Imagine your house has suddenly turned into a medieval castle and you are forced to beg from your sibling king.
Or that you’ve suddenly transformed into someone else and have just committed murder.
Or that you are being chased by someone — or something — and can only save yourself by jumping off a building and flying.
Do any of these situations ring a bell? Maybe they popped up in one of your dreams.
“Dreams are an aspect of our biological and psychological makeup, part of a river of unconscious imagery that flows beneath our floorboards all the time,” said Jungian analyst Robin van Löben Sels.
Freya Diamond, a teaching assistant at Dreaming Arts Studio, views dreams as a succession of images that are metaphors for our waking life.
“Our psyche acts as the writer, producer, director, set designer and everything else when it comes to dreaming,” said Diamond.
Dreams are mysterious things that can help us to heal, to prepare for the future and to process difficult information — though none of this may be readily apparent when we wake from a dream at 4 in the morning. There are visitation dreams, healing dreams, creative dreams and dreams in which those who have died visit us, among many others. You may have several dreams in one night.
And dreams can be like psychotherapy or help you learn.
“Our dreaming mind is like having our very own … built-in therapist who is also our best friend who tells us the God-honest truth — no matter how brutal,” said Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, author of Dream on It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life.
Dream expert Jacquie Lewis believes that dreams can help us rehearse our survival skills. “Dreams restore us and help our immune system,” she said. This despite the fact that many of us may feel we are experiencing “anxious” types of dreams that leave us confused or apprehensive.
Arianna Padilla, who will be a junior at Monte del Sol Charter School, is familiar with the notion of dreams that induce anxiety.
“I rarely remember my dreams, so when I do, something is up,” she said, “My dreams are trippy and inventive to say the least. My mind thinks up these deformations that I cannot even begin to fathom.”
Padilla said she will think about her dream all day trying to find connections to her waking life and explore its meaning.
In her case, accessing the increasingly popular online dream interpretation can be very helpful. “When I do look up the meanings of my dreams, the answers make almost too much sense,” she said.
By contrast, Sophia Gundrey, who will be a sophomore at Santa Fe Prep, has never looked into the meanings of her dreams even though she loves to share them with her friends and family. To her, dreams are like really fun stories. She doesn’t see any reason to find deeper meaning in her dreams, describing them as “weird, random and just all over the place.”
Rachel Zelizer, who will be a junior at Monte del Sol, doesn’t remember her dreams as often as her friends — who dream about her a lot, as it turns out. What Zelizer and Gundrey have in common is their ridiculous and strangely unrealistic dreams. They both often wake up and think, “wow, that was weird” after remembering a dream, which may include familiar places disguised by unfamiliar experiences or appearances by friends with astoundingly different personality traits than they have in real life. Zelizer often dreams of being chased and, like Gundrey, her dreams tend to include a lot of action.
Many people like to have their dreams interpreted, which, thanks to a simple Google search, is easy. Dawn Perry, counselor at Santa Fe Sage Counseling, said there is a symbolic language in dreams, and finds that interpretation should be based on what the symbols mean to the dreamer.
Van Löben Sels believes that we cannot interpret our dreams — at least not for a very long time. “About the best we can do is befriend them. [The] problem is, a mind awake tends to interpret its dream with the same old mindset that dreamed the dream.”
Loewenberg is a strong advocate of dream interpretation — her entire practice is online. “Instant dream decoding sites can be helpful and can provide you with clarity. But remember, they are an automated system pulling from a database, so it’s not quite the same as having personal interaction with a professional,” she said.
“I highly recommend [Generation Next] readers start sharing their dreams with family over the breakfast table. It’s a great way to stay connected to each other.”