THE SCIENCE BEHIND
UNDERSTANDING YOUR DREAMS
From the front page:
Do you know that the average person will spend 6 years of their life dreaming?
Despite that, science still understands very little about dreams. But we do know a couple of very important facts.
And that knowledge, based in brain science, can be very helpful to the process of learning to understand your dreams.
First and foremost, we now know that key parts of the prefrontal cortex of your brain are inactive during the dream state.
What that means in simpler language, is that the parts of your brain that you normally use to understand the world around you, are not a part of your dream world.
No wonder people so often think that their dreams are weird!
You wake up in the morning and the first thing that happens is your prefrontal cortex – the thinking, judging mind kicks back into gear. And the first thing it says is “pay no attention to all that crazy stuff that happened last night”.
Of course to the thinking mind – this is true. The world of dreams is literally an alien place to the thinking mind.
But that is only from the perspective of the thinking mind.
Dreams come from a different part of your brain and they speak a different language than your day to day thinking mind.
This other part of the brain is called the limbic system.
The limbic system is the part of your brain that is associated with the world of feelings. This is the realm of dreams, of emotions, of sensuality and of experience.
It is a realm with a language that the thinking mind does not understand.
This is why interpreting dreams is the wrong approach.
This is why dream dictionaries, that try to help you interpret your dreams, tend to only add to the confusion.
So what to do instead?
There are three important principles that grow out of our understanding of brain science:
- Develop a new mindset in relationship to your dreams. See if you can restrain yourself from the natural tendency we all have to interpret our dreams.
- See if you can consciously slow things down and feel into or reflect on your dream without trying to figure it out. Be reflective and make space for your intuition to rise.
If you have a “practice” like a meditation, yoga, or prayer practice, then you have some experience with consciously stepping into a “limbic state”. See if you can be with the dream in the same way.
- Lastly, a word of caution. As you “feel” into your dream – go slowly and gently. The world of our dreams can bring up intense and overwhelming feelings. Don’t work with dreams that contain overwhelming emotional content. Or make sure you work them with someone you trust that has experience with deep emotional work.
We all have a choice.
We can each ignore the six years of our lives that we spend dreaming or we can consciously come into relationship with our dream world.
We can dismiss our dreams in the same way that western culture used to completely dismiss our deeper emotional side. Or we can embrace this deeper consciousness that comes to each of us, each and every night.