- Religion and Philosophy
Dreams And What They Mean
In the past, I’ve had dreams of strange incidents, none of any reference of my daily activities, neither did they mean anything to me but I wondered why they occurred.
Dreams are funny and unusual. They can frighten us, enlighten us and if we can remember all the aspects of our dreams sometimes they become a reality of our future.
Dreams do more than uncover our hidden wishes and fears, but dreams serve as a physiological as well as psychological purpose. I’ve learned that without the electrical activity that occurs during dreams the brain will not stay limber enough to function in the day ahead.
I use to think that the brain turned off in sleep, but even when you’re asleep, the brain is 50 to 80% active. And throughout the night we have periods of REM (rapid eye movement) when the brain functions goes up to 100%. The electrical activity is similar to waking, but your motor system is paralyzed.
We have the most complicated machine in all of nature in our heads. Our brains couldn’t shut down for long periods and keep working. Babies spend eight hours a day in brain-activated sleep. It’s a developmental program, design and maintenance of the brain. For adults, it’s a nightly tune-up.
It appears that REM (rapid eye movement) is the most dramatic of when dreaming occurs, characters turning into somebody else, places that look familiar but aren’t really, all sorts of bizarre cognition. But the purpose of dreams is that REM sleep helps to consolidate learning and procedural memories of how to do things, but it goes beyond that. Less than 20% of all dreams content are attributable to any specific memory. Another purpose of dreaming is to prepare the brain to be awake for instance, there are three leading emotions in dreams and that is elation, anxiety and anger. These are all things that we need to be able to express when we are awake. Dreaming is a way of rehearsing them; think of it as a virtual-reality game.
Sometimes, most of our dreams are hard to remember and that is because the brain doesn’t conceal the hormones necessary to create memories during sleep. To remember your dreams, you have to wake up really quickly, you have to wake up without moving, and you have to make a conscious effort at recall. Otherwise, even a brief memory of the dream will go away because negative dreams tend to wake us up faster, we remember them more frequently.
One thing that is good though is to keep a notebook and pencil by your bed and record everything when you wake up. Within two or three weeks, you’ll be flooded and it could be fun and enormously empowering to do some research into your own consciousness.
Keep in mind though that we remember nightmares more than our good dreams.