Why your success is just a dream away
Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that usually occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. The content and purpose of dreams are not definitively understood, though they have been a topic of scientific speculation, as well as a subject of philosophical and religious interest, throughout human history. The scientific study of dreams is called oneirology.
Before we dive into how you can dream to success by giving examples of famous people who have used dreaming to get rich, it would be fair for me to give you a brief history of dreams to deepen your understanding of this mystic natural occurrence.
The history of dreams can be explained from a scientific or religious perspective. Different religions have different explanations regarding dreaming. For Christians, the belief of dreams tying with religious themes in the Western worldview was not something that was naturally intuitive. By having belief in these things, the Western culture would open their minds to a non-rational and imaginative force that opens up people’s mind to understanding realism with evil and how one can have hope over it. Pursuing dreams does not require God or gods and this is why the Western culture receives this practice openly among their religious views and lifestyles.
The Muslim society believes different forms of dreaming can help people come incontact with past martyrs of their faith. Their purpose is to give the dreamer full understanding of the martyr’s existance and implications towards the future. Different examples of how dreams can affect the future of Muslims include but are not limite to: showing a prosperous future., motivate them into moral or spiritual development and warning them of impending dangers. Decisions made by Muslims can be as important as deciding a future spouse can be determined through one particular dream. The ultimate purpose behind these dreams is to give the devout Muslim a deeper insight into the truth that is not available in waking reality.
On the other hand, amidst different Hinduism and Buddhist contexts, there are different theories such as sleepless dreaming that appear. This is unique to the Eastern culture because it is rarely mentioned in the Western culture when discussing the possibility of dreams and religion. The only time Western writer’s talk of dreamless sleep is when referencing Hindu or Buddhist contexts. This Eastern viewpoint gives a unique insight on how practices in Buddhist circles can be contextualized. This dreamless sleep as mentioned prior is part of Tibetan Buddhism practice of achieving a particular mental state before going into sleep. They describe this experience as such of having visions and they require some visual criteria to be present for dreamless sleep to be achieved. Its highest form of praise is that it gives practical guidelines for the practicing Buddhist and their progress in meditation.
In the scientific realm, early civilizations thought of dreams as a medium between our earthly world and that of the gods. In fact, the Greeks and Romans were convinced that dreams had certain prophetic powers. While there has always been a great interest in the interpretation of human dreams, it wasn’t until the end of the nineteenth century that Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung put forth some of the most widely-known modern theories of dreaming.
The scientific theories of dreaming have opened a Pandora box that one can tap to experience the full self. The theories have categorized dreams into three types:
- Authentic dreams.
These dreams are defined by their tendency to occur “within the realm of experience”. Research suggests that the brain stimulation that occurs during dreaming authentic dreams is significant in reinforcing neurological pathways, serving as a method for the mind to “rehearse” certain things during sleep.
- Illusory dreams
These are dreams that contain impossible, incongruent, or bizarre content as the types of dreams hypothesized to stem from memory circuits accumulating efficacy errors. In theory, old memories having undergone synaptic efficacy refreshment multiple times throughout one’s lifetime result in accumulating errors that manifest as illusory dreams.
Illusory dreams are believed to most likely stem from older memories that experience this accumulation of errors in contrast to authentic dreams that stem from more recent experiences.
- Lucid dreams
A lucid dream is any dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During lucid dreaming, the dreamer may allegedly be able to exert some degree of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment. The term ‘lucid dream’ was coined by Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 article A Study of Dreams, though descriptions of dreamers being aware that they are dreaming predates the term, and is closely related to ancient meditative praxis originating in India.
The theories have gone further and tried to interpret dreams. You can find meaning in your dreams by applying the following theories.
- The Psychoanalytic Theory
First it’s important to note that Sigmund Freud was a major proponent of this theory. The psychoanalytic theory suggests that people’s aggression and sexual instincts are what drive them, and that since these are blocked from our conscious minds, they instead try and come out in our unconscious state. Freud has completed a significant amount of research on dreams, including his book “The Interpretation of Dreams,” where he discussed the idea of dreams being our way of fulfilling the desires that we keep repressed and hidden away. The only way for our repressed desires to come into our awareness is through our dreams, and Freud suggests that there are two components that come into play; latent content and manifest.
Manifest content is what we are actually seeing in our dreams; the images, emotions, and full content of the dream. The latent content is what many seek to find when they dream; the hidden meaning. What, psychologically does a dream mean? Dream interpretation, according to Freud, unveils what your dreams are truly about and exposes your repressed thoughts and desires.
- The Activation-Synthesis Theory
Suggested back in 1977, this theory states that dreams are caused by activity in the brain. Robert McClarley and J. Allan Hobson were the psychologists who proposed this theory and they believed that during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, brain circuits are activated and this causes the limbic system to become active. This system is responsible for memories, emotions, and sensations, and according to this theory, the brain tries to interpret this activity and dreams are what result.
Even though this theory is all about dreams being caused by internal functions, Hobson does still believe that dreams have some sort of meaning. While he does not side with Freud’s theory about dreams being our unconscious bringing our repressed emotions to the surface, he does believe that they are our, “…most creative conscious state.” He believes that even though the majority of dreams make no sense, every now and then there is a dream that we find useful; thereby making our dreaming actually worthwhile.
- A Combination of Theories
There are so many theories about dreams that many of them don’t stem from one psychological theory and others propose that a combination of theories are at work. Each theory makes perfect sense – it’s just a matter of finally finding which one is actually right; or perhaps they are all wrong?
One theory that is more contemporary suggests that parts of many theories are correct and seeks to take the best part of each theory to determine how dreams are made. This theory claims that while the anatomical activity in the brain, proven by science, is what creates the activity that leads us to dream it is our personal thoughts and emotions that actually guide the dream.
Another theory states dreams are merely what take place when our brains take in the things that are happening around us while we sleep. As our brain tries to interpret the radio, television, talking, or anything else that is going on while we sleep, we end up dreaming. Most people have had the experience of dreaming about their alarm clock going off only to wake and find that it really is going off. This theory makes sense if you consider it that way, but it still leaves the question of where the dreams we have during complete silence come from.
Yet another theory suggests that dreams are like a personal psychotherapy session. Through our dreams, we are able to openly and clearly deal with personal thoughts, emotions, and issues within the safety of our own mind. This would mean that dreaming really does have a purpose and a benefit; something that more and more theories are aiming to prove.
Now for the jackpot, I will outline how several famous individuals used their dreams to achieve great success in life.
The discovery of DNA – The shape and structure of DNA was unknown to scientists until 1953 when Dr. James Watson had a dream of two intertwined serpents that made him consider the possibility of a double helix
Thomas Edison – Although we aren’t sure if his famous inventions came about because of his dreams, many people believe that Edison was an avid lucid dreamer. There were times when he would place a metal tin on the floor between his feet and hold a rock in his hands while he was brainstorming, so that if he fell asleep the rock would fall into the tin and wake him up. In those days, this was a strategy for lucid dreaming. Edison believed that dreams were often the forerunner to brilliant ideas
Christopher Nolan’s Inception – The inspiration for the movie Inception came to Christopher because of his own lucid dreams. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Nolan said that ever since he was little he was intrigued at how he would wake up and then, as he fell back into a shallow sleep, hold onto the awareness that he was in a dream. He felt that in this state he could study and even alter the events of his dreams. Of the movie he said, “I wrote the first draft of this script seven or eight years ago, but it goes back much further, this idea of approaching dream and the dream life as another state of reality.”
Albert Einstein – Most famous for his E=MC2 equation, Einstein claims that the inspiration for the Theory of Relativity came to him in a dream. He says he was hurling down a mountainside, going faster and faster until the stars blurred above him and were altered in appearance as he approached the speed of light.
Otto Loewi – Won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1936 for paying attention to and acting on his dreams. Otto had a dream which led him to understand the chemical transmission of nerve impulses.
Disney World – Walt Disney was a big dreamer, which is evident in all that he created while alive. “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
The sewing machine – In 1905 Popular Mechanics reported that Elias Howe invented the sewing machine because of inspiration from a dream. “One night he dreamed he was building a sewing machine in a strange country for a savage king. The king had given him twenty four hours to complete the machine and make it sew, but try as he would he could not make the needle work, and finally gave up in despair. At sunrise he was taken out to be executed, and with the mechanical action of the mind in times of great crises he noted that the spears carried by the warriors were pierced near the head. Suddenly, he realized that here was the solution of the sewing machine needle. He begged for time–and while still begging awoke. It was four o’ clock. Hastily he dressed and went to his workshop–at nine o’clock the model of the needle with an eye at the point was finished.”
The idea of dreaming oneself to riches may seem farfetched but you can understand yourself through your dreams. This is the only part of your earthly experience that is truly individual and links you to the Supreme Being. Embrace your dreams by trying to find meaning in them and you may find the meaning in your life’s purpose.
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