Dreams: Windows to our Subconscious

The realm of dreams is something our modern scientists and psychiatrists are still baffled about. It’s as if the world we visit after we fall asleep is shrouded by mist, only visible partially and not with a clarity our human curiosity demands. But it’s a widely known and accepted fact that dreams are mechanisms through which our subconscious talks to us.

At times these “conversations” can be revelations of certain aspects of our character our conscious mind suspected but was too afraid to accept. While others can be internal problem solving devices meant to help us out with certain mindcrunching dilemmas during our waking hours.

Thus dreams are windows to our subconscious self, a self that is more aware of who we are and what we are meant to do than our waking consciousness.

There is another kind of dream, which is even more mysterious but ironically clearer than the rest— recurring dreams. They are mightily uncommon but every person experiences this phenomenon at least once in their lifetime. And they always occur when we go through a particularly anxiety-filled and emotionally tiring phase of our life.

I know for one that I have had multiple recurring dreams (as in on more than one subject) but the ones which have engraved themselves into my memory are the ones in which I saw myself running through a forest away from a pack of people hot on my trail. In one of them, they had finally caught up to me, which had made me stop, turn back and fight them. I had won in the end, killing all the dark hooded creatures threatening me before the dream had ended. That day when I had woken up I had felt so damn powerful that I still smile whenever I think about it. From that time I have never had such dreams ever again. And indeed these dreams had helped me dig out the brave person in myself in real life too.

There is another aspect of dreaming; the memories of it tend to fade with time. The only ones you remember the longest fall under the category of fantasies and nightmares. The rest fade quicker, or at times are lost in the labyrinths of your mind as soon as you wake up. Mostly this memory loss of dreams takes place faster when we remember more than one dream from the night before. Confusing? Let me explain:

The general sleep pattern is REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Rapid Eye Movement). Both REM and NREM take place in cycles throughout our sleep. REM for a general adult is 20-25% of their entire sleep duration. It’s during this time that we dream. We can also dream in a few stages of NREM but we never tend to remember those.  And then also we must be awakened during REM to actually remember the dream.

REM can range from 2 to 20 minutes, during which time our muscles undergo a depressing atonia, or in other words a partial paralysis, to protect us from acting out the vivid images in our dream. This is also the time when our brain has the highest activity in sleep. That’s why when we wake up midway through a dream we feel so mentally exhausted. So it’s not surprising that if you somehow manage to remember more than one dream from one night of sleep you forget them faster than the rest.

But as I stated earlier, the realm of dreams is complex and difficult to understand. Why we remember a particular dream all our life and forget the rest is another engrossing question I do not have an answer to. But I do know one thing that as long as I am alive I do not want to stop dreaming because though they might be hard on my head, they are responsible for a lot of amazing changes in my life.

P.S- If you have the answer to my question or want to share your own dream hypothesis, feel free to leave a comment. Delving into the mysterious parts of life is exciting when you have more people along with you on the ride to discovery.


6 thoughts on “Dreams: Windows to our Subconscious

  1. Dreaming is an important part of my life too. Most dreams are subconscious flotsam and jetsom, but sometimes I have dreams that plot out the next scene in a book I’m writing, or “big” dreams that have more psychic impact.

    • Dreams are fundamentally weird. Just try to analyse them once you wake up (only if you want to) and you might just get the cryptic message your subconscious is sending you.

  2. In my high school yearbook, senior year, my quote on my page was from Calderón de la Barca: “Toda la vida es sueño, y los sueños, sueños son.”

    All of life is a dream, and dreams are nothing but dreams.

    During my high school years, I had a series of over a dozen dreams that came true in freakish detail — WAY beyond anyone’s ability to write it off as coincidence. I don’t have scientific evidence, but I had a LOT of witnesses.

    Point is, I am certain, as much as I am of anything, that there is some kind of connection between our dream state and reality that is not bound by time or space. I don’t claim to understand it and am certainly not able to invoke it at will, but I am absolutely certain of it.

    Of course, not every dream, even the recurring ones, comes true, even metaphorically — at least, not that I’ve been able to see. Recently, I’ve had a dream several times that I’m the new bass player for Nickelback. Go figure. 🙂

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