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Why do we dream?



As children we play games. We might have played doctors and nurses or maybe imagined we were a train driver. Favourite games involve violence sometimes, like cowboys and Indians. Children rehearse for the future through their games. We also rehearse for the future in our dreams. Sometimes we will go over a particular scenario over and over again; these are recurring dreams. We also try to face our fears, in our nightmares.

When we are expressing ourselves we often use analogies and metaphors. In dreams we do the same, our dreams tend to be symbolic. Freud thought much of the symbolism related to sex, but it obviously relates to life and we tend to dream about whatever is bothering us at the time. We tend to dream about the past, reliving past experiences and imagining future experiences.

If we suddenly found ourselves naked in public and embarrassed, how would we cope? Our dreams give us some idea of how we would feel and we try to avoid such situations. Our dreams also help us imagine situations and experiences that we haven’t yet encountered. We might even dream that we die, that is an experience that we will all experience some day and no one can tell us what it’s like.

Often in life we have to make quick decisions. When we’re driving, the decision to swerve or brake is instant. When faced with danger the decision to run or fight, is usually instant. In dreams we are often faced with danger and we make that decision, we find ourselves chased down dark spooky streets or fighting for our life with an axe wielding psychopath. We have no time in dangerous situations  to decide what to do and so our actions have to be predetermined. We have to rehearse and we rehearse in our dreams. There are lots of situations that can be dangerous and we would find it hard to rehearse every one. So our dreams tend to be symbolic or metaphoric. That huge monster that we fear is about to kill us could be symbolising a person or an organisation that we are finding threatening, even a place that we are finding threatening.

Understanding and accepting dreams can be helpful. I often wake up feeling like I have had a bad night after a night of weird dreams. If we accept that they were for a purpose and think about what we remember of them, it can help us accept what’s bothering us deep down and help us face up to our anxieties and fears.

Can dreams predict the future? It might seem like they can, because we are often rehearsing the future. In our subconscious we build a timeline, a picture of the future and imagine what it might be like. We rehearse what we might need to do in the future, to satisfy our emotional needs. We need food, we need warmth and we need emotional security. Have you noticed how we dream about our relationships, we dream about food and we dream about being too warm or too cold. We rarely dream about money, only the things that money can buy.

Do dreams come true? Maybe, if we listen to what our subconscious is saying to us and try to solve the real problems in our lives. The things that really bother us, are emotional security and personal relationships; these are important, not possessions or money. Very wealthy people still have nightmares, perhaps more than average.

There are more blogs on the home page of a zillion ideas. Please comment. What have you been dreaming about?

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