Family Works: Speaking on dreams
by By ROB COOMBS ID. Min. Ph.D.
Mar 31, 2013 | 1248 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Whenever the subject of dreams is brought up, I am always amazed by the keen interest that such a discussion provokes. Questions start flying. “Do my dreams really mean anything?” “I don’t think I dream. Does everyone dream?” “How often do we dream?” “Do dreams occur in an instant?” “If I dream about something horrible, does that mean it’s going to happen?” “I keep having the same dream over and over. Does that mean anything special?”

Dreams are fascinating to us because they often reveal our innermost struggles or convey our uppermost hopes. Dreams reveal so much about our personal life because they come to us untainted. What I mean by “untainted” is that all of our waking thoughts are processed through our ego defense mechanisms. Ego defense mechanisms are nothing more than filters that screen unacceptable thoughts that may be so bothersome to you that you can’t tolerate the thought. So your ego defense mechanisms color your thoughts in such a way that makes your thoughts more acceptable to you.

Since your dreams do not process through the ego defense mechanisms, they reveal the untainted truth of our innermost struggles or hopes. This truth comes to us in story form. The story dreamed is important in that the meaning behind the story reveals a particular struggle or hope.

Paying close attention to our dreams means we can learn from the messages the dream is sending. Learning the language of our dreams can be challenging. In reality, our dreams are really not that obscure; it’s just that we don’t understand the language of the dream. Like not being able to understand a foreign language, it’s not the language, but our lack of understanding that makes the language unintelligible.

The same is true for dreams. Once the language of the dream is understood, it is often a marvel of clarity. Once we have learned the language of our dreams, understanding our dreams can reveal significant insight into our lives and even act as a guide for planning the direction of our lives as our dreams often reveal a greater purpose for our lives that we may not yet consciously perceive.

On the average, we dream four or five times each night. Although it was believed for centuries that we dream in flash time, with the aid of electroencephalographs we now know that we dream in real time. The first dream lasts about 10 minutes and the last dream usually about 30 to 50 minutes. Dreams are usually spaced about 90 minutes apart.

Introverted, intuitive people are usually more likely to remember dreams than extroverted people who are more oriented to the realities of the outer world than the images of the inner world. If your life is constantly bombarded with the outside world of television or talkative, needy people or constant external demands upon us, then your dream recall will suffer.

A time of quiet reflection before going to sleep at night will significantly help you to remember your dreams. During this reflection, you can mentally rehearse the dream you wish to have and often later that night while asleep you will have that dream. This is particularly helpful to individuals who suffer from frequent nightmares.

Nightmares occur about twice each month for most adults and are nothing more than merely bad dreams. During night terrors, more common for children, the individual suffers total panic and may hallucinate frightening dream images into the room. In response to a night terror, a child may sit up, scream, get out of bed, or run around. Usually the child remembers little when awakened. Occasionally, night terrors persist into adulthood and become increasingly problematic.

Until next week ... sweet dreams.