Why Dreams Matter
- Thursday, 11 September 2008
The development and nurturing of dream recall is something that does not come naturally to all of us, but it is a rare person that does not ever remember at least some part of a dream. It is a skill like any other and can be learned with patience and encouragement. Some people wonder why dreams matter at all. Are dreams not just the random firing of some neurons in our brains or, at best, the residue left over from the experiences from our day?
Oddly enough, there is no consensus in the scientific community as to exactly what the function of dreams is or why we dream at all. There are a number of good theories; however, I would like to bypass this line of inquiry altogether. When someone asks "Why do dreams matter?" they are not looking for a dry scientific definition of a physiological function, rather they are asking, "Why should dreams matter to me?"
The reason dreams should matter to us, as individuals on a path of health and healing, is because the “me” that we think we know represents only a small part of our whole Self.
We all put forward a face or mask, a comfortable veneer, to match our life and needs. Dreams help us expand that guarded view. They introduce us to the rich, multi-dimensional souls that we truly are. Dreams can highlight roles we play in our own personal dramas while also providing experiences of the roles we avoid. We are not merely personalities with a "best before" expiry date, doomed to simply live and die. We are much more interesting.
Dreams help point out our personalities’ psychological shortcomings. Freud was correct when he labeled dreams the "royal road to the unconscious." The journey via our dreams does not stop there. We are first and foremost souls experiencing the adventure of being physical and human. When we dream, we are offered the opportunity to experience more of that multi-dimensional self. Our dreams reconnect us with our personal psychology through precognitive information and clairvoyance, visits from deceased loved ones, flashes of past lives and out-of-body-travel.
Dreams can give us information about the state of our health. Through the ages, we have learned about people who discovered through their dreams early-stage medical conditions before their doctors did. More than 2,000 years ago Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, wrote that specific dream images foretold future ailments. Today, we still find books telling of the author’s recovery from serious illness by paying attention to their dreams.
Dreams can tell us about the state of our mental health as well. Because of the early influence of Freud, most people make the dream-psychological connection. Did you know that dreams take us into the realm of psychic experiences too? If you caught the TV series In Dreams last season, you saw a husband and wife sharing the same dream on the same night and dreamers who received messages from dead loved ones through their dreams.
Dreams are the source of creative art, literature, and scientific discoveries. They are also useful for problem solving. Sleeping on a problem is not just for the few, rather it is a technique used by inventors, entrepreneurs, and corporate and world leaders.
Our spirit is often the most elusive element of our Body-Mind-Spirit triad. Yet, dreamers have reported dreams of angels and religious figures along with spiritual, heart-opening moments. They awaken connected to their soul, and they find what matters most in life and beyond.
Keep in mind that dreaming is available to anyone, every night. No experience or special equipment is required. Two millennia ago, Plato wrote, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Simply stated, dreams provide us with an easy and entertaining way to examine our lives and our souls. Now, that is something that matters.