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Dreams and Dream Interpretation: Why Do We Dream?
Why Do We Dream?
There are many theories about why we dream. I found this a most fascinating topic while I was studying psychology and the conclusion seems that no one theory can accurately explain why or how we dream and most theories will conflict with one another.
There are theories that are close to approval through scientific research but most are still just theories. However, there are many theories that are based on religious beliefs or cultural superstitions. One such theory, the Islamic theory suggests that dreams are of three types; from God, from within you, and from Satan. Similar are the theories that certain dreams can be induced by the presence of demons known as incubi/succubi. A common belief for why we dream is that our future is encoded within our dreams as some kind of guide for us to follow and that the symbolism can be used to gain knowledge of our future.
Some theories suggest that our dreams are a way for our minds to sort through all of the day’s activities and to decide which information is worth remembering. Some suggest that dreams are simply the random firing of neurones during sleep, although this theory is blasted by the fact that people often dream of specific things like the past day’s events. There are many other dream theories, which I cannot go deeply into here but the main point is that, no one really knows for sure.
Whatever you believe, it is important to take note of your dreams and at least try to understand them from an inward point of view. Try to understand what they might mean for you as an individual and make sense of them in whatever way you feel is right.
As for dream symbolism, I find it a little strange to take one set of dream interpretations and to say that these are the standard meanings for everyone. If you really want to gain an insight into what your dreams mean for you then I would suggest starting a dream log.
Every time you remember a dream when you wake up, write it down immediately and link it with the events of the previous day or the day following the dream. After a while, you will have a personal dictionary of dream interpretations. For example, on one weekend, you go shopping and then you dream about being at the seaside, and the next time you go shopping you dream about having a lake in your back garden then you can link the dreaming of water to the activity of shopping.
We do spend one third of our entire lives in the land of nod and that is why I think it is important to try to understand dreams. I have a couple of tips for remembering your dreams a bit better, you can do the snooze thing in the mornings, set your alarm half an hour earlier and have your alarm on snoozing for at least 5 minutes at a time, you will find that you have loads of mini dreams before you come to wake up fully. Alternatively, you can set your alarm to wake you up during the night (only on weekends) that way you will have at least two dreams per night. Sometimes the best remembered dreams are the ones you have when you get to wake up naturally, as there is nothing else to occupy your mind when waking up. If you want some very strange and vivid dreams I would suggest sleeping on your back, this always works for me!