Contents Page/ Next What Are Dreams?/ Understanding Symbols/ Symbols and Metaphor/ The Unconscious/ Discovering the Inner Self
Interpreting the Dream/ Resources & Guides for the Dreamer

Print This Page

The Importance of Dreams


The Importance of Dreams

There are many theories about dreams, how they function, their intent, and even why we dream. From astrology to tarot cards, psychic readings to clairvoyance, to the psychological approach of Sigmund Freud and Alfred Adler to the dream psychology of Carl Jung, all kinds of theories have been expounded in our desire to understand our dreams. In most all theories we find references to SYMBOLS, what is believed to be the language of dreams. It is often the method in interpreting the symbols that differentiate the different theories of dream interpretation. No matter the method most all theories relate somehow to symbols, the language of the ancients, the symbolic hieroglyphics that expressed the thought patterns of the earliest psyche of mankind.

The Psychological Approach
Freud, Jung, Adler and other pioneers of modern psychology have provided us with the tools to understanding the dream world, and the unconscious mind. In doing so they provide an understanding of unrealized aspects of the individual dreamer. What is unconscious is available to the conscious mind, through the interpretation of our dreams. In the interpretation of dreams the desire is to bring about a clearer understanding of those unconscious aspects. By interpreting our dreams, and using the Jungian method of 'self analyzing', there is an established path to a more happy, harmonious and prosperous life.

What Are Dreams

All of us dream, several times a night. It is believed by some that we sleep in order that we may dream. It is during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep that we do most of our dreaming. If we are deprived of sleep, REM sleep increases on subsequent nights. Sleep deprivation prevents us from completing our dreams and we subsequently engage in dream-like thinking during our waking states of consciousness. Such is the power of the dream. Chapter One will provide the most recent discoveries as to why we dream.

How Dreams Function

Understanding how the dream functions, the physical aspect as well as the psychological, is central in understanding dreams. We all have heard of REM sleep but how does the dream work within the unconscious mind as we sleep? Do we dream every night and if so why can we not remember our dreams? Are dreams to be taken literally or do the symbols represent something other than what they seem? Where do the symbols in our dreams come from, why certain symbols and not others? Chapter 1 will discuss these questions and more to help you understand the fundamentals of dream and sleep.

Understanding Symbols

Chapter two will provide insights to how symbols function within the dream. Symbols are the language of dreams, derived primarily from the archaic beginnings of the human man to give understanding to the world around. Early man had no language so they used symbols instead. Perhaps this is best illustrated in the picture language of Egyptian mythology, hieroglyph symbols. The language is in symbols that represent what the Egyptians were about, their daily lives, their spiritual rites, their inner fears and desires. So too the language of dreams uses symbols to express the inner self of the dreamer, the unconscious world that is not fully comprehended by the waking mind.

Symbols & Metaphor

If symbols are representations within the dream, what do they represent? Before we can answer that question we must understand METAPHOR. The word metaphor is from the Greek which means to 'transfer', a figure of speech in which one thing is spoken as if it were another. Symbols are metaphors for the emotions and within the dream they represent the inner world of the dreamer's life as it really is and not as the ego perceives it to be. A house is the dreamer's psyche, the body, mind and spirit. Understanding how to determine what part of the house the dream is referring to is the task that ultimately provides answers to the meaning of the dream. Understanding the symbols as references to the dreamer is key to understanding the message of the dream.

The Unconscious

Not only has science proved the existence of an unconscious aspect within every human psyche, it also has provided insights as how the unconscious functions in the world of dream. The unconscious dream provides a therapeutic function that compensates for the one-sidedness of our conscious minds. The expression, 'you feel better after a good nights rest' not only refers to the physical act of restful sleep but also to the psychological balance dreams provide by 'examining' the waking life when asleep. The unconscious objective is personal wholeness and when the waking condition is out of balance the unconscious dream presents alternatives to the bias of the conscious mind. The dream is a third person, examining the life without prejudice and providing answers to questions about the dreamer.

Discovering the Inner Self

A primary function of the dream is to expose the true condition of the dreamer's life. The symbolics of dreams point to all the different aspects of the dreamer, more than just what the ego-persona the waking life perceives. Those things that we consider as negative influences in our lives are often seen in the dream as the 'shadow', the negative side of the personality, in so far as it is the opposite of whatever we have regarded as making a positive contribution to the well-being of our individual lives. Other aspects include the masculine/feminine traits, aspects of personality that we all possess; the wisdom aspect of the psyche, the wise self that lies deep within the psyche; the Self, what many believe to be the spiritual/creative aspect that is available to all who seek to understand the true human condition. And within the unconscious dream, and available to the conscious mind, are the personality traits that form the outside ego-persona as seen by others.

Interpreting the Dream

Every dream should be understood as saying something about the dreamer's current situation in life. But our dreams are also addressing unresolved issues from the past, including childhood. Dreams of the past are attempting to provide information to help solve an emotional aspect in the present. We all have aspects that we do not understand, or refuse to acknowledge, and the dream endeavors to provide us with the information about these unknown qualities so to better understand them and recognize the negative patterns that may be a controlling agent in the waking life. If listened to and understood there can be a realization of the negative qualities {as well as the positive} which provide a therapeutic value and helps us realize a harmonious life, a balance where there was once turmoil. But we must discover and understand the sources of our imbalance to find balance. Understanding how the dream functions, the role symbols play within the dream, the understanding of metaphor, and approaching the unconscious as a source of positive information that can lead to the discovery of the true emotional condition. Not only is the personal condition of the ego addressed in dreams, there also resides the deeper Self of spirituality and creativity. The negative and the positive self, unabashed and not limited by the ego consciousness that wishes only to satisfy the outer urges of the human psyche.

Contents Page/ What Are Dreams?/ Understanding Symbols/ Symbols and Metaphor/ The Unconscious/ Discovering the Inner Self
Interpreting the Dream/ Resources & Guides for the Dreamer

Return to