“Living The Dream”: How Our Dreams Influence Real Life

“Tell me what you know about dreamin…'”- Kid Cudi “Pursuit of Happiness

A blog by: Thomas Williamson Domol

What did you dream about last night? Was it the one where you’re flying? Were you being chased through a field? Or were you possibly waiting for a train? All very real possibilities, after all, who can truly make sense of a dream? I write most of my blogs about the conscious, waking life, but the fact of the matter is that dreams have always fascinated me and confounded me all at once. Dreams can thrill us, frighten us, and make us think long and hard about where our lives are really headed. Now, you can take a quick trip over to your favorite search engine and retrieve millions of hits on varying dream theories, it’s not my intention to dissect, sift through, and analyze all of them or even any of them, but we will touch on a few key reference points.

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Human nature, (not MJ) to want to make sense out of everything, ranging from the mundane to the absurd or bizarre. Dreams can be any of these things. One notable dream theorist you may be familiar with, Sigmund Freud, believed that our dreams had deeper meaning than we could possibly imagine, and that what we see in our dreams is our brain subconsciously realizing our greatest fears, desires, aspirations, and even aggressions. Freud knew what he was talking about in most cases, so far be it for me to argue with him, but I will to an extent.

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My goal here is not to credit or discredit any theory about dreams, rather I would like to delve into the matter of how our dreams affect our actions in real life. So now we’ll dig deeper and I will present a few scenarios in dreams that might affect your behavior in waking life. Say for example, in your dreams, if you win the lottery, does that lead you to go out to your local grocery store to purchase more lottery tickets? What about nightmares, if you wake up from a vivid and haunting nightmare, does that lead you to proceed with more caution in everything you do the following day? The answer to those questions might be yes, and I wouldn’t blame you for it.

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The word dream itself usually has a positive connotation applied to it, as can be found in phrases like “she’s the girl of my dreams”, “livin’ the dream”, “California Dreamin”, etc. Literally every day I go into work, the word pops up just about everywhere. But dreams can also carry with them a stigma. If someone says to you “dream on”, they are suggesting that you are attempting to attain something that is not tangible, or is beyond your capabilities of attaining. I really shouldn’t be saying “you”, it goes against everything my professors tried to teach me in writing class, but sometimes it’s better to just get these thoughts out, and worry about the consequences later.

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This can all be a tad confusing, do dreams really matter? They might, but no one can know for sure. I would argue that they unequivocally matter because they almost always elicit a physiological response from your body, especially from the brain’s amygdala, where flight or flight responses originate. Plus, dreams mean you’re in REM sleep, which ultimately is good for you, or so it seems.

We can carry on this discussion perpetually and it would serve us right to do so in the interest of discovering more about ourselves. Whatever theory you buy into depends on your personality type. I feel as though we dream to help us adjust to the challenges we face in everyday life, others differ, and they’re well within their rights to pursue their own line of reasoning. Let’s keep trying to make sense of it all.

 

TD

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