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What Do Dreams Mean and What is Their Significance?

Omkar Phatak Nov 18, 2018
What do dreams actually mean and how seriously should you actually take them? Let's try to find the answer to this central question.
Our mind spins complex dreams. The storylines range from hilarious, absurd, to outright terrifying. They have been interpreted as mind's escapism, messages from the sub-conscious, and even random brain noise. Every day, as one wakes up, they remembers bits and pieces of the dreams before they snap back into full reality.
Unless they jot them down and tell somebody about it immediately, they slip out of memory. Sometimes, they are so vivid and nightmarish, that they do remember them. At such times, they often wonder what dreams mean.

What Do Dreams Mean?

Dreams are a succession of images, sounds, thoughts, and emotions, that are vividly imagined and experienced by the mind in sleep. They are responses, generated by the brain, without any kind of external stimuli. They are wholly created by the brain from the accumulated pattern of memories and emotions.
Research has shown that dreams happen in short bursts that last for 15-20 minutes, during what is known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, when the brain is more active. People spend about two hours dreaming, on an average. If you calculate, over a year, they spend about 30 days in dreaming.
The brain shuts down the neurotransmitters which can cause body movement during sleep. This safety precaution prevents physical damage, that may occur from dream-activated body movements.
The meaning of the dream is relative to the person. There are many theories about their interpretation. Dreams, hypothetically, are created out of three important sources: repressed desires, fears, and plain old nonsense, arising out of garbled information in the brain.
It is simply the mind projecting information, garnered from your experiences, onto the mind's eye. Sometimes, the storylines created, may be plain old rubbish, but sometimes your brain is actually trying to drive you towards a solution.
Sometimes, you just see what you want to see. The things that you should be dealing with but are afraid of doing anything about or avoiding, usually crop up in dreams. Some fears that are buried deep down, find an outlet in them.
Identifying a list of dream images and their meanings is futile as it cannot be absolute. People make a business out of interpreting them. Different images will mean different things to people, as every person's experiences, fears, and desires are different.

Interpreting Recurring Dreams

Usually recurring dreams are related to some deep-rooted problems, that keep gnawing at our minds during sleep. They are unfinished desires and fears manifesting themselves. Usually, one understands recurring dreams if one goes deeper into what the specific imageries mean. They might indicate some emotionally engaging task you might have been ignoring.


A nightmare crops out of certain insecurities and fears that a person might have.
It is generally an embodiment of your deepest fears  you have acquired throughout your life. They may be prompted by an incident that you have gone through, which still troubles you. The only way to get over it is to face your fears and make peace with that incident. Unresolved issues crop up in dreams and unless they are resolved, they will haunt you.

What About Death Dreams?

It depends on the person. It may signify that you haven't yet gotten over the death of a loved one or death is looming on your mind; or it may mean nothing at all!
It all depends on how deeply you look into it and what are the specific things you see. Do not take death dreams as indicators of the future. The Future is in your control and you can change it. It is just fear taking form in your thoughts.

Dreams About Snakes

Well, when you see snakes in your dreams, it either means that you are very afraid of them or they symbolize fear in your mind. It would be speculation to make a connection between snakes and sexual desires.
There even might be a connection, but it won't be the same for every person, as every one of us has different experiences and a different set of symbolic interrelationships in our minds.
What dreams mean in actuality, can only be understood by you, the dreamer, as the things you see in there, are created from your own mind. It is a subjective experience. Keep a dream diary and write every one of them in as much detail, as you can, just after waking up. As you dig deeper inside yourself, you may understand their genesis.