Introduction To Dreams
For thousands of years, man has been fascinated by the world of dreams. Confusing and unnerving or starkly clear, even those who profess to be sceptics are intrigued to find the meaning of a recurring or particularly vivid dream. And although occasionally we come across people who can truthfully tell us that they cannot remember a dream, this does not mean that they do not dream. We all dream.
Throughout history, dreams have always been held to have the greatest significance, although people in the past had as much disagreement on their actual meaning as they do today. It used to be thought that the mind departed in strange and wonderful worlds during sleep, where the dreamer found new discoveries and gleaned new knowledge. Often, the dream is seen as a method of communication - bringing a message from God, as in so many famous dreams in the Bible, or foretelling the future, Psychologists value the interpretation of dreams as the re-sorting of information, facts, fears and stresses absorbed by the conscious mind.
But before we begin to look at this fascinating subject of dreams and their interpretation in more detail, it is important to realize that these curious mental experiences belong to two distinct classes. There are dreams which are merely the result of physical discomfort, and there are dreams which might be better described as visions.
Any mental disturbance that is due to a purely physical cause cannot possibly carry a meaning , and must be ignored by those who wish to learn how to deal with real meanings.
First among the physical dreams we can place those horrible experiences known as nightmares, which are almost always due to digestive trouble.This causes an irregular supply of blood to the brain and also, no doubt, an impure supply. Either or both of these troubles will prove sufficient to cause a night mare, which can always be distinguished by the extravagance and impossibility of the happenings through which the dreamer appears to pass, there is, however, a great difference between impossible happenings and improbable events. The improbable dreams deserve investigation, for they are often of the nature of visions, whereas the really impossible can be ignored as due to some physical cause.
Sometimes, however, a perfectly possible event will figure as a dream., yet it may be due to a simple physical cause. A man who was a strong believer in dreams had a vivid experience one night, when he believed that he was out in the desert, pursued by a lion, who was so close to him all the time, that the animal was constantly biting him in the thigh, though never able to overtake him.
When he awoke, he was sweating profusely and was deeply impressed by what he took to be a dream of warning. However, when he got up he found that his false teeth had somehow slipped into the bed, so that in reality he had been biting himself all the time, thus inducing this particular dream.
Many people believe that a persistent dream in which the same incident is repeated, though the details may vary considerably, must be a warning of great importance. This is doubtful, however, if the dream recurs more than a few times and is really persistent, the cause is most likely to be a traumatic event in the past. An example of this is a lady who regularly suffered the same ghastly dream. Her husband knew when this was the case because of her terrified screams. In this case however, it turned out that as a girl the woman had been involved in an unpleasant incident which resulted in two girls being expelled from her school, although she herself escaped this fate. She had been so terrified at the thought of what her parents would have done if she had also been expelled that the dream had haunted her sleep ever since.
The majority of dreams come to us while we are asleep at night. But many people who are highly sensitive receive these mental impressions quite easily when awake. Such dreams are obviously visions, or mental impressions received from some intimate friend or relation. An actual experience will illustrate this type of dream. A musician had spent the weekend with some old friends in the country, but on arriving home, had a vivid daydream that he saw a doctor standing by a bedside. He wrote to his host that evening asking if anything unexpected had happened, But a letter crossed with his telling him that the youngest daughter had been taken ill just after his departure. The child was very fond of him and this was clearly a case of thoughts transference.
As a guide, it is safe to assume that any perfectly natural action or event, when the dreamer merely looks but does not take any active part, as seen in a dream, is a warning or a mirage from some outdie source. On the other han, where the dreamer visualizes himself or herself as one of the actors in the drama, the message comes from within and should be interpreted as affecting the dreamer personally.
Reference:The Complete Book of Dreams:Edwin Raphael
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