Showing posts with label The Brain and dreaming. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Brain and dreaming. Show all posts

Jul 1, 2008

Dreams and their meaning

Is your 'Alice' in Wonderland? One dreams. But, when one dreams, one is asked to 'wake up'. One is shaken back to the hard realities of life. "Eat your food. Stop dreaming."

Alice too had popped into an imaginary world of her own with characters of her own fancy, stuck with real life-problems looking for answers.

It brings us to the question: Is dreaming a way of escaping from life? Or is dreaming a wonderful thing to do? You can simply transcend into your own make-belief world.

In many of the ancient societies, including Egypt and Greece, dreaming was considered a supernatural communication or a means of divine intervention, whose message could be unravelled by those with certain powers.

One of the seminal works on the subject is 'The interpretation of dreams' by Sigmund Freud.
The Interpretation of Dreams contains Freud's first and most complete articulation of the primary and secondary mental processes that serve as a framework for the workings of the mind, conscious and unconscious.

Freud first argued that the foundation of all dream content is wish-fulfilment, and that the instigation of a dream is always to be found in the events of the day preceding the dream. In the case of very young children, Freud claimed, this can be easily seen, as small children dream quite straightforwardly of the fulfilment of wishes that were aroused in them the previous day (the 'dream day').

In adults, however, the situation is more complicated -- since in Freud's submission, the dreams of adults have been subjected to distortion, with the dream's so-called 'manifest content' being a heavily disguised derivative of the 'latent' dream-thoughts present in the unconscious.

Occasionally, adults too doodle their way back to the dreamy world though they would rather come back to reality at the first stroke of consciousness. Stuck with day-to-day problems, trying to find real solutions, running after worldly desires and their fulfillment has made them think of dream as a waste of time. Dreams may help ordinary people find creative solutions to everyday problems. Recent research shows that fantasy-prone people may have higher dream recall than others.

To paraphrase Robert Frost, "the brain takes the path less travelled by, and that makes all the difference."

Here are a few famous people who have inspired their creations out of dreams. Billy Joel reports dreaming the music to his pop tunes in orchestral form, novelist Stephen King turned a recurring childhood nightmare into the book "Salem's Lot," and Salvador Dali was so obsessed with the creative potential of dreams that he deliberately fell asleep with a spoon in his hand. When he nodded off, the spoon would clatter to the ground and wake him up, providing fresh dream images for his surrealistic paintings.

"To be creative, you need a way to let those circuits float free and really be open to alternatives that you would normally overlook," explains Robert Stickgold, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard University.
So, let your child wander into his own world of fancy and imagination...till reality strikes. It is okay to dream or to daydream. It's ok to pretend. Its ok to have imaginary friends, think things other people don't think, and not be interested in everything that interests other children.

What does your child dream about? Get your child to share her dreams. Use drawings and stories to help her to elaborate on them. Do you find some meaning in the dreams? Are there any new ideas? Jot them down, discuss them. There may be some hidden gems there. make this a regular practice. Happy Dreaming together. Share an interesting dream of your child. Let's see if we can spot some ideas.