Dreams have long been held as the source of great mystery. We sleep one third of our lives (using 8 hours as the basis of measurement). Dreams have been used in the interpretation of psychological problems and held to be indicators of culturally significant patterns such as aggression where the US ranks the highest amongst industrialization nations according to Wikipedia Encyclopedia.
Anxiety also appears to be the most common emotion experienced in dreams, while positive emotions are less likely. Wikipedia also identifies gender differences in the inhabitants of the dreams where 70 percent of the characters in men’s dreams are men while women’s dreams contain an equal number of men and women. Recent studies also appear to show that although men generally had more aggressive feelings in their dreams than women, children did not have very much aggression until they reached their pubescence. These gender differences are not, according to Wikepedia, innately biological but more reflective of each gender’s role in society.
Although Freud and Jung both agreed that there was an interaction between the conscious and unconscious minds in dreams, they disagreed about its basic meaning. While Freud felt that there was an active censorship against the unconscious during sleep, Jung’s position was that dreams language was an efficient language comparable to the imagery of poetry, and uniquely capable of revealing its underlying meaning.
Over the years, I have tended to agree both with Jung and Fritz Perls’ theory of dreams based on Gestalt Therapy, where dreams are seen as being projections of parts of oneself, often aspects that have been ignored, rejected or suppressed, and simply need to be accepted and fully realized rather than isolated, over-analysed, and interpreted in some pathological context.
As such, I have isolated several categories of dreams that I have identified as meaningful expressions of what my experience of dreaming means for me, although my categorizations are no doubt over-simplified. I do not have the psychological expertise or training to present them in more sophisticated terms.
1) Schlock Dreams:
These dreams usually involve some kind of retelling or regurgitating of emotional issues that I have been experiencing either that day or
very recently. Perhaps a release of nervous energy from those emotional issues that I have not been able to resolve as yet. Anxiety, unresolved conflicts, unfulfilled wish fulfillment’s and the like.
2) Theme Dreams:
These usually involve larger patterns that may reflect specific phobias, long-term aspirations, wish-fulfillment, or some attempt to present
psychological issues that have been long standing over time and may represent an attempt at resolution.
3) Knowledge Dreams:
These may reveal something new that I have not encountered or thought about before, or they may open my thinking process in different and new ways. Some of these dreams can be about me in other cultures, or other time periods, and are perhaps the starting point for discovering a past life or a link with someone I may have known or have some strong feelings about in my waking life that to date remains unknown to me.
4) Wisdom Dreams:
These, like knowledge dreams, have a certain clarity to them that seems pure of my emotional judgements. A wisdom dream for me is like an insight, or an epiphany, and usually a message from some place external to myself that has an objective quality to them that feels instinctively right. These dreams occur less frequently than the others, but when I do have them, I remember them in much greater detail and with a lot of color.
4-a) Prophetic Dreams:
These dreams are a subset of the Wisdom Dreams described above. They can indicate something that can happen, but as I said in my essay on Divination, one needs to be careful with relying on any kind of prophecy type things. Perhaps it’s just elaborating on trends which may be leading to some kind of conclusion or resolution than to a specific future event, or perhaps a wish fulfillment. Rarely do prophecies come in complete pictures. They tend to come in pieces and often, if misinterpreted, can be misleading. Caution should always be used with these dreams because of my own desire to interpret positive future events and denial of negative ones.
In any event, I have found that at certain times, it is good to keep a journal of dreams, so that I can look back and see if there are any patterns. More than once I have found significant patterns that have been useful to me.
Whatever the case may be, dreams are a part of our existence and they should be given attention and thought when they are remembered.