Defined Words: dream
It’s a normal day and you are going through your usual routines. There’s an elephant in the living room and a bottomless pit into the abyss in the kitchen, but nothing really seems out of the ordinary. Maybe you see your roommate playing checkers with the elephant; well you don’t see him exactly, you just know that it’s him.
In reality, you are asleep in your bed but you have built an entire universe in your mental plane and you are currently living in it; we call it a dream. By the time you wake up, you’ll probably forget most of what you created, though you might remember a heavily solidified memory like a lesson or a solution to a problem.
We’ll talk about why you have dreams in the first place; we’ll get into the meaning of your dreams in a bit. Imagine you wake up in a strange location. You first look around to gather your bearings. You might search through your pockets or at some of the mess on the floor to figure out how you got there. The consciousness freaks out when it doesn’t know where it is. Remember, the unknown triggers fear and you are able to lessen that fear by gaining information about your whereabouts and some clues as to how you got there.
When you are asleep, your consciousness has been allocated away from your sensory neurons which means there is no information that you can gain from your environment. The consciousness is actually fully removed from the motor center during deep sleep causing muscle paralysis. Don’t worry, this happens every night and you regain control when you wake up. The Organism uses this opportunity to repair the body from any damage and maintain all its functions. Since body repair and maintenance takes up most of your resources, your conscious access is limited to your mental plane and memory.
Let’s jump into the mental plane now to see what’s going on. You first fall asleep and the consciousness loses access to the sensory organs. With a lack of information from your senses, there is an unknown void that you now exist in; cue the fear. However, just like you gathered sensory information when you woke up in that strange place, your memory neurons will provide information for you to build a universe that makes sense for the consciousness to exist in.
Often, we dream about our everyday lives because those memories have been solidified with our routines. You also have access to your entire memory bank which means you can decide to create things that could never exist in the real world, like an elephant in the living room. You won’t notice anything out of the ordinary because you are creating it, so it can’t possibly be out of the ordinary. In the real world, you know the specific rules and have expectations of how things should behave. In your dreams, you have no expectations because you are building it all as you go!
I want you to take a moment to think about how much your brain is doing every time you sleep. Think about your most vivid dreams and how much detail there was in the world that you existed in for a brief time. You created all of it.
You build a new universe with every dream you have, and sometimes you have several dreams in a single sleep session. You definitely won’t remember all the details that you create in your dreams; that would overload your memory banks and make real life rather difficult to manage. Instead, you only remember the important synapses while forgetting the lesser details. This is why you might remember a single scene from a dream and nothing else.
You will most often dream about your normal life because that is the easiest thing for your mental plane to draw from memory; doing something every day makes it very solidified. Even if you find yourself in a place you’ve never been before, it is just a combination of other places you’ve been or seen.
Sometimes you go to bed stumped by a problem at work or school that day and the next morning, you wake up with a solution in mind. Your consciousness continued working on the problem in the mental plane, perhaps even building a universe to run experiments. Another possibility for the topic of your dream is to fulfill a desire that you cannot in the real world.
These purposes can all exist within a single dream! Let’s say you have a crush on somebody at your work. In your dream, you’ll construct your standard day but this time you’ll try out a few topics of conversation that will surely land you a date this weekend. While you’re at it, you can even go for a kiss; why not, it’s your dream!
As you know, some of your dreams can make no sense at all when you think back while awake. Things that don’t make sense bug us; completion drives us to either figure out the causality or make one up. If you have a weird dream about fire trucks in the desert, you can put any meaning you want on that dream because there is no real meaning behind it.
Interpreting your dreams is an aged tradition, but it doesn’t mean too much unless you give it meaning. This is just another way of listening to yourself. Listen to your body, listen to your subconscious brain, and trust that you are working toward what is best for you and those around you. Keep moving forward but remember to enjoy the ride, your dreams are personal universes made just for you… by you!