As a practicing psychologist, I find that my clients are fascinated by dreams. Most of them have read a little Freud, who called dreams “the royal road to the unconscious.” Freud believed dreams can help us access our innermost thoughts; our fears, wishes, and desires. Think of dreams as a window into our unconscious life. They can be humorous, erotic, tantalizing or terrifying.
As the women reveal their dreams, they realize that they hold hidden clues to the crime scene, usually in symbolic form. Sometimes they even uncover the identity of the murderer. But are these clues really “revelations” from the subconscious or merely coincidences? I remembered Freud’s claim, “There are no coincidence.” I chose to sidestep the question and leave it up to the reader to decide.
When I’m asked to speak on dreams, I find that people have strong beliefs—and sometimes misconceptions—about dreams. Here are three questions I’ve come across, again and again.
You can only dream about things you’ve experienced in real life. Is this true?
Isn’t it true that our bodies don’t respond to our dreams? We continue to slumber, unaware that our minds are playing out a little fantasy in our sleep.
This is false. Think about the last time you did something physical in your dream. Were you climbing a mountain or swinging from a zip line like Angelina Jolie? Your blood pressure may soar, your heartbeat may ratchet up a notch, and your chest probably felt tight. If you awake in the middle of an “action” dream, just take a few deep breaths and everything will return to normal in a few minutes. On the other hand, what if you’re dreaming of lounging in a meadow, taking in the sweet scent of honeysuckle as you thumb through a book of poetry? Your body will show signs that you are indeed at rest. Your heart rate will ratchet down a notch and your breathing will become slower as your mind enjoy this respite from the cares of the day.
No, not at all. When people dream of a loved one who has passed, they usually experience a sense of joy and peace. It reassures them to know that their friends, relatives, and spouses really do exist on another plane. Invariably, the loved one appears to be in perfect health, happy, and relaxed, with no sorrow or cares.
I hope you've enjoyed this little foray into dreams. Dream a Little Scream, the second book in the Dream Club Mysteries is available right now. If you're interested in dreams and love mysteries, you might enjoy it!
Mary Kennedy. Sweet dreams and happy reading!