One can classify phenomena in a variety of different ways. Dreams are no exception. They’re a communication between the subconscious and conscious mind. Communications contain information. You can, therefore, classify them based on the type of information they contain, at least for the person who develops the ability and skill of remembering and interpreting their dreams.
Every dream, no matter its classification, can be useful. The overall reason is that there’s a reason why your subconscious chose to show you what it did. Do you do anything for no reason at all?
The subconscious, however, is something of a free agent, not necessarily under the control of your conscious mind. Rather, it seems to be the half of the brain that’s in control most of the time. Unless, of course the conscious mind is reacting to an external circumstance.
Just like with science, self-discovery starts with asking yourself “Why?” Following the path to self enlightenment isn’t always easy, nor is it comfortable. As with most things worthwhile, however, neither of those experiences are uncommon.
Dream type #1: Noise
This category of dream information is seemingly random. It’s unclear and vague. You can’t make heads or tales of it. Yet, just because you’ve received it this way doesn’t mean your subconscious communicated it that way. Maybe you were awakened mid-dream. Maybe you only partially remember what was going on in the dream.
If you’ve got bad sleep habits, at least when it comes to dreaming, you’re going to get noise more often. Perhaps you looked at your phone first thing upon waking before allowing your brain the time to make connections that would help you remember and understand the dream. Whatever happened, the dream doesn’t make any sense. It’s like distortion on a screen. It doesn’t have a theme.
Sometimes you can clear the noise up if you try to have a clarifying dream.
Sometimes by writing down what you can remember of it that will trigger other images and feelings you’ve lost.
When your dreams are forgotten and unclear, try to work on your dream recovery skills.
Dream type #2: Things you know well
There’s nothing strange about this information. These are thoughts about your daily life, whatever you spend your day doing most days. If you have a job, the dream might take place at the job. If you go to school, the dream might be set in class. Maybe it will take place at home.
For many, this is the most common type of dream information. This information consists of things you know well.
Sometimes something very different from real life will happen during the dream. Your daily life provides the setting.
Years ago, when I was in high school, I had a dream where I was handing a paper in to my social studies teacher. I was standing in a line to hand in the paper without any clothes on. I realized I had forgotten to get dressed when I got in the line. How long would it be before people noticed?
While I had never forgotten to put clothes on before I went to school, everything else in the dream was from my daily life at the time. It took place in the social studies classroom. Many of the people in the dream were from my class. The information and structure in the dream came from my daily life except for the symbolism of feeling naked. At the time, I knew all of the components of the dream well.
In another dream, I had my temporary job loading planks of wood into a machine. The machine I loaded painted one side of the planks. I loaded planks in that machine all day. When I was done for the day, at night, another guy came in and loaded planks in it all night. The entrepreneur who had designed and built the machine had a very big order to fill. The construction industry was booming at the time.
It took a week to get all of the boards painted for this order. I worked all day. Then, at night, I dreamed I was doing that job. In the morning I got up to go and do it all day again.
Thankfully, dreams about loading planks into that machine stopped after the first night.
Dream researchers write about these dreams frequently. They’re socially acceptable. Nobody feels embarrassed sharing them. Some people think that the only kind of dream information they and others are capable of having are “noise,” these slices of daily life, and the next one.
When you have a dream about something you know well, understand how that aspect of your daily life highlighted in your dream is influencing your inner thoughts.
3. Surface memories
This is information you know well but may or may not have been thought about or accessed for a long time. In the dream you might find yourself back at a house you used to live in years ago talking to someone who’s been dead for a long time. You might find yourself working a job or in a class you used to go to when you were a kid. You remember all of those things very well.
The key to understanding whether a piece of dream information fits in this category is whether you think about the topic of the memory regularly. For example, just because someone has been dead for years doesn’t mean you don’t think about them almost every day. Something or someone who has faded from daily memory provides the “a-ha” moment that denotes this category.
If there’s some facet of the memory that your conscious mind has forgotten, that’s more akin to the memory aspect of this category. The dream is shedding light upon today’s day-to-day life. The dream is a way of tying the past to the present and future. It calls for reflection. Are there similarities between yesterday and today? For good or ill, is the past an influence?
Your subconscious wants to make a point.
Memories can form the building blocks of some very interesting dreams. When combined with the dream information from your life today they can shed light on the past, on what makes you the person you are today.
Enlightenment starts with asking why this dream, why right now?
4. Hidden memories
Technically, these are memories too, but, until the dream, they weren’t accessible. You were operating without them. For some reason the dream incorporated those memories. Something triggered your brain to dredge up that hidden file.
When you access these memories, it’s like turning on an old computer system that you haven’t turned on for years, looking at some file on there that you’ve forgotten all about.
Like the previous example, these can also be inspired by daily life.
An awful lot of these hidden memories have feelings that you’ve forgotten attached to them.
For a time, when my son was a toddler, he started making up and drawing monsters and making up his own heroes and supervillains. He made up a movie, “Attack of the Giant Body Parts.” In a dream, I remembered I had done the same thing in much the same way and hadn’t thought about it for years. I remembered how much fun I had using my imagination, the same way he was.
Sometimes people can be negatively triggered by repressed memories. This is the foundation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This isn’t necessarily found only in dreams, but rather, it can be a feature of dreams and nightmares.
The dream helps you make a connection. Try to figure out what this long-forgotten dream element represents to you. As with type 3, why this dream? Why right now?
5. No way you knew that.
This is the strangest of the categories. This is the one that skeptics are the most eager to explain away. Skeptics will go through all kinds of mental gymnastics to do so.
On the other hand, some people say everyone can be psychic. Unquestionably, some people are more psychic than others, if we understand self-reporting correctly.
The problem with acknowledging this category is that it hints of there being more to this life than just the material world.
Some people are so uncomfortable with putting a dream in this fifth category that they’ll say that you actually did know the information, but didn’t realize it.
Really? As we stated before, dreams are a form of communication. So are TV shows. When you watch a show on TV and it tells you something that you didn’t know, do you say that you actually did know it but didn’t realize it?
Talking and discussion are also types of communication. Does that happen when someone tells you something you didn’t know?
We all have a pretty good idea about what we know and don’t know (its epistemological classification). It’s more about comfort zones.
According to Occam’s Razor, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
For example, once I prayed about a problem I was having before bed. When I was sleeping, I received an image and a spelling of the name St. Philip Neri.
I had heard the name before. This man has several churches and schools named after him. I didn’t know anything about him, however. Further, I’ve never attended a church named after him, nor can I tell you where one is without searching online. I had absolutely no connection to Neri, nor did I learn anything about him in school. I’ve never even seen a prayer card dedicated to him.
In short, no way in Hell did I know anything about this Italian guy who lived about 600 years ago.
This is the kind of thing your spirit guide or guardian angel or whatever you’d call them would communicate in order to inspire and educate you.
For what I was praying about, the advice was perfect.
For Edgar Cayce, this kind of information from the outside was common, daily occurrence. For us non-psychics, it isn’t, though you can receive a lot of this kind of communication in a short period.
Receiving this kind of information isn’t necessarily enviable. It’s not the “best” kind. Remember, we’re simply stating that this dream information is something you didn’t know before. It doesn’t always come from a holy or even a positive source. Just as every person you meet isn’t good with your best interests at heart, neither are all the entities you might encounter. Following this realization to its logical conclusion should make you uncomfortable. This is why I’m a strong believer in the necessity of spiritual reading or listening and prayer at bedtime. It’s important to keep your inner disposition set towards God.
This kind of spiritual exercise is an awful lot like physical exercise. A weight training and cardiovascular regimen might be imposing but you’re going to gain ability and strength by following one. Fruits of spiritual exercise would be wisdom, discernment, and the firm knowledge that “this too shall pass.”
When you’re temperate, and sober, the fast-money, party-hearty crowd won’t want anything to do with you. You’ll be boring in their eyes. Remember that a false friend is no gift.
So is it with these entities. If you pray regularly and read Godly books, there are far easier people to tempt. Negative entities can accomplish their life-force sucking energy vampirism much more easily.
Do you want succor, positive encouragement, and more good information in your dreams? You’ll have it. And you’ll know peace too. There’s nothing better, nothing more valuable. You’ll be more inclined to make good use of the free will you’ve been gifted.
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