Meaning of France Dreams | Dream Interpretation

Dream interpretations were found from 2 different sources.


With its revolutionary history and reputation as the country of love and romance, France suggests passion in dreams and the inner strength to fight for what you believe in. The Eiffel Tower suggests recognition of past achievements, as well as being a notable phallic symbol.

The Element Encyclopedia | Theresa Cheung

See Foreign.

The Complete Guide to Interpreting Your Dreams | Stearn Robinson - Tom Corbett


France | Dream Interpretation

The keywords of this dream: France

0 dream symbols found for this dream.

Lily

A symbol of purity, innocence, and naturalness. In France, a symbol of power.... Little Giant Encyclopedia

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Little Giant Encyclopedia

Places

When the environment or setting of a dream is particularly noticeable there is usually some kind of message or information being given. Sometimes the place reflects our inner state of mind or mood. It can be a reminder of a particular place which had meaning at a specific time in the dreamer’s life, and sometimes a reminder of particular people.

Interpreting the symbolism of certain places gives us an insight into our own ‘inner landscape’.

A place which becomes fertile or lighter in the course of the dream indicates that an aspect that the dreamer has not previously appreciated - or has found unpleasant - is now developing possibilities and potentials, possibly for spiritual development. Dreary, unfriendly places, or tranquil favourable landscapes may well refer to the dreamer’s subjective view of the world.

The country where the dream takes place may have certain resonances for the dreamer.

For example; America for most people will signify a rather brash, commercially oriented culture, England tends to be seen as inhibited and dutiful, while France will represent the temperamental masculine, and so on. Countryside The countryside can suggest a particular mood or feeling, especially of freedom. Composite scenes consisting of many images recognisable to the dreamer are usually drawing attention to particular qualities, ideals and moods which all enhance the information content of the dream, may have particular associations for the dreamer, or have been included because of frequently encountered associations.

The dreamer’s birthplace represents a secure space.

A bright and sunny place suggests fun and liveliness, whereas a dark, shadowy, murky scene signifies despondency and gloom. Darkened places can represent the unconscious.

A familiar place will often take us back to childhood or a time of learning and a particularly beautiful place may allow us to fantasise so that we can make more use of creative visualisation. Jungles connect with the labyrinth and ways of understanding our sexuality.

A placc which feels oppressive has been a sanctuary, but is no longer.

A sheltered place offers pcace and security. Unknown places indicate aspects of ourselves of which we are not aware. This can lead to a place that seems familiar and yet we do not know which signifies a situation we arc continually re-running in our lives. Wide-open spaces offer us freedom of movement.

An unfamiliar place will signify new aspects of the personality which have not yet become fully conscious.

3- In the sense that a place suggests a ‘spot’, places appearing in dreams allow us to orientate ourselves in order to make the best use of information we arc given.... Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary

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Ten Thousand Dream Dictionary

Lily

(see Flowers, Garden)

In Christianity, a symbol for Christ (see Icons).

Domestic happiness and duties. In China, this flower is used regularly to honor the Kitchen God.

Driving away your sadness by replacing it with beauty. In Japan, the Festival of the Cleansing Lily is performed to similarly drive away excess rain.

If the lily is growing in a garden, this symbolizes a desire to keep unwanted visitors out of your private space.

In France, this is an emblem of luck and serendipity.

Among the Mexicans, lilies portend reasons for celebration.

Chinese: An emblem that shows welcome and hospitality toward people or ideas.... The Language of Dreams

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The Language of Dreams

Joan Of Arc

Sainted for having liberated France, Joan may appear as a martyr who sacrificed herself for her spiritual beliefs. She may “appear to the woman who needs to develop valor and courage to face fire, if necessary, to preserve her spiritual freedom. In that she was burned at the stake, Joan of Arc may also come to assist you to relinquish martyrdom in favor of spiritual liberation.... Ariadne's Book of Dream

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Ariadne's Book of Dream

Statue Of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to the United States. It represents cultural freedom. Thus, it may appear as a symbol of liberty and freedom for all. As the gateway to New York, it may represent free enterpnse. In your dreams it may stand as a symbol of your own freedom.... Ariadne's Book of Dream

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Ariadne's Book of Dream

Places

Psychological / emotional perspective: The country where the dream takes place may have certain resonances for the dreamer.

For example, america for most people will signify a rather brash, commercially oriented culture, england tends to be seen as inhibited and dutiful, while france will represent the temperamental masculine, and so on. Other places that offer information for consideration are as follows: our birthplace represents a secure space where we feel at ease.

A bright and sunny place suggests fun and liveliness, whereas a dark, shadowy, murky scene signifies despondency and gloom. Darkened places can also represent the unconscious. Countryside can suggest a particular mood or feeling, especially of freedom. Composite scenes consisting of many images recognizable to us are usually drawing attention to particular qualities, ideals and moods. These all enhance the information content of the dream, may have particular associations for us or have been included because of frequently encountered associations.

A familiar place will often take us back to childhood or a time of learning and a particularly beautiful place may allow us to fantasize so that we can make more use of creative visualization. Jungles connect with the labyrinth and ways of understanding our sexuality, whereas a place that feels oppressive has formerly been a sanctuary, but is no longer.

A sheltered place offers peace and security. Also see the individual entry. Unknown places indicate aspects of ourselves of which we are not yet aware. Such places can lead to an environment that seems familiar and yet we do not know it. This signifies a situation we are continually re-running in our lives. Wide-open spaces offer us freedom of movement.... Dream Meanings of Versatile

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Dream Meanings of Versatile

Do Your Dreams Have A Meaning?

The Scientific Literature of Dream-Problems I shall begin by giving a short account of the views of earlier writers on this subject and of the status of the dream-problem in contemporary science; since in the course of this treatise, I shall not often have occasion to refer to either. In spite of thousands of years of endeavour, little progress has been made in the scientific understanding of dreams. This fact has been so universally acknowledged by previous writers on the subject that it seems hardly necessary to quote individual opinions.

The reader will find, in many stimulating observations, and plenty of interesting material relating to our subject, but little or nothing that concerns the true nature of the dream, or that solves definitely any of its enigmas.

The educated layman, of course, knows even less of the matter. The conception of the dream that was held in prehistoric ages by primitive peoples, and the influence which it may have exerted on the formation of their conceptions of the universe, and of the soul, is a theme of such great interest that it is only with reluctance that I refrain from dealing with it in these pages. I will refer the reader to the well-known works of Sir John Lubbock (Lord Avebury), Herbert Spencer, E. B. Tylor and other writers; I will only add that we shall not realise the importance of these problems and speculations until we have completed the task of dream interpretation that lies before us. A reminiscence of the concept of the dream that was held in primitive times seems to underlie the evaluation of the dream which was current among the peoples of classical antiquity.[1] They took it for granted that dreams were related to the world of the supernatural beings in whom they believed, and that they brought inspirations from the gods and demons. Moreover, it appeared to them that dreams must serve a special purpose in respect of the dreamer; that, as a rule, they predicted the future.

The extraordinary variations in the content of dreams, and in the impressions which they produced on the dreamer, made it, of course, very difficult to formulate a coherent conception of them, and necessitated manifold differentiations and group-formations, according to their value and reliability.

The valuation of dreams by the individual philosophers of antiquity naturally depended on the importance which they were prepared to attribute to manticism in general. In the two works of Aristotle in which there is mention of dreams, they are already regarded as constituting a problem of psychology. We are told that the dream is not god-sent, that it is not of divine but of daimonic origin.

For nature is really daimonic, not divine; that is to say, the dream is not a supernatural revelation, but is subject to the laws of the human spirit, which has, of course, a kinship with the divine.

The dream is defined as the psychic activity of the sleeper, inasmuch as he is asleep. Aristotle was acquainted with some of the characteristics of the dream-life; for example, he knew that a dream converts the slight sensations perceived in sleep into intense sensations (‘one imagines that one is walking through fire, and feels hot, if this or that part of the body becomes only quite slightly warm’), which led him to conclude that dreams might easily betray to the physician the first indications of an incipient physical change which escaped observation during the day.[2] As has been said, those writers of antiquity who preceded Aristotle did not regard the dream as a product of the dreaming psyche, but as an inspiration of divine origin, and in ancient times, the two opposing tendencies which we shall find throughout the ages in respect of the evaluation of the dream-life, were already perceptible.

The ancients distinguished between the true and valuable dreams which were sent to the dreamer as warnings, or to foretell future events, and the vain, fraudulent and empty dreams, whose object was to misguide him or lead him to destruction. The pre-scientific conception of the dream which obtained among the ancients was, of course, in perfect keeping with their general conception of the universe, which was accustomed to project as an external reality that which possessed reality only in the life of the psyche. Further, it accounted for the main impression made upon the waking life by the morning memory of the dream; for in this memory the dream, as compared with the rest of the psychic content, seems to be something alien, coming, as it were, from another world. It would be an error to suppose that the theory of the supernatural origin of dreams lacks followers even in our own times; for quite apart from pietistic and mystical writers -- who cling, as they are perfectly justified in doing, to the remnants of the once predominant realm of the supernatural until these remnants have been swept away by scientific explanation -- we not infrequently find that quite intelligent persons, who in other respects are averse to anything of a romantic nature, go so far as to base their religious belief in the existence and co-operation of superhuman spiritual powers on the inexplicable nature of the phenomena of dreams (Haffner).

The validity ascribed to the dream life by certain schools of philosophy -- for example, by the school of Schelling -- is a distinct reminiscence of the undisputed belief in the divinity of dreams which prevailed in antiquity; and for some thinkers, the mantic or prophetic power of dreams is still a subject of debate. This is due to the fact that the explanations attempted by psychology are too inadequate to cope with the accumulated material, however strongly the scientific thinker may feel that such superstitious doctrines should be repudiated. To write a history of our scientific knowledge of the dream problem is extremely difficult, because, valuable though this knowledge may be in certain respects, no real progress in a definite direction is as yet discernible. No real foundation of verified results has hitherto been established on which future investigators might continue to build. Every new author approaches the same problems afresh, and from the very beginning.

If I were to enumerate such authors in chronological order, giving a survey of the opinions which each has held concerning the problems of the dream, I should be quite unable to draw a clear and complete picture of the present state of our knowledge on the subject. I have therefore preferred to base my method of treatment on themes rather than on authors, and in attempting the solution of each problem of the dream, I shall cite the material found in the literature of the subject. But as I have not succeeded in mastering the whole of this literature -- for it is widely dispersed and interwoven with the literature of other subjects -- I must ask my readers to rest content with my survey as it stands, provided that no fundamental fact or important point of view has been overlooked. In a supplement to a later German edition, the author adds: I shall have to justify myself for not extending my summary of the literature of dream problems to cover the period between first appearance of this book and the publication of the second edition. This justification may not seem very satisfactory to the reader; none the less, to me it was decisive.

The motives which induced me to summarise the treatment of dreams in the literature of the subject have been exhausted by the foregoing introduction; to have continued this would have cost me a great deal of effort and would not have been particularly useful or instructive.

For the interval in question -- a period of nine years -- has yielded nothing new or valuable as regards the conception of dreams, either in actual material or in novel points of view. In most of the literature which has appeared since the publication of my own work, the latter has not been mentioned or discussed; it has, of course, received the least attention from the so-called ‘research workers on dreams’, who have thus afforded a brilliant example of the aversion to learning anything new so characteristic of the scientist. ‘Les savants ne sont pas curieux’, said the scoffer, Anatole France.

If there were such a thing in science as the right of revenge, I, in my turn, should be justified in ignoring the literature which has appeared since the publication of this book.

The few reviews which have appeared in the scientific journals are so full of misconceptions and lack of comprehension that my only possible answer to my critics would be a request that they should read this book over again -- or perhaps merely that they should read it! And in a supplement to the fourth German edition which appeared in 1914, a year after I published the first English translation of this work, he writes: Since then, the state of affairs has certainly undergone a change; my contribution to the ‘interpretation of dreams’ is no longer ignored in the literature of the subject. But the new situation makes it even more impossible to continue the foregoing summary.

The Interpretation of Dreams has evoked a whole series of new contentions and problems, which have been expounded by the authors in the most varied fashions. But I cannot discuss these works until I have developed the theories to which their authors have referred. Whatever has appeared to me as valuable in this recent literature, I have accordingly reviewed in the course of the following exposition.... About Dream Interpretation

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About Dream Interpretation

Do Your Dreams Mean Anything?

The Scientific Literature of Dream-Problems

I shall begin by giving a short account of the views of earlier writers on this subject and of the status of the dream-problem in contemporary science; since in the course of this treatise, I shall not often have occasion to refer to either. In spite of thousands of years of endeavour, little progress has been made in the scientific understanding of dreams. This fact has been so universally acknowledged by previous writers on the subject that it seems hardly necessary to quote individual opinions.

The reader will find, in many stimulating observations, and plenty of interesting material relating to our subject, but little or nothing that concerns the true nature of the dream, or that solves definitely any of its enigmas.

The educated layman, of course, knows even less of the matter.

The conception of the dream that was held in prehistoric ages by primitive peoples, and the influence which it may have exerted on the formation of their conceptions of the universe, and of the soul, is a theme of such great interest that it is only with reluctance that I refrain from dealing with it in these pages. I will refer the reader to the well-known works of Sir John Lubbock (Lord Avebury), Herbert Spencer, E. B. Tylor and other writers; I will only add that we shall not realise the importance of these problems and speculations until we have completed the task of dream interpretation that lies before us.

A reminiscence of the concept of the dream that was held in primitive times seems to underlie the evaluation of the dream which was current among the peoples of classical antiquity.[1] They took it for granted that dreams were related to the world of the supernatural beings in whom they believed, and that they brought inspirations from the gods and demons. Moreover, it appeared to them that dreams must serve a special purpose in respect of the dreamer; that, as a rule, they predicted the future.

The extraordinary variations in the content of dreams, and in the impressions which they produced on the dreamer, made it, of course, very difficult to formulate a coherent conception of them, and necessitated manifold differentiations and group-formations, according to their value and reliability.

The valuation of dreams by the individual philosophers of antiquity naturally depended on the importance which they were prepared to attribute to manticism in general.

In the two works of Aristotle in which there is mention of dreams, they are already regarded as constituting a problem of psychology. We are told that the dream is not god-sent, that it is not of divine but of daimonic origin.

For nature is really daimonic, not divine; that is to say, the dream is not a supernatural revelation, but is subject to the laws of the human spirit, which has, of course, a kinship with the divine.

The dream is defined as the psychic activity of the sleeper, inasmuch as he is asleep. Aristotle was acquainted with some of the characteristics of the dream-life; for example, he knew that a dream converts the slight sensations perceived in sleep into intense sensations (‰_÷one imagines that one is walking through fire, and feels hot, if this or that part of the body becomes only quite slightly warm‰_ª), which led him to conclude that dreams might easily betray to the physician the first indications of an incipient physical change which escaped observation during the day.[2]

As has been said, those writers of antiquity who preceded Aristotle did not regard the dream as a product of the dreaming psyche, but as an inspiration of divine origin, and in ancient times, the two opposing tendencies which we shall find throughout the ages in respect of the evaluation of the dream-life, were already perceptible.

The ancients distinguished between the true and valuable dreams which were sent to the dreamer as warnings, or to foretell future events, and the vain, fraudulent and empty dreams, whose object was to misguide him or lead him to destruction.

The pre-scientific conception of the dream which obtained among the ancients was, of course, in perfect keeping with their general conception of the universe, which was accustomed to project as an external reality that which possessed reality only in the life of the psyche. Further, it accounted for the main impression made upon the waking life by the morning memory of the dream; for in this memory the dream, as compared with the rest of the psychic content, seems to be something alien, coming, as it were, from another world. It would be an error to suppose that the theory of the supernatural origin of dreams lacks followers even in our own times; for quite apart from pietistic and mystical writers -- who cling, as they are perfectly justified in doing, to the remnants of the once predominant realm of the supernatural until these remnants have been swept away by scientific explanation -- we not infrequently find that quite intelligent persons, who in other respects are averse to anything of a romantic nature, go so far as to base their religious belief in the existence and co-operation of superhuman spiritual powers on the inexplicable nature of the phenomena of dreams (Haffner).

The validity ascribed to the dream life by certain schools of philosophy -- for example, by the school of Schelling -- is a distinct reminiscence of the undisputed belief in the divinity of dreams which prevailed in antiquity; and for some thinkers, the mantic or prophetic power of dreams is still a subject of debate. This is due to the fact that the explanations attempted by psychology are too inadequate to cope with the accumulated material, however strongly the scientific thinker may feel that such superstitious doctrines should be repudiated.

To write a history of our scientific knowledge of the dream problem is extremely difficult, because, valuable though this knowledge may be in certain respects, no real progress in a definite direction is as yet discernible. No real foundation of verified results has hitherto been established on which future investigators might continue to build. Every new author approaches the same problems afresh, and from the very beginning.

If I were to enumerate such authors in chronological order, giving a survey of the opinions which each has held concerning the problems of the dream, I should be quite unable to draw a clear and complete picture of the present state of our knowledge on the subject. I have therefore preferred to base my method of treatment on themes rather than on authors, and in attempting the solution of each problem of the dream, I shall cite the material found in the literature of the subject.

But as I have not succeeded in mastering the whole of this literature - for it is widely dispersed and interwoven with the literature of other subjects -- I must ask my readers to rest content with my survey as it stands, provided that no fundamental fact or important point of view has been overlooked.

In a supplement to a later German edition, the author adds:

I shall have to justify myself for not extending my summary of the literature of dream problems to cover the period between first appearance of this book and the publication of the second edition. This justification may not seem very satisfactory to the reader; none the less, to me it was decisive.

The motives which induced me to summarise the treatment of dreams in the literature of the subject have been exhausted by the foregoing introduction; to have continued this would have cost me a great deal of effort and would not have been particularly useful or instructive.

For the interval in question -- a period of nine years -- has yielded nothing new or valuable as regards the conception of dreams, either in actual material or in novel points of view. In most of the literature which has appeared since the publication of my own work, the latter has not been mentioned or discussed; it has, of course, received the least attention from the so-called ‰_÷research workers on dreams‰_ª, who have thus afforded a brilliant example of the aversion to learning anything new so characteristic of the scientist. ‰_÷Les savants ne sont pas curieux‰_ª, said the scoffer, Anatole France.

If there were such a thing in science as the right of revenge, I, in my turn, should be justified in ignoring the literature which has appeared since the publication of this book.

The few reviews which have appeared in the scientific journals are so full of misconceptions and lack of comprehension that my only possible answer to my critics would be a request that they should read this book over again -- or perhaps merely that they should read it!

And in a supplement to the fourth German edition which appeared in 1914, a year after I published the first English translation of this work, he writes:

Since then, the state of affairs has certainly undergone a change; my contribution to the ‰_÷interpretation of dreams‰_ª is no longer ignored in the literature of the subject. But the new situation makes it even more impossible to continue the foregoing summary.

The Interpretation of Dreams has evoked a whole series of new contentions and problems, which have been expounded by the authors in the most varied fashions. But I cannot discuss these works until I have developed the theories to which their authors have referred. Whatever has appeared to me as valuable in this recent literature, I have accordingly reviewed in the course of the following exposition.... About Dream Interpretation

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About Dream Interpretation

Phallus

In addition to masculine sexuality, the phallus represents life’s creative force.

It is a symbol of energy and power. A phallus in dreams indicates a time of high creativity.

If a woman sees herself with a phallus, the dream indicates that she wants to develop her masculine side. Similarly, if a man dreams of an unknown woman with a phallus, he may feel like highlighting his feminine side.

The phallus is the representation of all things masculine, bright, and Yang. Symbol of fertility, regeneration, power, and immortality, to many ethnic groups and tribes the phallus is the most commonly worshipped symbol. The ancient cave paintings found in Australia, Senegal, Niger, France, China, Japan, and India contain drawings of human reproductive systems. They prove the power of this symbol. Similarly, the Romans used phallic charms to ward off evil spirits. Furthermore, the god Priapus was represented as a large phallus with human face. Other Mexican peoples worshiped a winged serpent and the Hindus still pay homage to Shiva, a phallic emblem. On the other hand, the favorite deity in China is Shoulao, the god of longevity. This god has an enormous and elongated bald head like a phallus. For some traditions, dreaming of your own phallus predicts transient wealth, because it grows and shrinks. It can also denote secret projects, poverty, and captivity.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams

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The Big Dictionary of Dreams

Wine

Represents the liberation of the subconscious, and in addition, of repressions. So, dreaming of drinking wine in moderation reflects the yearning to reach a higher spiritual level. However, if you see yourself drinking too much, or intoxicated, it signifies that you want to realize your ambitions for power and richness at any price. On the other hand, red wine represents blood, and consequently, vital strength. Drinking it foretells health and the start of a more satisfactory phase. Equally, the red color is associated with passionate feelings. An old bottle of wine symbolizes maturity. (See GRAPES)

In France and California, it is believed that passing wine around the table in the same direction as the points of the clock gives bad luck. In dream terms, drinking wine is a sign of a comfortable home.

If you pour it, someone will get wounded.

If you get drunk, you will soon achieve a great success.... The Big Dictionary of Dreams

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The Big Dictionary of Dreams

Iris

In Greek mythology, the gods let down a bridge or rainbow between earth and heaven so that the goddess Iris of the rainbow could act as a go-between to ease discord between men and gods. Dreams of irises may therefore be referring to your role as a peacemaker or the need for you to make peace with someone. In addition, the iris is often depicted as a fleur-de-lis, a symbol of France that shares the symbolism of the lily, indicating purity, peace and resurrection. The tall stem and swordlike leaves of the iris add male sexuality to the female bloom; as a result, the Iris is often associated with the animus or masculine aspect of femininity. The common yellow iris is often called the flag iris.

If you dream of a yellow iris, it may mean that you want to call attention to, or flag, something about which you are concerned. On the other hand, does your dream iris refer to the iris in your eye? Are you seeing clearly what is going on around you?... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

Unfamiliar Countries

If, in your dream, you find yourself in a country where everything seems strange and nothing seems familiar, this may suggest that you have difficulties in coping with change. However, if the people are friendly and welcoming, this may point to the stimulation and satisfaction of a new opportunity in waking life.

If you dream of a particular country but have never been there before, you might be imagining that you lived there in a past life. Alternatively, such a dream could represent the unknown within yourself, your dream journey representing an exploration of your unconscious.

Your dreams may use foreign countries in many ways to comment on your situation in waking life. For example, if you have bills to pay, the dream may be set in a tax haven such as Switzerland; if it is about your instincts, it may be set in some tropical jungle. Unless you have personal associations with the country in your dreams, if your dream is about a cold country, such as Poland or Russia, such a dream may be about your emotional life, with cold countries representing the need for more warmth in your life. In much the same way, hot countries, such as those in Africa or southern Asia, may represent passion.

More specifically, you may associate France with love, Italy with glamor, Germany with efficiency, Spain with passion, the USA with selfreliance, Belgium with dullness, and all the other clichés with which we stereotype foreigners and foreign countries.

Foreign Places and Peoples

If your dream highlighted a specific foreign country the brief information below concerning the various countries, continents and parts of the world may help you with the interpretation. It will also apply to a foreigner you encounter in your dream or recognize as being from a particular country or region. For example, if you meet a French person in your dream, the interpretation for France would apply. See if any of the details given about the location, shape on a map, landscape, history or associations with a particular country trigger a personal association for you. You also need to pay attention to how you feel in the dream, as this will aid you with the interpretation. It would be impossible to list every single country; the list below is by no means comprehensive and simply designed to get you thinking along the right lines.

If the country or foreign person you dreamed about isn’t in the alphabetical list, or if you want to know more it might be worth your while doing some investigation of your own.

Finally, your dream country will belong to a specific continent or region; see if there are not wider issues at stake than merely those suggested by the country itself.... The Element Encyclopedia

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The Element Encyclopedia

Why Do We Dream? Physiology Of Dreams

“Everything serious comes to us at night.”
CICERO

What happens when we sleep?

Why do we sleep? The answer is not as simple as it seems. We sleep so that our body can rest, we think at first. However, science has not been able to prove concretely that sleep is necessary for physical recuperation of the body. Experiments performed on rats have proven that when deprived of sleep, these animals die.

But human nature is not as simple as that of rats. Everyone knows people who barely sleep. The most extreme case, published in some scientific magazines, is that of a man who claims not to have slept since contracting a serious illness. In a similar vein, some individuals with a highly developed spirituality are able to remain conscious all night. We’re not referring to a student during exam time drinking coffee or taking stimulants to stay awake more than twenty-four hours straight. We’re talking about people who can achieve advanced levels of relaxation through deep meditation.

It is known that anxiety and lack of concentration increase considerably after a night or two without sleep. One theory related to sleep affirms that we sleep to conserve energy. However, another suggests that we rest to conserve our food stores, since when we lose consciousness, we repress the hunger mechanism.


How much do we sleep?

Sleep at different ages

In the course of his life, a person has, on average, 300,000 dreams. As we age, both the time we spend sleeping and the time we spend dreaming decrease gradually.

Newborns sleep almost all day, alternating hours of sleep with short spells of wakefulness. By one year of age, they sleep fewer sessions but for longer in total: they have cycles of 90 minutes of sleep followed by another 90 minutes of waking time. Gradually, the child will sleep more at night and less during the day. By 9 years of age, most need between 9 and 12 hours of sleep a day.

The average for an adult is between 7 and 8.5 hours. But after age 70, we return to the sleep phases of childhood and sleep fewer hours continuously.

There are arguments that even claim we have slept since ancient times in order to appear a less tasty snack for nocturnal predators (when we sleep, our body looks like a corpse).

There are theories to suit everyone, but we shouldn’t forget the fundamental: for almost all of us, sleeping is a relaxing and pleasant experience that lasts between six and eight hours each night, an experience that is utterly necessary to “recharge the batteries” of our bodies.

It’s no coincidence that we choose nighttime to sleep. In the darkness our vision is reduced, the world becomes strange, and as a result, our imagination runs wild. Our minds remain occupied with images (that is, dreams). At night, our eyes don’t work, but we have a need to create images. If for some reason we are deprived of sleep, the following nights our dream production increases, since we spend more time in the REM phase (the period of sleep when oneiric thoughts are most active). Therefore it seems evident that we need dreams to live.

Some ancient civilizations believed that dreaming served, more than anything, to be able to dream. They were convinced that oneiric activity wasn’t the result of sleeping, but rather the reason for it. Some scientists, however, don’t share the theories of our ancestors when it comes to the reason behind our dreams.

There is a scientific school of thought that asserts that oneiric thoughts are simply a neurophysiological activity that comes with sleep. According to this theory, when we sleep we generate spontaneous signals that stimulate the sensory channels in the mind. The brain transforms these signals into visual images and induces the dreamer to believe that he is living real experiences.

Up to that point, perfect. But, why do dreams have such an interesting narrative? Why do they so often express metaphoric language? Why do they narrate stories that directly affect us? There is no concrete or scientific answer to these questions.

Percentages of REM sleep

Cold-blooded animals never dream; the cold temperatures at night cause them to hibernate and all their vital functions, including the brain, slow down. Only when the sun comes out or the temperature rises to an acceptable level do they recuperate all vital functions. The only cold-blooded animal that has shown signs of dreaming is the chameleon.

On the other hand, we know all warm-blooded animals dream, since REM-phase activity has been detected in all of them. Birds dream only about 0.5% of the time they spend asleep, while humans dream up to 20% of the time. There are exceptional cases, such as that of the Australian platypus, that never dream.

Other theories suggest that dreams serve to eliminate unnecessary facts from memory, since we can’t store everything that happens every day. According to this thesis, at night we erase the “archives” we don’t need, just like a computer. The sleeping mind tests the process of erasing in the form of dreams, which would explain why they’re so difficult to remember. There are obvious limitations to this theory if you keep in mind that, occasionally, oneiric thoughts work creatively (they go beyond the information that we give them). These don’t have much to do with the merely “hygienic” function that the aforementioned scientific community claims. Often, dreams don’t eliminate the useless leftovers of daily experiences. Quite the opposite: they give them a surprising new shape, so when we wake up, we can reflect more deeply on their meaning.

The phases of sleep

Even though we don’t realize it, when we sleep at night we pass through four different phases of sleep. Each phase is distinguished by the deepness of sleep. That is, when we are in phase 1, it is a fairly light sleep; during phase 4, we reach maximum intensity.

When we go to sleep, we enter a period in which we gradually pull away from the exterior world. Little by little, our sleep deepens until finally (phase 4) our breathing slows and becomes regular, our cardiac rhythm slows down, and our body temperature decreases. Therefore the body’s metabolism also reduces its activity.

More or less an hour after falling asleep, your body has already gone through the four phases. At this point you begin to go back through the levels until you return to phase 1. This brings along an increase in respiratory and cardiac rhythm. Parallel to this, brain waves once again start to register an activity close to that of consciousness. You are therefore in a moment of transition, demonstrated by the fact that at this point the body tends to change position.

All signs indicate that any noise might wake us. But that’s not the case: since your muscle tone has been reduced, this is actually the moment when it’s most difficult to regain consciousness. At the same time, your eyes begin to move behind your eyelids (up and down and side to side). This ocular phenomenon, which anyone can observe easily, is known as the REM phases, which stands for “rapid eye movement.”

Certain areas of the brain are associated with different functions and human skills, translating external sensory stimuli into a well-organized picture of the world. In dreams, those same stimuli produce different reactions. If a sleeping person hears a sound or touches something repulsive, those stimuli will probably be integrated into their dream before they wake up.

The REM phase

The REM phase is particularly important for those interested in dreams. All studies indicate that during this brief spell (from five to ten minutes) we typically experience the most intense oneiric activity. Some of these studies, done in a sleep laboratory, have observed that eight out of ten individuals relate very vivid dreams when woken up right at the end of the REM phase. These periods alternate at night with what we could call non-REM phases, that is, periods when no ocular movement is registered.

How many times do we reach a REM stage at night? It is estimated that each cycle is repeated four to seven times. As the hours pass, each phase gets longer. This way, the final REM stage might last twenty to forty minutes. On average, an adult enjoys an hour and a half of REM sleep each night, although for older individuals it may be less than an hour and a quarter. Babies, on the other hand, remain in the REM phase for 60 percent of the time they spend asleep.

In any case, let’s make this clear: not all dreams are produced during this period. It has also been demonstrated that humans generate images in other stages. However, these are dreams of a different quality, since during the non-REM phases, our oneiric activity tends to generate only undefined thoughts, vague sensations, etc. Nothing close to the emotional content that characterizes dreams produced in the REM phase.

The oneiric images produced in the most intense phase (REM) are more difficult to remember. One method to remember them consists of waking up just after each REM phase.

As we’ve commented already, those who wish to read their dreams have to first do the work of remembering them. If we want this work to be 100 percent effective, we can use a method that, although uncomfortable, almost never fails: wake up just after every REM phase. If you want to try this method, set your alarm (without music or radio) to go off four, five, six, or seven and a half hours after falling asleep. You can be sure that if you wake up just after one of the REM phases you go through each night, you will enjoy vivid memories.

This is the process used in sleep laboratories, where oneiric activity is studied through encephalographic registry of electrical brain activity.

The people in the study—who are volunteers—sleep connected to machines that register their physiological reactions (brain waves, cardiac rhythm, blood pressure, muscle activity, eye movement, etc).

At certain points during the night, these reactions indicate that, if you wake them, they will be able to tell you what they dreamed. This is because the phase that produces the most intense dreams (REM) is characterized by a physical reaction easily observed: the rapid movement of the eyes of the dreamer.

With this method, sleep laboratories can collect proof of precisely

when subjects are dreaming. And given that oneiric images are difficult to remember, the lab techniques have been a great advance in dream research. Some experts assert that thanks to the scientific advances of the second half of the twentieth century, we have learned more about sleep processes in the last fifty years than in all the history of humanity.

What do we dream?

A wide study done in France on the subject of dreams produced these results:

  • Relationships with partners (18%)
  • Home, especially that of our childhood (15%) -Aggressors, thieves, being chased, etc. (10%)
  • Missing the train; embarrassing baggage (8%) -Water, wells, tunnels; traffic accidents (6%) -Forgotten children or babies (5%)
  • Snakes, fires, stairs (5%)
  • Negative animals: spiders, cockroaches, rats, etc. (4%) -Clothing or lack of clothing; nakedness (3%)
  • Losing teeth or other alarming situations (2%)

Hypnagogic images: between waking and sleep

As we’ve seen, throughout the night our sleep is divided into four distinct phases. But what happens just before we sink into the first phase? Are we still awake? Not exactly. In the moments when our mind decides between wakefulness and sleep, we begin to lose contact with the world around us, without the characteristic physiological changes of sleep.

This intermediate point has been called the “hypnagogic state” by psychologists. This is a period when, despite the fact that we’re not asleep, our brains generate images that can sometimes be very beautiful. In some ways, these images rival those found in our dreams.

Hypnagogic images of great visual beauty evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and are barely remembered.

However, the hypnagogic state cannot be considered a truly oneiric state. Among other reasons, the scenes produced in this phase are unrelated to the episodes with a more or less coherent plot that characterize dreams.

In the hypnagogic state we produce unrelated images that hardly connect to each other and that, unlike dreams, are not linked to our daily experiences. This phenomenon occurs not only before sleeping but also in the moments before waking up, when we are not yet conscious enough to be aware of them.

Sometimes, before falling asleep we also experience a curious sensation of floating or flying, or we may see very sharp scenes, with a clarity comparable to that of real visual experiences. These types of images, like dreams, evaporate like bubbles when we wake up and we barely remember them, which is a shame because their beauty slips from our minds. In any case, unlike oneiric thoughts, the hypnagogic state is little use for understanding the messages our subconscious wants to send us, and we should value it more for its beauty than its transcendental content.

Salvador Dali, painter of dreams.

To remember them you must not lose consciousness during the apparition. That is, you must observe the process of the hypnagogic state without falling asleep. It seems simple but it is not, because you must submerge yourself in sleep while the mind remains aware of the events happening in its interior. With a little luck, we can see some of the marvelous “paintings” of our private museum.

The surrealist artists of the 20s and 30s knew all about this. This is how Salvador Dali, fervent lover of hypnagogic scenes, turned to what is known as “the monk’s sleep.” He went to bed with a large iron key in his hand. With the first dream, the key would fall to the floor and he would wake up suddenly. In his mind he recorded the hypnagogic images he would later transfer to the canvas in his masterful style.

The seven “chakras,” or centers of subtle energy in the ayurvedic hindu medicine (1).
The nadis according to Tibetan tradition (2).
The meridians of traditional Chinese medicine (3).

If you have difficulty retaining the hypnagogic state, try centering your attention on a concrete point. For example the “third eye” of the yogis (that is, between your eyes), in the area of the heart, or in the top of the head. These three positions are, according to the philosophy of yoga, the centers of subtle rather than physical energy in the human body. You need a place to direct the mind. Another trick to hold attention without effort is to think abstractly about the name of the object you wish to see. This doesn’t mean you have to “create” the images; you just have to induce its appearance during the hypnagogic state. Entering through meditation is also very useful and beneficial.

Sometimes, the hypnagogic scenes are not as pleasant as we would like, but we must confront them in order to strengthen our ability for self-control. If they persist, try following the previous advice. Think abstractly about the name of what you want to see, resisting the temptation to construct it in a certain way from the conscious mind.

The main advantage of the hypnagogic state is that it brings us progressively closer to our deep Self . . . and all that helps to understand and better benefit from dreams.

The same subject can have very different meanings depending on the circumstances and personal situation of the dreamer.... Dreampedia

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