Monday, August 01, 2011

Do you ever wonder what your dreams mean?

Many times as a psychologist people ask me what their dreams mean. It's sort of hard to come up with an answer if you don't know much about the person's life. And the last dream books I read were mostly old ones like those of Carl Jung such as Man and His Symbols. So,I was grateful when a publicist from Adams Media asked if I wanted a review copy of a new book Into Your Dreams: Decipher your unique dream symbology to transform your waking life. The book is a fun way to learn more about yourself during your sleeping hours.

Unlike many dream books, this one goes beyond the "one size fits all" interpretation to give the reader ideas about what his or her particular dream means. Basically, the reader learns how to decipher their unique dream symbology and apply it to their waking life. The first part of the book gives a brief summary of the history and nature of dreams. The second part gives a listing of various symbols and some guidelines for possible meanings. The book is supposed to be more of a guide than a "dream dictionary."

Overall, it looks like a good book if you find your dreams interesting, troubling or recurrant and want to understand them.

What dreams have readers had that you find the most interesting or puzzling?

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29 Comments:

Blogger DADvocate said...

A couple of recurring dreams I used to have:

Up until my early teens I would have a dream consisting of a line traveling horizontally across a screen. A smooth and calm feeling accompanied the line. Suddenly, the line would go erratic, spiking up and down and the feeling was akin to hearing fingernails on a blackboard.

About 15 years ago, I met a woman who said she had had the same dream as a child. She associated it with having been hospitalized at 3 years old and the monitors in the hospital room. I think she said she had read this dream was common among children taht had been hospitalized around that age. Coincidentally, I also had been hospitalized (twice) at the age of 3 and the explanation made perfect sense to me.

The other recurring dream was of being in a room, usually a living room or schoolroom, on a nice, peaceful day. Suddenly there would be a blinding flash outside that I knew was from an atomic bomb and I would wake up before the shock wave hit.

As a child who lived through the Cuban missile crisis there's no mistery here. I had the dream up until my late twenties.

1:51 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Jason said...

I rarely remember my dreams for long after awakening. If I kept a dream log that might change, but there's never seemed a good reason.

What I'd *like* is a good guide for developing lucid dreams. I've been trying for years, yet I rarely succeed, and when I do I tend to wake up immediately:-(.

1:59 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

DADvocate,

Fascinating dreams. Obviously, you knew your history and could make sense out of them. Dreams are so unique to the dreamer and should be interpreted as such.

2:00 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

Jason,

There are books on Lucid Dreaming that are supposed to be good. For example, Stephen LaBerge wrote a book in 1985 that is a classic on the subject. Here is a link to his most recent book on Lucid Dreaming:

http://www.amazon.com/Lucid-Dreaming-Concise-Awakening-Dreams/dp/159179675X/ref=pd_sim_b_4

2:06 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Dunkelzahn4prez said...

One recurring dream I have, which I understand is fairly common, is one in which I'm years into my career, but somehow I missed a vital class in high school or college, which negates everything from that point on and requires me to pick up where I missed that class.

Being in class in my underwear, or nekkid, is another one I have from time to time.

Of course, I've had really weird, scary dreams that I'd prefer not to discuss.

2:56 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Helen said...

Dunkelzahn4prez,

Yes, the dream where you are in school or missing class is a very common one. From the book, "These anxiety dreams may mirror our frustrations or fears about not being able to measure up or being unprepared in some way for current life situations."

Naked dreams can mean a number of things including feeling exposed, uncomfortable, embarrassed.

3:26 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

My dreams would scare the crap out of Sam Peckinpah.

If I confessed my dreams to a shrink, s/he'd hit a button beneath the desk and I'd be hauled away by a SWAT team.

My dreams are the equivalent of a sperm whale getting gutted with a flencing knife.

I like puppies and kittens. I love to cook. Ask anyone who knows me, they'll tell you "he's an okay guy!" Peace. Love. Granola.

But my dreams come from the seventh layer of hell, ripe with the fruit of the Tree of Zaqoom.

My dreams a f*#^ing ridiculous. I do not want to know what they mean.

3:29 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Wayne said...

I had a book something over 30 years ago on understanding your dreams. It was basically a common-sense guide, but it also helped a person understand how dreams frequently use symbology, such as flying dreams generally representing a desire to escape from some situation.

It also made the point that the correct interpretation of a dream is the one that feels right to the person who had the dream, no matter what anyone else thought about it.

I hardly ever have dreams that are "storyline" type, myself. My dreams are generally very short, tableau-seeming images, with little dynamic content, as if I am creating photo montages instead of video clips. It's weird.

3:40 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Wayne said...

@ZorroPrimo - yeah, I kind of have that "send the shrink running away screaming" kind of thing going on in my dreams a lot, too.

3:44 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

I suppose I shouldn't even joke about having dreams about Dr. Helen, so I won't.

Some people get all mystical at me and wonder about "meanings", as in, "My dream is foretelling the future". They're not happy with my response, that I believe first and foremost that the subconscious is trying to work something out. The spooky stuff is only to be considered later.

But I never did come to terms with a series of dreams where my life was being threatened. These were usually in a half-awake state, which made them even more fun. Like the time someone from a neighboring house had a kind of greenish tracking beam and was trying to site in and shoot me. Or the time I was trapped between the hulls of a spaceship — that one took longer to wake up from than most.

4:18 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger ZorroPrimo said...

@Wayne: Yeah, it makes us separate from the herd. F*&%ed up dreams. Seriously. If I told you some of the dreams I've had, the wallpaper would peel off.

I envy people who forget their dreams when they wake up.

4:21 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger David said...

One of the most haunting dreams I've ever heard of: An air traffic controller, who was on duty in the NYC area on 9/11, has had a recurrent dream...as in reality, she watches one of the flights which was destined to hit the building. But in the dream, she reaches her hand into the screen and scoops out the airplane and all the people in it

5:43 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Thag Jones said...

A little while ago I was googling about plane crash dreams and found that hundreds of people had the exact same recurring dream as I do.

http://blog.piperenterprises.com/?p=30

I don't have it often, but it comes back every now and again and has done for years. I had a lot of nightmares as a teenager - fire and brimstone kind of stuff - but now my dreams are mostly more weird than scary.

6:24 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Russ said...

The few times I remember my dreams, I am usually flying without the benefit of a plane. I always freak out and start falling, then remind myself that if I could get in the air by myself, I could also get down by myself. My wife, on the other hand, skips two stages of sleep, (2 and 3 I believe), and spends a lot of time where the real world enters her dreams or her dreams enter the real world in the form of night terrors. It is so much fun when your wife decides to scream bloody murder while you have one foot on the floor and the other foot in bed.

6:30 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Harold said...

If awakened during active dreaming, I can remember the dream for perhaps 30 seconds before it fades away. I do know that when I take melatonin (3 or 6 mg) before sleeping, that I dream more, and more vividly. That knowledge from being awakened during the dreams

That said, I sometimes think that some people's problems dealing with reality comes from them remembering dreams in the same way they remember reality- there is no difference between reality world and dreamworld for them. Not scientific, but the people I know who can describe to me their dreams (and do) seem always to be a little bit off in the way they interpret things in real life.

No one in the medical/psychological world, or the religious/spiritual world, really has a handle on dreams and what they mean, or if they have any meaning. (Although dreaming is, apparently, necessary for the human condition, as is sleep.) I place as much faith in a book on how to interpret dreams as I do in a book on how to interpret your tarot cards- none at all whatsoever.

6:34 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Harold said...

Forgot to mention- I'm more interested in what actually causes sleep paralysis. It occurs to me fairly often; always has. On awakening only. Don't know how long for sure, because time sense is severely distorted during transition from awake to asleep and back. But I absolutely hate the feeling when it occurs. scares the crap out of me.

6:41 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

It's the space aliens what does the sleep paralysis. My cousin Leroy gets all liquored up and leaves the door open for the space aliens. He likes the probe.

7:23 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger eb said...

Harold, I have had that dream. I am being attacked or chased by someone. I can't use my arms or legs, they seem not to move. I have an extra dimension to my Paralysis dream; I can't shout or call out for help.

If you dream you are dreaming in a dream, does it mean much. A buddy of mine told me to stop buying drugs from my current supplier. I don't use drugs nor alcohol.

7:35 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Xiaoding said...

I thought dreams meant you were having stress at work.

I think the flying dreams, are mostly hardware based. You can't move your limbs, so when you move forward, you get no feedback, so you keep moving forward, in your dream.

It may also mean you like to fly.

7:53 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger br549 said...

I've had one sleep paralysis dream that I remember. About 6 or so.. Most of my dreams I don't remember. Just particles. I had one last night that all I remember was a beautifdul figure of a woman. Incredibly sultry. A side profile is what I remember. It was dark, her outline was a luminescent green, and her fingers and toes were totally luminescent. Her feet were incredibly beautiful. But I have a thing about feet, so.....

I have a fear of heights since almost going over the side of a tall building at a coal prep plant and being grabbed by my co-worker long enough to grab hold before my belt snapped. I don't dream about it though. I'd of thought I would.

I dreamed about a balanced budget once.........

8:14 PM, August 01, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

I don't know, I have some of the most whack dreams down that pipeline. I can even smell things in there, see color. It's another real life. I have even learned to manipulate the dreams (if I don't like the scenario, though that usually tends to kill the dream, so if I am curious, I just have to keep going). Flying, even through steel. Warring both real type and sometimes in a weird post-apocalypse world (think Beirut back in the worst days or Mogadishu (just about whenever)). I smell the muck of the mud, feel the trees, even sense breezes. I've even dreamed of being a prince warrior, in the dark ages. Wretched life they lead, or so I see in dreams. I live far better as a cripple today.

But you know what? I don't want to know. I don't even care. Just cheap entertainment. I only wish I could pop popcorn to go along with it. Horror ones are my favorite. I know those aren't real, besides, I (or we, the good guys) win (no matter how bloody it gets, and usually). Even if I die in any of the dreams, it's all good. Yes, you can die in there and be just fine, I suppose if you are okay with death or something.

1:34 AM, August 02, 2011  
Blogger dr.alistair said...

when i was a boy i drempt i was a giant and that my friend, who was normal sized, cut me on the knee but i didn`t feel it. oddly i realise now just as i`m writing this that i`ve had knee problems all my life.

i had a paralysis dream once where a beam of light hit my forehead as i lay in my bed one morning and i was pinned to my bed. i just went back to sleep and forgot about it...for months.

i think sometimes dreams are where we work things out that we aren`t able to during the day. i have had dreams of the resolution of something or other and it has been of great relief.

7:53 AM, August 02, 2011  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

I agree with Harold, don't look too deeply. Sometimes a dream is just escapism, a story.

10:26 AM, August 02, 2011  
Blogger Dunkelzahn4prez said...

Anybody here have very literal dreams, where they're at work or running an errand and it's pretty much like how it would look in real life?

2:34 PM, August 02, 2011  
Blogger Doom said...

@Dunk,

Yep. I hate those. When I wake I sometimes think I already went to that appointment, or already did this or that. They confuse and confound normal dailies. Plus, I often wake feeling as if I never slept. Ugh. Thankfully those are pretty rare now, but I went through... five years, maybe ten, where I had those at least weekly.

4:26 PM, August 02, 2011  
Blogger Isaac Schrödinger said...

This post reminded me of two vivid and strange dreams I had last month. I've written about them here: Fear and Fantasy.

10:04 PM, August 02, 2011  
Blogger Carol said...

I think many of my dreams stem from experiences as a small child, places my mother took me to when she was newly divorced and would drive all over socal with me standing on the front seat. I was always looking, looking at everything and can't imagine a modern kid being more interested in a DVD or game.

Also had Dadvocate's atom bomb dream regularly, probably incited more by movie and TV shows than reality. When I moved to Dallas they turned into tornado dreams, which stopped when I moved out of the region.

1:01 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Omnibus Driver said...

A fistful of small unstretched canvas paintings that turned to bits of colored cotton knit fabric in my hands because I took too long to pick which one I wanted, among others.

My dreams are always in vibrant color, and seem to last all night long, too.

4:20 PM, August 03, 2011  
Blogger Major-General said...

The most recent dream I can't explain finds me standing in an east coast city, on an overcast day, looking across a street at a field with a sidewalk in front of it.

From the side, though not seen, a female (now ex) coworker of mine remarks that we're neighbors, and an arm points to an old two story house. At no time do I see her though.

And what I remember ends. I thought I would share; however it doesn't seem as interesting as some of the others posted.

11:48 PM, August 03, 2011  

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