All of June, I was kind of haunted by dreams, ones that were filled with high emotion and strange storylines. Yes, I am talking about literal dreams. This morning, as I write this I’m in a half awaken haze because of yet another dream. Dreams will be the source of inspiration for our lessons in July.
“You have all you will ever need inside of you.”-Doreen Virtue & Melissa Virtue
When we begin talking about dreams and their meaning or true purpose, it is impossible not to encounter the debate.
“Why humans dream remains one of behavioral science’s great unanswered questions. Dreams have a purpose but it may not be to send us messages about self-improvement or the future, as many believe. Instead, many researchers now believe that dreaming mediates memory consolidation and mood regulation, a process a little like overnight therapy.” (Source)
“In a study, researchers found that vivid, bizarre and emotionally intense dreams (the dreams that people usually remember) are linked to parts of the amygdala and hippocampus. While the amygdala plays a primary role in the processing and memory of emotional reactions, the hippocampus has been implicated in important memory functions, such as the consolidation of information from short-term to long-term memory…Dreams seem to help us process emotions by encoding and constructing memories of them. What we see and experience in our dreams might not necessarily be real, but the emotions attached to these experiences certainly are. Our dream stories essentially try to strip the emotion out of a certain experience by creating a memory of it. This way, the emotion itself is no longer active.” (Source)
A Divine Source
Then there is the conversation of dreams being messages from a Divine source, providing messages and signs meant to be decoded. There’s an entire industry devoted to decoding dreams. People awake from these “vivid, bizarre and emotionally intense dreams” with almost an innate Knowing that it contains a message that needs to be heard and recognized.
In the Psychology Today article, “Spiritual Dreaming” by Dr. Kelly Bulkeley, a psychologist of religion, shares guidance for those with a deep curiosity about the insights their dreams share. He provides “four questions that can help you uncover your dreams deepest energies for insight and transformation.” Here are the questions:
- What is the most vivid element in the dream?
- Are there any sudden shifts or abrupt changes in the dream?
- What is the strangest, most bizarre, most unrealistic element in the dream?
- Are there any patterns of symmetry and contrast in the dream?
My belief lies somewhere in between. I believe that dreams do indeed serve as “overnight therapy” for our overall well-being. Dreams I believe are a part of a natural purging method for our psyche, it is how we process what we experience in life and decide what to hold onto and to let go of. The “vivid, bizarre and emotionally intense dreams” are you bearing witness to the processing and purging occurring.
In addition to this, I believe dreams do at times carry messages. I believe that it can be a “safe meeting place” where we are more open to listening to what our intuition feels compelled to share. See, I believe that the answers we seek ultimately to all the big questions regarding our life are within. We simply are too busy and too distracted while awake to hear them.
So when you experience a dream, a really messy one accompanied with a tug to pay attention. Pay attention and listen with all of your senses being fully present, recognizing dreams as a journey within. A time to tap into your intuitive source that can be so hard to comprehend at times. Use the images, sensations and randomness to be curious and dive even deeper.
Our practices this month will be devoted to regulating our emotions to find balance.