Do Dreams Mean Anything?

David Reinstein,LCSW By David Reinstein,LCSW, 9th Sep 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/2vhetjb_/
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Sleep

Whether or not dreams have meaning depends on who you ask and what theories you believe in.

We ALL dream, whether we recall them on waking or not. What do they mean?

Dreams are a part of the human life experience. My understanding (actually, more accurately, my belief) is that everyone dreams - but that some people do not recall them so feel pretty sure that they do not have any. They might even be right, because the phenomenon of dreams, though consistently documented though all of recorded human history, remain one of the most comprehensively subjective experiences known to humankind. Likewise, their meaning (or lack thereof) and /or value.

There are as many theories about dreams as there are cultures, thinkers and dreamers - prophets, oracles and psychics - children and adults - the very smart and the not-so-smart. From the Psychoanalytic idea that they offer a window into repressed feelings and experience, to the Shamanistic idea that they have a prophetic quality, to the notion that they are our own uninhibited creativity at work, to the idea that they are 'simply' our minds enjoying some well earned recreational relaxation from the conscious work of waking life - no one is in a position to say for sure.

What IS for sure is that each dreamer assigns some meaning to their own dreams. That would include believing that they have no particular meaning at all. I am not deliberately word twisting here. The dream is the ultimate subjective experience, not likely to have identical meaning or significance to any two people. The meaning and value of our dreams is specifically and exclusively that which we ourselves, the dreamer, assign to them.

So, when a person tells you about a dream they have had and asks, as many are prone to do, some variety of "What do you think this means?", a psychologically best-practices answer might well be something like, "It's what it means to you that matters - after all, it was your dream." The process of one person associating to the dreams of another can be kind of entertaining - maybe even fun, but is not to be confused with what really matters. The meaning of the dream to the dreamer him/herself.

A dream can be soothing or frightening, calming or agitating. We can awaken from one feeling good or in a panicky sweat. You may awaken glad to be free of the dream or find yourself trying to fall right back to sleep in a (usually unsuccessful) attempt to continue wherever you had left off! The most usually reported experience is that they are best recalled on first waking but quickly undergo the censoring of our waking, conscious mind within the first moments of wakefulness. Therefore, those who try to keep track of their dreams - for any purpose whatsoever - customarily keep a journal right next to their bed and jot down whatever they can recall as soon as they awake. The material is usually lost to conscious recall soon thereafter.

There is no right and there is no wrong about this. Anyone who tries to persuade you otherwise is simply a believer in one thing or another promoting your conversion to their own beliefs. Only you can know and what you know is always right.

Tags

Dream Interpretation, Dreaming, The Meaning Of Dreams, Theories About Dreams

Meet the author

author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
Clinical Social Worker (Psychotherapist), humorist, poet and musician, Born in Boston and a relatively unscathed survivor of the 60's.
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David Reinstein, LCSW

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Comments

author avatar Steve Kinsman
9th Sep 2011 (#)

You were in my dream last night. I wonder what that means?

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
9th Sep 2011 (#)

It probably means you need to be a tad more careful about what you eat, Steve, before you go to sleep :-}

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author avatar Retired
9th Sep 2011 (#)

Dreams are reveries that open up the thoughts to the corridors of the future with thoughts based on actions of yesterday conditioned by today self actualisation and combined with what you want to achieve for the future.

Every dream that you have is stored in the deep recesses of the mind and when it happens in reality you feel them as Deja Vu. Many are not remembered but every object in it is significant and mean something. Those which are remembered leave a mark on you if they are pleasant and beautiful or otherwise.
Read Dream Interpretation by Sigmund Freud, you will love it in this context.
Dreams are nothing but conditioning of your thoughts and actions and they depend on the type of life you learn and lead. Take care... Nice one...

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author avatar Val Mills
10th Sep 2011 (#)

Enjoyed your straight forward approach to this. My dreams are always so confusing the only person I dare confess them to is my husband!

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author avatar juny
10th Sep 2011 (#)

Some dreams I believed has meaning and wants to convey us something, only that we never knew what it really meant.

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author avatar rama devi nina
10th Sep 2011 (#)

Interesting subject and viewpoint :)

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author avatar Buzz
10th Sep 2011 (#)

Dreams are merely symbolic, I think. As to what they mean I'm clueless. :)

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author avatar Shreeja
10th Sep 2011 (#)

My dreams are always opposite to the actual situation.

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author avatar Madan G Singh
10th Sep 2011 (#)

Pretty interesting. I wonder what you have to say about the interpretation of dreams by Freud.

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author avatar David Reinstein,LCSW
10th Sep 2011 (#)

I think that Freud's view about dreams, like everything else he thought and wrote, was deeply influenced by the time and culture in which he lived. Symbolic expressions of repressed sexual urges... perhaps.... sometimes. As I said, one size (interpretation) does not fit all, even the good Doctor Freud's seminal work.

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author avatar Delicia Powers
11th Sep 2011 (#)

I do not often remember my dreams and when I do it is because I have awaken in the middle of it...

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author avatar Sheila Newton
11th Sep 2011 (#)

Mm - ethereal stuff. Food for thought. To be honest, dreams scare the pants off me - even the pleasant ones. What DO they mean indeed?

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author avatar Vernazoa
12th Sep 2011 (#)

Outstanding! David you did it again! You made me think!

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author avatar 2bpositive
12th Sep 2011 (#)

David, an excellent article you present here.

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author avatar Maria Malone
14th Sep 2011 (#)

Interesting read and point of view, thanks David!

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author avatar Tranquilpen
16th Sep 2011 (#)

With 35 years of intense dealings with 1000's of dreams and visions under my belt, I have not yet found a single dream which was confusing to me. Many people are walking around that can testify of this. Your approach to the subject was amicably dealt with my friend.All of us are experts at some thing or other but none of us know everything about everything. Jesus came with a new concept, see where that got him, likewise the witches of Salem and so many others through time. If it rocks the proverbial boat, it must be banished. Thank you David.

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author avatar Twomoon
10th Oct 2011 (#)

I love anything to do with dreams, as I am a vivid dreamer. Maybe you should not have this info! lol
Interesting article.

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author avatar Songbird B
14th Oct 2011 (#)

What a great page, open to interpretations by so many.. Great article!

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author avatar Bets
20th Oct 2011 (#)

Yes! Dreams do mean something. Sometimes it may be God's way of getting something across to us. Sometimes it occurs, I believe, to comfort us as an angel would. This is a great topic. Interesting reading here.

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author avatar Bets
20th Oct 2011 (#)

Hello tranquilpen, Just to note here about a statement in your line of comments about Jesus. He came here by His Father's appointment and time. He definately had a destiny and He knew what His mission was to be. That was not by a dream persay but by divine intervention.

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