Human fascination with dreams and the process of dreaming is as old as human dreams themselves. Explanations for this mysterious phenomenon range from the spiritual to the mundane, from messages of prophetic import to the random firing of neurons while we sleep. Although our knowledge of dreams and dreaming is growing, there is still much yet to be uncovered.
The attempt to understand dreams has led to many wonderful and fascinating lines of inquiry and lenses of interpretation, all of which can influence the way that dreams are experienced, understood, and related to.
In the midst of these attempts to make sense of dreams, a number of myths have arisen. These myths often dominate the public conversation about dreaming. Before one can begin to cultivate a garden of dream experiences, it may be necessary to dissolve some of these myths. This article will be the first in a series of articles exploring myths about dreaming.
Myth #1: Dreams are merely a distraction – “day residue.” Many people say that dreams are merely a distraction. They see them as unimportant, a sort of “day residue” that consists of nothing more than a jumble of the memories and experiences from their waking lives. From this perspective, dreams don’t have any special meaning at all. And because they have no meaning, people who believe this myth treat their dreams like a distraction or a kind of random assemblage of thoughts and memories. They don’t matter, so there’s no need to pay attention to them.
Truth: When people’s dreams are merely a distraction, it is often because they do not pay attention to them.
The world of dreaming has an integrity of its own. It’s like a forest. A forest has an intact nature that makes it a forest – an integrity. The dream world has depth and wholeness, like the waking world. It is natural, and there is a connectedness and relevance to everything that occurs in the dream world, if we take the time to perceive it in that way. Experiencing this wholeness and connectedness can be incredibly beneficial, with the potential to reveal insights into personal needs and challenges, to experience ourselves with greater freedom, and to reduce stress.
However, few of the benefits of dreaming will be realized if dreams are simply written off as ‘day residue.’ If you treat dreams like a distraction and disregard them, or just push them aside in the morning, pushed aside is pretty much where they’ll stay.
Try This: The next time that you remember a dream, don’t just dismiss it. Instead, take a moment to think about the integrity and wholeness of the world that you experienced in your dream. What feelings, sights, and sounds made up the dream world as you experienced it? How did different aspects of the dream world relate to each other, or were they disconnected and unrelated?
One of the things that Dreamosophy offers is an opportunity to have your dreams be more than just a distraction. The book Wisdom of Dreaming: A Guide to an Effective Dream Life guides you through 5 distinct avenues of inquiry about dreaming – portals through which to begin discovering and experience your dream opportunities.