Why Do We Dream? The Secrets Behind Images

Dreams have always been a great mystery. So why do we dream and who creates dreams?

Many people feel that dreams express their own desires, projects or plans. But the more you look at them, the more you can see that this is not always true. Many of our dreams say things we do not want to hear. Ironically, many people today reject dreams as something foolish. On the other hand, without being aware of their value, they accept and follow spiritual beliefs and traditions that are born directly from the dreams of individuals who lived thousands of years ago.

 

Back to the roots

Indigenous people, who live in a natural environment and keep their culture intact, relate on their dreams and trust them to a big extent. They are generally less oriented in the technological and rational sense, having a more natural vision of life, death and inner life. They are strongly attached to their instinctive life.

Native Americans, Aboriginal Australians, Taoists, Zen Buddhists, Tantric meditators and mystics everywhere, consider the world of dreams as the basic, essential reality. They believe that there is a superior intelligence that we could call interior guide or divine center that produces dreams, whose objective seems to be to achieve an optimal life for the individual. These energetic forces have gone by many names. Taoists call it “Tao”, Chuang Tsu, the ancient Chinese sage, called it “Primal force”, Native Americans speak if dreaming in terms of “Great Spirit”, tantric meditators speak of the mysterious “Void”. So many spiritual traditions and beliefs support the concept of the world of dreams that we might ask why most of us forget the Dreaming and hang on to everyday reality, as if that one was the most important? What hinders us from exploring the world of dreams, our natural inheritance?

 

The great discoveries of psychology

About hundred years ago, with the development of the psychology of depth, people started analyzing dreams from a different perspective. They realized that about five or six times at night, the unconscious part of the psyche is portrayed in dreams. By remembering them, our conscious mind has the opportunity to observe contents of the unconscious mind. A dream reveals the unconscious in the form of an image, metaphor and symbol, in an intimately associated language of art.

Working with dreams was the base of psychotherapy. It began with Freud, who said that dreams were the royal way to the unconscious. According to Freud, dreams are the fulfillment of our unconscious desires of a sexual nature. Dreams hide those repressed desires, which can be recalled and understood by free association.

Jung was interested not only in the cause of problems, but also in their purpose, final goal, the direction it is leading us in. He believed that dreams often compensate for one-sided conscious attitude. They touch our blind spot, show our back that we cannot see ourselves. They never tell us what we already know, but what we do not know.

 

The Dreaming

Indigenous tribes believe that there are powers on this earth that guide men, animals and everything that is living. There is a reality that is parallel to our reality, which has a big influence on us.

According to these traditions, all objects, people and events are echoes of primal creative forces. Native people everywhere have respected and adored the Earth because they sensed those mysterious forces that created it. Some shamanic tribes call these forces the Dreaming- the energies that are always present, like an aura shimmering around the objects and events you call everyday life.

Aboriginal people believe that the Dreaming is the basic substance of the material world. It gives objects the energy that attracts and repels our attention. The power of the Dreaming is behind the everyday world, as a part of every object, the part you sometimes forget to notice. This is the life force of all living beings, the power of trees and plants, but also the power of motors, business and cities.

An artist senses the Dreaming in the canvas, paper and stone and knows that everyday reality is not only concrete. Leonardo da Vinci wrote that artists should look into peeling plaster walls until they can see images emerging from the shades of the plaster. Similarly, Michelangelo called sculpting a process of bringing out the form that already exists inside the stone. Artists and shamans have developed the ability to see the Dreaming, that is, the power behind the figures you see in your nighttime dreams and everyday reality.

 

Why should we follow the dreams?

Ignoring the Dreaming means marginalizing the deepest unformulated experiences that create our actions in everyday life. Every time you ignore those messages, something inside you goes into a mild form of shock because you have overlooked the spirit of life, your greatest potential power.

Working with dreams offers us the opportunity to establish a unique relationship, which is not a therapeutic technique, but a personal encounter. That’s why Jung said that, while approaching dreams, we should forget all the psychological theories. The important thing is to find them with the heart and the mind, as a unique human being. Each encounter with that mystic world is always a very special an adventure. Every dream is always unique and always comes at the right time. It is a message of the powers of the collective unconscious, a message that arrives at a precise moment during a certain night, specifically directed at the dreamer.

The alchemists said that dreams are the message from the unique to the unique. That is, from the divine world to the unique individual. The dreaming process has something to teach us about our wholeness, bringing our attention to everything that is peripheral, excluded, denied or rejected. We can choose to become aware of this process and learn from it, or we can ignore of fight against it. By learning to sense the Dreaming in your body’s motions and in the signals you send and receive in relationship with the human and natural worlds, you can develop your potential, live your life fuller and see a bigger part of the world.

 

 

References:

 

  1. Mindell, A. (2002). Dreaming While Awake: Techniques for 24-hour Lucid Dreaming. Charlottessville: Hampton Roads.
  2. Von Franz, M.L., Boa F. (1994). El Camino de los Suenos. Santiago de Chile: Cuatro Vientos.
  3. Arye, L. (2001). Unintentional Music. Charlottessville: Hampton Roads.