We all dream. Even you. Every night. Some of us may not remember our dreams, but we do have them. Some people believe that dreams are messages from the Gods. Others believe it is our ancestors or other spirits trying to contact us. Still others believe our dreams are glimpses into the past or the future. Scientists believe that dreams are merely an instant replay of our day or past memories. So which of these definitions is true?
In my opinion – they all are. And let me just state that that is exactly what it is – an opinion. I have no definitive proof to back up it up, though there is plenty of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence for each of these explanations.
So, I hear you ask, how is it possible for all of these explanations to be correct? Well, I’ll tell you. I am not trying to say that each of these theories is true and correct at the same time. What I believe is that there many different kinds of dream. Therefore, let us address each theory individually.
Messages from the Gods
Throughout history there have been many instances where people claim to have seen various Gods and Goddesses in their dreams or received coded dream messages of one form or another. Perhaps the most famous of these is from the Christian Bible when the Hebrew born Joseph interprets a dream of the Egyptian Pharaoh as being a warning from God that seven years of plenty will be followed by seven years of famine. Homer’s Iliad describes a scene where Agamemnon has a dream in which he receives instructions from the messenger of Zeus. In fact Zeus himself, on several occasions, communicated through dreams.
As a polytheist I do, of course believe the Gods (and various Goddesses) exist. And, if they exist, they must communicate with humans in some manner. Though there have been instances where Gods are said to have walked among us, dreams seem to be their preferred way to chat. So, I do believe that some dreams are communications from Gods and Goddesses.
Messages from Ancestors or Spirits
What happens when we die? Do we go to Heaven (or Hell), Summerland or Hades? Do we just kind of drift about as a disembodied spirits (ghosts, if you will)? Are we reincarnated? Do we move on to some higher plane of existence? Or do we simply just disappear?
I believe that there is a part of us that lives on after physical death and I believe that part retains the ability to communicate with those still living. Since we no longer have a physical body, we need to find another method of communication. More often than not, that comes in the form of dreams.
Many people throughout the world report seeing and speaking to departed loved ones in their dreams. These dreams are reportedly more vivid than normal dreams and have a different feel to them and result in the dreamer waking with a sense of urgency if the dream was a warning or profound peace if the dream was meant to comfort. These claims span all cultures, age groups and socio-economic backgrounds.
Many cultures, such as the Native American tribes, place great importance on the role of our Ancestors in our lives. These peoples tend to speak to their ancestors through dreams more often. This is not because their ancestors are more communicative, however. It is merely that they are less likely to dismiss such communications as ‘just a dream’.
Dreams and Time
Time is relative. How often do we hear, read, or even speak that term? And how often do we stop and think
about what that really means? Human beings tend to measure time in relation to ourselves. Clocks measure seconds, minutes, hours. Calendars measure days, months, years. History measures decades, centuries, millennia. But what if we weren’t here? What if all the people, the clocks, the calendars were to suddenly disappear? What would happen to time then? Would the sun and tides no longer rise and fall? Would summer no longer become spring? Would the universe no longer expand and contract? In short, would time stand still?
Of course, these things would not happen. Because, what we are measuring is not time itself but our perceptions of it. Time, however, is not one long stream with a beginning and an end. Rather, I view it as a tree. It begins with a trunk but slowly, gradually, it branches out into myriads limbs, sticks and twigs. And, just as it is possible for a beetle on one tree branch to look over and observe a beetle on another tree branch, so it is with time.
Most of the time when we sleep, we go about our normal business but, sometimes we catch a glimpse of life on another branch. That branch may be further behind in it’s journey than our own, and this results in glimpses of the past. However, the branch we observe may be further ahead in it’s journey resulting in a glimpse of one possible future, or precognition and the phenomenon of dejavu.
Sometimes, when we are awake, we remember things that happened to us in the past. These may be happy times, sad times or even terrifying times. Like waking memories, dream memories can be triggered by sights, sounds, smells or current events in our lives.
Another type of memory dream is the instant daily replay. As we go about our daily lives our five senses are hard at work gathering data. Sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feelings, senses. Most of the time we are too busy or distracted to pay much attention to what they have to tell us, but our subconscious mind is busy collecting, collating and analysing all this data, waiting for a time when we aren’t so distracted to present us with its conclusions. That time tends to be when we are sleeping peacefully in our bed.
Have you ever heard the term “I’ll sleep on it”? Have you ever wondered what it means? This phrase refers to the common phenomenon of falling asleep pondering a problem and waking with a solution. How does this happen? When you are sleeping, your subconscious mind finally has the opportunity to shine. It takes the conclusions formed from all those reams of data and presents it to your conscious mind in the form of a dream.
Scientists tell us that we all dream every night. We just don’t always remember. I say we have all experienced every one of the above dream phenomena and, if we train ourselves to remember our dreams, we will find that they mean more than we thought possible.
- “Dreams and our Subconscious Mind” (oursubconsciousmind.wordpress.com)
- Dream a little dream… (seedlingsofhope.wordpress.com)
- Scientists develop imaging tools for dreams (time4sleep.com)
- Dreams: interesting facts… (mariebliss.wordpress.com)
- Observe your dreams to understand your subconscious mind (superinspire.me)