being at home also suggest returning to a place in which you feel safe, a sanctuary where you can be yourself without fear of reprisal. Spiritualists speak of going home when they are approaching death, as they believe the physical state is a temporary one. See alsoBUILDINGS.
Your Dream House... The Element Encyclopedia
Remember that only you can interpret your dreams. Many people have published “Dream Dictionaries” that describe what each part of the dream symbolizes. Actually, the same dream can have infinite meanings, depending on the person who dreamed it. The important thing is, what does it mean to YOU?
Interpreting dreams isn’t something you can pick up and become an expert at right away. It takes time and practice. First, keep the following things in mind:
Determine the subject matter of the dream. The location where the dream takes place is one of the best methods for doing this. When you have determined the subject matter take each of the phrases or words in the ‘I AM’ column and fit them into the following sentence.
When it comes to my (subject matter)
I AM (phrase or keyword)
Change the phrase or keyword slightly to force the sentence to make sense. If you cannot determine the subject matter apply the keywords to yourself in general. This exercise tells you how you feel or react to the subject matter of the dream. When you have done this read through the ‘I NEED’ column to learn what you must do to correct the problem. To get the meaning put each of the phrases or keywords into the sentence,
When it comes to my (subject matter)
I NEED (phrase or keyword)
Let’s take an example. Using the sentence ‘The dead woman lay on the cold hard slab’. The negative keywords are; dead, cold and hard. Women, in dreams, can represent emotions so in this case the sentences constructed would be
The meaning is obvious. With analyzing just one sentence from a dream we have learned a lot about the dreamer. Using this technique you now have all of the information you need to start interpreting your dreams. However it takes practice to be able to apply what you have learned. Be patient with your efforts.
Not all dream interpretations will be that cut and dried, but it is a way to remain objective when you are analyzing what your dreams mean and how best to put the messages they are conveying to good use in your life.
Keep in mind that Most dreams are * NOT * precognitive, and once one learns the subtle differences between a precognitive dream versus a regular dream, they are easily discernable and will put your mind at ease.
The first thing everyone should consider is the typical universal symbology of the dream images. For instance, death symbolizes the end of something that’s ready for change, and a new beginning. Most people start out highly resistive to changes of any sort, and see any upcoming change in their life as something foreboding and scary. Death dreams are usually about change.
The symbols and what they represent is the most fascinating part of dream interpretation. There are literally hundreds of them. We don’t have the space to address ALL of them, but we will touch on some of the most recurring themes in dreams as well as the symbols of those dreams and what they mean.... Dreampedia
Dreams and their purpose
Consider dreams like home movies that each person produces in response to their daily experiences. These movies are meant to clarify certain situations and support the person. With sufficient knowledge, they can become a sort of spiritual guide, since oneiric thoughts are a window to the subconscious where, frequently, hidden feelings and repressed needs are stored without us realizing.
Even then, there are people who question the importance of dreams. Some scientists, for example, believe that the content of dreams is simply a random mix of the many electronic signals the brain receives. Others, however, find all types of messages in even the simplest dreams, and end up distancing themselves from daily reality in favor of oneiric activity.
Neither extreme is advisable. Each dream is undoubtedly a journey into the unknown, but, at the same time, modern psychology has allowed us to understand a good part of their structure. One of the conclusions drawn from the study of dreams confirms this: dreams can be a priceless aid to the imagination, but above all when it comes to solving problems. You just have to know how to listen to them, because their content tends to have a direct relation to the emotional challenges you are experiencing.
Each dream is a journey to the unknown with an implicit personal message. Although it is the content of the episode that determines our emotional state, dreaming in black and white indicates a possible lack of enthusiasm or nostalgia for the past. These dreams are an invitation to live with more intensity and enjoy the present.
Still from the film Viaje a la Luna (Méliès, 1902).
It is known that in times of crisis, our oneiric production increases significantly, both in quantity and intensity. Should we consider this “surplus” to be positive? Yes, as long as one makes an effort to remember and interpret the dreams, since, as we will see further on, they have a valuable therapeutic potential.
For example, if a couple is going through a critical phase, remembering and analyzing usually helps them understand the subconscious reactions they have to the situation. In other words, dreams are an excellent tool to get to the bottom of emotional conflicts. Knowing the causes is an essential step to resolving the problems, regardless of what course you take.
The English psychologist David Fontana, whose books have been translated into more than twenty languages, said it clearly: “In listening to my patients’ dreams in therapy sessions, I have observed how, often, these can take us right to the root of the psychologic problem much quicker than other methods.” Although, we shouldn’t fool ourselves: dreams are a mystery that can rarely decipher everything. But if a certain level of interpretation helps us understand ourselves better, what more can we ask for? From a practical point of view, our own oneiric material can be very useful.
In dreams, relationships with others are a recurring theme. The people that appear in our dreams, especially strangers, represent facets of ourselves that the subconscious is showing us.
Well-known writers such as Robert Louis Stevenson, William Blake, Edgar Allan Poe, and Woody Allen have had faith in this, acknowledging that part of their works have been inspired by dreams. The discoveries of Albert Einstein or Niels Bohr (father of modern atomic physics), among other celebrated scientists, had the same origin. In any case, these examples shouldn’t confuse us: no dream can tell you what path to follow through symbolic images without the intellect to decipher them.
Prosperity, precognition, and pronostics
What’s more, judging by some documented cases, we can even reap material gain from dreams. There is proof of some people that had premonitory dreams managing to earn significant sums of money thanks to their oneiric “magic.” The most spectacular case was in the fifties, when an Englishman named Harold Horwood won a considerable number of prizes betting on horses. His dreams transmitted clues as to the winning racehorse to bet on. Unfortunately, these types of premonitions don’t come to everyone. However, anyone has the opportunity to discover the greatest treasure of all—knowledge of one’s self—through their dreams.
We’ve all experienced the feeling of having lost control of our lives at some point. We might feel like others are deciding things for us or that we are victims of our circumstances.
Our “dream-scapes” contain valuable information about our desires and concerns; they could also function as a forecast of some aspect of our future. According to ancient tradition, dreaming of stars predicts prosperity and spiritual wealth. “Starry Night” (Van Gogh, 1889).
However, many psychologists disagree with this. That is, they argue that daily events are not coincidences but rather meaningful deeds that reflect the inner state of the individual.
Dreams and thoughts
According to these experts, luck is a pipe dream, something that does not exist, since that which we consider the result of coincidence is none other than the natural manifestation of our thoughts and attitudes. We are basically creator, not passive receivers or victims of the events that unravel in our lives.
An example that illustrates this idea perfectly is the story of the old man who threw rocks into the sea. One day, someone asked if he ever got bored of the simple game. The old pebble thrower stared at his questioner and gave an answer he’d never forget: “My small stones are more important than they seem, they provoke repercussions. They will help create waves that, sooner or later, will reach other other side of the ocean.”
What does this have to do with dreams? It’s simple: as we’ve just seen, we are the only ones responsible for our daily experiences, no matter how hard that is to believe. Therefore it shouldn’t be too difficult to take control of our lives; we just have to listen to the messages in our interior, that is, our oneiric thoughts, of which we are ultimately the authors.
In this way, thanks to dreams, our two existences—conscious and unconscious—can work together to make our lives more creative and free. An important part of this process is getting to know and understanding better the process of thought. One of the most beautiful and commonly used visualizations in yoga reminds us of this: “In the bottom of the lake of our thoughts is a jewel. In order for it to shine in the light of the sun (the divine), the water (the thoughts) must be pure and crystal clear and calm, free of waves (excitement). If our water is murky or choppy, others can’t see this jewel, our inner light...”
In the bottom of the lake of our thoughts is a jewel...
But it’s not that simple: it’s often difficult to discern the connection that unites wakefulness with sleep, between what we think ourselves to be and what our oneiric fantasies say about us. In any case, if our search is passionate and patient, constant and conscious, it will result in the discovery of our true Self. Therefore the interpretation of dreams cuts right to the heart of the message conceived by and for ourselves (although not consciously). It is important to learn to listen to them (further on we will discuss techniques for this) when it comes time to unstitch their meaning and extract the teachings that can enrich our lives.
The rooms in our dreams reflect unknown aspects of our personality.
In this way, when we have to make an important decision, we can clear up any doubts through a clear understanding of our most intimate desires. Although it may seem like common sense, this is not that common these days, since most people make decisions at random, out of habit, or by impulse.
The meaning and psychic effect of some deities in Tibetan Buddhism can be linked to the monsters that are so popular today.
Dreams allow creativity a free rein and free us from worry, sometimes resulting in surreal images that would be impossible in waking life.
Put simply, the idea is to find your true identity and recognize your wounds, fears, and joys through dreams. Never forget that the subconscious, although hidden, is an essential part of our personality. Dreams are fundamental for understanding the Self, since they are a direct path to this little-known part of ourselves. Their symbolic content allows us to recover repressed emotions and gives us a map to the relationships that surround us.
Nightmares that put us to the test
Sometimes the messages they bring us are not so pleasant and take the form of nightmares. However, although it may be hard to accept, these nightmares are valuable warnings that some aspects of our life are not
in harmony with our deepest Self and thus need our prompt intervention. Nightmares are proof that self discovery is not always pleasant. Sometimes it’s necessary to feel this pain in order to find out what you really are and need.
On the other hand, dreams give creativity a free rein because, when we sleep, we are free from our day-to-day worries. Therefore, even if you don’t consider yourself a creative person, keep in mind that all the scenes, symbols, and characters that appear in your dreams have been created solely and exclusively by you.
It’s often very helpful to record dreams in a notebook (we will explain how further on) in order to later analyze them and apply their teachings to daily life.
It is quite the paradox; the human being awakens their most intimate reality precisely when they are sleeping.
Carl Gustav Jung, who dedicated his life to studying dreams, developed this metaphor: “People live in mansions of which they only know the basements.” Only when our conscience is sleeping do we manage to unveil some of the rooms of our magnificent house: rooms that may be dusty and inhospitable and fill us with terror and anxiety, or magnificent rooms where we want to stay forever.
Given that they all belong to us, it is reasonable to want to discover them all. Dreams, in this sense, are a fundamental tool.
How to remember dreams
At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Sure, dreams are really important, but I can’t use them because I simply don’t remember them.” That’s not a problem, there are techniques you can use to strengthen your memory of oneiric thoughts. Techniques that, when applied correctly, allow us to remember dreams surprisingly well.
The use of these methods is indispensable in most cases since people tend to forget dreams completely when they wake up. Why? Because, according to the hypothesis of Sigmund Freud, we have a sort of internal censor that tries to prevent our oneiric activity from becoming conscious material.
Sometimes the message of dreams turns unpleasant and takes the form of a nightmare...
However, we can laugh in the face of this censor with a few tricks. The most drastic is to wake up suddenly when the deepest sleep phase (REM phase) is just about to end, so that you can rapidly write all the details of your mind’s theater in your notebook. Waking suddenly will take this censor by surprise, stopping it from doing its job. The best time to set the alarm is for four, five, six, or a little more than seven hours after going to sleep.
If your level of motivation is not high enough to get up in the middle of the night and record your dreams, there are alternatives that let you sleep for a stretch and then remember what you dream with great precision.
First of all, it’s helpful to develop some habits before going to bed, such as waiting a few hours between dinner and going to sleep. Experts recommend avoiding foods that cause gas (legumes like green beans, raw vegetables, etc.) and foods high in fat.
You must also keep in mind that, like tea and coffee, tobacco and alcohol alter the sleep cycle and deprive the body of a deep sleep (the damaging effects of a few glasses on the body does not disappear for about four hours).
What is recommended is to drink water or juice, or eat a yogurt, more than two hours after eating, before going to bed. There are two main reasons for this: liquids facilitate a certain purification of the body, and because, most interestingly for our purposes, it causes us to get up in the middle of the night. As we said, this will catch the internal censor by surprise and allow us to record our dreams easily.
Relaxing in bed and going over the events of the day helps free the mind and foster oneiric creativity.
Yoga exercises, such as the savasana pose, are great for relaxation, restful sleep, and a positive outlook.
It’s important to surround yourself with an environment that stimulates oneiric activity. You should feel comfortable in your room and your bed. The fewer clothes you wear to sleep, the better. Practicing relaxation techniques, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath a few minutes before getting into bed will help relieve stress so that you enjoy a deep restorative sleep.
There are good books on relaxation on the market, both autogenous and yogic; we recommend one of the most practical, Relajacion para gente muy ocupada (Relaxation for Busy People), by Shia Green, published by this same publishing house. However, the real key is to concentrate on remembering dreams. When you go to bed, go over the events of the day that were important to you. This way, you will increase the probability of dreaming about the subjects that most interest or worry you.
So, let’s suppose you’re asleep now. What should you do to remember dreams? First, try to wake up naturally, without external stimuli. If this isn’t possible, use the quietest possible alarm without radio. Once awake, stay in bed for a few moments with your eyes closed and try to hold your dreams in your memory as you gently transition into wakefulness. Take advantage of this time to memorize the images you dreamt. The final oneiric period is usually the longest and these instants are when it is most possible to remember dreams.
Remember that it’s best to write the keywords of the dream immediately upon waking. It is convenient to keep a notebook on the nightstand and reconstruct the dream during the day.
The dream notebook
Next, write in the notebook (that you have left beside your bed) whatever your mind has been able to retain, no matter how absurd or trivial your dreams seem, even if you only remember small fragments. This is not the moment to make evaluations or interpretations. The exercise is to simply record everything that crosses your mind with as much detail as possible. Giving the fragility of memory, it’s okay to start off with just a few key words that summarize the content of the dream. These words will help you reconstruct the dream later in the day if you don’t have enough time in the morning. Ideally this notebook will gradually become a diary or schedule that allows you to study, analyze, and compare a series of dreams. Through a series of recorded episodes, you can detect recurring characters, situations, or themes. This is something that’s easy to miss at first glance. One important detail: specialists recommend you date and title each dream, since this helps you remember them in later readings.
It’s also interesting to complement your entries with relevant annotations: what feelings were provoked, which aspects most drew your attention, which colors predominated, etc. An outline or drawing of the most significant images can also help you unravel the meaning. Finally, you should write an initial personal interpretation of the dream. For that, the second part of this book offers some useful guidelines.
While we dream, there is a sort of safety mechanism that inhibits our movement. Therefore, sleepwalkers don’t walk during the REM phase. This protects us from acting out the movements of our dreams and possibly hurting ourselves. Still from the Spanish movie Carne de fieras (Flesh of beasts) (1936).
As we’ve seen, there are a series of techniques to remember dreams. This is the first step to extracting their wisdom. Now, given that oneiric thoughts are a source of inspiration for solving problems, wouldn’t it be great to choose what you dream about before you go to sleep? Rather than waiting for dreams to come to us spontaneously, try to make them focus on the aspects of your life that interest you.
How to determine the theme of dreams
Let’s imagine that someone is not very satisfied with their job. They’d like to get into another line of work but are afraid of losing the job security they enjoy. On one hand, they’re not so young anymore, they should take the risk to get what they really want. But they don’t know what to do. They need a light, a sign, an inspiration. In short, they need a dream. But not just any dream, a dream that really centers on their problem and gives answers.
However, if you limit yourself to just “consulting your pillow,” you won’t get the desired results. There is a possibility you will be lucky and dream about what you’re interested in, but more likely you will dream of anything but. If we are really prepared to dive into that which worries us most intimately, we can direct our dreams to give us concrete answers. Just like the techniques to remember dreams, the process is simple: before sleeping, we must concentrate on the subject of interest.
It’s also best to write in your notebook all the events and emotions of the day that were most important before you go to sleep.
Once your impressions and theme to dream have been noted, concentrate on the subject that most bothers you. Think about it carefully; propose questions and alternatives, “listen” to your own emotions. It’s best if all possible doubts are noted in the dream notebook. This way you’re more likely to receive an answer.
In order for it to be an effective answer, the question must be well defined. The fundamental idea of the problem should be summed up in a single phrase. Once you’ve reflected on the problem, it’s time to go to bed. But the “homework” is not finished yet. Before going to sleep, you need to concentrate on the concrete question. You need to forget everything else, even the details. Just “visualize” and repeat the question, without thinking of anything else, until you fall asleep.
Oneiric thoughts are a source of inspiration. Annotating and analyzing them carefully fosters a process of self discovery.
Writing a dream notebook
You should always have a notebook and pen near your bed to write down dreams the moment you wake up. Don’t forget to always write the date. What details should you include in this kind of diary? As many as you remember, the more the better.
Dreams are “signs,” messages from our subconscious, and the study and interpretation of them helps resolve the problems that worry us.
Nocturnal sleep puts us in touch with the deepest level of being, which allows us to approach our problems with a wider perspective. And induced dreams tend to be easier to remember than other oneiric activity.
When we dream, we enter a marvelous world that escapes the laws of spatial and temporal logic.... Dreampedia
The technique of “lucid dreaming”
Broadly speaking, this type of dream permits the dreamer to consciously participate. That is, realize suddenly that they are dreaming and that they can use the elements of the oneiric scene to their advantage or whim. In this aspect, lucid dreams have a greater potential for creativity; it is the ideal occasion to invent, conceive, and formulate without any type of limit or restriction. The main course of these dreams are the curative properties they offer. The life of any individual can be improved by sleeping, since making direct contact with unconscious material makes it easier to discover oneself and progress interiorly.
But what is a lucid dream? You may have experienced it before. You are sleeping and your mind enters into a dream in which a stranger, for example, yells at you to go home. The inverosimile of the situation makes you suddenly say to yourself: “This is a dream.”
Lucid dreams are very stimulating, above all because they allow the dreamer to control their reactions within the oneiric episode, even if it is a nightmare.
Experts define this phenomenon as “prelucid oneiric activity.” But this situation can manifest in a much more evident form. In this case, you not only know you are dreaming, but you can also use your conscious to change the dream as you wish. In the example given, you could ask the stranger who he is, or why he is throwing you out of your own house.
It must be said, however, that oneiric lucidity is not common, even though surveys have reported that 70 percent of people claim to have had this type of dream at some point. It is possible that many are confusing lucid images with prelucid ones, in which they only had the vague sensation of dreaming.
Keeping the conscious awake for a long time as you navigate your oneiric oceans is complicated. When one has lucid dreams, normally you either wake up shortly after, or quickly fall back into an unconscious state. Lucidity is only intermittent. And once you’ve had a dream of this type, it could be years before you experience another one. This exceptional character is why many people consider lucid dreams to be the most stimulating, above all because they allow the dreamer to control their reactions within the oneiric episode, even if it is a nightmare.
Unfortunately, not much is yet known about this type of oneiric process, although it is believed to occur more frequently in the early morning hours, since this time period makes it easier for the individual to realize that the mind is conceiving something improbable or outright impossible (for example, seeing yourself lift an airplane with one hand).
Are lucid dreams beneficial? Of course, since the individual who experiences them, upon realizing their mind is conscious, has the satisfaction of the sensation of freedom increasing as their self-control does. In this sense, some experts go beyond and claim that when one has learned to control oneiric events, it is much easier to solve daily problems and face anxiety. Lucid dreams, therefore, can contribute to our spiritual growth.
In another way, their potential can help us to treat the most terrifying nightmares. Lucidity allows you to face the threatening images in order to understand them, not obliterate them. According to some psychologists, such as the reputable American analyst Gayle Delaney, the best way to deal with a nightmare is not to turn it into a pleasant dream. Quite the contrary, those who dream lucidly have a better option: directly ask the oneiric characters that so terrorizes them what it is they want, or what they represent.
This experience can not only help transform the evil figures into friendly characters, but also allows one to discern what parts of the dreamer’s personality are represented by the original threatening images. With proper training, the individual will report feeling more secure and confident upon waking.
How it all began
The term “lucid dream” was coined by Frederik Van Eeden in 1898, using the word “lucid” in the sense of “mental clarity.” So we can say that a lucid dream is one in which “the dreamer becomes conscious that they are dreaming.” This definition, given by the researcher Celia Green in 1968, is the most widely accepted today. In any case, the
study of this type of dream has been ongoing since Ancient Greece. In the fourth century BC, Aristotle makes the first written reference to a lucid dream in his Treatise on Dreams: “When one is sleeping, there is something in the conscious that reveals that what is present is nothing more than a dream.”
In 415 AD, Saint Augustine used the story of a lucid dream to justify life after death. Later on, in the seventh century, Tibetan Buddhism studies the yoga of dreams, in which the monks train themselves in lucid dreaming as part of their spiritual development. Despite these precedents, the study of lucid dreams, as we understand them today, does not emerge until the nineteenth century, by the hand of Marquis d’Hervey Saint Denys. This researcher published the book Los suenos y como controlarlos (Dreams and how to control them), in 1867. In this, he demonstrated that it is possible to learn to dream consciously. This fact converted him into the founder of the first line of study on lucid dreams, although his discoveries were put into doubt by many researchers afterward.
In lucid dreams we are conscious that we are dreaming.
The sensation that time has passed, in a normal dream, is due to the sudden change of setting. In a lucid dream, however, the critical sense of the dreamer makes them question passing of time they did not live. Much more systematic and objective than Saint Denys, was the English psychologist Mary-Arnold Forster (1861–1951). In her book, Studies in Dreams (1921), she describes techniques of lucidity and control over dreams she herself experienced. The researcher was especially interested in “learning to fly” in lucid dreams, a practice which she had done since childhood.
Another very important aspect of her work was her nightmare therapy. She learned to recognize that her terrifying dreams were “just dreams.” So she helped many children overcome their nightmares through lucid dreaming, teaching them techniques to change an unpleasant dream to a pleasant one. The fact that she criticized many Freudian theories, especially those about pretending and censorship, relegated her brilliance to obscurity. It wasn’t until many years later that the true value of her discoveries was recognized.
Meditation is a good resource to stimulate lucidity in dreams.
Through the techniques of lucid dreaming, we can overcome nightmares by transforming them into pleasant and agreeable dreams.
The lucid dream, today
Modern research on lucidity has advanced a lot in the last fifty years and has come to dismiss old theories. Traditionally, it was thought that dreams happen in a moment, although long stories occurred within them. However, after studying in a lab the subjective experience of the dreamer, in all cases the estimated time of the lucid dream was very close to the real time (LaBerge, 1980–1985). The sensation that more time has passed is due to the sudden changes of scenery during dreams. In 1982, a study by psychologist Stephen LaBerge and William Dement demonstrated that, in the lucid dream, respiration was controlled voluntarily. They confirmed it with three lucid dreamers, who could breathe rapidly or hold their breath during the experiment without suffering any alteration of the dream.
On the other side, one of the most common themes of lucid dreams is sexual activity. LaBerge, Greenleaf, and Kedzierski (1983) completed a pilot experiment on the physiological response in lucid dreams of a sexual nature. The experimental protocol required the lucid dreamer to make ocular signals at the following moments: when he entered lucidity, when the sexual activity of the dream began, and when he experienced orgasm. The investigators discovered that the body reacts the same sexually during a lucid dream as it does while awake.
The situations, characters, or objects that are present in dreams but impossible in real life are precisely those that awaken the dreamer’s critical sense and brings them to lucidity. “The Meaning of Life,” Hipgnosis.
Meditation is also a good resource to stimulate lucidity in dreams. Before going to bed, find a quiet place and sit in a straight chair or on the floor with your legs crossed. Close your eyelids until only a faint fringe of light enters your eyes, or close them entirely if it won’t make you sleepy. Then, try to relax for five minutes (as you practice, you can lengthen the sessions). Concentrate in a single stimulus, focusing your attention on a specific spot. When you finish the exercise, go directly to bed, trying not to lose the relaxation you attained. Meditation will help you concentrate as you sleep, allowing you to recognize the incongruencies in your oneiric thoughts. This is the starting point of lucid dreaming.
Another method for inducing this type of dreams consists of proposing to complete some sort of assignment while you sleep. When dreaming, you will try to finish this job, something that will remind you that the activity you are doing (if you do in fact dream about what you proposed to) is nothing more than a dream.
A variation of this technique (also implies taking on a task) consists of leaving a glass of water in the bathroom and eating something very salty before going to bed. If you follow this method, you are likely to be thirsty but, given that your body is reluctant to get up and go to the bathroom, the displacement will end up incorporated in your dream. The coincidence will make you realize you are dreaming.
When in daily life, if a person, feeling, or thought appears repetitively, there is a greater chance you will dream of it. The content of dreams is always influenced by the content of your day. The more often you do a certain task, the more likely it is to appear in dreams. Therefore, if you ask yourself “am I dreaming?” frequently, you will end up asking this question in dreams. The problem comes when the sensation of reality in dreams is so strong that it tricks you. It is necessary to repeat the reality test we show later on.
Dr. Consuelo Barea notes that there are two primary techniques to induce lucid dreaming at night. It has to do with self suggestion and direct entry into dreams without losing consciousness, which comes from Tibetan yoga.
The number of times that stimuli repeat in a dream has a great impact on the content. However, the same happens with the quality of these stimuli. An event that impresses you, that hits you hard, that causes a big impact, is much more susceptible to appearing in your dreams, even if it only happened once. The way in which people talk to you or in which you receive information can be very suggestive and enter directly into your unconscious.
The prospective memory is a variation of this ability. It consists of giving yourself an order, forgetting it, and then completing it when the opportune moment arrives. We see an example of this memory in people who are able to wake up without an alarm at the hour they want. When the order of oneiric lucidity is given intensely and with force, it can directly reach the unconscious. Some people are able to have a lucid dream just by hearing about it for the first time; this seems interesting, but it’s more useful to educate one’s prospective memory, so that one knows how to give the order effectively.
The process of training in lucid dreaming requires a gradual increase in oneiric experience. It is possible to advance suddenly to a much higher level of lucidity and control but, if this happens by chance, without having worked for it, you will not be able to maintain this achievement. Advances remain fixed when you work for lucidity, persisting with the techniques for induction. Then, the accomplishments are incorporated with your normal oneiric repertoire. In this way, you can reach a point where, in non-lucid dreams, you still act spontaneously, following the lessons learned from lucidity. For example, if you train yourself in lucid dreams to confront an oneiric character that terrorizes you, you will end up responding bravely to this person automatically, even if you are not having a lucid dream.
When in daily life, if a person, feeling, or thought appears repetitively, there is a greater chance we will dream of it; this happens because the content of dreams is very influenced by the content of our waking day. “El voyeur” (The voyeur) (Carles Baró, 1996).
This practice will give you the keys to discover all that worries you in waking life and ends up represented in worry dreams and nightmares. Upon practicing with oneiric lucidity, you will learn to reap maximum benefit from this source of inspiration and creativity.
In the box we show the steps to follow to train yourself in lucid dreaming. The information comes from the studies of Dr. Consuelo Barea that appear in her book El Sueño Lúcido, (The Lucid Dream), published by this same editorial.
Practicing lucidity gives us the keys to discovering everything that worries us and stalks us in nightmares.1. Development of induction techniques. Practice some of the techniques described earlier with the intention of having a lucid dream (for example, self-suggestion). You can practice it during the day, before going to sleep at night, or in the morning before a morning nap.
2. Gradually increase the level of oneiric astonishment.
The objective is to reach Level 3 through practice of the prior techniques.
3. Reality test. Once you’ve reached at least Level 1, you must get used to practicing the reality test in a dream. This can be visual, of laws of physics, or temporal. To do so, question for a moment the reality or coherence of that which you are seeing or what is happening, according to your notion of time and space. If you find something strange in the evaluation of one of these factors, it will set off an alarm for you.
4. Prolongation of lucidity. Once you’ve reached lucidity, you must extend the time as much as possible to better obtain more information. The way to do this is by internal dialogue with the people in the oneiric scene, and with the thoughts you have during the dream.
5. Control. When you’ve achieved lucidity for a while and it seems like it will continue, you can begin to practice control:
The Kabbalists associate dreams with the central symbol of their tradition: the Tree of Life. “Tree of Life” (Gustav Klimt, 1909).... The Big Dictionary of Dreams