What Influences Your Dreams?
There are two things about the subject of dreaming I don’t find much value in: trying to control dreams and dream dictionaries.
In some circles this is controversial. Small industries are built upon both of those topics.
The process of controlling your dreams is known as lucid dreaming. There’s a lot written on this online.
Why dream lucidly even if you can? Every night you do this you’re missing the opportunity to consult with an internal coach: your subconscious. That part of your mind is with you all of the time. Your subconscious is you. By listening to it, you’re able to gain perspective and insight that’s not available from any other source. If you’re interested in success in the real world, you’re not going to be interested in riding the back of a butterfly in your dream one.
Granted, lucid dreaming can be fun. By hitting the sweet spot between wakefulness and dreaming you can have, at minimum, an interesting time. The problem is every time you do that you’re missing an opportunity to confer with your internal coach. You’re missing an opportunity to tap into the perspective it can provide.
As for dream dictionaries, dream interpretation experts, and their websites, all are minimally useful. If you give the process of interpretation some time and you’re patient, those dogs standing on their hind legs boxing (or whatever the puzzling symbol you don’t understand right away is) will start to make sense. It can happen every time.
If you get hung up on the meaning of a particular dream, you can always ask for a clarifying dream.
Underrated Aspects of Dreaming
There are other things about dreaming that are often underrated. There’s the idea that if you’re dreaming and remembering your dreams, you’re probably getting sufficient sleep. That’s a huge health benefit.
You can be too tired to dream or remember your dreams.
Another thing is the tendency or ability of the subconscious to make puns.
But, to me, the most underrated aspect of dreaming is the idea God sometimes talks to us in our dreams. Our ancestors were right. God — or his assistants — sometimes do reach out to us. The proof (based on inductive reasoning) is overwhelming.
It’s important to realize this, and, at the same time, realize whether you think He’s talking to you isn’t the main point of it. While inductive reasons can make you reasonably sure, it can’t take you all of the way to certitude. That’s where faith comes in.
You can have a dream where something says, “Listen to me. I am God.” The thing that’s telling you that may or may not be God. It could be a figment of your subconscious. It could be a dream symbol. It could be an evil entity. Anybody can say anything and you can be hearing voices. Anybody can get duped by a lie. The only alternative is to never believe anybody about anything. That’s not practical.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say.
Or, in this case, the message.
Mixing up messages from God happens over and over in the world, like when somebody puts on a vest laden with explosives and walks into a crowd of people and detonates the vest. The crowd is seemingly consisting of a semi-random assortment of people, male and female, young and old.
Can this ever be right? The Geneva Convention and the doctrine of Just War say it can’t. Yet the associates of the suicide bomber tell the world that it’s God who’s telling them to do that, that the war is somehow ‘holy.’
Is it? What if there was a way to convince the group you were targeting of the truth of your position? That would be infinitely more powerful. You also wouldn’t lose an ally, like you do when someone associated with your cause kills him or herself, like you do when you have a suicide bomber. Suicide bombing, kamikaze bombing, and any similar attacks, put your cause on the losing side of the conflict equation.
Indeed, suicide bombing diminishes both the “cause” and the opposition. If there ever was a tactic that was pure evil, that’s the one. Any voice that’s recommending that tactic isn’t from God, the source of eternal positivity or whatever you want to call it.
It’s best to focus on the expected results of the action. That’s where you can start to be confident about whether something is of divine origin or not.
That’s not to say there never will be a lack of clarity or competing goods. Philosophy is the study of resolving these questions.
God, is impressive, awesome, all good, and omnipotent. When you see the results of His or His minions’ counsel, you can come to appreciate this.
Divine Counsel Tends To Stand Out From The Usual Type Of Dream
A good symbolic analogy for discussing dreams is the moon. The moon is visible at night and dreams, too, are visible at night. Most people sleep at night.
What causes moonlight?
What causes dreams?
The “light” from your day-to-day life shining upon your subconscious.
What does the “light” shining upon your subconscious consist of? Your hopes, goals, aspirations, activities and so forth.
Sometimes, though, there are inputs that don’t seem to come from your own mind, your personality or day-to-day experiences. There are insights and emotions that are beyond you and your capacities.
These are the kinds of visions and dream input that people talk about when they talk about God talking to them in dreams.
Per inductive reasoning, there is a good chance this is from some point beyond your mind.
Why? You, after all, know yourself. You know your personality, your preferences, your proclivities, your thoughts and the rest.
In many cases, you can figure out this not of you.
Your subconscious can sum up information. It can put pieces of something that’s been puzzling you. Tapping into it can give you laser-piercing insight. Usually there’s nothing particularly miraculous about that.
But the feeling from one of these experiences is akin to reading a summary of something versus having your mind and emotions blown. A person knows when they’ve reached a conclusion step-by-step and when they’ve just had their paradigm altered.
Then, when the advice is in line with goodness and justice, there’s a good chance that it’s coming from God or one of His assistants.
You’re responsible for determining that.
God doesn’t make you do anything. You’re the one He’s gifted with free will.
When you’re gifted with as occasion of supernatural insight, you’ll often be 99.9% confident in retrospect, thinking, there’s no way that was me, there’s no way that was my subconscious. That had to be a power beyond me.
It’s only right, then, to give credit where credit is due.
Deductive reasoning proceeds orderly, using equivalency. Inductive reasoning is about probability. When you can feel 95 percent confident about something, you can afford to be pretty damn confident.
If you know you’re prone to hallucinations, misconceptions, or have frequent problems along that line, then you simply can’t be as confident that what you’re perceiving is actually true.
You’re not a reliable witness.
After you’ve kept a dream journal for a while, you might notice certain patterns or a streak of a certain type of dreams.
Sometimes you might have a streak of mundane dreams. They’ll be dreams where you’re doing a day-to-day activity. You might be in a meeting. Maybe you’re cleaning a shed, a dog, or your kitchen. Maybe you’ll be cooking dinner.
These are common. Dreams are usually preoccupied with what’s going on in your life now, Ann Faraday writes in The Dream Game. If mundane dreams were the only kind of dream people had, it would be hard to say dream journaling was very worthwhile.
So after a certain cycle of these dreams, you might see a cycle of heavy symbol-laden dreams. In these dreams, it can seem your subconscious is trying to communicate some important truths about your life to you.
Putting It All Together
You — and everyone else — is influenced by a lot of different sources. Journalists influence you to care about societal issues often beyond your personal experience. Your boss and co-workers influence you to care about various matters at work. Your spouse, parents, and children influence you to care about matters affecting your home life. Your body’s feedback systems influence you to care about matters affecting your physical well-being.
We could go on and on listing the influences upon you. There’s no shortage.
You bring these influences with you into a personal environment or sphere of control: your world. Other factors influence this world and you, in turn, influence these other factors.
The power of dreams comes down to you being able to affect this circle of influence. If you find a crystal clear voice of goodness and reason among all of those influences and voices, you should follow it. It’s meant to help you. If you do so with your eyes wide open and focusing on the long-term good and benefit to the people and things you most care for, that’s for the best. Wisdom is a good thing.
It’s easy to give up our freedom of choice and abdicate responsibility. It’s also foolish and shortsighted. By running these ideas through your decision-making process you can help advance the wellbeing of humanity in the ways you most care about, meeting your mission.
It’s simply wise to use good counsel and positive influences to help you meet challenges along the way.