Sigmund Freud was the first psychologist and philosopher to suggest that our dreams were more than a simple collection of images. According to him, dreams are guardians of our sleeping hours. It is only through dreams that we are able to keep negative or inappropriate thoughts away from us, which are classed as internal stimuli, as well as external stimuli such as noises and so on. According to Freud, our dreams can tell us a lot about our deepest darkest feelings, which we hide in dream images. Freud has been hugely influential and much of today’s psychology and philosophy is still based on his ideas. As a result, and added to the fact that people are starting to look into ways of improving their lives through natural processes, healing through dreams is becoming an increasingly well known are of healing.
Learning about Yourself through Dreams
At the center of healing through dreams lies the belief that dreams are not simply a collection of funny – or upsetting – images and stories and that they are not simply a way for the brain to deal with all the impressions that it has been exposed to during the day. Dreams are trying to send a message, be that about a path that someone should take, or about what is going on inside a person.
In therapy, dreams often indicate where a person should start in their work and frequently lead to the main problem. People often dream about a person or occasion that seems to have been triggered by a recent event in their life. The unconscious uses actual experiences and weaves them into a tapestry to portray a message it wishes to bring to the attention of the dreamer. It is interesting to discover that as soon as you start to pay attention to your dreams you are given instructions on how to proceed in many areas of your life.
Through our dreams, we can learn about all the aspects that make us human. Some of these aspects may be buried deep in our subconscious. The basis is that our spirit is our essential nature, but our ego (a term coined by Freud again) is what creates our personalities. Hence, we are enslaved by the artificial pictures that we have created by ourselves. Through our dreams, we can strip down every weakness we have, getting rid of prejudice, misconception, prejudice and much more. Through our dreams, we can learn who we really are.
Physical Healing through Sleep and Dreams
Our bodies need sleep in order to survive. Numerous tests have now taken place in which people were sleep-deprived, and these people would eventually enter a psychosis and have hallucinations. However, most of us understand that everybody needs sleep, even animals do. This does not mean in any way that we need dreams. However, if we look at nature, we see that we are not the only creatures that dream. If you have a dog, for instance, you will notice that he or she regularly dreams as well, quite lucidly as well. This could tell us that there is a natural need for dreams.
The healing processes of sleep are, again, holistic, taking place on all levels of the system. On the higher levels (psychological and social), these self-regulatory functions are normally accomplished during dreams. We say “normally” because due to maladaptive mental attitudes and habits, dreams do not always accomplish their functions, as can be seen in the case of nightmares. Nightmares are not mas-ochistic wish fulfillment, but rather the result of unhealthy reactions. The anxiety experienced in such dreams is, in fact, an indication of the failure of the process to function effectively.
This is precisely why many therapists now encourage people to attempt lucid dreaming, in which sleepers have more control over their dream and what happens in those dreams.
Lucid dreaming is something that happens to many of us at some point or another. However, it is also actually a skill that you can use and some people even suggest you can travel along astral planes by engaging in lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreams occur when you realize you are dreaming. “Wait a second. This is only a dream!” Most dreamers wake themselves up once they realize that they are dreaming. Other dreamers have cultivated the skill to remain in the lucid state of dreaming. They become an active participant in their own dreams, making decisions in their dreams and influencing the dream’s outcome without awakening.
It is here that the healing process can really start. Going from Freud’s belief that dreams are a way to protect and shield us from our most inner, subconscious thoughts, and from the idea that our dreams are actually trying to tell us something about ourselves, we can use dreams to heal, particularly lucid dreams. Through lucid dreams, you become an active participant in your dream. In other words, when you are presented with certain dream images, you become able to read and understand those signs, determining what these mean about you and about your subconscious. You can then influence what is happening in that dream, resolving situations that you may be going through.
Being really skilled at lucid dreaming takes a lot of skill and a greater amount of people are now becoming interested in following these types of questions. Whether or not it will take on as a full treatment option is a bigger question. There are numerous alternative treatments that are essentially just fads, taken up by celebrities and other A-listers and the followed by the general population. It seems that healing through dreaming is possible at least on a theoretical level. Freud, who really started the ball rolling, has been right about a lot of things, so perhaps he is right about this one too. Unfortunately, science has yet to make any decisive discoveries about this particular area of his theories, so there is no proof. It seems people will need to make their own decisions about whether or not they can heal their lives through dreaming.