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Why Do We Dream?

August 13, 2010 on 11:36 am | In Dream Types, Dreamwork, Message Dreams, Processing Dreams | No Comments

Why Do We Dream? There are many theories.

Scientists say that the brain receives stimuli from many different sources all day long. There are far too many stimuli for it to process, so the mind prioritizes the stimuli and makes you aware of those that need immediate attention (the crying baby, the out-of-control car, your boss’s request), so that you can react appropriately. The stimuli that you are not consciously aware of are alos noted by the brain, but are stored in the brain at a subconscious level (the drip of a water faucet, the remark by a coworker at the coffee machine while you were on the telephone.)

Meanwhile, you feel emotions all day. Some you acknowledge and act on (as when you automatically say thank you and smile when you are complimented). Some you repress or do not allow yourself to act on. For example, you don’t punch your boss in the nose when he tells you the report you worked on for a week is no longer needed.)

Some traumatic experiences may be so emotionally painful that you refuse to experience them at the time. Instead you send them deep into your subconscious (repression.)

In addition to processing all these emotions and stimuli the brain every day, your brain also keeps your body functioning. It remembers names and faces. It enables you to talk and walk and chew gum (sometimes all at the same time). And it controls or enables many other activities that you take for granted. You must admit — that’s a lot to do. 

At night, when your body must rest, your mind continues working.  When it is no longer being used to type letters and do the grocery shopping, the brain processes all of those subconscious stimuli and emotions (while still maintaining body temperature and breathing, and so on). Scientists say that is why we dream. 

Only you are not awake to receive the signals at a conscious level. You cannot hear or see or touch (at a conscious level) while you are sleeping. The brain must resort to other means to get the signals through to your conscious mind. Supposedly that is why we dream the way we do.

The mind uses everything at its disposal (which is everything it has ever been exposed to) to get the message across. Dreaming is the minds way of processing all of the stimuli and emotions it has received during the day or repressed over time, so that you can act on them.

All in all, it’s a pretty neat system. But unless you are remembering and making sense of your dreams, you are missing countless opportunities to learn about yourself and experience life to its fullest.

Even though we’ve mentioned it before, it is important enough to repeat: Why should you try and remember your dreams? Because they contain important messages from your won subconscious mind to yourself. Dreams can tell you important things that your waking mind may have overlooked.

Respect your dreams as the tremendous resource for knowledge that they are. And pay attention. You may learn something incredibly valuable from your own dreams.

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