Human beings have a strange habit: we try to convince ourselves that we are experts in what we ignore most. Our curiosity is insatiable, as is our fear of the unknown. Perhaps that is why we want to solve mysteries too quickly. This is what happens with dreams. We narrate them, we interpret them, we want to give them a meaning that is far removed from their reality. What are dreams for?
To date, psychology has not been able to discover all the functions it has dreamt of. However, we do know quite a few things about why we dream, and above all, what for . Throughout history, human beings have tried to discover the meaning of dreams… both from psychoanalysis and in esoteric currents (from Joseph in the Old Testament of the Bible and modern seers) the interpretation of dreams has always been subject to previous theories… This is not at all scientific. If there is a previous, rigid theory about meanings, this theory will totally condition experience.
At the end of the article we will tell you how to interpret your dreams truthfully. First, we will explain what we do know about dreams .
What are dreams?
Dreams, or reveries, are narratives that we visualize, experience, and feel in the deep phase of sleep or state REM (rapid eye movements, REM). During this phase, we may experience up to 30 or 40 dreams every night . Are you surprised? Why then do we only remember a few or even none?
How are dreams built?
During that phase of sleep, you are unconscious but your brain and your whole body continue to work to keep you alive. Just as your heart pumps and your lungs continue to breathe in and out, emotional and creative processes occur in your brain that help you learn and develop.
The brain stem then sends images, sounds and sensations to the brain in a random fashion , depending on the people you see most, or think about most, or worry about most. Then the brain (the neocortex, to be more precise) tries to interpret all these images and build a coherent narrative. Since you’re asleep, there are no the usual limits we create in our minds, so dreams are like a child’s imagination… creative, strange, full of possibilities, they go beyond the physical limits of our material world.
What are dreams for?
Not all its functions are known yet, but here are some:
- For the physiological regulation at the emotional level (in your dreams, you feel emotions that you repressed because of poor emotional management).
- Learning (during sleep and with dreams, you assimilate the knowledge you tried to acquire during the day… in such a way that you put it into practice in your dreams in some way).
- Creativity (to find new solutions to new problems)
- Decision-making (to find ourselves facing problems in a more direct, emotional way, without escape, so that we have to make quick decisions).
That is to say, if sleeping serves us to regulate the homeostasis of the organism, to rest, to recover our energies and to regulate them, dreaming serves us to regulate our learning, to manage our emotions (perhaps, feeling during sleep what we don’t allow ourselves to feel during the day and must be felt and experienced), to develop our creativity… in short, to look for new ways to face problems.
Some curiosities about dreams
During the sleep phase (REM) people move their eyes under their eyelids . At that moment, we are dreaming, and the physiological stimuli we receive stimulate the dreaming or narration we experience. Therefore, when they touch us we feel those sensations in the dream, or if they put a finger in water, we can feel that we are drowning. If someone wakes us up suddenly… we can remember, in great detail, up to five or six dreams.
To go deeper into the world of dreams and the curiosities associated with them, you can read the article “10 curiosities about dreams”, by psychologist Bertrand Regader.
Finally, what do the dreams mean? Do they have any interpretation?
Dreams are just an answer to what we usually think and experience day after day. If we are angry and repress that anger, it is common to dream of violence, or that we are confronting some of our loved ones. Dreams are just that, a reflection, sometimes random.
Some people are transformed into others (simply because they are habitual images in our lives), we remember events from the past that had a special impact , or we dream of situations that repeat and witness our patterns and perhaps some of our personal blocks and beliefs that still need to be worked on. In short, the meaning and interpretation of our dreams is that these dreams are a masterful example of our mental patterns, of our fears, obsessions, and also longings, desires and… of our dreams, properly speaking.
Finally, who should interpret our dreams?
Only you can interpret your dreams. Perhaps the most sensible thing is not to interpret them, but simply to feel them and to answer the question: what can I learn from my dreams? People who relate more positively to their dreams use them to enhance their decision making and learning. You can, too. Time to dream!