Recognition Of Dreams

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It is impossible to categorize dreams strictly into type because each dream is different and therefore unique in its own right. They can, however, be recognized as basically literal, symbolic or a mixture of literal and symbolic imagery. Once this is discovered, the dream can then be seen as a warning dream, an encouraging dream, a prophetic dream, a psychic dream, a healing dream or a nightmare, depending on the reason for its creation in the first place.

Life is made up of one experience after another and these experiences often give rise to problems which need solving, accepting or facing. We can do this in two different ways. Through intelligent reasoning with our head, or intuitively with our heart. Sometimes we make decisions with our heart, sometimes with our head, but the best solutions are those reached when our head and heart agree.

Usually, it is our head with its logic that rules during the day, and our heart with its instinct that rules at night. ‘Sleep on it’ is good advice, for that is when our hearts have their chance to contribute, so listening to our dreams with their message is vital.

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What Are Dreams

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Defining dreams as ‘visions during sleep’ may describe what occurs, but this does not explain what they are. Undoubtedly, they are experiences real enough to produce strong psychological and physiological responses in a person. The nightmare, for example, produces the flight or fight mechanism, with its accompanying increase in blood pressure and heart rate, and even sleep-walking, in readiness for physical action. The passionate dream of a lover, renowned for its emotional and biological effects, is a further example, yet these dreams are not reality.

Sometimes events from the previous day are in our thoughts as we drop off to sleep, so not surprisingly these scenes are re-enacted as literal dreams, in the hope of extracting further information from what has already happened. Reliving events in this way has been suggested as a reason for dreaming, but this is only one aspect. The dream reflecting a foreign land the dreamer has never heard of, or the weird and wonderful mansion to which the dreamer returns night after night, demolishes any such simplistic explanation.

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Dreams

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There is nothing more fascinating, more intensely personal, and more uniquely ours then the voyages our minds and spirits take while we sleep. Our dreams can confuse us, relieve us, amuse us, comfort us, inform and enlighten us. Our sleep journeys, even the nightmares, are gifts, our allies to embrace rather then dread and worth every effort it takes to unravel their mysteries and cherish every valuable lesson and insight they have to offer us.

There are two basic stages of sleep: REM, which stands for ‘rapid eye movement’ and is the lightest stage of sleep, and Non-REM, which is the deeper sleep when eye movements and our other muscle responses become almost non existent. It is during REM sleep that we dream, and its when we are awakened during or immediately after REM that we are most likely to remember our dreams. The Non-REM stage accounts for about 75 percent of our sleep, leaving 25 percent for REM sleep. Thanks to a lot of brilliant minds, tirelessly working to advance our knowledge of how the brain works and understanding brain waves, we understand that brain waves fluctuate in approximately ninety minute cycles, while we sleep. Brain waves have been measured by the EEG, or electroencephalograph, have been charted into distinct levels for those ninety minute cycles. Beta Level: We are wide awake, active and alert. Alpha Level: We are awake but relaxed, and our eyes are closed. Theta Level: We are very sleepy or in the process of falling asleep, and usually in the REM stage. Delta Level: We are deeply asleep and in the Non-REM stage.

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