Dreaming is such a mysterious and peculiar process that one wonders, like Edgar Allan Poe, if what we see will not be a dream within another dream. But as far as we know, being awake and the dream world are two distinct territories that are nevertheless deeply intertwined.
It is known that much of the material that our brain uses for dream creation comes from our experiences and the memories about them that we generate, and even the so-called déjà rêvé could be attributed to this, something we feel when we think we have dreamed what we are experiencing.
Thus, the reality-dreams correlation is indisputable; that is why the dream world enchanted psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, who thought that the language of dreams was a form of communication from the unconscious.
For the psychological discipline, this dream language is cryptic and only psychologists can decipher it through analysis. Christopher Sowton, an expert on dreams, does not agree. For him, dreams try to communicate clearly; the problem is that we are not used to the language of metaphor (perhaps only poets, which makes it easy to understand why poetry is a kind of dream in itself).
That is why we must begin by understanding what symbols and metaphors the language of dreams is made of. According to this specialist, learning about dream interpretation and analysis is really like learning another language: a job of months and even years.
What are dreams?
– Dreams use figures for their “staging.” These can be part of the dreamer’s psyche or important figures in his real life.
– Dreams use metaphors and symbols.
– Dreams contain emotions and feelings that correspond to the emotions and feelings that we experience while awake.
– Dreams often use exaggeration.
– Dreams use figures of speech, languages, and word games.
The key figure in every dream is the ego. But in dreams there are usually several other figures that we usually give identity to, although sometimes we do not know who or what we are facing. It may be a part of ourselves, but it can also be something that we do not know about another. Do not be confused, because although the ego is a main figure in the dream work, it is not the only one.
As for metaphors, it is quite logical that dreams are encoded in the form of metaphors: these are essentially supports of language when not everything can be said textually (something that is precisely impossible in dreams, since we cannot read in them). To understand this, it is undoubtedly good to read poetry and become familiar with the possibilities of metaphor as a language, because although they are almost infinite, there are some that are not very difficult to decipher.
For example, if we dream of the departure of a train, it is quite evident what this means to us. But we must take into account the context of the dream and the surrounding elements, and make sure that the “metaphorical” image is not rather reminiscent of something we saw recently in real life. It could also be a combination of both: metaphor and reminiscence. It is something that only with reflection and memory we can unveil. To this must be added the use of other language resources that dreams make use of. Among the metaphors, we will also find double meanings and rhetoric.
How to understand emotions in the exaggerated environment of dreams?
Obviously, emotions are present in dreams. The problem is that sometimes we forget them, because we are more attentive to other elements. But there they are, and they are decisive to understand what our dreams mean.
Jorge Luis Borges highlights in the first verses of his poem “the dream” that: If the dream were (as they say) a truce, a pure repose of the mind, why, if you are suddenly awakened, do you feel that a fortune has been stolen from you? This is so because, although dreams may have exaggerated atmospheres, the emotions we experience in them are not usually like that. In fact, dreams are exaggerated as a way of drawing our attention to important things: it is the way in which our unconscious makes urgent calls to the conscious sphere.
The best thing is to make a conscious effort to remember the tonality of our feelings in the dreams that we want to decipher, and not to concentrate only on if it is something very exaggerated.
These are the first hints to begin to understand this language. Along with the experience of learning it, you can experiment with dreams, for example, trying to have lucid dreams, which can provide extra clarity to decipher what the unconscious wants to tell you. There are also digital logs where you can save your dreams, something that will make your introspective exploration easier.
Anyway, do not stop enjoying the dream experience, because once again quoting the immortal Borges, perhaps the greatest delight of dreams is found in not knowing who you will be tonight.