Dreams are like letters from the unconscious mind. If only they were written in the same language we use in waking reality.
Fortunately, we do have the ability to study our dreams and interpret the common dream symbols they contain.
Although there aren't always hard-and-fast universal definitions, the following dream meanings offer a sound starting point to understand your own personal dream meanings.
Not every single element of your dream has an unconscious meaning. Sometimes, it's just background noise.
To identify the important symbols in your dreams, keep a dream journal. Write in the present tense as if you're re-living the dream, and underline any unusual or poignant aspects which are central to the story, or which instinctively attract your attention.
Next, refer these dream symbols to the list above. If they're not on the list, you can find more definitions in a dream dictionary such as Cloud Nine: A Dreamer's Dictionary.
Remember, even these definitions require your interpretation - within the context of your dream, your personal psychological attachments to the symbols, and your current life circumstances.
Recognizing common dream symbols is a good way to start lucid dreaming (being aware that you're dreaming, while it's all happening). This turns your dreamworld into a vivid and controllable alternate reality.
If you often dream of being chased, you can mentally attach this dream symbol to a reality check. This is a measure of self awareness which enables you to recognize when you're dreaming.
Next time you're being chased in a dream, something amazing will happen. You'll become lucid and enter a private fantasy world of your own.
Here's a good question. If a lucid dream is any dream in which you know you're dreaming, then why aren't we always lucid in dreams? Why doesn't it just become the default state of dreaming? Why do we accept our dreams of flying pigs and dinosaurs as an extension of waking life? What is the mechanism for defaulting to non-lucid dreams? Intriguingly, scientists have approached this question from three different angles./p>
What do blind people dream about? Can they "see" in their dreams? Take a look at scientific studies into the dreams of the blind, colorblind, and black-and-white dreamers. In 1999, dream researchers at the University of Hartford analyzed 372 dreams of 15 blind people. They found that both the congenitally blind and those who went blind before five years old did not have any visual dreams at all. That's because our dreams are made up of real world experiences and our innermost thoughts, anxieties and desires. So for someone who has never perceived images or light (or can't remember any) their dreams simply can't manifest visually.
Not long ago, scientists at Frankfurt University discovered how to produce lucid dreams with electronic stimulation. It was a world first. And - astonishingly - it worked in non-lucid dreamers 77% of the time. Now you can buy the same technology for yourself. The foc.us V2 - which delivers the proven optimum 40 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) - was originally developed to increase working memory in video gamers and improve sleep.
As technology continues to move us towards more immersive dreamlike experiences, one can only wonder what digital wonders lay just beyond the horizon of tomorrow. We may also question just how the future of virtual reality will impact the study and practice of lucid dreaming. Are we, perhaps, the last generation to whom lucid dreaming will maintain an appeal?
Jeremiah Morelli is a whimsical fantasy artist and visual storyteller. He places conceptual fairytale creatures in vivid dreamscapes to capture the imagination. He's also a school teacher, and amazingly finds the time and motivation to create this huge gallery of artwork. Such light and dark fairytale paintings make beautiful places to visit in your lucid dreams.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?