Dreams are one of the most awe-inspiring phenomena in all of human experience. But why? Why do we dream at night and what do they mean? Why do we dream during the day?
Bottom line: what goes into the brain does not simply become stored into some organized RAM unit or a filing cabinet (for the spongebob lovers).
Now., before understanding the nature of dreams, or even better how this understanding can promote self-awareness, we must first determine how the mind and the world come together to create lived experience.
The ego, as an idea and pop-culture word, is wildly misunderstood. It is generally defined as “a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance,” paired with a negative connotation of over-arrogance. In both metaphysics and psychology as disciplines, the ego gives life to the “I.” That sense of self, sense of being real- that’s why “likes” on social media are linked to boosting of the ego. They confirm that people care and think we’re cool, reaffirming our senses of self and the fact that we matter (we all matter, by the way).
For example, once a month when I get a view on this site i nearly giggle of excitement because someone out there took the time to read the shit i think about because i literally have absolutely nothing better to do with my time.
Anyway, the ego, or the “I,” is constantly mediating between the conscious and unconscious world. The conscious world is what we actively process and pay attention to, while the unconscious are those sounds in the background that you aren’t noticing but are still part of your active experience. For example, when you’re driving down the road and listening to the radio, you probably couldn’t remember the last few songs that were on unless you’re actively listening to it. However, if your jam comes on your conscious mind turns on in reference to that radio.
On a more serious note that are things in this world that we have trained ourselves not to pay attention to. They are our fears, anxieties, and worst experiences that we try to beat on a day to day basis. Whether we like it or not, our brains are so powerful that not even the “I” can handle all the complex ways it computes data from the surrounding world. For example, if you have a few too many drinks and can’t remember the night before, anxiety is a primary symptom of that morning hangover. It’s because your brain processed a ton of experience that the ego was never able to rationalize and come to terms with. I don’t care who you are, nobody is at peace with a mystery.
In dreams, the world speaks, but in images rather than words (Brooks). They call us to be honest with ourselves, with the things and events around us, and to own a wider humanity. Their primary function is to mirror our attitude toward what we are sensing on a day to day basis. More than anything, they are images of our feelings (feelings are cool). They remain with us as the unconscious and come out to play at night while the rest of the mind is preoccupied storing everything that we were able to compute more simply throughout the day.
The most important thing to remember about dreams is that they are both formative and operative. They reflect our daily lives in a way that gradually unfolds and rediscovers itself.
But who care’s, tim?
You should! Because it means that you can use what you remember from your dreams to untangle whatever’s bringing you down or build on what’s building you up on a day to day basis. The images come together and form to give you a deeper insight to the fabric of your every day life. The coolest part, they’re built from the unconscious mind which we don’t have access to during the day. Next time you’re in a dream and realize it (which everyone can do) you can take the time to get to know the part of yourself that you don’t even know (or are too uncomfortable with to acknowledge while awake).