Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home | Volume 4, Issue 27, Tuesday July 10, 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the reality of dreams

Reams! Stemmed from the English word “Dreme”, it stands for joy and music. It is the mysterious phenomenon that ushers us to the realm of eccentric existence. The meek defiance of the surreal that dictates reality, leaving us in the land of wonder for some split moments. There are numerous explanations for dreams and each one overlaps with the other. This further adds to the confusion of it all. But this magical obscurity as to its meaning is not completely incomprehensible. There can be two interpretations: where the message of the dream is told as a symbolic story while the other is the individual meaning, which is specific to the dreamer. So perhaps dreams can best be explained by their vendors. Before getting into the depth of a dream's lucidity, let us lighten up a bit with some fun facts on dreams.

If you don't want to dream then snore a lot and once you've given up smoking brace yourself because you'll encounter some long and intense dreams. Until kids are 3 to 4 years old they dream about everything else apart from themselves and as for blind people, they view their dreams just as well; however their images are in accordance with what they saw before they were blinded. Studies have found out that our brain waves are more active when we dream than when we are awake. Everybody dreams and if there is any lack of it then it is due to lack of protein or a personality disorder. Approximately one third of the human life is spent sleeping and in one night roughly 4 to 7 dreams are viewed. That adds up to about 6 years spent on dreaming and more than 2,100 days spent in a different world!

Dreams are indeed very difficult to understand perhaps due to the fact that they are formed by the subconscious mind and interpreted by the conscious in a language that is totally alien to us. We often observe how the memory of a dream which was vivid in the morning fades away in the course of the day, leaving only a few trifling remnants. The fact that dreams are scarcely proverbial is due to the fact that approximately 90% of dreams are forgotten after ten minutes of completion. The only way to recall is by recollecting the emotions felt in the dream. This aids in interpreting dreams and comparing them to real life circumstances and relationships. And to put it simply-dreams are about what's on one's mind.

Before sleep sweeps us away we all hope to wake up with the syrupy flavour of some sweet dream. However, things do not always shape up to be according to our liking. Everybody has experienced dreams that contain anxiety or outright fear and these experiences can be quite traumatic and even become recurrent. The common themes of nightmares generally involve being pursued or attacked, falling, being late or unprepared for class, being stuck in slow motion and of course being naked in public! Undoubtedly nightmares are extremely unpleasant to deal with. Dream theories explain that this type of experience is associated with a lack of ability by the dreamer to recognise and solve related conflicts in real life. For example, chase dreams often stem from feelings of anxiety in one's waking life. Basically in this particular context the way we respond to anxiety and pressure in real life is typically manifested as a chase dream. And having difficulties to get through an exam highlights the feelings of being anxious and agitated and unprepared for a challenge. As one gets distressed and frustrated in dreams, these feelings parallel how one is feeling in a particular challenge or situation in real life. Falling dreams indicate insecurity, instability, and anxiety and reflect a sense of failure or inferiority in some circumstances or situations. And flying dreams on the other hand indicate that one is in control of a situation. However this particular category of dreams is very interesting since one becomes aware that she/he is dreaming which is known as lucid dreaming.

But dreams are certainly not all about nightmares. Dreams have long proven themselves to be store houses of creativity and spiritual guidance. A few dream-inspired works would be The Beatles' “Yesterday” and “Let it be”, Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous poem “Kublai Khan” and Robert Louis Stevenson's “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”. Besides, artists such as Sting, Peter Gabriel, Robert Palmer, Billy Joel, Mozart and Beethoven are known to have drawn ideas and inspiration from dreams for their works. And one of the interesting aspects of dreams is that even though they are generally symbolic of psychological processes, some dreams and nightmares are intended as guidance or warnings on a very practical level. After all, dreams do encompass another entire dimension of experience, a world beyond the other, where fascinating spheres of activity await factual investigation and possibly facilitate for greater fulfillment in the waking life.

There is a great significance of dreams in both the physical and spiritual sense. Dreams are the only times certain brain activities take place. We need to dream and that's why sleep deprivation is so dangerous. Dreams and the resulting theta waves created by them sort out our memories, assist to form new opinions, allow us to learn new tasks and update our emotional outlooks. The significance of dreams lies in the fact that not only do they offer a private means to explore inner reality and allow us to gain unique, undeniable, personal experiences but there is also overwhelming evidence that they can be used to improve life as dreams offer opportunities for fun, adventure, wish fulfillment, creativity, deep personal insight and not to mention their healing power. So like Aerosmith said, “Dream On”.

By Obaidur Rahman

 

 
 

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