Dreams Essay, Research Paper
We go to sleep every night and wake up every morning. I’m sure we can all remember having some sort of dream and wondering about it’s meaning. We can’t really explain what went on in our minds but we still search for some meaning. Some times these dreams bring good sensations, and sometimes bad ones. I’ve heard many things about dreams. My friend once told me about a television show she saw. It was about dreams. I immediately became intrigued because they always amazed me. She told me that there are four stages of sleep. She said that you begin to have dreams when you get to the fourth stage, and at that time you are in the deepest state of sleep. Once during the summer while at the mall my friend and I were walking around and checking out all the cool stores. Suddenly I glanced at a shelf of books, journals, and dictionaries of dreams. I picked up a dictionary, and began to flip through the pages. Soon I realized that I had a dream that boggled my mind a couple days ago. The dream was mainly about snakes, so I looked up snakes in the dictionary. It said that some one I’m very close to would betray me, so I glanced at my friend and told her that she was going to betray me, but she told me that wasn’t the case. We went on with our rampage through the stores, but in the back of my mind I still remembered what I read about my dream. A few days later I got in a fight with my mom because she criticized how I looked, and that looked like betrayal to me. From that point on I began to wonder if dreams could predict the future, but I wasn’t exactly sure. Are dreams really prophecies from the mind, or just some thing going on in your head that’s completely unexplained.
Many people believe that dreams have no special meaning. But dreams are prophetic, and have the ability to let us peek into the future. Throughout much of human history people have been fascinated by dreams. The entire fates of some religions were shaped through prophecy, and dreams. Native American tribes such as the Yuma, and Dakota believe that dreams are messages of the future from the gods. Ancient Egyptians have similar believes about precognitive dreams, and hoped gods would forecast the future through dreams. There were some more modern discoveries, about dreams, made by J. W. Dunne, who performed a couple of experiments in the field of dreams, resulting in the conclusion that dreams anticipated future events. Another important influence on dreams is Edgar Cayce, a prophet, who also believed in the predictive power of dreams. People have prophetic dreams all the time, and I have found many examples of these dreams.
Shamanism, Judaism, and Christianity are three examples of religions that are influenced by dreams. Shamanism is “an ancient practice that honors dreams”(Mossdreams). There are two types of dreams “ordinary dreams and big dreams” (Mossdreams). Big dreams are messages from our guardian, and are very realistic. According to the shamanic way of life if you receive this type of dream especially if it’s a bad one you should “just go through the motions in a very simple way to get it over with” (Spirit online). You should do this because you don’t want the event to really happen and hurt you or someone else. In Judaism one of the main ways God communicated with his people, as stated by the Old Testament, was through dreams. The Bible has many examples of people from Israel receiving prophetic dreams. For Jews these dreams opened the road to the future, by showing it to them. James Lewis said that in the Jewish religion to derive the proper meaning of dreams, Jews must interpret them (32). The Old Testament also states that Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph where the most prolific prophetic dreamers. Another interesting fact is that their dreams had parallel themes. Prophetic dreams received by Joseph became the building blocks of Christianity (Innes 18). The birth of Jesus was prefigured in a dream (18). When Joseph and Mary were about to get engaged, Mary had an unexpected pregnancy (Innes18). Later an angel came to Joseph in a dream and told him of the child’s destiny (18). Soon after Jesus was born Joseph had another dreams, in which the angel told him to take his family and move to Egypt to stop King Herod from killing his son, and only to return after Herod’s death (18). God told Joseph of the future in this dream. If he didn’t to so Christianity may not exist today.
Many Native American civilizations believe that what you see in a dream is something very close to what is about to happen in reality. The Yuma are one of the tribes who strongly believe this. The Yuma regard dreams as the basis of their religion and traditions, believing that they begin before birth and are more real than waking experiences (Innes 24). This is true because when we sleep we don’t have to deal with the problems of waking life. On the word of James Lewis, the Kamia, a neighboring tribe of the Yuma, the knowledge of destiny of the human soul can be derived from dreams (167). He also said that the Dakota interpret dreams as prophetic messages from the spirit world (168). Hirsch stated that some Native American send young boys away for a period of fasting a prayer when they are supposed to receive precognitive messages of their future (22). They are sent to a secluded place without food or water, to have visions of their destiny, which will help him/her find their path in life. They may not return to their homes until they have such a dream. David F. Dinges, the man I interviewed, is the president – elect of a sleep research organization. He enjoys studying stages of sleep. I asked him what he thought about dreams, and if he thought they had the ability to predict the future. He said that he hadn’t seen any evidence, but has heard a lot of discussion on the topic. On the other hand he said that “all mentation has meaning…dreams reflect as much reality as non-reality”. I believe that dreams can show the future, but he’s also right from the prospective that not all dreams we have are going to be prophetic. Even though dreams are important and can help us see the future the Native Americans shouldn’t take them so seriously because not all dreams have to be precognitive. Dreams where a major part of the Native American life and culture. To them dreams are sources of prophecy that gave them advice on how to lead their lives.
Recently archeologists acquired the ability to read hieroglyphics, and as a result learned that Egyptians used dreams in divination. In the opinion of James Lewis, the pharaoh Thutmose IV received one of the most famous Egyptian dreams (80). Thutmose envisioned the god Hormakho, who told him that if he uncovered the sphinx, which was buried in the sand, he would make him wealthy and unite his kingdom (81). Lewis went on to say that both sided fulfilled their promises, and Thutmose had a stone column erected in front of the sphinx on which his dream was recorded (81). The ancient Egyptians also practiced incubation, they went to special temples ruled by Serapis, the god of dreams, and hoped to receive a divine dream that would help them find a solution to some problem (Mossdreams). These temples had dream interpreters, who helped people discover the meanings of the dreams they just had; “These interpreters are known as the leaned ones of the library of magic” (Mossdreams). Both the Egyptians and the gods helped each other during sleep.
I think that the knowledge of the people who lived long before we did is very important, but some more recent discoveries about dreams made by J. W. Dunne and others are equally valuable. The web site “Texasbookpress” notes on an important study on dreams by J. W. Dunne, who was British aviation pioneer. His life was going great except for the fact that he often had dreams of disasters and a couple days later read about them in the newspaper. He was determined to figure out what was happening. Dunne decided to perform an experiment to answer that question. He began by studying his own dreams and the dreams of his friends and family. He recorded his dreams and then examined them by looking for any futuristic evidence. At the same time he also looked for events of the past in his dreams. From his observations he discovered that his dreams had the same amount of past and future references. Now Dunne began to ponder about time. He came to believe based on his research that in sleep we escape the linear, one-direction time, which we think of as reality. He compared time to a railroad. He said it was like traveling on a train along a line that represents time. Other lines run parallel to it and carry a train that may be moving at a different speed. Looking out of the window an individual maybe see events taking place on other trains, which are occurring to what to him/her is the future. So in other words when we are awake there is a barrier formed by our mind that doesn’t let us see into the future, but when we are asleep the barrier is broken, and we can freely see the future.
Edgar Cayce, a famous American prophet, is another important key in our understanding of precognitive dreams. Cayce says that when we are awake we only use five senses, touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste. But when we are asleep, we are able to use “the sixth sense which is super-conscious” (Logan 78). When we are in this state we are able to reach into our subconscious “where exist records of all experiences”, including the future (Logan 79). Logan tells us that many people, such as George Handel who received the melody for The Messiah in a dream, have used the super-conscious to find information (89). Edgar Cayce is one of the most successful people who used dreams to learn about the future.
Knowledge of the future derived from dreams has effected the lives of many people. Mark Twain had a dream about his brother Henry lying dead in a metal coffin with white flowers across his chest (74). A few days later Henry died when his boat blew up. At the funeral Twain saw a woman come into the room and place a wreath of white flowers on the coffin (Innes 75). His dream came true but this is also proof that “ many predictive dreams are about bad things that will happen to people that we know or that are close to us” (Guily 49). Hirsch gave an account of a dream received by Abe Lincoln that predicted his own death (27). He said that in the dreams Lincoln heard two men talking about the president being assassinated (27). In real life Abe Lincoln was assassinated a few days after having this dream. One ten-year-old girl also had a dream about her own death (Innes 79). She woke up one morning and told her mother she was not afraid to die because she would be with her friends Peter and June. Later she had a dream about going to school and seeing that it wasn’t there “something black had come down all over it” (79). The next day she went to school, which stood in a mountain of black coal mining waist, the mountain collapsed and killed everyone in the school (79). The girl was buried next to her friends as she predicted (79). This is evidence that regular people have the ability to have prophetic dreams.
Dreams can be used as a tool in telling the future. This is so because we can see how they have worked for our ancestors. We can also look at research performed by Dunne. And we can look at the success of Cayce’s prophecy from dreams. If all of this isn’t enough to convince you that dreams are prophetic then we can look at examples of dreams that have given prophecy to people just like you and I.
I have learned a lot about dreams. When I just started writing this paper I just say “dreams” as an interesting topic to write about. But when I actually started to read about it was amazed by all the fascinating information I found. I have always felt that dreams had some sort of key to the future, now I have real reason to believe that.
“An experiment with time by J. W. Dunne.” 27 Jan. 2001 *http://www.texaschapbookpress.com/magellanslog3/dunne.htm*.
Innes, Brian. The Book of Dreams. New York: Brown Packaging Books, 2000.
Lewis, James R. The Dream Encyclopedia. Washington D.C.: Visible Ink., 1995.
Logan, Daniel. The anatomyof prophecy. New Jersey: Prentice-hall, 1975.
The Silver Circle. “Shamanism.” 22 Jan. 2001 *http://www.spiritonline.com/files/messages/10/182.html?964996630*.
“What is Shamanic Dreaming?” 22 Jan. 2001 *http://www.mossdreams.com/shamanic.htm*.