Dear friends, have you ever wondered what a dream really is? Why do you have a dream at the first place? What your dreams mean?
“Mirror Mirror on the Wall…”
Your dreams are nothing but a cruel mirror; Dreams never lie… Dreams are our sweet, little, “exclusively personal” mirror. We cannot taint or distort our share of dreams at our wish. Nightmares specifically are the ugly side of our existence.
We all have our own sweet share of dark secrets. We try so hard to hide them under the emaciated layer of our conscious mind. None of us really dare to face the mirror and glimpse our darker side. But can we really sluice away all those stinky, rusty, murky feelings from our mind? You can Run, you can Hide, but you Cannot erase those fades paying around your little mind. They all come back, some way or other.
“The waking life, with its trial and joys, its pleasures and pains, is never repeated; on the contrary, the dream aims at relie ving us of these. Even when our whole mind is filled with one subject, when our hearts are rent by bitter griefs or when some task has been taxing our mental capacity to the utmost, the dream either gives us something entirely alien, or it selects for its combinations only a few elements of reality; or it merely enters into the key of our mood, and symbolizes reality” – Burdach, Psychiatrist.
Dreams are the reproduction of memory, good or bad. We generally don’t pay heed to what our subconscious mind tries to tell. It is sort of dumping bin for our obdurate conscious self. All our socially unacceptable thoughts, malice wishes, pungent desires, harrowing memories, and agonizing emotions come out of mind by the mechanism of mental subjugation. None of us are really beyond the lesser vices like jealousy, greed, narcissism, gender competition, extra-nuptial attractions, over possessiveness, suspicion. Even somewhere deep down we are little jealous on our best friend’s uncanny good luck or own little sister’s shockingly good looking boy friend.
May be not always, but somewhere, sometime! We all crave for good luck, career, wealth, life, look or love at some point of our life. The subtle try to attract the guy wearing dresses with deep neckline, showing little skin and inviting him in the mysterious world physical attraction. We all have our own share of memories, a deep passionate kiss with the slender, tall, dark boy – long lost and all rusty enough to forget. Embarrassing enough to even remember – because it all happened under the cozy welcoming darkness lying underneath a huge eucalyptus tree. The memory of getting bullied by the so called babes of the college for wearing a awkward pink dress in the prom night.
All our secret cravings, moments of fear, horrific memories come out of some or the other incident that happened at some point of time. In most cases we don’t want to remember them, specially the cases like rape, or physical tortures. But not always we hate to remember, especially when those moments are much cherished deep within our hearts. Albeit our consciousness doesn’t allows us to brood over these not more than a minute or so. Yet at the same time, no matter how hard we try, it keeps on creeping into our mind time again, making us more guilt conscious and helplessly angry with our selves.
“If someone talks of sub consciousness, I cannot tell whether he means the term topographically – to indicate something lying in the mind beneath consciousness – or qualitatively – to indicate another consciousness, a subterranean one, as it were. He is probably not clear about any of it. The only trustworthy antithesis is between conscious and unconscious.” – Sigmund Freud
When we are awake we try to be good as far as it is not charging us any toll. But once we drown deeper under the thick layers of sleep and the so called sentinel of consciousness starts to loosen its grips, we slowly and reluctantly surrender ourselves in the hands of our darker self. Where there is no rule, no moral values, no righteousness prevailing, yelling at us to behave appropriately.
At that point of time the dreams, good or bad, seeps in and spreads all over like fog. Slowly enough tightens the clasps and binds us with our own fantasies. The good dreams are the reflection of our unspoken and undone good aspirations, whatever we know is going to be accepted and appreciated by society as well if ever done really. But then how many of us really lucky enough to have sweet dreams every night. So what are these bad dreams all about? Our bad dreams, dreaded nightmares are the manifestation of our despicable side. All of a sudden we find ourselves sitting on our bed, heavily pounding heart, panting for air, sweat beads all over our face. All those eerie wishes or much fantasized thoughts start playing around with your mind. Probably you would have tried to abort those at the very moment of conception, but you could not!
We all know about famous psychiatrist Sigmund Freud who had written a book naming, “The Interpretation of Dreams”. Let me explain how he tried to relate these subconscious feelings with the attitude and behavior of an individual when he is fully conscious and functional.
“In the following pages, I shall demonstrate that there exists a psychological technique by which dreams may be interpreted and that upon the application of this method every dream will show itself to be a senseful psychological structure which may be introduced into an assignable place in the psychic activity of the waking state. I shall furthermore endeavor to explain the processes which give rise to the strangeness and obscurity of the dream, and to discover through them the psychic forces, which operate whether in combination or opposition, to produce the dream. This accomplished by investigation will terminate as it will reach the point where the problem of the dream meets broader problems, the solution of which must be attempted through other material.” – Freud.
Freud believed that the function of dreams is to preserve sleep by representing as fulfilled wishes that would otherwise awaken the dreamer.
“I found in myself a constant love for my mother, and jealousy of my father. I now consider this to be a universal event in childhood,” Freud said
He explained this complex psychological incident with the famous Pleasure Principle which talks about Id, Ego, and Super Ego. Anyway we all know that every human being is a super complex cluster of organism. Human psyche is like a complex nautical knot with many layers, sub layers and pseudo layers. Forget about knowing your parents, boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse, I can bet that you cannot even fully understand yourself!
The three main layers which drive you to behave the way you do, does not work in line. The id is the absolutely unconscious, impulsive, child-like part of the psyche that operates on the “pleasure principle” and is the foundation of basic impulses and drives; it seeks instantaneous gratification and indulgence. Be it physical, mental or pecuniary pleasure. The super-ego is the ethical constituent of the mind, which takes into account no special situation in which the ethically right thing might not be precise for a given circumstances. It is the little governing body within our mind which tries to control and drive us in an ethical way to comply with the civilized society. The ego component is rather rational enough and always attempts to strike a balance between the unrealistic hedonism and impulsiveness of the id and the equally impractical super ethicality of the super-ego. The Ego part of the consciousness usually affects most directly in a person’s behavior. When a person comes under huge stress of behaving nicely, and try hard completely out of his / her way, then the ego part starts to employ different automatic defense mechanisms including denial, repression, and displacement. The famous “Iceberg Model” is the best to pictorially depict this complex concept. Id, Ego, and Super Ego play directly with the conscious and unconscious thoughts on a person.
There are different types of nightmares, like; some people see that they are being stabbed by a knife, from back. Some people see they never reach the destination in time no matter how much ever they try. Some others see snakes in their dreams or find themselves stuck under a barrage of water. Many see themselves to fall freely while sleeping and never find anything to hold upon, or sometime running for our lives, but unclear about from whom or what we are running away. And in almost all the nightmare we find ourselves unable to scream, out voice become suddenly muted. But one thing is common for everyone; all our dreams are black and white. No matter how colorful we try to paint them they all are only in different shades of gray.
Though very surprising but indeed sometime we really find ourselves in almost similar situations sometimes. Let me give you some real examples I found from different sources…
“A few days before his assassination, American President Abraham Lincoln, who was very attentive to his dreams, dreamt of his own corpse laid out in a room in the white house.”
“Martin Luther King also seems to have had a precognitive dream about his death a few months before his assassination. A day before the Titanic’s demise, a woman on the infamous ship dreamt of the horrible event that was to occur the next day. She told her husband, who scoffed at her worries and ignored her pleas. However, the dream so affected her that she secretly prepared herself the night before and had all her children sleep in their warm clothes in order to be ready at a moment’s notice. During the night, when the ship struck the iceberg, she and her children managed to escape and be rescued. Her husband, sadly, went down with the ship.”
As per Sigmund Freud, very dream good or bad contains two parts, viz. a manifested content and a latent content. Many a times it happened that we cannot recall any part of it, in such a case the dream was constituted with only latest content. The layers of dream is formed with the images captured or sensory impressions stored during the whole day, the images or impressions still lingering from the day before and the id facet of the individual. Super Ego is at its best functionality when you are awake. Ego as well gets a chance to strike a tradeoff between super ego and id only when you are in your senses. But when you are sleeping, you are all alone with your raw instinct and wild id facet of your psyche.