Dreams are so compelling, and they often seem so weird and strange — surely they must have a «purpose» ; that is, an «adaptive role» in the maintenance of our bodily or psychological health (Dumhoff). Dreams are a communication of body, mind and spirit in a symbolic communicative environment state of being. Now that you are thoroughly confused let me explain in a more down to earth language. Our brains are in constant activity. Different states of consciousness (like awake, asleep, alert, drowsy, excited, bored, concentrating or daydreaming) cause different brain wake activity. «Our conscious mind, or the part we think with, our «window»into life, only takes up a very small portion of our brain activity. Some say this is only 10%».
Every person on Earth dreams every night, and we all end up passing about a third of our lives in sleep. It follows that there must be something very important going on while we sleep and dream, yet in the industrialized world, we generally pay little attention to our dreams. How astonishing that we generally ignore this third of ourselves.
We dream all of the time, even when we are awake. Most people dream four or five times a night, but not all people remember their dreams. But the process is functioning in our subconscious mind, out of view from our «window.» If defined precisely, they may not be referred to as dreams technically, but the activity is very closely related. During certain cycles of brain activity while asleep, we can «view» these dreams with our conscious mind and record them in our memory.
Your brain, mind, and spirit, while at rest «review» and analyze in its own way long term, short term and spirit memory. It kicks around emotions, thoughts, ideas, actions and interactions of the short term memory. It has its own background the trends of your life and philosophy to influence it. Your mind is also processing spiritual data, your beliefs, whether or not you violated them, your information gained through psychic intuition and of course, any communication from God. All this data is a form of chaos, and your mind puts it all together in a form of a visual screenplay, a medley of sight, sound, emotion and imagined interactivity. The end result is a dream.
If you watch a person sleep, you will soon notice that the sleeper’s eyes occasionally move under the eyelids. These rapid eye movements are associated with dreaming. Roughly 85% of the time, people awakened during REMs report vivid dreams. REM rebound is the occurrence of extra rapid eye movement sleep following REM sleep deprivation. Early in life, REM sleep may stimulate the developing brain. Newborn babies spend a hearty 8 or 9 hours a day in REM sleep. In adulthood, REM sleep may prevent sensory deprivation during sleep, and it may help us process emotional events. Some theorists believe that dreams have deeply hidden meanings. Others regard dreams as no more than ordinary thinking.
«The psychodynamic theory is any theory behavior that emphasizes internal conflicts, motives, and unconscious forces. Freud believed that dreams express unconscious desires and conflicts as disguised dream symbols. Dream symbols are images in dreams that serve as visible signs of hidden ideas, desires, impulses, emotions, relationships, and so forth.
The activation-synthesis hypothesis is an attempt to explain how dream content is affected by motor commands in the brain that occur during sleep, but are not carried out. Psychiatrists Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley have a radically different view of dreaming. Hobson and McCarley believe that dreams are made in this way: During REM sleep, brain cells are activated that normally control eye movements, balance and actions. However, messages from the cells are blocked from reaching the body, so no movement occurs. Nevertheless, the cells continue to tell higher brain areas of their activities.
Struggling to interpret this information, the brain searches through stored memories and manufactures a dream. Activation-synthesis hypothesis explains that several parts of the brain are «turned on» during REM sleep. This then triggers sensations, motor commands, and memories. The cortex of the brain, which also becomes more active during REM sleep, synthesizes this activities into stories and visual images. However, frontal areas of the cortex, which control higher mental abilities are mostly shut down during REM sleep. This explains why dreams are more primitive and more bizarre than daytime thoughts. This does not entirely support Hobson and McCarley’s theory that dreams are not caused by unconscious desires. According to Hobson and McCarley’s theory, dreams are created from memories and past experiences, they can tell us quite a lot about each person’s mental life, emotions, and concerns.
Dreams are easily influenced by factors in your life and spirit, and these influences create categories that are almost infinite. We do broadly categorize them in terms like prophetic, standard, physical, and nightmares, just to name a few. We study each their own, in order to gain benefit from them. Our mind and spirit together with our brain, is actually the greatest computer ever devised. To understand its processing is to learn more about ourselves, God, our future and each other. Many things can be gained from dreams, better health, entertainment and even financial gain. In many ways, dreams can be thought of as a message from yourself to yourself. Thus, the way to understand dreams is to remember them, write them down, look for the messages they contain and become deeply acquainted with your own symbol system.