The week of May 12, 2008, an interesting phenomenon occurred at dreamschool.org. As we began sorting the dreams received, we noticed that an unusual number of dreams came from people in the same city: Harrisburg, Oregon. Upon further investigation we learned the dreamers heard about dreamschool from either their school or teacher. Using reasoning and intuition, we determined that the dreams were stimulated by an insightful teacher who assigned his or her class to submit a dream. We, here at dreamschool, appreciate and commend the teacher and the students who submitted these dreams because it affords us a wonderful opportunity for our research. The result is:
Dreams tell us about ourselves. Dreams have universal meaning as well as personal relevance to the dreamer. Dream messages are like receiving personal counsel on your state of being each day. Learning how to interpret these nighttime images allows the dreamer to open up worlds of possibilities in Self awareness.
In this study, we received 29 dreams. Sixteen of the dreamers were male; 13, female. Those reporting their age were either 18 or 19. All hailed from Oregon with over half, reporting where they live as Harrisburg. We are examining these dreams in two categories: state and content.
State of Consciousness
State of consciousness is defined as the condition of one’s intelligence. It can be thought of as temperament. State can be inner or outer, focused or dispersed, divided or united, clear or cloudy, flexible or hard, relaxed or tense, sharp or dull, available or protected.
State can be revealed by how the dreamer describes the images given in the dream. In this study we will examine the following two factors of state, whether the dream is defined as being repetitive or reported as being lucid.
Of the 29 dreams, 38% reported were recurring dreams.
I have this dream on and off that I cant breathe in the dream and I panic in my sleep because I feel like I cant breathe for real. male/OR, United States
I have a dream whereim falling in to water and i just keep falling. and i see people swim past me. female/OR, United States
I keep having dreams and at the end I always get really close to dieing but I never do. like I’ll be falling or I’ll get shot. but right before I die I wake up abruptly, like if I’m falling right before I hit the ground I like jerk out of bedmale/OR, United States
Recurring dreams arise when the same dream message is pertinent to the dreamer. This happens when the thoughts and attitudes of the dreamer remain the same. It is similar to repeating the same grade in school until the information presented is used and learning is accelerated. Only then can the student advance to the next grade and be successful at the new level of learning. The dream message will repeatedly surface until the message is interpreted and a response is made that changes the dreamer’s awareness. When this occurs, a new dream message will give insight to the changes in the dreamer’s attitude.
For instance, in the case of the male who repeatedly panics in his dream, a change will need to occur in his waking life concerning how he receives the energy from the environment. Since the dream repeats, the dreamer might want to learn martial arts or yoga for their benefits in wielding pranayama. When female (who falls through the water) begins making choices in her life so she can direct her conscious life experiences and control what is happening in her life. The last dream in our examples above is common and indicates a desire to change that is never being fulfilled. This man needs to learn how to follow through on his goals.
Seven of the Harrisburg dreamers identified their dreams as lucid. Lucid dreams describe the ability to become consciously aware during the dream state. With refined concentration, an individual can actively observe the dream as it is transpiring, a skill taught at the School of Metaphysics, the educational parent organization for dreamschool. The following dreams were reported by our dreamers as being lucid.
I was running down the street, being chased by a man in a brown ford pickup truck, and when I ran past one of the intersections in town, I ran straight through a food stand, the kind that is normally seen during the fourth of July. When I ran through, there was an opossum and the stand happened to be a Dairy Queen stand. My best friend was working the stand at the time. female/OR, United States
i always attempt to kill my dads girlfriend in my dreams female/OR, United States
In the ten year history of dreamschool.org we have seen an increase in dreams being reported as lucid. Part of this is due to more people becoming aware of their dreams, remembering and recording them. There is a difference between remembering a dream and being aware that you are dreaming. In the dream examples above, the female who attempts to kill her dad’s girlfriend is aware that she is doing this in her dream.
Content of Consciousness
Content of consciousness is defined as the product of one’s intelligence. Content is comprised of thoughts, memories, fantasies, visualized images, attitudes, beliefs our own as well as that of others. Content is mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. It is both desire and fulfillment, fear and love, doubt and resolve.
Dreams relate the state of awareness of the dreamer. The dream content can differ depending on what would be most relevant to the dreamer, what will grab the attention of the dreamer. Media can play a role in this by allowing the images to enter into our brains. Some of these images are purposeful and intentional, others are not. Just as a writer or an artist chooses the right words or colors to convey what they want to say, the subconscious mind chooses images that relate the message most relevant to the dreamer. This is why one person may dream of the movie they just saw and another would dream of something they never seen before.
waking up in the middle of the night and facing my bedroom window and finding a man just staring at me. I’ve dreamnt about the same men twice. He’s kind of an ariabian with black hair and a blue vest. The next thing I knew I was going to the prom and after the prom I couldn’t get a hold of my parents to come and pick me up so I walked home alone. It wasn’t that far. All of a sudden a bum came up to me angerly asking where the paper branch is. He had a friend and was starting to attack me. I was scared and ran home. That night I was in bed and I thought I was awake but i wasn’t. I started having a cesar all over the bed even on the sides like I was magnetic. I thought I was having a cesar but I realized I was being attacked by someone but I didn’t see his face. Probably that man. Then I woke up with my heart beating really fast. I couldn’t get out of my dream even how hard I tried. It was like something out of nightmare on elm street. I have had a dream about freddy too.male/OR, United States
This was the longest dream we received. It was submitted by an 18-year-old male.
There are ways this dreamer experiences conflict in his life. There are thoughts, qualities, and emotions that the dreamer has absorbed from his environment that is unknown to him. These unknown aspects the dreamer experiences are most likely the result of media. Movies, cell phones, and television symbolize other people’s thoughts and emotions being in the dreamer’s head. This leads to conflict within the self. Internal conflict is the result of doubt and fear. It is resolved by applying will toward a desired object. Once the dreamer identifies what is troubling him, he will be able to determine the source of the conflict.
The first step for this dreamer is to become aware what is being put into the brain. He needs to ask, “What kind of TV am I watching? Is this show aiding me towards fulfilling my desires or pushing me further away?” Becoming clear in the goals that he desires to accomplish in his life will exercise his own imagination rather than fantasizing with someone else’s. Image an ideal, establish a purpose for that ideal, and pursue that activity that will cause this ideal to manifest. This is the formula for success.
The shortest dream (below) came from an 18-year-old female.
i always have dreams that there is a spider falling on me. female/OR, United States, Age: 18
The habit in this dreamer’s life could be the little annoyances that are done without much thought such as, using filler words like, “you know”, “so”, “um” could be a “dream spider”. As the dreamer becomes more aware of the little things she does each day, her dreams will deliver a new message. This is true whether the dream is referring to a little habit as the one highlighted here or a more destructive habit which we will discuss later as we explore the “things” that appear in dreams.
These two dreams bring to light two of the three themes running through the Oregon dreams. These themes are animals, houses and family relationships. These illustrate the three major components of any dream; people (family members), places (houses) and things (animals).
First we will examine people. The Dreamer’s Dictionary written by Dr. Barbara Condron, a leading expert in the field of dreamology, states:
“People in dreams represent the many aspects of Self. An aspect is a particular way of thinking and expressing. An easy way to recognize aspects of Self is to acknowledge the roles the thinker plays in life — the devoted spouse, loving parents, reliable employee, the good friend. Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and we are merely players.” What becomes most important in interpreting the aspects of Self in a dream is noting the qualities the dreamer attributes to them. Aspects reflect characteristics of the dreamer — the comic, the shy one, the ambitious one, the generous one. Whatever quality the dreamer attaches to that person is the quality of Self being addressed in the dream message.”
As we look at the dreams chosen from the group we can see similarities and differences. One of the most common dream symbols amongst the group is people, particularly people who are part of their family. These people are aspects of the dreamer indicating how the dreamer looks at him or herself.
People of the same sex refer to conscious mind aspects. Conscious mind aspects are the ways of expressing ourselves in our waking, everyday life. When we know the people in our dreams we can ascertain what they represent. When we do not, the people symbolize unconscious aspects of the conscious mind. Determining what these represent requires noting our attitude with or toward these people in the dream itself.
In the Universal Language of Mind, family members indicate longstanding attitudes, familiar to the dreamer, that shape his/her concept of the self and the world. When the dream includes the dreamer’s parents or grandparents this represents the superconscious mind, the dreamer’s inner authority and divinity. The purpose of the superconscious mind is to hold the seed idea for the thinker’s maturity as a creator. The superconscious mind is the part of mind that is closest to the source, the Creator. The attitude toward and the activity of the parent who appears in the dream will reveal the dreamer’s relationship with their own superconscious mind.
It was that my dad was leaving on a trip and my mom, sister and me were on a gravel road, listening to a radio station. On the station, an alert came on about a head on accident. My mom called in and it turned out to be my dad. It was a suicidal accident they said and i choose not to believe it saying that dad wouldn’t purposily kill himself. My mom then sat me down and explianed my dad had always been suicidal and that hes not coming back. i then woke up female/OR, United States
i always attempt to kill my dads girlfriend in my dreams female/OR, United States
These dreams are examples of how the dreamers are making changes in how they perceive their inner authority. This occurs when the dreamer is experiencing new ways of thinking, maybe a new environment in which she is becoming more responsible for her own thoughts and attitudes. Sometimes growing up, we imagine what it would be like to live in our own house or apartment, sometimes the reality of living “on our own” is different from what was imagined, largely impart to lack of experience. These new experiences lend themselves to creating changes in our belief systems, awakening us to possibilities and awareness that was once unconceivable.
I come home and my mother informs me that the band “ZZ top” is renting our spare bedroom. The dream immediately moves to the next day at school where my car won’t start and I as soon as I decided to find a ride home they pull up in the ZZ top car to give me a ride. The dream moves on the next day wear everywhere I go they play “Sharp Dressed Man” as if it were my theme music. Eventually at the end of the day they inform me they wish to play a concert. My friend C*(male) immediately says that he has a stage built on his farm we can use. We go to his house and the stage is like a really poorly built like homemade style stage. ZZ top doesn’t seem to notice and starts to play. As the play trees form around the stage and water rises to my waist and suddenly we are at a ZZ top concert in like a swamp area. No one shows up to the concert except our school secretary CA*(female) and the dream ends. male/OR, United States
This dream is another example of how the experience of something is different than first imagined. This dream is focused on how the dreamer harmonizes with his environment. This guides the dreamer through every aspect of the the dreamer’s life, so much so that the his conscious life experiences begin to consume the way the dreamer thinks and acts.
This dreamer might ask questions such as, “How am I using the experiences in my life?” and “How are my thoughts related to what I experience on deeper levels? Daily meditation will aid this dreamer in expanding his conscious awareness beyond the confines of the physical level of consciousness.
A similar message is given to the following dreamer, only the content of the dream is different. The subconscious mind gives images relating the most significant message which will grab the dreamer’s attention, like the following.
In the dream I’m older and I have about a 3 year old son, and i’m standing the living room of my ex’s parent’s house (J*), but in the dream i am still with him. I set down our son on the floor and he runs and jumps into his arms when he walks in the door of the house and I smile at both of them, as J* smiles at our son. female/OR, United States
The dreamer is in a place in mind that is related to the past. She has caused harmony in this area of her life. There are developing ideas that are associated with past commitments that are now being brought to the dreamer’s attention. An example of this is finally choosing a major, based on developing ideas that has been had for a long time.
I had a dream my house was up on a rocky cliff in the middle of the night. At the same time it was light, so I could still see everything just fine. Me and a bunch of my family members were just hanging out, then we fell asleep outside. I woke up and went inside, and my mom was in the kitchen. She seemed extremely weird, and then I looked outside and saw my moms body underneath a bush. I freaked and all of a sudden pulled two golf tee’s out of my pocket and attacked the “fake” mom in my kitchen. Then my real mom woke up when I stabbed the fake one. This happened with 1 other family member and then I woke up… male/OR, United States
The dreamer is changing the way he sees his own inner authority. He is moving from a pretense way of thinking into becoming more honest and real. This is symbolized through killing the “fake” mom. The dreamer is employing his will with his mind in order to create this new way of life. The dreamer is beginning to explore new aspects of himself, in essence becoming more conscious. He might be forming new relationships or changing careers. Continuing to move in the new direction requires the power in the conscious mind – reasoning. Reasoning conquers doubt, freeing the mind to draw upon what is known.
This dream also highlights our next major content in dreams: places.
Places in dreams relate to the state of mind that the dreamer is experiencing. What kind of place we dream of and in what condition that place is in gives insight into the state of our minds. This could be calm, relaxed, neat, orderly, messy, confused, contemplative or expressive. Where our dreams take place tells us what conditions, limitations or expansiveness we are experiencing in our waking lives. The most common dream place in the dreams submitted from Oregon was the house. The Dreamer’s Dictionary describes houses in dreams this way:
“The mind is comprised of three major divisions: conscious, subconscious, and superconscious. Within these divisions are a total of seven levels of consciousness. A house in a dream will symbolize the dreamer’s mind. The floors of the house will represent different parts of the mind (see attic, basement, etc.) and the activity in the house will signify how the dreamer is using this structure for thinking. ”
As we explored in the dream above, there were ways in which the dreamer was employing his will to use his mind more honestly. In the following dream, the dreamer is seeking this honesty as well and however how she is responding to it is differently.
Me and my sister were building houses in Mexico. When we were finished building the bathroom my sister went over and picked up the entire bathroom and was going to steal it. I went after her shouting that it was wrong to steal. My sister sat down on the driveway of the house in Mexico with the bathroom beside her and turned her head all the way around with her body still facing away from me and started whispering “Don’t get up, don’t get up” female/OR, United States
There are ways in which this dreamer wants to purify or organize her thinking. How she goes about it, however, takes more away from her than adds to. This is like thinking you have to take “time away” for yourself, from certain responsibilities that you are committed to.
I dreamed I was in an old decrepit house akin to a haunted one. It was not very large and i was standing in the center. I began to hear noises from outside as if someone or something was coming. I was not afraid but did not want to be found. A friend suddenly appeared from a trap door in the ground. i entered the trap door and proceeded down a passageway.
At the end of the passage way i encountered a brightly lit room with more of my friends and we played cards till i awoke. male/OR, United States
This dream shows the impact that media has upon our consciousness. The dreamer is experiencing unknown factors that are causing confusing and limitations in the state of his mind. There are ways the dreamer creates a game out of the way he thinks. This is akin to how the dreamer entertains certain states of his thinking. It is like telling yourself that everything is going to be “okay” when you know that you are doing something that is not in your best interest.
The third main content in dreaming is things. These include anything in the dream that is not either a place or a person. Such as cars, tables, food, and one of the most commonly dreamed about symbols in our study, animals. The Dreamer’s Dictionary describes animals like this:
“In the Universal Language of Mind, animals represent habitual ways of thinking. Animals function from instinct, a reaction to pleasure or pain. Having differing degrees of memory and the ability for attention, animals do not possess the evolutionary development including a sufficient brain capacity for imagination. Most animals in a dream will represent the dreamer’s habits. There are four animals, which represent specific types of habits. Ahorse or other beast of burden represents the will of the dreamer, a Fish signifies spiritual knowledge, Birds are subconscious thoughts, and a Snake represents wisdom born from creation.”
What the animal does, and how the dreamer responds in the dream will give insight to the quality of the habitual way of thinking that is occurring during the dreamer’s waking hours. In our study of the Oregon class, we have three different examples. The first one, the female dreamer’s spiders, we discussed earlier in our study. These are the small annoyances in life. As these habits continue they can be more detrimental to the dreamer’s sense of well being. The following dream reflects what happens when habitual patterns of thinking are left unchecked and uncontrolled.
seeing a red wolf look at me every time i get in to danger or if some one in my dreams reacts to me in a non sexual way and sexual way. then the dream reacts to people yelling and screaming as if they seen the wolf and get guns and try to shoot whats not there but when i woke up i have had red lessions on my body on were i got shot at in the dream female/OR, United States, Age:19
This dream indicates the dreamer’s habitual way of using the emotions. There are changes in the life that the dreamer wants to make, however there is an inner conflict due to the way she habitually manipulates the emotions. What the dreamer experiences then are habits which are out of control and are disrupting her identity of who she thinks she is and are threatening force change. An example of this could be when you give someone an innocent glance that says “come hither,” then wonder and are offended when someone is approaching you.
The following dream shows the progression of what happens when one begins to have authority with these habitual patterns of thinking. Instead of being attacked by animals, this dreamer is beginning to nurture and care for the animals.
I had a dream that I was at some ladies house and I was a veterinarian helping animals that people left at the doorstep. Someone left two baby pandas that I had to feed. They weren’t normal sized baby pandas they were smaller than usual. Also, someone dropped off two kittens in a box and i bottle fed them. female/OR, United States,
The dreamer is beginning to have some authority over her habits. This is indicated by being a veterinarian. This dreamer is learning about authority through mentally efficient ways of thinking. Examples of this could be laying your clothes out before you retire at night, so they are ready the next morning. Practicing a daily mental discipline, such as concentration, meditation or breathing allows the dreamer more effienct use of her time by increasing memory, relaxation, and overall well-being.
So what does the average American 18-19-year-old dream about? These dreams indicate a desire for the dreamer to understand Self and how Self fits into the environment. Many of the dreams had some type of conflict in them. This implies doubts and fears which a lack of experience can produce, especially when there is a lack of goals and purpose. This could be why many high school graduates are undecided on major area of study in college. It could also be why many drop-out after a few years.
The influence of media is also present in these dreams. This is in keeping with all dreams submitted to dreamschool.org. In 10 years, society has moved from rare references to media in dreams (TV, movies, etc.) to the majority of dreams including some kind of images originating in the media. This reflects society’s movement away from Self-awareness to other awareness and a need for autonomy. These dreams are also brief, indicating the attention span of the dreamer. Recalling more dream details will require greater concentration skills.
We look forward to the time that all schools will teach this essential life skill. Until then you can learn them at som.org. We would like to thank the teacher of this class and all those who submitted their dreams. We hope to hear about your class discussion on these dreams soon.•