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What is dream and why do we dream?
Everyone has dreams. Even those who claim they do not dream, probably just do not remember their dreams. People have been racking their brains for millennia trying to figure out what dreams are and what is the meaning of dreams. In 2020, we have not moved much further in terms of dream interpretation. However, we think we know a thing or two about what dreams are. And we are here to tell you all about them.
What is a dream?
Dream is a special state of a person’s consciousness, which is filled with cognitive, emotional and sensory events during sleep. The person who is dreaming has little to no control over what they dream about: what they see, feel, experience and so on.
Dreaming is a very mysterious and often misunderstood cognitive state. Over the years, different people have attributed dreaming to different processes in the human body. Some believed (and continue to believe) that dreams are a form of divine intervention. Others claimed that their dreams were actually flashes from their past lives.
Nowadays, it is still not entirely clear why we dream. Some say it is the brain’s way of dealing with problems from the waking world, some attribute dreaming to psychological processes. Maybe dreams are a way for God to communicate with people. Your guess is as good as ours.
You may be wondering:
Do blind people dream? Actually, those that have been born blind only experience dreams in audio format. Those who lost their sight later in life tend to retain the ability to see in dreams. However, as time passes, this ability becomes less strong.
Even though dreams are mostly built on memories and past experiences, it is not always so for some people. It has been reported that people who could never walk, talk or do other things most of us take for granted, were able to do that in their dreams. As a matter of fact, some dreams are so psychedelic that no one could have experienced that in real life.
Different scientists are interested in dreaming from different perspectives. For example, neuroscientists are concerned with how dreams are made and organized, and what structures of the brain are responsible for that. It is them who determined that people usually dream during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep phase.
Psychoanalysts, however, are more interested in what dreams mean, and why certain people dream about certain things. From a person’s dream, they are usually able to tell what is bothering that person, what kind of relationship they have with their loved ones, etc.
Types of dreams
As you might have guessed, dreams come in various forms. Apart from regular boring everyday dreams, there are also the following types of dreams:
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Nightmares. There are bad dreams. These dreams are simply terrifying. Most of them wake you up in the middle of the night, sweating and gasping for air. Most people suffer from nightmares very rarely. However, some unfortunate souls have nightmares at least once a week.
Nightmares are mostly caused by stress, unpleasant memories and emotional instability. Some come into existence as a side effect of pharmaceuticals, alcohol and other things that are bad for you. People with depression suffer from nightmares more than others do. These dreams disrupt sleep through not only waking the dreamer, but also causing distress that prevents the dreamer from going to sleep again.
Night terrors. Not to be confused with nightmares, these dreams are very short and even more terrifying. While regular nightmares just wake you up, night terrors make you scream, flail and/or jump out of bed. The other difference between the two is that nightmares, like all the other dreams, happen during REM phase. Night terrors, on the other hand, happen in non-REM phases.
Night terrors are more common in childhood, than in adult life. Often they are like a family curse, as they pass through generations. Some scientists attribute night terrors to such dysfunctions as adenoids, enlarged tonsils and sleep apnea.
Recurring dreams. Sometimes it might seem like you are reliving the same thing over and over again. That is because you are. Recurring dreams are the same dreams that come every once in a while. Most often, they are recurring nightmares. Scientists suggest that they are caused by psychological distress.
Lucid dreams. Have you ever had those dreams where you felt like you could bend your surroundings to your will, sometimes even literally?
You were having a lucid dream. In lucid dreams, the dreamer knows that they are asleep, which makes them all-powerful. When a person is having a lucid dream experience, their brain is not resting but working at full speed. Many scientists are fascinated by lucid dreaming, as studying them gives more understanding of human consciousness.
Christian interpretation of dreams
Dream analysis is a very vast and exciting field. There are probably as many meanings of certain dream elements as there are people. However, some things in dreams are almost universally connected to a certain image in culture and/or religion. Christianity is no different in this regard, as it has its own explanation for things in dreams.
Christian dream interpretations use the Bible as a source of meaning. In the Holy Bible, some images have an indisputable meaning, so people use the sacred text to decipher the meaning of their dreams. Some of these images are:
★ a house, which represents the dreamer and their spiritual state. A crooked and dilapidated house signifies the lack of spirituality and absence of God’s protection;
★ snakes, which represent enemies, danger, bad omens and demons;
★ vehicles, which represent the path the dreamer chose in life. The style of driving and the car itself are telling of the person’s lifestyle and life choices. If the vehicle seats more than one person, it represents one’s family;
★ nakedness, which represents relationship with God. If you are naked, it means you surrender to God;
★ fast flowing water, which represents God’s blessing.
If you want to find more Christian meanings of your dreams, check out these websites:
You will probably be able to find the information you are looking for in at least one of these sources.
Now you know a little bit more about ‘what is dream and why do we dream’. You can go and wow your friends with the awesome facts about dreams. Or take a nap, it is up to you. And if reading has the same effect on you as it has on us, sweet dreams!
Why Do We Dream? 13 Interesting Facts About Dreams
You’ve probably spent at least some time wondering about your dreams. Do you have vivid dreams? Maybe you feel like you don’t dream at all or you may not remember them? You might ask yourself: “What exactly are dreams and do they mean anything”?
Dreams have been studied so many times and it’s easy to see why. We spend a huge amount of our lives sleeping, and the things we dream can be everything from melancholy to joyful an everything in between. And according to some psychologists, getting a better handle on the nature of dreams can boost self-knowledge and aid personal growth. However, the experiences we have in our dreams can be mysterious.
There are still quite a few unanswered questions however what we do know is very interesting. This guide will look at a range of interesting scientific and psychological trivia about dreams and what they mean.
Before we take a look at some facts about dreams, let’s first find out what dreams are and why we have them.
What Are Dreams?
Scientists have been trying to figure out what dreams are for a very long time, and are still researching into dreams today. What we do know is that dreams are subconscious imaginings. The imaginary normally involve sounds and images, as well as many other sensations.
They are an experience which we have in our sleep, even emotions are experienced. Dreams normally will occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep as this is the deepest stage of our sleep. It has also been known to happen out of REM sleep although there is not much research into this yet.
Why Do We Dream?
If you want to know what causes dreams, the first thing you need to understand is that people as far back as Plato and Aristotle have been theorizing about this very subject.
On some of the earliest definitions of dreams is that they were ways of the mind safely playing out subconscious desires. In contemporary research, there are still many therapists (e.g. those in the Jungian school) who adhere to this interpretation of the psychology behind dreams. By analyzing dreams, you can begin to identify your unmet needs, and discover old wounds that need healing.
Physiological Reasons For Dreaming
Sleep studies and brain scans also indicate physiological reasons for dreaming.
For example, Professor Rosalind Cartwright (PhD) has conducted research indicating that our brains need to dream in order to process memories and organize information. As we go through our day to day life our brain picks up so many things around us, that we do not even know we process. All of these inputs, big and small, are then stored in our brain, and this theory suggests that the brain works to go through all this information in our dreams, deciding which information is worth keeping and not keeping (such as someone riding a red bike next to you, or work that you are doing).
Cartwright also suggested dreaming could be a way to deal with feelings and solve ongoing problems. It could be that our brain is processing our emotions we have experienced recently, as that is all we have to process at night. You could be worrying about losing a friend and then dream of being alone and having no friends, for example. Dreams could possibly be a reflection of our emotions, through imagery.
Neuroscientists and psychologists largely believe there is still much to learn about the meaning and purpose of dreams as a whole.
7 Interesting Facts About Dreams
1. In Our Dreams, We Only See Faces That We Know
When you first hear this fact, you might think it surely doesn’t sound right… But in our dreams, the faces we see are faces that we know!
Experts insist that our brains cannot invent new faces to feature in our dreams. This means that any face we see in our dreams is necessarily one we’ve seen before. This doesn’t mean that you personally know that person. Since most of us encounter “extras” in our dreams, this information may come as a surprise.
However, consider that we constantly encounter faces that we don’t necessarily log as important. So, a newsreader on a TV segment and a stranger on a commute can feature in later dreams, and we may not recognize them as people we’ve already seen.
Most of the major players in our dreams are likely to be people we know quite well, or at least used to know. In some cases, our brains can also present a strange hybrid of people we know and those we don’t.
For example, you might believe you’re interacting with an old friend in a dream, and their personality may fit perfectly. However, when you wake you might suddenly notice that they were “played” by a person with a different face, sometimes someone you’ve only encountered in passing.
2. Not Everybody Dreams In Colour
Surprisingly, not everyone dreams in color. In fact, a full 12% of sighted people will dream in black and white.
Studies which were conducted from 1915 to the 1950’s supported that a majority of dreams had been in black and white.
However, after the 1960’s the numbers did shift over to color. Further, the number of people who dream in black and white is dropping as the years’ pass.
Research suggests that this could be linked to the fact that this was around the time that TV switched from black and white to color, so there may be a correlation.
3. Your Mind Is More Active During a Dream Than When You’re Awake
Most of us associate the idea of sleep with a slowing down of the mind and body. This makes sense, given that being asleep is all about resting, recharging and getting ready for a new day. Plus, a good sleep is profoundly relaxing and refreshing, giving you the impression you’re your brain has been working
However, don’t assume that your mind is less activate during dreams. In fact, it’s more active then than it is when you’re awake! You can see this in the concrete data provided by sleep studies that track electrical activity in the brain.
The above fact may not make sense to you at first glance, but it has a lot to do with the variety and significance of waking life. This appears to be because your brain is busy learning from what you did over the preceding hours, processing problems that remain, and making sense of everything you’ve seen and felt during the day.
Some research hints that the brain is even more active during sleep when you’ve had a novel experience in the last 24 hours, or when you’ve been through a major change of some sort, whether positive or negative.
4. Animals Dream Too
Have you ever noticed that when your pet is asleep, they sometimes make noises, or twitch their paws as though they are running? This is because animals also dream!
Studies have been conducted which showed that when animals are in the REM stage of sleep, they all show the same brain waves as we do when we are dreaming. The studies have included chimps, dolphins, dogs, and cats. It’s fair to speculate that most mammals (at the very least) dream, just like we do.
This means that they can also be unsettled by their experiences of dreams. So, keep an eye on your pet after sleep to make sure they aren’t feeling out of sorts after a nightmare. We can all relate to that feeling of discomfort and disorientation after a dream!
5. Blind People Can Also Dream
It’s not only people who can see that can dream. Blind people can also dream.
Those who had become blind after birth can still see in their dreams, however, those who have been born blind cannot see in their dreams. Those who cannot see in their dreams, still experience dreams in a different way: through smell, sound, touch and other senses.
6. Dreams Speak Through Our Subconscious
Now, if you’re like most people, you’ve probably wondered “What do dreams mean when you dream about someone specific?”.
As mentioned at the outset, there’s still a prominent school of thought according to which dreaming of someone or something can tell you something useful about how you feel, and about what you want from life. So, what does it mean when you dream of someone repeatedly?
Psychological facts about dreams of someone suggest that it can indicate a range of things.
In some cases, you repeatedly dream about someone because you care a lot about them and have some kind of unresolved issue with them.
This could be a romantic interest, or it could be about losing touch with an old friend. It could just as easily indicate an ongoing conflict under the surface of your dynamic with a family member.
7. Dreams Are Often Forgotten
Everyone has dreams when they sleep, it’s just that a lot of us don’t remember them when we wake up. It is simply not easy to hold onto the bulk of the content of your dreams.
Up to 60% of people do not remember their dreams at all, especially after the first 5 minutes of waking up. In addition, for the average person, 90% of the details from dreams have vanished within a mere ten minutes. This means you can really only remember a fraction of your dreams.
The exception to this is if something ways you during the rapid eye movement stage of your dreams (i.e. REM sleep). When this happens, you’re typically more capable of recalling dream information. The downside is that you will also feel startled, and will miss out on one of the most important, healing parts of the sleep process!
Of course, dreams are also more likely to stick with you if they repeat or have emotional resonance. However, if you have a general interest in remembering dreams, try keeping a notepad by your bed and noting down an outline as soon as you wake. This means you can regularly come back to your dreams and see if you notice overlapping themes or can figure out any potential messages from your subconscious mind.
8. Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis is where you have a temporary inability to move or speak. This can occur either when you are waking up or when you are falling asleep.
Most people will experience sleep paralysis once or twice in their life, whilst others can experience it more regularly.
Sleep paralysis does not feel like you are in a dream, it feels real.
Some people have said that during their experience, they feel a sensation that someone or something is in the room with them.
Sleep Paralysis normally lasts from a few seconds to several minutes.
9. Some Dreams Could Be Premonitions
There have been some cases where people have claimed to have dreamt things that turned out to actually happen later. Some say it is coincidence, while others say they can see the future and experience premonitions.
The cases recorded include: Abraham Lincoln dreaming of his assassination, many victims of the 9/11 had dreams warning them, and there have also been 19 verified precognitive dreams about the Titanic, to name a few.
10. You Can Act Out Your Dreams When Sleepwalking (And Worse!)
Sleepwalking is known as an extreme form of REM sleep disorder. For some, sleepwalking can be mild and for others, more serious. Some cases could be where you walk around your room or talk to others, whilst sleeping.
However, there have been cases where people have left their homes, or drawn gorgeous paintings that they cannot paint when they are awake.
11. Dreams Recharge Your Creativity
You may have thought that apart from any subconscious messages they contain, dreams must be quite useless. Not so!
They can actually improve your performance in seemingly unrelated areas of your everyday life. According to research reported by the American Psychological Society on the psychology of dreams, they work wonders for your creative faculties in particular. If you’re an artist, you might have already spotted this, but the type of creativity we’re talking about here also applies to things like creative problem-solving.
Apparently, this is because the process of dreaming is a lot like using your imagination to be creative. When your brain analyses and tackles problems during your sleep, it’s activity parallels that witnessed when you’re being creative in waking life. This means that no matter what your preferred artistic mode of expression might be, you’re likely to be better at it after a night of vivid dreaming.
And, as a bonus, you may find direct inspiration in your dreams. For example, if you dream about a fantastical scenario, go through a challenging experience or revisit a moving aspect of your past, this can help you “tune into” the types of intense emotions that boost creative output.
12. Men And Women Dream Differently
When women dream there are normally an almost equal amount of both men and women that are involved in their dreams. However, for men, around 70% of the people in their dreams are other men.
As well as this, men have been known to have more aggressive dreams than women too. Women also tend to have slighter longer dreams.
13. 50% Of Dreams Are Negative
Research has found that most dreams include negative emotions. 50% of all dreams are normally negative. In a study that was conducted, the common emotions that people experienced during their dreams were sadness, anger, fear, and anxiety.
Take a look at our article on 10 dreams that people have often and what they could mean, to see what your dreams might be about.
What Do Dreams About Lions Mean? 8 Meanings of Lions in Dreams
Aisling is the author of Dog Funeral Evangelism. Her articles on dream interpretation and Jungian psychology have over 2.1 million views.
The Symbolism of Lions in Dreams
Whether appearing in Aesop’s fables, heraldic emblems, or as figures in mythology, lions fascinate people, and therefore they figure prominently as symbols across cultures and religions.
Lions also routinely show up in dreams. When they do, they normally are communicating ideas and messages related to concepts such as:
Lions also typically show up in the dreams involved in activities such as chasing people or other animals, roaring loudly, or in dreams wherein the dreamer is taming the great beast. This article covers all of those leonine activities. We’ll also look at one of the more surprising aspects of lion symbolism—that of lions as symbols of the unconscious.
We’ll also have a look at lions in mythology and fables, because myths and stories are one of the best places to start finding meaning in dream symbols.
Read on to learn more about lion symbolism and find out what the one prowling your dreams is trying to tell you with its roar.
1. Lions as Symbols of Courage
Lions have long been associated with courage but have you ever wondered why? It might seem like the lion isn’t courageous at all given its exceptional strength, speed, and place as an apex predator.
But lions are courageous.
Lions will fight when they are outnumbered, outmatched, and will even enter aquatic areas to chase away crocodiles lying in wait for members of their prides.
Lions in dreams can also remind us that courage is not the absence of fear, but is, rather, the determination that what lies on the other side of the fear is more important, more valuable, and worth more to us than our feelings of fear.
A lion going up against a beasts outweighing and outnumbering him does so not because he is assured he will win the fight, but because he is certain the love he feels for his family and the duty he has to protect them is far more important than worrying about his own safety.
Lions Remind Us of What True Courage Is
Lions in dreams can remind us that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the determination that what lies on the other side of the fear is more important, more valuable, and worth more to us than our feelings of fear.
2. Lions as Symbols of Protection
Most of us are familiar with the sphinx, the creature with the human head and lion’s body, noted for killing anyone unable to provide the correct answer to its enigmatic riddle.
But what might be surprising is the reason the sphinx questioned passersby. We’re used to hearing a standardized riddle and answer, but that story is only the most famous. In mythology, the purpose for the sphinx questions was to protect the city it looked after. The riddle was a form of password, those with authentic business in the city knew the answer, those coming to do harm found themselves harmed!
When dreaming of lions, we may either be identifying with that part of ourselves that ferociously protects that which we love or, alternatively, we may be longing for such a protectress.
3. Lions as Symbols of Strength
In heraldry, lions are often used as symbols of strength and is it no wonder. Lions grow up to 10 feet in length with bodies weighing as much as 550 pounds. Once prey is captured in their powerful forelegs, or finds its head inside a lion’s giant jaws, there is no escape.
Dream lions may similarly reflect those in the waking world by symbolizing the incomparable their exceptional strength. Dreaming of lions can mean that we are either in possession of such strength, desire it, or feeling as though we are, ourselves, prey for forces around us.
4. Lions as Symbols of Aggression
Lions in dreams can symbolize feelings of aggression—both our own as well as that of others.
When our dream lions are prowling about, aimlessly growling, or attacking anything that moves, we might do well to have a deep, honest look at our feelings and see if what we’re feeling is actually anger or if it is something else, something more difficult to deal with.
Remember the old tale of the lion roaming the land, roaring, scaring everyone he encountered? The lion wasn’t roaring because he was on the prowl, he was roaring because he was in terrible pain.
When dreaming about aggressive lions, we do well to ask ourselves if we’re angry or if we’re hurt and either way, find an empathetic friend to assist us with our wounds.
5. The Meaning of Lions Chasing the Dreamer
Dreams of lions chasing us symbolize feeling that something that we can’t see but can feel inside us is after us, hunting us down, and that something will ultimately overpower us and eat us alive.
For Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, animals pursuing us in dreams are actually attempting to draw near to us. When we run from them, we simply give them more power. Instead of running from that which is pursuing us, Jung suggested the best course of action would actually be to stand still and simply allow ourselves to be devoured!
Because in the language of dreams, animals signify some aspect of ourselves. They is no way to outrun ourselves. That which is a part of us belongs to us. We can only rehabilitate the parts of us that we find unpleasant—we cannot separate ourselves from them. Check out the section below on taming lions in dreams for more information how that idea!
“When you dream of a savage bull, or a lion, or a wolf pursuing you this means it wants to come to you. You would like to split it off, but then it just becomes all the more dangerous. The best stance would be: ‘Please, come and devour me.’”
6. The Meaning of Taming Lions in Dreams
Dreams of taming lions are typically positive ones. Taming lions in dreams symbolizes our courage at facing our fears, confronting our emotions, and finding ways to conquer them and use them as a source of strength rather than weakness.
Taming lions in dreams can also mean that we are tackling waking life issues, especially those that we’ve found frightening or paralyzing in the past.
Dreaming about taming lions might also mean that we’re making friends with aspects of ourselves that we previously found unpleasant, realizing that those parts of us we’ve been hiding aren’t as beastly as we once thought but we actually simply beautiful, but distorted images that needed some attention.
Lions have long been seen in mythology as symbols of royalty and power. But sometimes, the lion is a symbol of vengeance. But no matter what the culture, the lion is never a force to be trifled with.
Any creature with a rich mythological history makes for a symbol that is rich in meaning when it appears in dreams. Below are some of the ways in which lions manifest in mythology and the manner in which they may manifest in your dreams and what message is in their roar.
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