Falling, Flying, Death: EVER WONDERED WHAT YOUR DREAMS MEAN? Hypnotherapist and psychotherapist Paul Gill explains
As we lay our heads down to rest every night, dreams wash over our sleeping selves, bringing us to places our waking selves can scarcely imagine. While we often brush off and disregard our dreams once we are awake, they are actually a valuable way to better understand ourselves.
Hypnotherapist and psychotherapist Paul Gill explains why we dream, why analysis is important and how to start interpreting dreams.
Never be afraid of your dreams. To really know yourself as a human being, to understand how you work and to make changes, you need to understand your dreams. We spend a third of our life asleep; it’s helpful to us on a personal level to be aware of those seven or eight hours a night and what our minds are thinking of at that time. Imagine if you couldn’t remember what happened between 12pm and 8pm during the day, if it was a blank, you’d be concerned. When you try to remember and interpret your dreams, you are getting in touch with your subconscious mind during those sleeping hours. We can be totally inspired and find solutions to our problems in our dreams.
WHY WE DREAM
Dreams are primarily about emotion and feeling. They are a report from the subconscious mind about how you feel about certain issues in your life. By dreaming we are trying to process new and not so new experiences and information in our lives so we have a deeper understanding of ourselves and feel more secure. The subconscious mind dreams because it needs to do so in order to maintain a healthy mind. Your subconscious not only heals the body it also tries to heal the mind, so if something has happened to you during the day, dreaming is the brain’s way of trying to understand and process it and helps you to learn along the way.
Many people don’t realise that we are dreaming when we’re awake too. During the day the moon is out in the sky, but we can’t see it because the sun is too bright. It’s similar with humans: in the daytime our consciousness is too bright, but at night when our body falls asleep the subconscious gets free reign and we notice our dreams more often.
One of the easiest way to capture your dreams is to put a pen and paper beside your bed, look at it before you go to sleep and when you wake it’s there for you to write things down.
You have five major dreams every night.
If you can log your dreams over a period of time you can work with those ideas, recognise certain traits and get to know yourself really well. If you still can’t remember your dreams at all, plan for a nap during the day and set an alarm for 30 mins. Lie on your bed close your eyes take a few deep breaths. Begin to notice what thoughts drift into your mind and how they lead to other thoughts. After the alarm sounds you will be surprised at how far you’ve strayed away from the thought you started with. This teaches your mind to become aware of your thoughts and in time becomes an automatic process when you sleep and dream.
There can be a number of reasons why dreams aren’t remembered.
Firstly people can repress dreams. Everyone carries emotional baggage, if you’ve got issues you don’t want to think of, your mind can hide it away and this is reflected in a seemingly dreamless sleep. On the other side of the coin if your life is going okay you don’t necessarily need to notice your dreams. But life being what it is, you will be thrown a curveball, you will have dreams and it’s very useful to know what your dreams are telling you.
Recurring dreams are unresolved issues of the mind. You may be having difficulty processing something in your life and the conscious self might be choosing not to deal with it. When your mind doesn’t know what to do with a problem, it may leave it there until the next night or the next week. But if you continue to ignore it, it’ll keep coming back. You need to pay close attention and begin to work your way through the dream.
Our greatest need as human beings is to feel secure. In nightmares we are afraid and fear is one of our strongest emotions, it controls us. We often don’t take chances with things in case it encroaches on our sense of safety. When we have a dream where we are fearful, your mind is trying to protect you from something that you perceive as dangerous. Often it’s not what’s in the nightmare that we are afraid of, but of what it represents. When you are afraid of something your mind is going to give you a very strong dream to tell you that you need to do something about this. Don’t avoid them, confront them. Anything that chases you will eternally do so unless you stop it. You can confront it relatively simply by realising that everything in the dream is you, if it’s a dog, if it’s a monster, that’s you. It’s your fear that is being represented and remember that you own that fear.
MEN AND WOMEN’S DREAMS
Although men and women are the same species, in ways we are entirely different. It’s related to our emotional states and our communication skills. Because men show less emotion, sometimes there is less emotion in the dream and men’s dreams can be very minimalistic. Statistics would say that women and small children have more nightmares than men do. If you are being assailed by something in a dream, a man’s natural reaction is to lash out and hit it but that’s not always the option for a woman or a small child so we dream differently in that respect.
WAKING FROM DREAMS
When you wake up abruptly there’s a learning point in that stage of the dream. You need to ask yourself, “What happened to shock me out of that dream?”. That is what your mind is trying to tell you.
COMMON DREAMS – Want to know what it all means? Paul explains common dreams…
FALLING AND FLYING:
Flying is aspirational, the person wants to get to the clouds, do something extraordinary. But sometimes doubt creeps in and the person starts to go straight down. When you fall, it’s letting yourself down and fear of failure. Nobody likes to fail but we make our great advances in life through failure. Failing is important in our learning process, if you haven’t failed, you haven’t learned anything.
RUNNING BUT YOU CAN’T RUN FAST ENOUGH OR YOUR FEET ARE STUCK TO THE GROUND:
It’s a situation that you feel you can’t get out of, you’re not making progress, so you have to ask yourself, “Where do I feel I’m stuck?”’ That dream can also happen in water. You can’t push water away, it will come in and overwhelm you, you can feel it’s out of your control and you’re sinking.
Most of us are fearful of death and we try to avoid it, but since fear is one of our strongest emotions it comes back to haunt us. Death in dreams is the end of something. The counterpoint of that is pregnancy, which means expectation of something new coming to birth.
This is connected to to a feeling of not having an impact, nobody is noticing you in either work or family life.
Interview by Marguerite Kiely