What Are Dreams? Do They Have a Spiritual Meaning?

The questions in the headline aren’t easy to answer. There are a lot of different opinions and only a few points of consensus.

Here’s one definition:

Dreams are a phenomena that happens primarily when sleeping, whether remembered or not. They’re a type of brain activity that results in communication between the subconscious mind and the conscious. This communication can take the form of an image, an emotion, a story or an input from one of the five senses.

Unfortunately, dreams are often limited in usefulness for the dreamer.

Unless the dreamer makes a special effort to remember his or her dreams, these communications are often forgotten once he or she comes out of the hypnagogic state, the technical term for the boundary experienced between sleep and wakefulness.

Many people believe they never or seldom dream. They’re wrong. Studies of sleep studies show this is not the case.

Dreams can occur in any stage of sleep, either REM sleep or non-REM. The dream experience can range from bizarre to mundane, from pleasant to terrifying.

Frequent characteristics of dreams can vary from one person to another and even within the same person over a period of time. Dreams are as effervescent and changing as trends themselves. For example, one person might usually dream in black and white. Another person’s dreams might incorporate a lot of songs. Someone can have vivid dreams. Another can have recurring nightmares.

Or whatever.

Personal experiences during real-life shape the content of dreams.

As suddenly as these types of dreams started, these distinctions can stop, and the sleeper’s dreams can adopt different characteristics. An untold number of inputs influence the process. A lot of times, the influences are an emotional response, though not always. Problem-solving goes on in dreams too.

“Spiritual” refers to the human spirit. Since dreams can tackle these problems by offering insight, especially into relationships, there’s definitely a spiritual component to dreaming.

And so what? Who cares about dreams? Who should?

The word dream itself can mean different things, but not all of those meanings particularly matter when you’re talking about the dream you have when you sleep.

Often, many people are only aware of a glimpse of these communications, if that.

And often they say, “Who cares!” Some very learned people, even psychologists, and psychiatrists, believe these dreams don’t matter.

They’re inconsequential, they say.

This controversy has persisted since the beginning of psychiatry in the 19th century, from the time of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

On the surface, dreamers often seem to be mentally rehashing something that happened during the day.

Knowing that seems to be of little value. Many successful people, competent people, don’t have any clue about what they dream about at night.

Following that line of thinking, extra work is to be avoided. It’s better to do things that will give you some payback, even if it’s merely enjoyment.

That lack of curiosity is astounding.

Other times, it seems that they’re avoiding something unpleasant. Nightmares, night terrors, and other bad dreams are unpleasant. That line of thinking is more understandable.

When you have a dream about what happened to you during the day, why is it that you dream about that when you could dream about anything else?

It may be that you’re building memories by rehashing those moments, but you don’t have to dream about every moment of the day to remember it.

Why not simply project something blank, like the insides of your eyelids?

Why is it that when you have those types of dreams, the scene is changed somehow, sometimes drastically so?

There are many possible questions and that there are makes it worthy of study.

The key to understanding yourself (and understanding anything) is to start asking Why?!?.

Why this dream now?

With a bit of practice, you can see the relationship between the subject and symbols of your dream and your current life from years ago.

These are personal symbols. A psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist wouldn’t know the dreamer well enough to understand the meanings and symbols. They never could.

Dreaming and understanding dreams are some of the most personal processes there are.

If you’re going to understand yourself, your times, your world, you’ve got to ask why and you’ve got to start remembering and journaling your dreams.

Why should you care about understanding yourself?

Because you matter. You are important. Understanding yourself = self-knowledge. 

Your conscious mind is only part of your mind. There’s the subconscious, and dream analysis and interpretation offer a pathway toward doing that.

In fact, there’s no other real way to understand how life is impacting this obverse part of you.

Even more ideas about why dreams matter

The sewing machine was invented in a dream.

The storyline for the Terminator movie franchise came from a dream.

The song “Killing Moon” by Echo and the Bunnymen was heard first in a dream.

Deirdre Barrett’s book “The Committee of Sleep” details how creators from many different fields have had breakthroughs in their dreams (affiliate link).

These weren’t the only inventions, movies, and songs that sprung from dreams. Those are just a few examples. There’s been a lot more. Some of the ideas that have come from dreams have been world-changing.

If you develop the skills to remember your dreams by using the Dream Recovery System, is it likely you will write a hit movie, come up with a world-changing invention or write great music?

Not to be pessimistic, you never can tell after all, but probably not. The odds are heavily against it. Given the number of people alive in the world at any given time, not all of us can do something so utterly extraordinary.

It’s safe to say, however, that if you don’t learn to remember your dreams, you might have a great idea that could slip by.

A better, more compelling reason to learn to remember and interpret your dreams would be a more common benefit.

You’ll have dreams every day. Even people like Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, or Mary Shelley didn’t have world-changing ideas daily in their dreams.

Our theory of the big reason dreams matter

We all engage in a certain amount of self-talk.

Self-talk is your interior monologue.

It can be damaging.

I’m such an idiot!

I’ll never learn!

You don’t deserve anything good!

It can also be positive.

I can do this!

I’m happy that I took the risk.

You deserve to be here.

The things we tell ourselves have more influence on us than anything anyone else might say.

One reason is because of the sheer volume of self-talk one engages in.

Let that voice be a positive one; let it be charitable and fair to you!

There’s no better way of allowing yourself to live a new life and improve your mental health than by becoming aware of the tone and content of your self-talk than remembering, analyzing, and understanding your dreams.

Get yourself a notebook, a bracelet, a lighted pen, and check out the system today! Start interpreting your dreams tomorrow morning!

Also on the blog:

James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life. 

Some links on the Dream Recovery System are affiliate links. This means that if you click that kind of link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the sale. This doesn’t affect our opinions.

1 thought on “What Are Dreams? Do They Have a Spiritual Meaning?

Comments are closed.

There's gold (figurative) in your dreams.
Join our list today.