Dreams: Links between Real and Imaginary Worlds?

Dreams: Are They Links Between the Real and Imaginary Worlds?

Dreams vary from person to person. The true subconscious nature of the person is said to reflect in his dreams. His unfulfilled desires, wishes, and longings that he craves for are fulfilled in his dreams. But is there more? Do dreams act as a communication pathway between the real and imaginary worlds where we are given messages that can't be given in our conscious state?
PsycholoGenie Staff
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
As many of us have experienced, dreams appear to be arbitrary reflections of memory and creation of the agility of the mind. We can hardly find any truth and logical basis or purpose in the broken sequence of what we usually dream in the sleep. Interestingly though, when we are watching a dream, every scene we see seems real. We experience every bit of it as though we are living through it.
Many times, dreams appear to be quite amusing and entertaining. But quite often they are frightening nightmares too. The imaginary world of dreams may sometimes be supernatural and soothing fairy-like dreamland. Some dreams are scary and stress our mind with unprecedented fear and worries. Usually these diversified experiences occur because of the influence of the semi-conscious state of the mind. Desires, apprehensions, and inquisitions of the conscious (external) mind, and the perceptions and conditioning of the sense organs induce corresponding influences in the subconscious state of sleep. For example, concupiscence at the time of sleep would generally result in vulgar scenes of sexual indulgence in the dreams. Active dreams of this kind, might even stimulate the genitals and cause night discharge. The heaviness of stomach, indigestion, headache, anger, mental stress, tension etc. also bear associated negative effects on dreams. Bites of mosquitoes, bedbugs, etc may be depicted as the injuries, pains, irritation, etc. unfulfilled desires, suppressed emotions and psychosomatic complexes, are also reflected in the variegated experiences of dreams, which would normally be beyond the imaginations of the conscious mind.
Most of the above kinds of the active (subconscious) dreams are hazy, haphazard, and difficult to be remembered. Often the dreams of this category do not bear any meaning or purpose. Such dreams cannot be analyzed or interpreted scientifically and these hardly have any connection with the hidden messages of the unconscious mind. However, frequent occurrence of the dreams of similar kinds may have roots in some psychosomatic disorder or disease. Analysis of whatever is remembered from repeated experiences of some sort of dream during sleep might be useful in diagnosis and cure in such cases.
Correlation of mental tendencies and response of active dreams sometimes becomes apparent from the specific reactions of the semi conscious mind during active sleep. For instance, look at the following experiments conducted in the Dream Research division of California University.
As part of the studies of the effects of the surrounding environment on dreams, a candle was lit and kept for some time in front of the closed eyes of a sleeping person, who happened to be a sportsman. The latter felt in his dream at that moment that a white bat and a golden shining ball are kept in front of him which he is about to pick up and play. When the same experiment was repeated in front of a coward clerk, he dreamt that an enemy was coming towards him with a thick stick and a lamp in his hands to beat him up in the darkness of the night.
Napoleon Klettman and Eugene Aserensky of the Chicago University had attempted to investigate and identify the part or the state of the body or brain responsible for experience of dreams. Despite long term dedicated research they could not find any clue to proceed any further. Their unperturbed motivation however brought fruits one day when they saw rapid movement of the eyeballs and variation in the face expressions of a sleeping child. This observation gave rise to rather focused hypothesis that the rapid movement of the eyeballs makes watching a dream possible. This had set the direction of modern research on dreams, which has come a long way since.
Dreams appear to be the mode of transmitting subtle messages of the mind through a rhetorically coded language. Whatever one sees in a dream is a reflection of the subconscious or the unconscious mind. The active dreams of the kind illustrated above are the expressions of the thoughts, sentimental currents and bodily functions in general. The implicit nature of these reflections mingled with multiple flashes of memory makes it almost impossible to decode the meanings of dreams in general. Most often there may not be anything substantial in a dream. The extrovert ambitions and agile mind of people frequently present them with abrupt dreams no better than a child's play or conjugation of delusions and arbitrary imaginations.
Stationary dreams and the ones with intuitive messages are rare and are experienced by people whose mind is pure, serene, and stable. Dreams of spiritually enlightened minds carry predomination, afflatus, or messages of great importance. Some people are born with spiritually charged mind because of their dedicated spiritual endeavors in the past lives. Some develop these by disciplined control and purification of their mind and character.
Spiritual dreams are expressions of afflatus and the subliminal voice of the inner self. Ample examples are available in the annals of history where great discoveries, divine illumination of the intellect, emergence of intuitive ideas, resolution of mysteries, realization of latent powers, etc amazingly became possible because of dreams. Sometimes, the divine inspirations educed by such dreams lead to sublime transformation of ordinary mortal beings into saints, mahatmas or great personalities of supernatural talent.
Young prince Siddhartha once dreamed that a divine soul had taken him to a graveyard. Pointing to a dead body, the later warned-"Look, this is your body. Realize the perishable nature of the body and transient nature of life and hence make the best use of the moments of life available to you now" Siddhartha was truly awakened by this dream. He renounced all luxuries and attachment and attained ultimate knowledge thereafter through ascetic disciplines and sadhana of the highest order. Thus, a dream sparked the transmutation of Siddhartha into The Buddha.
The modern trends of psychology were largely inspired by the theory of Freud. Sigmund Freud neglected the role of dreams as possible linkage between the sublimal and the gross domains of consciousness. He rather affirmed dreams as reactions of suppressed and unfulfilled desires. In his view unsatisfied concupiscence or sexual instincts are predominant in stimulating disturbance of mind and generating psychological tides, which are expressed via dreams. Despite receiving significant support for a long time, Freud's hypothesis was criticized and proven to be incomplete by eminent thinkers and psychologists like Carl Gustav Jung.
Jung opined that, although the aspirations, emotions and the reactions of the ups and downs of daily life bear substantial impact on dreams, the latter couldn't be confined to such reflections alone. He defines dreams as expressions of the "communications" of the individual consciousness with one or more of the infinitely many impulses of the cosmic consciousness. In his view, interpretation of dreams may give us some, though indirect, idea of the linkage of the individual consciousness with the omnipresent Para-consciousness.
The red-rock gold mines are second largest in the world. Mr. Winfield S. Stratton, the founder and owner of this estate has described in his memoirs- how a miraculous dream made his fortune. It happened when Stratton was facing bankruptcy in his business and used to rove around in search of solace and hope. During his phase of misery, he slept under the sky on an open ground in Colorado on 4th July 1811. An angel appeared in his dream and showed him the path to climb the mountains of Betil. The angel marked a particular spot there and uttered- "here lies a great source of gold, which will enrich your fortunes for ages." Stratton was awake the next morning with a feeling of hope and surprise. As he did not have the money to invest in the new venture, Stratton narrated his dream to some friends with a request for help. They laughed and ridiculed his dream as mere delusion of his desperate mind. Their conclusions were logical because the geological survey of that region of Colorado, conducted about 18 years back, had shown no possibilities of any valuable mineral ore there. All doors were closed for poor Stratton but his hopes and enthusiasm remained alive.
A few days passed. Finally he climbed the hills as per the directions shown in the dream and also identified the right spot. He dug out some portion and found a stone of gold at a depth of few feet. Then he borrowed some money against the surety of his remaining property and purchased that 'golden land' of Colorado. Soon he became a billionaire.
Stratton considered the dream as a blessing of the Almighty as a reward for his pious deeds in a past life. As a mark of his inexplicable gratitude, he established a church on the grounds where he saw the divine dream. He also founded a charitable trust for free education of poor and helpless children.
So it is seen that if we maintain sincerity, piety and natural peace of mind and thus, minimize the hindrances in the expression of its unconscious impulses, we too may sometime be bestowed with the miraculous knowledge and experience in dreams that we could have never imagined to attain in our wildest dreams. The source of all knowledge, all activities and manifestations of the visible world-as we experience it, lie in the subtle, unseen world, which is beyond the reach of our perception. The gross body of the tree is seen but its roots lie beneath the surface of the earth. The strength, greenery of the tree depend upon how strong and deep are its roots. The same may be true of the trees of our lives, too.