From professional psychologists to young children, everyone has a fascination with dreams. And that fascination is nothing new: people have been obsessing over dreams for thousands of years. Despite the passion behind this, we still have no concrete understanding of our unconscious adventures.
To some, namely the ancient Egyptians, dreams were the stuff of the supernatural world. They believed it was evidence of gods, and these gods were warning them; given the gravity of this, they spent serious time recording and interpreting their dreams. To the Greeks, there was also a sense that some deity was attempting to communicate with man. To them, though, only a priest could interpret the dreams correctly.
Looking back at history, we see that cultures all over the world had their own way of interpreting dreams and explaining why we as humans have them. This tradition still seeps through today with modern psychology and, of course, with modern religions.
5 Common Dreams (And an Attempt at Explanation)
Although everyone dreams about different things due to different experiences, there are some common motifs we find in dreams.
The Remembered Safe Place
First, a commonly reported dream is being in a place from one’s childhood. Maybe a house. If you find yourself dreaming of some “safe” place like this, you may be because you’re feeling security, belonging, or nurture. In the case that your childhood was just the opposite, you may be dreaming that because you’re feeling the opposite of those feelings in life: insecurity, alienation, and contempt.
Another common dream is when you’re being chased. In fact, some say this is the most common dream there is. If you find yourself being chased in a dream, it may be because you feel overwhelmed by someone. Another interpretation is that you may feel you’re being forced into something, maybe by work or family.
Perhaps the most socially stereotyped dream of them all, everyone seems to – at least once – find themselves naked in from of classmates or coworkers. Freud said this stemmed directly from our deepest desire: sex. That may not mean you’re feeling sexual though. Instead, it may stem from a sexual insecurity.
These are always my favorite (although they seem to lead to the next on the list) because of how empowering it can make me feel. I remember dreaming as a kid I could just barely fly in my dreams, but when I focused I could take off an go anywhere. Some say this also stems from something sexual, but I never got that feeling myself. Instead, it was a feeling of self-pride, courage, and dedication.
Another very, very common dream is falling. Just as it would suggest, falling means you’re feeling insecure. You’re missing something in life – support from a loved one, a clear direction, or maybe even finances. Falling may simply point to the feeling of failing.
Recording Your Dreams
So what have you been dreaming? When you wake up in the morning, give yourself a few minutes to recall the dream before you do anything. Keep a journal nearby and jot down any notes about the dreams from the night before. Although I haven’t done it myself, many people find a dream journal both rewarding and, well, revealing!