Is there more to dreams than entertainment?

Posted 11/18/21

Dreams are such a wonderful part of life. I'm not talking about hopes and aspirations that indeed enrich our lives, giving us goals and purpose. They could be big dreams like starting a business, learning how to play an instrument, sailing across the

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Is there more to dreams than entertainment?


Dreams are such a wonderful part of life.

I’m not talking about hopes and aspirations that indeed enrich our lives, giving us goals and purpose. They could be big dreams like starting a business, learning how to play an instrument, sailing across the Atlantic, running for public office or building a house. Then there are dreams – maybe goals is a better definition – that are more attainable, such as taking that vacation to Disney World. They are definable dreams that can be attained by taking action.

Dreams are not something we can choose to have. It’s not up to us whether we have sweet dreams or nightmares, although stressful situations and indigestion can make for some rough nights.

Nightmares can shake us out of deep sleep, at first feeling we have undergone something traumatic, maybe even life changing such as losing a friend. Then just as quickly we understand it’s just a dream, and we dismiss the horror and are left with the question: why and what was this? Is it a premonition, is my subconscious telling me something?

Dreams can also be wonderful experiences where you can fly and do things you know aren’t possible. Such dreams are made all the more poignant during those moments – who knows for how long – between sleep and being awake. It’s then that you can control the dream rather than let it carry you. It’s then that you can take flight and accomplish incredible feats at will. It can be exhilarating while it lasts, but like other dreams it fades quickly.

In dreaming how to explore dreams, I turned to the internet and learned of Kendra Cherry, an author and psychosocial rehabilitation specialist. According to her bio, she helps children suffering from emotional disturbances to overcome maladaptive behaviors and is an educational speaker and consultant.

She is the author of an article, “9 Common Dreams and Their Interpretations,” that refutes my dismissal of dreams as merely a wandering of the mind while the rest of the body gets the sleep it needs. I must say most of the “common dreams” she writes about I’ve had, including discovering I have no clothes on in a public place, which for all these years I attributed to a boyhood experience when my father brought me to a club swimming pool. I was so excited about swimming that I ran out of the locker room buck-naked. The laughs of those around the pool brought me to my senses. I jumped in the pool and my father threw me my suit.

Cherry writes, “Penny Peirce, author of the Dream Dictionary for Dummies, suggests that dreaming of public nudity might indicate that you feel like a phony or that you are afraid of revealing your imperfections and shortcomings.”

As for dreams about falling, Cherry writes that according to many popular dream interpretations and at least one study, falling dreams are a sign that something in your life isn’t going well. It might suggest that you need to rethink a choice or consider a new direction in some area of your life.

Third on Cherry’s list is the dream of being chased, which has been interpreted to mean you are trying to avoid something in your daily life and possibly escape from your fears or your desires. “Being chased by an animal might indicate that you are hiding from your own anger, passions, and other feelings. If your pursuer is a mysterious, unknown figure, it might represent a childhood experience or past trauma.”

As for dreams about losing teeth, Cherry goes back to Penny Peirce, author of Dream Dictionary for Dummies, who suggests teeth dreams can have multiple meanings, including being worried about your attractiveness or appearance, concern about your ability to communicate, or concern that you might have said something embarrassing.

Cherry writes death is another common subject of dreams and one that can be particularly disconcerting. Dreamers sometimes dream of the death of a loved one or even dream of dying themselves. Popular dream interpretations sometimes suggest that such dreams reflect anxiety about change or a fear of the unknown.

“Studies have also shown that those approaching the end of life and loved ones around them experience significant and meaningful dreams, often relating to a comforting presence, preparing to go, watching or engaging with the deceased, loved ones waiting, distressing experiences, and unfinished business.”

Cherry turns to Craig Hamilton-Parker, author of “The Hidden Meaning of Dreams,” when it comes to dreams about taking a test. Studies have also found that dreams of this nature are common. Hamilton- Parker’s conclusion is “To dream of failing an exam, being late for one, or being unprepared shows that you feel unprepared for the challenges of waking life.”

Then there is the dream of that your spouse or romantic partner is cheating on you. In some cases, Cherry writes, people even start to wonder if the dream might really be true. Does dreaming that your partner is unfaithful mean that it might happen? Or that it is already happening? Cherry’s research takes her to “The Complete Idiot’s Guide Dream Dictionary,” and he suggestion that dreams about infidelity indicate issues with trust, loyalty, and communication in a relationship.

Then there is the flying dream, which I love and Cherry concludes on one hand can represent feelings of freedom and independence and on the other a desire to flee or escape from the realities of life.

Last on Cherry’s list of common dreams is that of being pregnant. I have not had this dream yet. Cherry’s research takes her to David C. Lohff, author of “Dream Dictionary,” who believes that pregnancy dreams might sometimes represent a woman’s fears of being an inadequate mother.

I like Cherry’s summation that some may dismiss dream interpretation as entertainment. She asks that “instead, consider your dreams a reflection of your waking life, mirroring your fears, anxieties, desires, hopes, and aspirations for the future. Consider the personal meaning of your dreams. In all likelihood, the things you experience in your dreams are probably a reflection of the concerns you face in your daily existence.”

As for me, I’m ready to go to bed and let the dreams begin.

dreams, dream interpretation


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