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Find out what dreams are consisted of

Elvis Elvis

There is no reason why you should not be able to discover what dreams are made of. Many people experience a rich dream life. Others report dreamless sleep night after night. However, the world is not divided into dreamers and non dreamers: everyone dreams every night.

The difference is that some people have few problems remembering their dreams, while for others, who for some reason are less adept at dream recall, the ours of sleep represent total oblivion. Using the techniques outlined in this ‘what dreams are made of’ web site, there is no reason why anyone should fail to recall at least some part of their dream experiences upon waking.

A first step in understanding what dreams are made of is to recognize that they stem from different levels of the unconcious. Sigmund Freud, who did much to draw scientific attention to dreams, suggested that the unconscious mind consists of two levels: the “preconscious” and the “personal conscious”. To these Carl Jung added a third level, the “collective unconscious”. By offering new insights from each of these ‘what dreams are made of’ levels, and increasing our awareness of them, dreams often provide a vital avenue toward self-understanding.

Any dream can contain material from more than one level, but typically one or other level predominates, guiding the way in which we approach each dream. Dreams from the preconscious, for example, are really a continuation of waking preoccupations, weaving together fragments of recent events, current anxieties and acknowledged hopes and wishes. The meaning of such dreams can often be taken at face value.

Dreams come from different levels of the unconscious; what dreams are made of. These can be described as:

Level 1 – the preconscious: the most accessible part of our mind, containing all the material that can readily be called into consciousness when we are awake.

Level 2 – the personal unconscious: memories that are beyond the reach of our waking consciousness, but exert a profound influence upon our psychological life, including our dream life. Childhood traumas, repressed wishes and fears, unacknowledged emotions and expectations, all form part of our personal unconscious, which develops and chages over time.

Find out what dreams are consisted of

Level 3 – the collective unconscious: the primal ideas, symbols, themes and archetypes forming the raw material for profound human aspirations, drives and longings. The collective unconscious is an inherited level of mind, common to us all, from which come the recurring themes in the myths and legends of all cultures. Jung referred to the collective unconscious as “the vast historical storehouse of the human race”.

Because Level 1 dreams revolve around the mundane events of the day, they can deceive us into thinking that they are meaningless. However, everything we dream is significant, and we should ask why the dreaming mind has selected trivia instead of deeper concerns. The dream may, in fact, be using trivial events as an indirect means of addressing Level 2 or 3 material that is more difficult to acces directly. A dream might, for example, replay the recent unmemorable experience of calling a wrong telephone number as a way to represent a deep unrecognized fear of failure to communicate one’s deeper self to others. In this way, apparently inconsequential Level 1 material can serve to unlock some profound Level 2 messages during dream interpretation.

Level 2 dreams are often concerned with long-lost memories and deep personal issues. They frequently feature situations and events quite foreign to waking life. The dreamer may find himself or herself in a strange role or an unfamiliarsituation, relating to unknown people or behaving entirely out of character. The dream may have an intriguing feel about it, and stay in the memory as if asking insistently for interpretation. From the most unlikely starting point, careful analysis and interpretation may eventually uncover the most revealing inner material – what dreams are made of…

Usually the symbolism of Level 2 dreams is personal to the dreamer, which is one reason why dream dictionaries containing standard meaning for each symbol are of little use. The stuff of what dreams are made of can often just be interpreted by the dreamer itself. A dream of a clothes store, for example, may symbolize for one person the childhood wish to have new clothes instead of garments handed down from older siblings, and thus reflect unacknowledged feelings of inferiority or resentment. For another it may be linked with an early memory of humiliation at knocking over a clothes stand during a forbidden game of chase while a parent was busy in the fitting room.

Level 3 dreams – generally the rarest – deal with profound themes such as spirituality, life and death, transformation, love, sacrifice and heroism. Typically the ‘what dreams are made of’ symbols operating at this level are universal and can often best be understood by studying their appearance in the myths and legends of one’s own or other people’s culture – a technique known as “amplification”. Jung referred to such dreams as “grand dreams”, and pointed to their appearance at key transitional stages in life, and to their ability to retain their freshness and power in the memory over the years.

Individuals experience wide variations in the number and ratio of dreams from each of the three different ‘what dreams are made of’ levels. People who are engaged in self-exploration practices such as meditation, or are involved in psychotherapy, generally report an increase in Level 3 dreams. Distinctive rhythms in the nightly dream cycle may generate particular types of dreams at particular times, swaying each dreamer’s perception of his or her dream life. You can explore these rhythms by setting an alarm clock to awaken yourself at various points during the night, and by recording the dream memories each time you wake up. You might find, for example, that your most vivid and meaningful dreams occur in the early hours of the morning and are normally lost to the memory.