Each night, as we shut our eyes and slowly drift away from the waking world, we may find ourselves in a more vibrant one–the abstract world of dreams. Strange images and scenarios flow through the visual stream of our mind’s eye while seemingly offering a window into the mystery of our unconsciousness. They are bizarre, weird, impossible, and fantastic. Dreams are the most mysterious and intriguing functions of our brain; we are absolutely fascinated by them. Lately, I’ve been recalling many of my nightly dreams and have made some half-hearted attempts to interpret them. I’ve found that it is extremely difficult to explicate the various symbols and meanings associated with dreaming. There are universal concepts and experiences in dreams such as animals, death, falling and food that permeate the minds of dreamers across the planet, and are associated with explicit meanings. For example, food generally represents knowledge while animals commonly symbolize change. However, I wasn’t necessarily interested in the prevailing symbols or the conventional forms of interpretation, but in my ability to influence my dreams and the possibility of their aid in my creativity.
When discussing dreams and their meanings, most people immediately think of Sigmund Freud. Freud revolutionized the dream world and his writings and thoughts still remain as an authoritative voice on the subject. He believed that most dream symbols were sexual in meaning and many dreams have an erotic correlation. Freud recognized various objects such as rocket ships, sticks and weapons as representation of the male sexual organ while hollow objects such as boxes, ovens or cases were attributed to females. Although I respect Freud and his work, I tend to gravitate more towards the wisdom passed down from ancient and indigenous cultures and away from Western philosophy. There have been numerous advancements in scientific study associated with dream interpretation, but most credible scientists consider the study of dreams insignificant. In spite of mainstream scientists’ aversion to dream study, there are many of us who have an unyielding ambition to understand our dreams and how they can help us in our daily lives.
Various ancient cultures believed that dreams were substantially important; they may allow us to face difficult challenges, test limitless possibilities, and allow us to think outside the box. Ancient civilizations understood that dreams should not be ignored. Some ancient African cultures concluded that the dream world was just as essential as the waking world. African tribes such as the Zulu and Dogon accepted dreams as messages from their ancestors. Native Americans have always held dreams in high regard and considered them as roadmaps for the spirit.
The people closest to me know that I consider ancient wisdom to be critical to my evolution as an individual and I also find dreams to be important. Some nights I visualize my aspirations before I fall asleep. I’ll imprint thoughts of my creative writing and goals on my mind before I drift off into unconscious space. The idea is to embrace my power and control over my imagination, to become a lucid dreamer and transport tools conjured in the abstract world into reality. We all have visions of what we want to be, manifestations of ourselves built from the images and conceptions that we conceive when we close our eyes and imagine the future. Tonight, introduce your intentions into the living and breathing universe before floating off to the dream world. Express your goals aloud before dozing off so the words reverberate throughout your mind. Make an effort to remember your dreams tonight. Listen to the faint whispers echoing from the embodiment of your unconscious self; learn from it, embrace it, then apply it.