Hello two roads,
I find dreams facinating! Nightmares can be horrible... but the consept of dreams... so, so beutiful, don't you think? I'm no expert, not by any means, but from my own experience, reaserch, and convosations I know some intresting little bits of information that may help you.
Firstly, your mind never sleeps. Your body does, but not your mind. What it does do, if I am correct, is go into a lesser state of use- like a standby on a computer. It is still whirring away, your still thinking, but not at the level you think right now. Its a hard consept to grasp and Im terrible at explaining it, but yeah. I think its worth mentioning sleep paralysis- this is when your body falls asleep, and your mind can no longer control it. (as a safety lock so you don't kick the crap out your teddybears and partners when you have a kung foo dream). This is by no means fault proof- it is possible, through messed up sleep patterns or mental exersises, to have you mind stay fully conscious and your body fall asleep (conscious sleep paralysis) which can be very scary, and of course, sleep walking.
Secondly... what, exactly, is a dream? This is something you can not scientificly or medicaly pin point. However, I can remove a few myths for you. they are not "midnight movies" as many think- you do not fall asleep and wake up remembering dreams like an action flick. (btw- sorry If everyone allready knows this, but when I read all this the first time it amazed me) Infact, they are much more like "midnight video games". You are, wether you realise it or not, fully in control of your actions when you dream. This is because a dream is a continuation of a thought trail- you spend a day contimpating eating chocolate cake, fantasising about it, running it through your mind, you spend a night doing just the same. The key differnece here, is that your mind is in a lower state of conciousnous- to the point where it fools itself into beliving it is all real. Thats why you often wake up terrorfyied or miserable from a nightmare- you BELIVE its real! Its a consept I cant get my head around... your partly creating all these weird dream images and such, but at the same time, your stood there in a dream not knowing why it is all happening. One thing is certain though- being in a dream feels the same as the real world (minus all the things that make dreams so weird). You still control your body and such. But what about those dreams where your watching yourself? I've had them before, and at first they confused me. My theory is this- it is simply your memory scrabling things. It makes sence!
Thirdly, I'll breifly explain some (possibly irrelevent) information about WHEN you dream. I know, when your asleep right? But seriously...
There is a "sleep cycle" some may not be aware of. Its very useful to know. However, it is a monster post... so if you cant be arsered, just skip the science mumbo jumbo. It is verryyy usefull though, and quite intresting if you've got the time.
You are still consious. You are in a mild "sensory void"- you will not "hear" noises like bird song- ie, you will not be able to destinguish them from silence ( a wierd thought) however, is someone was to call your name (pehaps from another room) you would hear it and snap back to full conciousness. Physicaly, your body is unwinding, preparing to sleep, however muscles are still tense and awake- if for some reason you were to try and leave your bed in a hurry (house fire? Didn't tape eastenders?) you would likely appear totaly drunk- your speach would slur, your legs would be hard to control. You may well regonise this stage of sleep during long car journys or even a slow maths class.
You are hardly consious. your body is entering sleep paralyisis, though not fully. If you have an irrigular or disturbed sleep pattern, you will likely find your mind and body are entering these stages at mismatched times- you may find you have a small, small "mini-dream", (for example, falling down a flight of stairs,) and you will jolt awake, your legs kicking. On the other side of the spectrum, you may become mentaly awake (OH SNAP I LEFT THE COOKER ON) and your body will take a while to respond to movements. Going into neurolagy here- your brain is no longer releasing alpha waves, but theta waves- basicly, your loosing consiousness. your eyes will be closed, and your whole body will be relaxed and untense. If you were awoken, for example, by your maths teacher smaking a ruler over your head, you would claim you were never asleep- not just to avoid a detention, you will genuinly belive you were fully consious. Your thought trail is largly left untouched, asides from being groggy- many people find they think of the best creative ideas in this stage of sleep.
You are fully asleep. Your body has entered sleep paralysis. Due to a change in your brain (I do belive again that this is to do with Alpha, beta, and theta waves, but this is something I am not clear on) you are unable now to destinguish between real images and mental images, same for sounds, textures, smells and tastes (allough smells and tastes are often not experienced due to our bodys inexperience at picking them up- compared to how long you spend looking and hearing things, how long do you spend tasting and smelling things?). The result is that your thought trails become very real- though you are not technicaly dreaming. Your mind will be perciving things as real, and if we are woken during this period we may wake up with the taste of chocolate cake, or hearing classical music. Because of this when we are woken from sleep we are very confused and dazed. We do not remember this stage because our minds are smart enough to know that there is no point in remembering them- if woken during this period, we will remember things until another thought enters are heads (WHO THE HELL SET MY ALARM FOR 12:15!!!) and then they are gone forever. This is a shame, because I imagine muscians could benifite a lot- you wouldn't just imagine hearing a song idea, you would hear your idea EXACTLY as it is in your head, as if it was real.
If you have remained undisturbed until now, you will enter REM sleep. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement- if you were to somehow see behind the eyelids of someone at this stage their eyes will be darting all over the place. Why, I am not certain- it may be connected to the fact that you look to your left when remembering things, to your right when thinking creativly, and upwords when thinking logicly (catch your self out with this one- its kinda funny). Mentally, you have just become far more active, but you are still unable to determine between conjoured senses and real ones. As such, dreams are formed- your thought trails (though they may be totally differnt to at the start of sleep) will fabricate, images and sounds will form. This is hard to explain so bear with me. You don't think what is happening is real, but you don't belive it is unreal- the concept of reality is simply none exisitent. There is only what you feel when you are in this stage. (such a beutiful metaphore, any poets around here must surly appreciate the infinate depth to this) Because of this, when we see flying pigs wearing pink slippers in our dreams, we don't stop and think "whoa, Im dreaming!" and it is why with recuring nightmares we don't just go "oh, this chimpanzee in a buissness suit chased me in my last dream, cant be real". Because our brains are so active now, there is a chance we will remember this stage- if we are woken up in this stage, we will remember it like we remember waking life. (this can lead to some very confused moments- "YOU STOLE MY LUCKY PENCIL, I REMEMBER!" "YOUR LUCKY PENCIL IS IN YOUR DRAWER DAMN IT!")
stages 3 and 4 now reapeat themselves up to 3 times, providing up to 3 dreams. theoreticly, if you slept for more than usual, it would reapeat and repeat- but no one has or likely ever will. also, it is possible we will wake up during this period- either due to a paticualy scary night mare and your brain sends a panic "wake up" signal, or simply due to real world events such as your cat jumping on you. However, we are unlikly to remember these moments of being awake unless prompted- for example, seeing the cat and rememering it woke up up.
Very similer to stage 2, but reversed and often super quick. You mind and body arent falling asleep, they are waking up. Again due to irrigular sleep patterns or high mental or phyical stress, you may become out of sync- however this is often differnt to the "mini dreams" of stage one- it is far more likely to be the opposite. You will hillicunate, due to your mind being caught between wake and sleep, and be unable to move due to your body being asleep. You may recall moments like this, I will give you a little example:
You wake up. You feel no differnt at first. but then you feel something is wrong. Someone, or something is in here with you. You can feel it. You try to move, but your entire body is unresponsive. You are overcome with panic and fear. You can feel him there. And something you have never felt in your life before- you can feel his evil. You can feel every bit of hell inside him. You start to hear his footsteps. move, god damn it! Get out of bed! You open your eyes, and for a second, just for a few moments, you are in a nightmare living. Everything is wrong- the clock on your wall has 4 hands and letters not numbers,, your window has no pane, the sky is flickering between black and blue and the moon AND the sun are in the sky, equally as domminant. And there in your room, stands the very figure of your fears. The one thing that haunts your sleep. You cant belive it. You thought he wasnt real. But here he is, stood above you, the nightmare figure you woke up crying about again and again. You can hear horrible sounds- metal tearing, bones snapping- but just for one second. Then you blink, and hell is banished. You realise you can move, and shake awake, fall out of bed, sobbing. You look around the room, expecting it to all come back. As you calm down, and your day goes on, you start to push it to the back of your mind. By the time you leave for school its just a stupid dream. By the time you arrive back, you can hardly remember it.
That was a very negative example, but is sadly a very common scenario and is the most memorable that I have had (you can see why). I have had more pleasent ones, such as my teddy bear making me breakfast in bed and talking to me about how the iffle tower was built so that mr. Iffle could see where his lost cat was. It was freakin surreal, but when I got to the blink-and-its-gone stage I wished I was back!!
Basicly, you slip into full conciousnes. You may have a rememnt of what you dreamt in your most recent bout of REM sleep, if stage 5 is fast enough. If you don't, then you will likly only remember it all if prompted, for example you dremed about an ice cream van selling you a...well, an ice cream, and then later an icecream drives past, you may remember your dream.
Ooh eck, that was hardly a brief explination!!! sorry two roads! I wont be offended if you didn't read all that. But it is good stuff to know, and if your sad like me and havent heard it before, you may find it interesting!
Anyway... back to the point at hand- interpriations! I totally belive in dream interpritations, despite the scietific nature of dreams. Because during REM sleep, your subconsious is what is doing alot of the work. For example, (I'll use nightmares as they are at hand) You may find in night mares you are being chased (its very common). You run and run and run... then you think, with all this running in one direction, won't I hit a dead end? Oop, speak of a devil, you hit a dead end. Thats because your subconscious is far, far more powerful in your dreams than it is in real life. In real life, you subconciously weigh up the odds of running into a dead end- in dreams, you weigh up the odds, the odds say your going to hit a dead end, since your subconscious is generating the dreamscape (the images and sensations and sounds and whatnot) then you will, in your your dream, hit a dead end. I know that this can be alot to get your head round... but try.
So... that means that during dreams, your basicly seeing your trail of thought through the eyes of your subconscious. So... I interprate dreams, looking for what they say about my subconscious, and what my thought trails look like fleshed out. Isn't that a simply amazing thought? To be sat there in maths class, day dreaming about flying... to think that you could feel those thoughts, those fantasies. Haha, being awake would loose its charm!
But yeah, dream meanings. They don't mean anything- they are very vivid thoughts, influenced heavily by your subconscious. BUT, you can take a peak at them for an insight to your personality when your not keeping it in check. I'll try an example:
I had a dream (and this will sound really cheesey, but I swear its all true) that I was cutting off my face. I was at my mirror, but had no idea how I got there- this shouldn't be interprited as a sign that I am a lost soul, it just tells me I entered REM sleep at that point in the thought trail. I was holding what I use to self harm in real life- this means the thought trail had been about self harm. I start to cut off my nose, from the bottem to the top, but it doesn't bleed. instead it comes off with a tearing noise, and drops into the sink. I do the same to my lips. At this point, I look in the mirror, and see what a mess I've made of my face, and I deeply regret cutting it all off. This does not mean I am ruining my life and will regret it, or anything to deep- it means that I am very much regreting what I am doing to my body and am worried that it will escilate. (true). At this point, I run down stairs, and cry to my family, who are all dancing to no music. Again, do not over interpritate this- it simply means I view my family as jolly, and a bit silly, not that they are all happy about something that isn't really there. I wait for them to notice... but they do not. They do not see what I have done. This is not to be interprited that my parents are ignoring me and I am alone- it is simply a product of the fact that my self harm has gone unnoticed by them. If we are to look at WHY this happend in the dream- pehaps it is my subconscious weighing the odds of them finding out, same as it does when I self harm in real life. It comes to the abstract conclusion they MAY not notice, pehaps out of hope. And then because I do not want them to notice... they do not notice. (sorry if thats confusing) I return to my bathroom. I pick up the razor again, and decide to myself "started, may as well finish" and I cut away the rest of my face. This does not mean that I am on ye olde slippery slope and once I have started I cannot stop- because again, dreams are not art flicks but thought trails. All it is is a reflection on my opinion of my self harm- I will never show my arms in public again, why stop at the wounds I have allready inflicted?
So, yeah, interpirate dreams, but don't over analyze them. Sure, they mean alot about you as a person- but not because they are films based on you. They are simply an insight to who you are when your not keeping yourself in check. However, many people have dreams about killing family members and other such horrendous acts- they are a totaly differnt person! This doesnt mean they are a bad person inside... like I said, you brain is mostly asleep, and your subconciuce is far more powerful. Plus, you often don't know "why" you are killing your family- you cant remember the rest of the thought trail. Pehaps they were trying to kill you, or were aliens in disguise (just thoughts...)
Has anyone here heard of lucid dreaming, btw? Its something else Im facinated with. Realising your dreaming...whilst dreaming. I've done it before. Its amazing! Its like being God in your own world. Its a great way of dealing with nightmares as well- You can face your fears without... well, the fear, and deal with them. But the possabilities are endless with lucid dreaming... the best way I can describe it is being "the one" inside the matrix, with the oricle doing what you want! It all feels real, since your mind is still asleep... but you can do things you never could, from basic things like speaking to crowds, to just fun things... like flying. I'd ramble about it more, but I think I'll leave some internet for the other people...
Yeah, anyway, I've shared a fair chunck of my dream knolage with you guys! Alot of it is theory and opinions...but I assure you its all based on science or experience. Im not just making it up I swear!
Hoped someone gains something other than a head ache from this post,
In heaven, everything is fine. In heaven, everything is fine. You've got your good thing, and I've got mine.
In heaven, everything is fine. In heaven, everything is fine. You've got your good thing, and you've got mine.