All You Wanted To Know About Dreams and Nightmares – Theories, Interpretations, Analysis and What You Can Do to Improve Their Quality - Part 1


It is not easy to decide where to begin, especially on this subject.  In every workshop that I have conducted, a percentage of the participants always have questions about dreams and their need to interpret them.  There are so many theories, explanations and wild guesses that I have come across over the years. 

This article is intended to tell you all that you need to know and being a fairly lengthy one is posted in three parts. 

In order to understand our dreams, we must understand the issues that plague us during the day. “We talk to ourselves all day long while awake. That doesn't change when we sleep,” says Loewenberg, a professional dream analyst and author of, “Dream On It, Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life”. She advises, “the better conversation you have with yourself while awake will ensure better dreams at night.” 

If you spend your entire day in a state of panic, anxiety, tyranny of the urgent, worry, fear, anger and aggression, it is almost equally likely that your dreams turn into nightmares.  Before we get down to how you can manage it yourself, this fairly lengthy article intends to tell you more about the subject itself. 



Before we proceed, there are five important things you ought to remember at all times –

1.    No one can interpret your dreams, only you can do for yourself.
2.    It is in your hands to sleep well and improve the quality of your dreams – no one can do it for you.
3.    The quality of your dreams is a reflection of the quality of your day.
4.    The subconscious is always awake, whereas your conscious mind is asleep during dreams.  Certain parts of the brain become dormant, whilst others become highly active during the dream state.
5.    The language of the subconscious is metaphorical – thus you are thinking in pictures, symbols and emotions and not in literal terms or with words, logic and reality as we know it may not have a place in dreams.

Let us take the classic example of a snake that appears in one’s dream.  For someone who is scared of snakes or hates them, this dream has a completely different interpretation as compared to someone who is a devotee of Lord Nagaraja who feels blessed.  If the quality of dreams depend upon the quality of your day as aforesaid, who else can improve upon their quality but you?  It is in your hands – not playing victim to circumstances and events.  Likewise, it is in your hands to be aware of your thoughts and emotions throughout the day – the mindless chatter that goes on incessantly.  It is in your hands to take control of your mind, slowly but diligently. 

Among all the theories that abound, let me share a few that apparently make the most sense and have also been researched or reported by lucid dreamers.  You may also wish to read more about lucid dreaming or other fascinating facts about dreams.

Stages of dreams


Contemporary hypnosis research suggests that even as we move from a conscious state to a subconscious state during sleep, we pass through a natural hypnotic state as the mind goes into an alpha state upto theta and sometimes even upto delta.  All of this is explained in detail at the Nirmiti Nidra workshop.  In a state of sleep, we pass through three dream stages, viz., processing dreams, predictive dreams and venting dreams. Typically, a dream analyst would equally divide the total hours of sleep into these three stages.

The Sub-conscious mind is a repository of all our experiences and memories of past, present and future lifetimes.  Soon after you fall asleep, the mind is processing information that wasn’t processed during the day, classifying what stays and what is going to be rejected. All the inputs our mind has absorbed ever since the last sleep we had or those that haven’t been processed yet due to lack of sleep too are processed by the critical mind during this part of the sleep.

Based on previous experiences and certain actions that have been taken or determined, the mind predicts future events from available information.  During predictive dreams, either our sub-conscious mind or our higher self is purportedly guiding us about events about to happen next, based on events which have already happened and decisions taken.

During the third and last stage of sleep, we experience Venting dreams. These can oftentimes be very confusing, scary and frightening dreams and we invariably wake up panting or disturbed when we view these as nightmares. Most such dreams are a natural way for our mind to release an overload of negative emotions like fears, traumas, anger, guilt, etc. accumulated during the day or from the sub-conscious.  It is usually early in the morning just before you wake up and it is believed that quite often the symbolic content is getting rid of information and messages that are of no importance in the future. 

Continued... part 2

The author is the founder of Nirmiti Nidra, one of the easiest effortless techniques to connect with and program your mind in addition to de-stressing at will anytime anyplace.  In addition to being a corporate board member, he is a Certified Leadership Coach, Life Coach and Success Coach.  He is also an NLP Master Practitioner and therapist. Know more about him at www.rajeshseshadri.com


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