Monday, November 24, 2008

Dreams

I always feel a little uncomfortable talking about this subject because it can get kinda "hocus pocus" and people think I've got tarot cards in my back pocket when I do. But, what the heck.

Since I was a kid... for as long as I can remember, I've been able to do a pretty good job interpreting dreams. Dreams can yield some pretty amazing stuff. Your subconscious is an awesomely powerful thing and your dreams can really do a number on you if you are prone to worry or anxiety. When I was a kid and up into the teenager years, I was plagued with horrible dreams. I know now (from a recent and thorough psych evaluation,) that I have general anxiety disorder, among other things. In a nutshell, I am prone to catastrophic thoughts.

And since I was a lad, I have always had horrible fears and phobias. Most of the fears were about people that I love dying or that I was going to die - suffering the most recent disease that I learned about. I still have a problem watching shows like House or Grey's Anatomy because of all the emotional catastrophic things that happen to people. (Not to mention wiping the Velveeta off the screen after Grey's.) My hands start to sweat somewhere in the first five minutes of the episode and it usually takes a couple of hours to get over the show. Weird, huh?

Anyways, when people tell me their dreams or post their dreams, I usually know immediately or close to immediately what the dream means. I'm not sure if it is a gift or whatever, I'm not sure I even like it. But the fact remains, I'm usually pretty accurate. The thing is, most people know what their dreams mean anyways, but they have built a subconscious or conscious wall so as not to see what the dreams are trying to say. That's why the dream expresses your fear or whatever in such a weird way. They usually use symbols or some other random thing you saw or heard during the day to express the emotions. Essentially, the mind is using code to express what you won't say. Pretty natural as most times people do not really want to whine about their feelings.

The whole subject of dreams is pretty interesting to me as many disturbing dreams have common motifs. Running around in the buck and trying to find clothes is the most common. What surprises me is how much bunk their is posted on the subject. It is as if these "experts" have never read a sentence of Jung or Freud, though to Freud everything is always about momma and sex. Jungian psychology is the most prevalent school of thought in most psychology circles these days. The oddest thing about the whole thing to me is that when I have strange dreams, I really have a hard time interpreting them.

I had a composition professor once who was subbing adjunct for a professor who was on sabbatical. This subbing professor was also a very successful and licensed psychologist. Our professor/grad-assistant sessions usually turned into some kind of therapy session and in that particular semester, (the semester I was studying for my comps, teaching a huge load of private students, teaching two ear training classes at Rice, making a record and working 30 hours a week at the church) some things were made known to me about myself that I hadn't been able to see. Fear, mostly. Stuff I was afraid of and what I was doing to cover the fear. The COOLEST thing was that he showed me most of this stuff through interpreting a whole series of odd dreams.

Dreams are strange and powerful things because you really aren't in control of them. However, I believe that you can even pray about your dreams and ask the Good Lord to reveal stuff to you or even to help you make decisions for the future. You can also pray, and should pray, for protection in your dreams as they can bring things to the forefront that should not be, or that aren't really there, but take the form of "the real" because of some fear you have.

That's all I'll say about the subject at this point. What do you guys think? Any strange dreams lately? Think there is anything to the whole dream-subconscious thing?

8 comments:

Popcorn said...

I enjoyed reading this post Seth. Yes, I think much of unlived life and unspoken words are played out in dreams. E is a big dreamer and in high school she would always recount her dream to me as I drove her to school. So many times her dreams were weird and disturbing to me because I could "see" clearly where the dream was coming from and it would give me insight into her teenage thoughts and fears. Dreams do seem to be all about raw emotion that we supress during our waking hours. I have the recurring freeway dream where I'm driving in a car on an extremely busy (610ish) freeway with ramps and curves and speeding cars. All of a sudden the road is a straight up climb and all I can do is keep driving because if I stop accelerating then the car falls back off the the road. I'm driving skyward, I am scared, but I can't stop or I die... oh my, my palms are sliding around on these keys as I try to type the words here. What do you think this means??? Is this a common dream?

Becky said...

I VERY rarely remember my dreams. I can remember maybe five dreams from my entire life.

Does that mean anything?

Tully said...

I absolutely think that dreams are our way of working things out, subconsciously. We are conditioned in society to not want to show fear or insecurities, but just because we don’t show them, does not mean we don’t have them. Your mind still has to process all that information somehow and because we can’t just be turned off like a light switch…that which we don’t deal with consciously, will rear its ugly head subconsciously.

But do you ever notice that we only fear things that are really important to us? Fear of losing a loved one, a tragic disease, death…it’s just a fear because you value life and the people in it (and that’s a wonderful thing). I think those fears are like litmus tests to remind us what is most important to us and to help us stay focused on what we can do stay safe and fulfilled.

That’s my toilet bowl psychology for the day! ;)

Anonymous said...

I've had a whole bunch of strange dreams in a row, recently. Or, rather, I've just remembered them. And since all dreams are pretty much strange, I guess they were just dreams. But anyways...

A few nights ago I dreamt that this yellow/goldish tornado was headed towards our house. We tried to evacuate but had to turn around for some reason and when we got home, the tornado was just across the street, so naturally (in that weird dreamish way) I got on the internet and searched "tornado." A whole bunch of how-to's came up, but they were all for this one videogame, so I kept doing more specific searches, but nothing was coming up except stuff about the videogame. So I flew outside and tried to get up on the roof for some reason, but I couldn't fly when I was outside and had to break the windows to get back in, by which time the tornado was in the middle of the street. I went outside to look and suddenly the tornado turned and went towards our neighbor's house, and transformed into a woman who jumped into this clump of bushes in their yard.

I have a sort of hypothesis on this one... I think it means I'm worrying too much about something that isn't really a big problem, or maybe I'm missing the obvious and not getting out of the way of something, or maybe I just trust the internet too much and expect it to answer all my problems.

...when I woke up, I went on WikiHow and looked up "tornado", just in case. ;)

Seth Ward said...

(I emailed popcorn, in case anyone was wondering!)

Becky, consider yourself lucky then! However, sometimes when we wake up, that's the best time to jot down the dream. However, you may be going through a very peaceful time in your life so none of your dreams really "stick out" or effect your day since you aren't struggling with suppressed emotions or fears...

Anon, (btw, you can leave a name... Do I know you btw? Even a fake name is better than anon!)

Anyways, yeah, sounds like you are on the money. Speaking of money... the color of the tornado is interesting... Are you into the stock market by chance or financial struggles? Sounds like you are... the video game, the color of the twister.

Also could mean the you may be afraid that you are doing things that are a waist of time or someone is making you feel that way, or you are feeling indecisive... whether justified or not. I would imagine that the person doing the guilting is a woman.

Here's my best guess without talking to you... (underly motifs or cause and effect.)

There is some danger or fear on the horizon that you feel you can’t escape. (Gold color signifies money or could) No one you can trust or systems you have been trusting are faulting or aren’t so trustworthy. You want to face the fear yourself but feel a little helpless. (Failed internet searches. Wikipedia, a trusted source only turns up video games - all feels like a game) You know the problem shouldn’t be worried out or you aren’t supposed to be worried about because you know that in the end you’ll be okay, even though it seems very scary, however, since it is reoccurring you are probably unwilling to let go of the worry. I imagine you like to be in control of things and don't like the feeling of being helpless (as does anyone.)

I have twister dreams myself, but they usually come when a big change is about to occur and I'm afraid that I'll eff it up or won't know how to cope.

Best guess there...


BIGGEST tornado symbolism is the obvious: worry.

Seth Ward said...

Tully, I totally agree. It can also shed light on what you are afraid to lose when you shouldn't be afraid to lose those things. For instance, some men have dreams that their wives are cheating on them, or the dreams signify that in the symbolism, when their wives haven't done anything to merit the suspicion. It could very well be indicative of the husbands own insecurities and wandering eye. He doesn't trust himself, in other words.

Tully said...

Hmmm…interesting – and you are probably right! I’ve never had that dream, but I do remember dating a guy (years ago) who was incredibly jealous and possessive, with no cause for either emotions, and come to find out HE was cheating on ME! Yeah, he got dumped! :)

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