Thesis: We dream thousands of dreams every night, but why and what do they mean?
In my report I want to tell you about dreams. “Dreams are a communication of body, mind and spirit in a symbolic communicative environment” (www.sleeps.com). To make that statement easier to understand dreams are a review influenced by factors in your life and spirit (www.sleeps.com). Our brains are constantly active. It is always in different states like sleeping, awake, drowsy, alert, excited, bored, concentrating, or daydreaming (www.sleeps.com). Sigmund Freud believed “dreams are keys to the most secret parts of the mind (Coren 24). Dreams always occur while we are in a type of sleep called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) (www.geocities.com). All the things you dream about are a reflection of you life. They reflect your feelings, thoughts, desires, and your fears.
Interest in dreams are dated way back even to the time of the Greeks. “The people of the ancient world tended to believe that some dreams were sent by the gods to convey information to mortals” (Holroyd 44). They discovered “that a dream is not nonsense but information in disguise” (Holroyd 46). The Epic of Gilgamesh was one of the first known writings of dreams. Written four thousand years ago, about the experiences of Gilgamesh. For example, “Gilgamesh dreams that he is pinned to the ground by the weight of a god who has fallen on him. At another point in the story he and his companion Enkinu climb to the top of a mountain that immediately collapses.” These same kinds of images and situation are dreamed by people of today’s time (Holroyd 46). The Greek people even thought certain things in your dreams had certain symbolism. They thought that snakes showed a sign of sickness or the presence of a enemy, and if it was a powerful snake it meant a bad illness was coming (Holroyd 56). Dreaming of birds was also a sign from the gods. Birds symbolize different types of people. Birds also had an important meaning in a dream to the Greeks. For instance, eagles stood for powerful men and women, and pigeons of mean women (Holroyd 56). The Greeks thoughts and ideas about dreams gave the people of today their basis for figure out just what dreams are really about.
In my research I found that there are six different types of dreams. The first type is insight. It provides a solution or clarification to an issue in your life. The second type of dreaming is lucid dreaming. These dreams we have and know we are just dreaming and that it is not really happening. The next type is precognitive dreams. They predict the outcome of events in your life. They are like a fortune teller or palm reader telling us our future. Then there are review dreams, these dreams let us look at ourselves to show us how our lives have become like they are. They let us look at ourselves from an outsider’s point of view. The next type of dream is the gratification dreams. These dreams fulfill our wants and satisfy our desires. They give us “what we want when we want it” (Home1.gte.net). The last type of dream is the physical dream. They are dreams that linger with us even after the dream is over and we are awake. They use imagery that is “physical or emotional” (Home1.gte.net). These six categories can help to tell someone what their dream really means or what type dream they are having.
Another question I came across while researching dreams was “why do we dream”? “Psychologists are not sure why people dream, but they seem to be a way for the brain to sort out the memories and experiences that happen during the day (Home1.gte.net). The great Sigmund Freud did a lot of research on dreams, and he believed dreaming was a way of fulfilling wishes and aspirations of sex (Home1.get.net). On the other hand, Jung believed dreams are “’archetypes’”. He said that archetypes are forms of thoughts common to everyone. Others that I researched said they thought that dreams are “random firings of groups of neurons” (Home1.gte.net). These random firings throw around pictures in your brain that let you see pictures of events of previous events in your life.
Psychiatrist even found way of interpreting dreams. They came up with four stages you can use to interpret them. The first stage is to get a clear understanding of the dreams content. The second stage is to try to understand what influenced you to have the dream. The next stage is to understand the dream’s characterization. In this step you need to take a second look in the characters that played a role in your dream. The last stage involves the order of the process and context of the dream (Home1.gte.net). In this stage you need to go back through the dream and look at the order in which the events of it take place.
There are two main types of counseling of dream interpretation. The first way is the Gestalt dreamwork. Gestalt dreamwork is done in a group so the dreamer gets feedback from the group in how to interpret the dream. A therapist is present during the session. The therapist doesn’t interpret the dream instead just directs the dreamwork (Holroyd 132). This group of people actually works together in solving the mystery of the dream. The other way of counseling is the Freudian dreamwork. This dreamwork involves too much analyzing, which keeps real experience at a distance. The Freudian way of analyzing is even considered unhealthy or bad. The patient just lies on a couch while the therapist listens to his/her problem. This kind of counseling is artificial and you receive only the therapist’s point of view (Holroyd 132). Gestalt by contrast “creates a real-life situation in which the therapist, the subject, and a group of interested participants work together on the dream” (Holroyd 132). Therefore, the Gestalt dreamwork seems like a much more effective way of interpreting your dream (Holroyd 132).
The next thing that interested me in my research on dreams was nightmares. Nightmares are a early warning sign that something in our lives are wrong, that we need to focus on and fix it to overcome the dream (www.sleeps.com). When you have a nightmare you usually wake up terrified without any external cause, or waking up from something from within that leaves you with a scared felling. Most people don’t like to remember their nightmares after they wake up and there are two known reasons why. For one, people don’t like to feel frightened. The other reason is that people also don’t like to feel out of control (Hartmann 4). Nightmares are also known as “well-defined psychological and biological phenomenon” (Hartmann 10). Nightmares can sometimes frighten you so much that you want to stay awake so you don’t fall asleep and slip right back into the terrifying tale that woke you up.
There are three different types of nightmares that you experience during the night. The first type of nightmare is the daymare. It is a daydream that is frightening and “’nightmarish’”. The next type of nightmare is the d-nightmare. It is the same as a nightmare but refers to the fact “that the nightmare arises from d-sleep”. The last type of nightmare is d-sleep. D-sleep is known as dreaming or desynchronized sleep (Hartmann 12).
Do you ever think about how often you dream and how seldom those dreams are nightmares? Well, psychiatrist have done many studies to come up with some statistics that will show you just how often people really have a nightmare. In their research they found that people actually have nightmares very rarely. The psychiatrist found out after the testing they conducted that out of about three thousand dreams only one or two of them are a nightmare (Hartmann 26). For most people it seems like they have more nightmares than that, and sometimes it is because nightmares are influenced by bad events in your life and if there are a lot of bad things happening in your life then you will have more “bad dreams”.
The last thing I come across in my research on dreams that I wanted to know more about was daydreaming. Daydreams are usually “simple, undisguised wish fulfillments” (Hartmann 140). We daydream things the way we would like for them to be (Hartmann 140). When you have daydreams you are usually fully aware you are dreaming, but you can get so caught up in them sometimes you are not sure if they were a dream or what you were just thinking really did happen (Hartmann 140). Most people surveyed said that daydreaming usually occurs when they are somewhere where they are alone (Singer 55).
There are two general categories of daydreams. The first type of daydream is an elaborate fantasy. They “seem to occur spontaneously in association with events noticed in the outside world or in chains of sequence to early memories” (Singer 16). The other category in daydreaming is the recurring fantasy. These daydreams usually involve adventures with heroic figures or a person that is famous because of high accomplishments. These fantasies grow of watching television, reading, listening to the radio, or watching movies (Singer 17-18).
Unlike nightmares we daydream quite frequently. Daydreaming is at its peak in late adolescence or what you might think of as the latter part of your teen years. Daydreaming never completely goes away though, people tested that were in their eighties still showed some evidence of daydreaming. But even though you don’t stop daydreaming it does gradually start to decline when you reach your fifties (Singer 58). Daydreams may always be a mystery, but no matter what you will always have them as long as you are alive.
In my research I learned a lot about dream, nightmares, daydreaming, and etc.
Dreams are a review of our everyday lives and that is the only thing that controls them. Dreams and the interpretation of them have been an interest of people since way back in the Greek era. Every time people are asleep they are dreaming and their dreams all show symbolism to their lives. Dreaming, either daydreaming or dreaming while you are asleep never stops. No matter what you will always have those visions in your head that deal with your everyday life. Through the research I done I answered all the questions I had about dreams, nightmares, and daydreaming. Although dreams seem really strange and you may wonder how they got there they are there for a reason. If you didn’t dream, your brain couldn’t express itself.
“Dream Basics”. www.sleeps.com/basic.html.
“Dreams Explained”. www.geocities.Area51/zone/4671/dreams.html.
“Why Do We Dream”. Dreamemporium.com/why_do_we_dream.html.
Hartmann, Earnest. The Nightmare. Basic Books Inc., New York: 1984.
Holroyd, Stuart. Dream Worlds. Doubleday and Company, Inc., New York: 1976.
Howell, Ken. Home1.gte.net/drmdoc/webdoc3.html. 1996.
Singer, Jerome L. The Inner World of Daydreaming. Harpe and Row, publishers, New York: 1975.