Tag Archives: lucid dreams

Organic and mechanistic aspects of our lives influencing dream formation and perception

cyborg-humanDreams and dreaming are important topics of philosophy since ancient times and can be viewed in the context of external world’s influences. When we are awake, we are fully conscious of the outside world and activities we perform. But when we fall asleep, our subconscious mind shifts its gears and calls upon the inner world for introspection. Dream visions selectively reflect upon the outer world signals and generate positive or negative feelings we experience within dreams. Our mind tries to connect random experiences and images and find possibilities to explain them to us. Each dreaming experience can reveal our hidden desires, suppressed feelings or developing issues. In this article we are taking a closer look at organic and mechanistic influences of the outside world affecting our dream visions.

Organic or biological aspects of dream perception

The organs of our body with their different functions have direct and indirect effects on each other and on our mind and, in turn, on dreams that we experience. Physical events such as an overloaded stomach, a toothache or other types of pain could contribute to the dream narrative as the result of direct communication with the brain. These biological processes can therefore exert a certain degree of influence on dream generation. Many unpleasant dreaming experiences are the result of pain or illnesses, so analyzing the actual problems which affect our body in reality could help in interpreting the dreams we have. For example, it is quite common when sleeping with a full bladder can cause dreams containing water or water flow.

Aside from our organs and bodily functions, nature and environment can also have significant effect on dream construction. Natural events can influence dream narratives and our environment can also integrate natural elements into our dreams. For instance, creatures like birds, dogs, cats and other animals are very common symbols when dreaming. Each of them can convey different meanings about our health and our state of mind. Author Hugh Brody in his book Maps and Dreams (2002), says that hunters tend to have visions of hunting and killing game in a dream and soon after find the “dream trail” and the animal, eventually collecting the kill in waking life.

Another example of dreams being influenced by natural events happened during the genocide of mestizo villagers by the Maoist Shining Path in the 1990s. During this time, villagers would consult dreamers about the best times and opportunities for families to flee their camp and hide out in the forests. A more recent account by anthropologist Arianna Ciconni reports that certain villagers rely on dream visions to help them locate the mass graves of their relatives.

Mechanistic aspects of dream formation

Our body is a system of organs ensuring it is working properly and in good shape. These organs are also influenced by mechanistic contributors, which can control our mind and affect our perceptions. Our way of thinking then determines the visions and contextual aspects of our dreams. The mechanistic influence is formed through our sensory system. The sensory system takes in the external information and influences our mind which can affect our dreams in various ways. For instance, every day we use many things like smartphones, household items and books, among others. These things have tremendous impacts on our consciousness and are translated into mechanistically-influenced dreams.

The mechanistic world can have different effects on our dreams. The realities like running cars, crying babies or the routines of daily household tasks can also affect our dreams in the same way they can affect our mind. For example, we can often dream about driving or riding in a car if it happens on a daily basis. Meanwhile, lucid dreaming is the ability to recognize the fact that you are in a dream. Once you become aware that you are dreaming, you can control what happens like fly, have sex, have sex while flying, anything is a possibility. According to studies, gamers are more likely to have lucid dreams than people who do not play video games. Jayne Gackenbach of Grant MacEwan University believes that games enhance people’s environmental control and spatial awareness, which leads to the ability to control the dream environment much like gameplay.

pregnancy-chiropractic-1170x500Our responsibilities also bleed into our dreams. Almost all pregnant women experience vivid dreams in their sleep. Jill Feddersen, a first time mom to a baby girl in Massachusetts dreamt of going on a trip to Paris. In the dream, she remembered being “totally unprepared and scared” of joining a tour group and saying “I can’t go – I’ve got things to do at home and I’m not packed”, but then she would eventually convince herself to get on the plane and go. The uncertainty and anxiety of flying to a new destination likely mirrored her personal fears about being a new mother.

Organic versus mechanistic perception of dreams

Organically-influenced perception is generally associated with the organs and their current condition and functionality. If the organs are malfunctioning or experiencing problems, this will be reflected in our dreams. On the other hand, with mechanistically-driven perception, the nervous system plays the most important role in creating our dream visions. Dreams generated organically are mainly dreams related to nature, natural events or elements they have affinity with, while mechanistic dreams are based on objects, events and responsibilities we are bombarded with by everyday existence. Organic dreams reveal our connection to nature and ourselves, while mechanistic dreams are the result of routines and responsibilities we subject ourselves to after we wake up.

A famous philosopher said, “Dreams are the touchstones of our characters”. We sleep because this state allows us to rest while our mind consolidates and stores the information we collected during our waking hours. As we sleep, our consciousness actively processes the myriad of information bits in our head by rationalizing links between them. As our brain interprets all those external stimuli during sleep, dreams are created. In essence, all of these organic and mechanistic aspects become part of a “clean-up” or “recycling” process during which our mind removes unnecessary clutter to be ready to take on a new day.

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Dreaming about rats: Symbolic aspects hidden in commonly-described dream scenarios

Dream interpretation about rats abounds with theories and explanations related to these animals based on their affinity to famine, poverty, unsanitary conditions fed by the fear and disgust expressed by many in regards to these creatures lurking in the dark corners and suddenly crossing our paths.

Rats as dream symbolsBut let us take a closer look at the symbolic representations and some details contained within dream related to the images of rats. Apart from their physical characteristics and features which can evoke deep feelings of repulsion and disgust both inside the dream and afterwards, some commonly-experienced dream visions can reveal interesting, if not unusual associations and imagery, especially in the context of a particular dreams scenario.

An interesting detail often described by dreamers who happened to dream about rats is the environment and surroundings in which the dream took place. Often, it is a place characterized by the presence of water, dreamers refer to “muddy”, “rainy”, “slippery” locations as places where the contact with rats had taken place. The combination of these two symbols, “the rat” and “the water” suggests that dreamer’s mind could be subconsciously reflecting the existing struggle between two contrasting personal positions or attitudes in reality: admittance of guilt, wrongdoing or inappropriateness versus readiness (but quite possibly reluctance) to repent, cleanse or change for the better. By closely examining more predominant details of this dream scenario, one can analyze to what extent this situation can be applied to this kind of interpretation.

Another prominent aspect commonly remembered and described after having dream visions involving rats is their appearance or small physical details pertaining to what they looked like. Often, these are associations and chimera-like images related to the features of a human body: little humanlike hands, human faces or other parts of human anatomy morphed with the image of a rat. Common dreams about rats also include coming into physical contact with these animals, for example stepping on them, being bitten by them and so on.

Scared of ratsFor people who are naturally afraid of rats in wake life, these dreams could be either a confirmation of their phobia and repulsion directed at the animals, or a subconscious attempt to examine or question the nature of such fear. The symbolism of encountering a rat is quite often accompanied by the scenes of dark, untidy and unpleasant surroundings transposed into the dream from reality. Therefore, it’s a good indication of the dreamer’s preoccupation with cleanliness, purity or natural aversion to chaos and disorder. However, it could also be quite possible that the person experiencing dreams about rats spends some portion of his or her wake life in unclean, cluttered and messy environments, e.g. as a warehouse worker, a head of a large household which is difficult to manage, and the like.

It is probably artificial and far-fetched to relate symbolic representations of rats in our dreams to certain personalities and aspects of behavior of human character (a traitor, a person capable of deceit and betrayal), as many dream interpretation sources infer, because the image of a rat in these dreams is heavily dominated by the physical features of the animal and immediate surroundings which evoke, before anything, sensory reactions and responses, both on subconscious (dreams experienced) and conscious (dreams remembered) levels.

When trying to interpret dream visions containing a rat or rats as a central symbol, it would probably be more beneficial to explore tangible physiological reactions to the outside world in order to find a more meaningful interpretation of dreams about rats.

Symbols of rain or rainy weather in dream interpretation and possible ways to analyze these dreams

Generally speaking, weather-related dreams offer little insight as far as dream analysis and interpretation are concerned with the exception when dreams include symbols and vision of rain and rain-related events. The main reason for having a multitude of interpretations for dreams about rain is its direct relation to water, which has been strongly connected to the fertility and abundance, which are characteristics of prosperity and happy life in many of the world’s cultures regardless of their geographic location. Presence of rain in dreams serves as a linking element between availability of favorable weather conditions and personal well-being and feelings of security. Similarly, dreams containing threatening or even catastrophic events and involving rain events, can be a representation of insecurity or fear reflected at a subconscious level.

Hiding From RainMany dreams are inherently related to emotions and feelings experienced while dreaming, for example soothing and comforting feelings of warm summer rain, feeling secure and protected while observing rain falling outside in bad weather from inside the house, or expression of loneliness and discomfort while being caught in the cold rain on the street and so on. For some people, while experiencing dreams about rain, the visions can evoke feelings of stressful and worrisome existence, some kind of disturbance or effects which result in excessive introversion, low self-esteem and depression projected into wake life. Psychological aspects of experiencing these kinds of visions can add to formation of complexes and states negatively affecting person’s life, especially if dreams are recurring in their nature.

The composition or the way rain was observed in a dream as well as its various degrees of intensity can provoke different emotions and reactions following the dream. The color or even the size of rain drops seen or felt while dreaming are explained and interpreted with a surprising variety of meanings and symbolic connotations by dream interpretation sources. Additional elements (i.e. thunder, lightning, wind) can add to or completely reverse the original meaning about rain symbols, creating ambiguous or contradictory interpretations of rain-related events experienced while dreaming.

Summer RainAs it has been mentioned before, dreams about rain are closely related to symbols and visions of water, therefore there are a lot of similarities in the way these two type of dreams are interpreted. Often enough, the notions of clear or dirty water are approximated to explain similar dreams about rain. Many sources regard clean and fresh rainwater as a symbol of personal rejuvenation and renewal, the ability to start life over and expect to be favored by the destiny that lies ahead.

While trying to find a meaningful explanation of a dream about rain, try to recall details pertaining to the situation: were you alone or with other people in the rain, what was rain’s intensity, was it accompanied by some environmental conditions such as thunder or lightning, what was the feeling you experienced in this dream? Other recollections could be related to the impact which rain had on you in your dream. Interpretation of a vision when you did not feel comfortable in the cold rain could be quite different from an event when you happened to notice other people or kids enjoying a light summer drizzle. The negative or positive outcome of such experience can change dramatically based on details you bring back from your subconscious visions related to rain or rainy weather.

Dream Symbols: Understanding Reality Through the Language of Symbolic Meanings

Our dreams are not just random sets or sequences of events occurring during sleep. They have a discernible connection to reality, whether such a relation is rooted in our past, a reflection of our present or a prediction of our future. Dreams are rife with symbolism and symbolic images, or things which speak about us – and more aptly, to us – through the deepest recesses of our subconscious. These symbols take the form of living or nonliving things, sounds, visions, our own and other people’s actions which appear in our dreams as a mirror of our innermost thoughts and feelings, or a parallel conscience to guide us through life’s journey. Therefore, it is imperative that we uncover the meaning of our dreams so that our awareness could help us act accordingly and use our knowledge for our own good.

Brain PuzzleNot surprisingly, remembering and interpreting certain dream symbols can often result in revelations which were somehow already anticipated or expected by the dreamer. However, there are dream symbols which may be difficult to fathom, and a deeper understanding and analysis of life’s circumstances are needed in order to form a cogent connection to the dream visions themselves, especially when a dream is recurring. These symbols may reveal some deeply-rooted subconscious desires. They may be hiding repressed memories of long-forgotten traumas. Or they could be perceived as warnings based on dreamers’ previous life experiences and practical knowledge alerting them about upcoming unfortunate events, giving them ample time to steer clear of future dangers.

Although symbols represent perhaps the most important part of a dream, looking at a specific symbol in isolation would not be helpful in trying to uncover relevant meaning and significance of a particular dream. As with some words which can have many meanings, depending upon the context in which they are used in spoken or written form, dream symbols should also be interpreted in the context they appear in a dream. Dreamers must pay special attention to all notable attributes in the dream as these may help reveal, modify or put specific symbolic representations in their proper context and, therefore, provide more valid interpretation. For example, snow by itself seen in a dream, may indicate that the dreamer is a casual observer to people’s hardships and difficulties, regardless of his or her reactions to such situations. However, “melting snow” has an entirely different symbolic meaning. On account of an additional context describing the symbol, in this case the modifier “melting”, the symbolic meaning of “snow” is completely altered.

Dream CatcherInterpretation of dream symbols using discrete representations of objects, actions and events experienced in a dream can result in some broad ideas for interpretations, however, more detailed combinations of symbolic attributes pertaining to specific dream visions produce much better interpretation results. Many dream interpretation sources posit that symbols are what can be considered elements of the universal language for dream interpretation and often belie a more deeply-rooted and inherent meaning.

For this reason, readers need to understand that additional details associated with specific dream visions or dream stories can aid in context-specific dream interpretation. For example, eating an apple and seeing a rotten apple, although bearing the same object considered as a symbol, i.e. apple, in the world of dreams, are obviously two different dream events which will have separate context-specific interpretations. Similarly, dreaming about a river, as described by the dreamer in more than one setting or scenario, could represent a number of things. As for dreams which involve recurring symbols, readers may be wondering why such visions keep appearing like pesky flies in their subconscious state. In most cases, they symbolize problematic events which have gone unresolved, or tumultuous phases in their lives which have not been accorded a proper closure. Otherwise, these reminders might just be another collection of unaccomplished plans or unfulfilled dreams waiting to be realized.

Not all symbols contained in our dreams have the same connotations as they would have in the real world. Often, certain things which might be considered unfavorable in reality connote a completely opposite meaning as applies to the world of dreams. One example is when a person dreams about death. It does not follow that someone they know in real life would meet the same fate. Death in the dream could be indicative of a change or transformation. Since the notion of death implies “coming to an end,” it is often symbolic of new beginnings. So there’s the rub. For someone who does not bother to look deeper for the most commonly-interpreted meaning of this seemingly macabre symbolism, that person will likely be unjustifiably burdened with anxieties about some ominous event which would most probably never happen. Of course there are dreams whose symbolic meanings are exactly how they would unravel in real life. Dreams of this nature are either a form of self-affirmation or proof that dreams indeed do literally come true, and deservedly so.

As in all forms of literature, a dream can be summarized and shortened by determining the “crux of the matter,” or the central theme of the dream from which its meaning can be deduced. The gist of a particular dream, no matter how complex it may seem, can manifest in the most vivid recollections of symbols taken out of the dream and have a profound significance to dreamers that only dreamers can determine for themselves. To reiterate, paying close attention to the context in which these symbols are seen in the dream will help dreamers arrive at the closest and most commonly-assigned meanings and interpretations as provided by both traditional and modern dream interpretation sources.

To give readers some relevant examples, dreaming about a “baby” in general is a symbol of upcoming pleasant surprises and fortuitous occurrences. That sounds simple enough. To dream of a “crying baby” connotes major health problems or a sudden tragedy. That’s still quite straightforward. However, consider this next dream, “cuddling a crying baby in an effort to calm him down, to no avail”. This by all appearances is a complex dream vision which might require some analysis on the dreamers’ part to help them grasp the central theme, which would then aid them in determining the dream’s symbolic meaning.  Again, only the dreamers can decide as to which particular attribute or part of the dream they think is prominent or significant enough to help them zero in on that attribute as the central theme, or the context in which the dream vision might take its symbolic meaning and draw a widely-recognized interpretation.

Baby CarriageTaking the third dream sample a bit further, it is possible that such a complex dream vision could only be the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. For the sake of argument, and knowing that it would bring readers to a better understanding of symbolism and symbolic meaning, let us assume that one dreamer dreams of “cuddling a crying baby in a room full of countless other people who are doing exactly the same thing, i.e., each cuddling a crying baby, and all seem to be working in a collective effort to calm all the babies down, to no avail.” In analyzing this rather convoluted dream vision, dreamers will be guided by their own conscience, that is, an inner awareness of what part of the vision truly strikes a chord with them in order for them to decide that it is indeed the symbolic image they are seeking a specific answer for. The possibilities to narrow their inquiry to a searchable dream description are as divergent as “many babies,” “strangers taking care of babies,” “baby tantrums,” “room full of crying babies,” “room full of people cuddling crying babies,” and so on.

There is no denying that enormous efforts are placed in creating and maintaining online dream interpretation sources which are able to respond to the signs of the times, but admittedly, these answers are mere guideposts. They are there only to give directions and to light the way. Ultimately, it is the dreamer who creates his own destiny, he who unlocks the true meaning of his own dreams.

Animals in dream interpretation: Personal relationship and connection to animals and impact on what these dreams mean

Animals in our dreams can be represented  by a wide range of various visions and symbols. As the long history of dream interpretation shows, dreams which include animals and animal symbols prove the true value and legitimacy of their interpretation. These dreams open up a new venue in looking at personal concerns and aspirations, they can explain and guide us through life circumstances and events important to us. Animals can behave and communicate with us in a variety of different ways in our dreams. In our dreams, they can help us solve problems, chase us, prey on us; they become able to talk to us or keep a company without any communication or exchanging words. Some people can easily get pacified or, just as equally, frightened at a sight of an animal in a dream. Often enough, animal images appearing in our dreams will be direct consequence of our individual life experience and personal values we acquire.

In order to interpret a dream which involved animals, you need to compare your attitude and personal vision toward this particular animal both when it appears in your dream and how you treat or regard this animal in your wake life. It is also important to keep in mind the way this animal behaves in your dream, so you can analyze how it relates to the way you would expect this animal to act or behave in reality. This is rather important because our perception of symbols and visions while dreaming and in real life can at times be quite opposite when compared to each other.

Dogs as AnimalsA good example here is a vision of a dog. This animal commonly referred to as man’s best friend and companion. Still, some people harbor insurmountable subconscious fear toward this animal. Dog symbols can carry completely opposite emotional meanings associated with them. Individuals dreaming about aggressive dogs and who are actually frightened by dogs in wake life maybe experiencing some type of a warning by dreaming about angry and aggressive dogs as their fear is manifesting itself on a subconscious level. The symbols contained in the dream can vary in attributes, such as where the dogs was seen, how big it was, how aggressive it behaved and so on. The extent of fear is emphasized by additional details accompanying the dream, so when looking for the best interpretation, special attention needs to be paid to details and descriptions in order to find the most relevant meaning of the dream being interpreted. In this example, dog’s behavior is the key to decoding the message contained in your dream: try to recall whether the dog was chasing you, or maybe it was more than one dog, or maybe you were chasing the dog?

Cow in PastureWe frequently dream about our pets and domesticated animals, even though we are not dependent on or thoughtful of domesticated animals compared to the past, when people heavily relied on cattle or farm animals to sustain their very existence. Domestic animals or grazing animals in your dream are often a symbol of prosperity and abundance as well as balanced living conditions in your household. Other sources, which are more dated, always attribute dreaming about domestic animals to prosperous and wealthy life and easily overcoming hardships related to food supplies and general way of maintaining household and providing for the family.

Less commonly, people dream about killing animals, whether intentionally, or in order to survive. Dreaming about killing an animal as a means of survival or for the purposes of subsistence is related to subconscious manifestation of personal survival or struggles in real life. Typically, these dreams are reflections of the sense of responsibility for actions of other people or the need to establish one’s authority and influence in life. Dreams, which involve visions of slaughtering animals (depending on the kind of an animal) without any apparent motivation or need for it, can represent attempts to cater to your desires and wants, projection of anger or dissatisfaction with a certain taboo or limitations dictated by society. Satisfaction of desire or releasing anger is a subconscious way of dealing with these issues, which results in scenes of you killing an animal.

Does the animal you are trying to kill in your dream represent a person in your life you know very well? Are you connecting the image of this animal with someone from your social circles when experiencing these visions?

Modern society places taboo on inhumane treatment of animals, therefore you may be experiencing an act of rebellion against societal norms when you are hurting or killing an animal.

Hungry or preying animals in your dreams can be a sign of misalignment between the way you think and socially acceptable norms of expressing thoughts and acting publicly. In a sense, by dreaming about a hungry animal you are subconsciously chasing after unfulfilled desires or trying to break through limitations society is placing on you.

A cautionary sign while dreaming about animals is unnecessary domination or abusing animals, being superior to them, which is a sure sign of danger and immediate threat you could be about to experience.