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Analyzing a Dream

Updated on October 10, 2017
AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

The writer is an avid dreamer, exploring the myths and realities of the unconscious mind

Dreams and Reminiscence

Dreams are fascinating despite them being extremely stupid, irrelevant, bizarre or scary at times. Mostly we dream of things that kept us or our minds pre-occupied through the course of the day - An irritating boss, a meeting with our loved one, a certain fear or an embarrassing situation, a troubled relationship or simply the loneliness in our heart. The actual science behind dreams is yet not fully understood and nor is there a consensus on whether or not dreams actually imply anything. Despite that, they just don't fail to amaze us!

Personally, for me, dreams have always been an intriguing subject. Even as a kid I always found them as an interesting subject, simply because they were so vivid and so surreal. Sometimes they felt like movies, while at times they were scary. I often used to get goosebumps thinking about or recalling them. The subject though varied from adventure to ghosts, demons, crime-fighting and umpteen number of stupid things. Though I knew much of it was all irrelevant but still somehow it all seemed so meaningful. I often tried to find meaning in those dreams but all in vain. Unfortunately neither did I have too many like-minded or understanding folks around nor did I have access to the internet back then, as desktop and broadband were a costly affair. My best bet was often the elders especially my grandma who was in her late seventies back then. Her intrepretations though would sometimes scare the shit out of me as she would often relate dream experiences to ghost, evil spirits and magic and sorcery, as I vaguely remember. For a young and fragile mind that was definitely impactful. Not that there was a deliberate intention of scaremongering but that was her, just speaking her mind out not contemplating anything at all. The age factor too was influential. Anyways that was then, years passed and dreams and fantasies took a back seat as other priorities in life took over. But what inspired me to write this hub was the dream I had recently. A sudden nostalgia took over and I began wondering if at all the dream had anything relevant to it.

Not sure if 'awakening' would be the choicest word or exaggerating a bit, but as I sipped through my cup of tea this morning I felt like I had connected the dots and that there was truly a revealing 'message' for me. Not that I believe in the 'guardian angel guiding me' kind of stuff but this was a tricky situation, perhaps my own conscience reaching out to me in order for me to change the status quo.

Fact Check

Dr Tom Scammell, associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, says that nobody knows why we dream. According to him three or four times a night, we have a period of sleep that lasts approximately 90 minutes called REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. The brain is more active during REM and the conditions are right for "story-like" dreams that are rich in action, complexity, and emotions.

According to him "we are most likely to recall dreams if we wake up at the end of a REM episode."

Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud's theory of dreams suggests that dreams represent unconscious desires, thoughts, and motivations. He believed that dreams were a way for people to satisfy urges and desires that were unacceptable to society or couldn't be consciously expressed but somehow found their way into our awareness via dreams.

The Recurring Dream

Dreams usually start or end abruptly. Mine was no different. Here's what I recollect of the dream I had:

As it began, or what I remember of it in bits and pieces - funny or awful as it may sound I was searching for a 'toilet'. Out of nowhere, I suddenly happen to stumble upon this familiar looking place. Familiar because even in my dream the subconscious mind was telling me that I have been here. In reality, I didn't quite relate to it, though I do recall seeing it in my previous dreams a couple of times. A certain nostalgic association. There were no signs or gender notification on the door. My senses seem quite active even in the dream, a certain obnoxious feeling that I let go as I stepped in. Upon entering the place, I saw a lady busy cleaning the urinals to the left of the entrance. Though they mostly looked clean. She seemed tired and was at a little distance from me. Next moment she was right next to me close enough that I could hear her breathing, she looked me in the eye and murmured something. Unfortunately, I don't recollect the words she uttered. Then I noticed there was another door right in front of me, leading into a bigger room with several doors, possibly restrooms. The doors were all shut and as I looked to my left I could clearly see the letters somewhat engraved onto a wooden frame like structure reading 'COFFER'. Right at that very moment, someone shouted from behind "What are you doing here?", it was another female, an elderly one. I kind of felt embarrassed thinking I had erred, entering a female restroom. So I quickly rushed outside and that's when I woke up from the dream."

Drifting Into The Dream World
Drifting Into The Dream World

Fact Check

Deirdre Barrett, Ph.D. is an author and psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School. She states that majority of people have dreams that recur over and over again during their lifetime. They are certainly more important than other dreams. They are probably your unconscious trying to tell you something, a more significant issue."

Recurring dreams can even be post-traumatic dreams, where you are reliving something that happened during your life time and are most difficult to deal with.

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Dream Decoded

Unlocking or decoding a dream certainly require much more than just a 'dream-dictionary'. Experts believe that while people do share similarities in some of their dreams but the actual meaning of that dream is unique to the person.

As I recollect the vague images of my dream, the word 'Coffer' kind of stuck to my head. Several thoughts simultaneously ran across my mind, primarily because I didn't know that word or what it meant. Now, here again, this could have been a case a faulty memory, wherein I may have at some point come across the word but could recollect but I can't be absolutely sure if that was the case. Hence, dreaming about it did not make any sense at all. As I sipped through my cup of tea, I recollected reading somewhere that while dreaming it's usually impossible to read as the reading part of the brain usually remains inactive during sleep. Out of curiosity, I googled and it was right, there was enough talk over the internet stating the same. Though there were contradictions too, the fun part is that this was the first time this thought struck me that till date I don't quite recall reading something specific in my dreams. There have been occasions I remember, I used to extensively dream about my exams, preparation bit and how I would miss my exams due to some stupid reason and there were other ones too but none where I recall having read or written something specific.

Next thing was to look up the meaning of word 'Coffer' and what do I get 'a strong box or small chest for holding valuables', 'money chest', 'treasure chest'. Woah! I was like what? For a moment my eyes lit up, it surely was intriguing! But then thinking about it, I realized it may have a deeper meaning than what was obvious.

I sat down trying to connect the dots, meanwhile, I had the thought at the back of my mind that the place seemed familiar and so was the search for a toilet. Luckily while decoding the first bit of dream about the search for the toilet I found that such dream typically represents possibility or opportunity to get rid of a negative situation. Finding one in itself is a positive sign. The dream interpretation, however, would vary on a case by case basis depending on the scenario. I kind of felt strongly about this dream and awful or disgusting as it may sound it has been a recurring one in the same place but with changing patterns in the appearance - from secluded to dark, sometimes the toilet was clogged and overflowing and now this final one with a clean premise and a distinct writing on the wall. The fact that I was able to read it clearly had its own sort of relevance.

Connecting the pieces together I was able to ascertain that it was a perhaps a way or a channel that my unconscious mind was utilizing to communicate with me or my conscious-self. No doubt I had been stressed lately. Quitting my job, wasting few grand in some ponzi scheme. Nothing was actually working my way, there was a trust-deficit in relations and the disappointment creeping in had made me feel like a complete loser. These turbulent times I was going through in real life and the supposed mess I had made of it due to my own follies, this was perhaps the writing on the wall for me. A reminder, to see things in the correct perspective and to get my life back on track.

As I had assumed, the moment I was able to understand what this recurring dream was all about, it was the end of it. I never had that dream again, nor did I dream of that creepy place, at least not till date. But then again, was that all to it. For now, I think so, but it still seems like a piece missing!

© 2017 Ashutosh Joshi


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