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Dream Definition and Dictionary Interpretation of Their Meaning

The dictionary meaning of dreams: 'a stream of thoughts and images in sleep'. Every dream interpretation is different but the meanings are basically from the same grounding. Some of us dream regularly (everytime we go to sleep), while others may dream very infrequently. There are even those times when we awake and cannot remember if we had a dream or not. As dreams are subject to a wide variety of interpretation, there is a belief that dreams can be prophetic and tell the future.

Dreams often contain significant information for us, putting light on what has happened in our lives, or what is happening and providing insights about our future. Dream symbolism and dream interpertation is just one small aspect of dreaming.

Do dreams have any meaning?

Yes, but the question is more difficult than it first appears. 
In the context of science when we ask if dreams are meaningful, it often means whether or not  they function to help us thrive and survive in some way.  Different sciences will approach meaning differently as each operates under a different story/context. A psychologist may want to know how the dream works to show a person a better way to live and experience life, while an anthropologist may be more interested in how the dream impacts the way people in a tribe alter or confirm the way they live and interact with one another. A brain scientist may be more interested in how dreaming and sleeping contribute to the restoration of our health or consolidation of our memories and experience. 

Artists and writers are more interested in the inspirational aspects of dreaming and how they can carry the images, novelties and creative dreaming process over into their own waking processes and creations.
Spiritual and tribal people are often aware of a different meaning of a dream, the dream as a message. The message may be from an ancestor, a spirit or god, or even from one's own soul or unconscious.
The same dream may have different meanings to all of these people. Which one is correct, or are they all incorrect in looking for meaning in a dream that has no meaning? 

Is the dream a message?

We have learned now that the question is not so simple. When we ask "What do you mean, when you ask if a dream has meaning?", several options unfold that make this question difficult to answer. However, we don't have to be fooled by the legal terms. When Bill Clinton replied "It depends on what is, is", we all knew what "is" was, it was sex with Monica Lewinski.  And when someone asks what a dream means, they usually are asking if the dream has an important message for them. This message usually takes one of these forms:

Is the dream a message?
- A message from the unconscious or psyche or myself-to-myself?
- A message from God or a spiritual entity?
- A message sent telepathically from a friend or entity?
- A message from the future itself?
- Does this dream indicate that I will have something occur like the dream in
real life? It - may be an accident, a marriage, or some good or bad fortune.
- Again, in terms of science, there are no clear answers. Science is not capable of addressing these questions directly. We can say through survey research that when we look at dreams as-if they are messages, that this is often a more satisfying way of; approaching dreams than as-if they are without a message. But new, non-representational dreamwork that works with dreams as a process of production, and creative expression, and presentation instead of a message are also valuable ways to work with dreams.

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Copyright: Richard Wilkerson -

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