Dreams are fascinating to humans. Many people place a lot of weight in their dreams and what they can potentially mean. Dreams are very powerful in the human mind. We have tried repeatedly to understand why we dream and what it means. It remains fascinating and mysterious and we still don’t know everything about dreaming. There are, however, a few things we do know. They include:
Dreams have a science dedicated to them
Oneirology is the science of studying dreams. This is not about finding the meaning of dreams like in dream interpretation. Oneiroloists are more focused on what makes us dream and where dreaming happens rather than the meaning of a specific dream.
We all dream about the same things
Studies have shown that most people dream about the same things. In a study where people were asked to identify dream themes, most of the subjects indicated dreaming about the same things at least once.
Everyone dreams about sex
Both men and women have been found to dream about sex. The content range from simple, passionate kissing to the R-rated scenes we cannot mention here.
Dreams aren’t always color
It has been established that about 1 person in 8 dreams in black and white. The color in which we dream wasn’t always the same. There is evidence that shows people dreaming in black and white before we started dreaming in color. Interestingly, evidence also shows that very far back in history, people dreamt in color even before any form of television was available.
We are almost paralyzed during dreaming
When we enter REM sleep, our body’s motor neurons stop firing to prevent us from injury while dreaming. This means that our bodies are practically paralyzed while in REM state.
Animals dream too
Studies have shown that other mammals, birds, and reptiles have brain activity that is similar to that of humans while dreaming.
There is still a lot that we don’t know about dreams. We don’t fully understand the mechanisms of sleep or what causes dreaming. Studies will continue and maybe one day we will understand this fascinating phenomenon of dreaming.
Dream interpretation refers to the idea of giving meaning to dreams. Dreams about certain things are believed to mean specific things. People have valued the interpretation of dreams for centuries. In ancient Egypt and Greece, dreams were considered to be supernatural communications and their interpretation could only be done by people with special powers.
Today, the meaning of dreams is studied in psychology and neurobiology and most theories derive from Freudian theory. People still believe that dreams have power and meaning and that they are trying to send a message.
Dream symbols and their meanings
Several dream symbols are believed to indicate specific messages. Many people put a lot of weight in their dreams and can easily cancel a trip or event because of a bad dream. Below is a short list of some symbols and meanings. Take note that this is a just a general guide. Dream interpretation is by no means an exact science.
Animals – They often represent our connection to nature and survival. Being chased by an animal could mean that you are repressing emotions or that you are out of tune with your inner nature.
Chasing – People from around the world of all cultures experience dreams where they are being chased. This can mean that you feel threatened. Look into who could be chasing you – it is often more symbolic than actual chasing.
Exams – Dreaming about exams can mean that you are evaluating yourself or need to. It could point to something in your life you need to change.
Death – Dreaming about a loved one dying is not an omen or prediction. It may simply be indicating that change is coming.
Falling – This is another very common dream. It has to do with our fear of failure and letting go.
Roads – Another common dream theme. These dreams are usually about your life path and might indicate that it is time for a change.
There are many more dream symbols that have general meanings. You can find a lot of information about dream interpretation in books and online. Remember that dream interpretation is subjective and means something specific to you.
Spirituality means something different to every individual. In general, it is considered a connection to something or someone bigger than ourselves. It gives us a sense of being alive. Spirituality is often part of the search for meaning.
Where do we find spirituality?
Spirituality can be found in different places and through different actions. Each individual determines this for themselves. Some people find it in their church, temple, or mosque. Others find it in nature and art. Others find it in a deep relationship with God. Prayer is involved in some way or another in most instances.
Why do people seek spirituality?
Most often, the journey to spirituality starts as a quest to find answers to the big questions in life. Why am I here? What is my purpose? What is the purpose of life? Do things happen for a reason? How can I be the best version of myself? The search for meaning and answers also sometimes follow the tragic loss of a loved one or going through an event that changed the person’s life.
Spirituality versus religion
Spirituality and religion are not the same thing. Spirituality is a bigger concept that encompasses much more than religion. Religion requires the belief in a specific set of things while spirituality seems to have very few rules or requirements. Religion and spirituality have five things in common: belief, comfort, reflection, ethics, and awe. The questions and experiences that contribute to or lead to these five things are different in spirituality and religion.
Is spirituality good for emotional health?
Yes, it is. The two strongly influence each other. Spirituality involves seeking connections and meaning and being at peace with oneself. This leads to positive thoughts and emotions. Emotional health is about having a positive outlook and strength which leads to spiritual growth.
Spirituality cannot be explained in a nutshell. No-one experiences it the same way and no-one takes the journey for exactly the same reason. Spirituality is a unique experience that only the individual can truly define.