Finally, Everything You Need To Know About Dreams
At the end of each day, you get in your comfiest clothes, wash your face, brush your teeth, and close your eyes, sealing your day with eight hours of blissful, harmonious, restorative sleep (eight hours, right???). But, if you’re anything like me, the minute you dose off, you enter a world of mystical creatures, supernatural powers, weird sexual encounters, tense emotional situations, and tigers, and bears, and oh my god there’s someone chasing me. Ask any of my coworkers, and nine times out of ten the first thing that comes out of my mouth once I’ve dropped off my things, boiled my morning tea, and opened up my laptop is: oh my god I had the craziest dream last night!
Naturally, dreams are something that intrigue us tremendously here at Sakara HQ because they give us little glimpses into the subconscious worlds that are living within our cells on a daily basis --- and, if you have the power to turn your #ThoughtsToThings, then paying attention to the thoughts, feelings, and situations in your dreams is a very critical step in the manifestation process.
To shed some light on all our burning questions about the dream world, we consulted professional dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg. Lauri is the author of Dream on It, Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life and founder of What Your Dream Means. She has helped thousands of people develop the tools to tap into the power of their dreams in order to understand and heal themselves. The wisdom she imparted on us below is...well...it's dreamy.
The big question...why do we dream?
“We dream because we think. Dreaming is a thinking process and is actually a continuation of your stream of thought from the day. That inner dialogue we have running through our heads continues as we drift off to sleep — it picks right back up once we enter REM sleep. At this point (REM) our brains are working differently; certain parts of the brain have become dormant (such as the part of the prefrontal cortex that controls rational, linear thought), while other parts of the brain have become highly active (such as the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls emotions). Our thought stream is still happening in REM but we are now thinking in subconscious, symbolic dream language rather than literal word language."
Why do we have nightmares?
"Of all the different types of dreams we have, the nightmare is the most mysterious. Why so violent? Why so gross? Why so frightening? Why me?? Most of us consider ourselves to be decent people so it’s hard to understand why our own minds would sometimes create such horrific stories. Why do we do this to ourselves?
The answer is simple: we get nightmares when we have ignored or mishandled an issue for far too long. The nightmare is the way our wiser, inner mind slaps us into reality and says, “enough!” You see, nightmares don’t suddenly come out of nowhere; they build. When you’ve got a tough issue during the day, you will dream about it at night to find a solution to it, but if you don’t get the message or if you don’t act on the message, then the dream will come back. Sometimes it will come back in the same form (hence the recurring dream) and sometimes in a different form but the same message (hence the recurring themes). The longer you ignore the message or the longer you mishandle the issue, the more hostile your dreams become…until they reach nightmare status! The dreaming mind does not like complacency, nor does it like to be ignored.
While nightmares are no fun, they are good for us because they alert us to what is being mishandled or what is being ignored. They force us to take action to correct what is wrong and they will be relentless until we do. It’s important to remember that the nightmare is a very tangible tool that can be used to overcome the past, to face our fears and to become a more powerful individual. Don’t fear your nightmares, embrace them because they are giving you the opportunity to conquer and persevere."
What are the most important things to keep track of to better understand our dreams?
“There are many layers to our dreams that we need to pay attention to but I would say the three most import are...
1) Dreams speak in metaphors: Make it a habit of asking yourself how the characters, the objects, the actions and the settings in your dreams are comparable to yourself and the events in your waking life. How is your dream last night a metaphor for your life right now? Like a metaphor, your dreams illustrate what’s going on in your life and how you truly feel about it. When you can find the metaphor, you have found the message.
2) Your dreams are always connected to the previous day: Whatever happens in your life today, whatever thought runs through your mind, whatever accomplishment you make, whatever conversations you have, whatever frustrates you today is likely show up in your dreams tonight in some form or fashion. Be sure to ask yourself how your dream last night reminds you of yesterday. Keeping a day journal in tandem with a dream journal will help you connect the dots between the imagery in your dream to the events and thoughts and conversations of the previous day. Write down all TV shows, books, etc. that you read, saw or talked about that day — you never know when the imagery will speak to you in a dream.
3) Your dreams are all about you! When we dream, we go inward and focus on the self. Think about it, your eyes are closed, your room is dark, the outside world is shut off, so YOU go in to yourself and focus on YOU and all the things that YOU are dealing with right now. Our dreams will show us ourselves in the guise of different people or animals or even objects so that we can gain a better understanding of ourselves and our current behavior. Everything in your dream is you. The exception to this rule is when you dream of someone you deal with closely on a daily basis, such as your roommate, your spouse, your boyfriend or girlfriend, your children, your co-worker. So always start with yourself first — how is this creature, this person, this object like me? If the dots don’t connect, then work outward - How is this creature, this person, this object like my spouse? My best friend? My child? Etc."
What are some of the most common things people dream about and what do they mean?
Being chased: This dream is connected to avoidance in waking life. If you are running from something or someone in a dream then there is likely something in real life you are trying or hoping to avoid having to deal with in real life. It could be a confrontation you need to have, a responsibility you want out of or just a difficult situation you don't want to have to face. The message of the dream is, the longer you run from the issue the longer it will "follow you." Face the music and get it over with.
Being lost: Whether it's lost in a parking lot or lost in a big city, this dream can often be connected to indecision in real life, feeling uncertain as to which way you should go with a particular issue. Retirees get this dream quite a bit because they are feeling lost without the structure of their career. Ask yourself how you may be feeling directionless in waking life. The message is: you have to make a decision or at least start movement in some direction, otherwise nothing will change.
Death: Dreaming of death can be very upsetting because it feels very real in the dream and it often makes us wonder if we are seeing the future. Remember, dreams are symbolic so dreaming of death merely means something in your life is changing or ending. If someone you love dies in a dream, ask yourself if that person is changing or is your relationship with that person changing. If you die ask yourself what is changing or coming to an end in your own life. Are you moving, changing careers, have you lost weight, has your attitude changed? Death dreams allow us to recognize the changes that are happening in our life so we can let go and move on.