DREAM PSYCHOLOGY: UNDERSTANDING HOW DREAMS WORK, THE LAYERS OF CONSCIOUSNESS, AND DREAM INTERPRETATION
Natalya Pazdnikova's Explanation on Dream Psychology and How Dreams Work
Everything stated in this article about how dreams work is not a scientific report. This knowledge of dream psychology, layers of consciousness, dream interpretation and the meaning of dreams, as well as lucid dreaming, is based on my personal experiences and acquired studies.
Dream psychology and dream interpretation have been of the most intriguing and fascinating topics for me since I was a child. As I study and work to understand the phenomenon of how dreams work, I naturally came to be very much in touch with my dreams. My interest began at the age of 18, when I was given an assignment in the psychology course to write down my dreams every morning.
Dream Psychology and How Dreams Work Explained
There are, of course, a great number of theories on the topic of dream psychology. To understand my answer to how dreams work, as well as my perspective on dream interpretation and the meaning of dreams, you must first understand the human consciousness / soul.
Along with our physical bodies, we also have life-force energy - the fuel for the body to live. Just like the fuel of a car, this is the vital energy that allows trees to grow and flowers to bloom. We are all one and the same energy but as separated streams of this energy manifested in different physical forms. Humans are the most self-aware and intelligent manifestations of this energy stream on earth. So, again, we are this vital energy operating through our physical bodies. We are not SEPARATE FROM, rather, we are a CONTINUATION OF the common life-force energy.
Understanding The Layers of Consciousness
Between the source of that life energy and your physical body, there are ‘layers’ of consciousness. This is vital information to understand while discussing dream psychology. We are going to break down the various layers of consciousness from a 3D linear perspective only for the purpose of unfolding my point. Otherwise, these layers should be viewed from a multidimensional perspective as they are all ultimately one and the same.
The Physical body (no explanation needed).
Layer of Aura
The second layer of consciousness - it is the part of your soul / life-force / energy stream that never leaves the body as do the two ‘layers’ I mention below.
Your aura always stays with your body until it disintegrates as your energy slowly transforms into a different form. Think of a dying tree that has not fully dried out; until it's completely dry, there's still some life energy in it.
Layer of Emotional Body
The third layer of consciousness - similar to the aura but with one difference - our emotions follow our thoughts, and our thoughts are almost always somewhere.
For example, a breastfeeding young mother who is separated from her baby begins to lactate at the very same moment the child gets hungry. This type of connection is not just a result of physical processes in the body but also the result of emotional and mental attachment. This might seem too mystical to some, but things like this actually happens around us all the time if we pay attention.
Another example, as two people fall in love they start to speak in unison, think about the same things simultaneously, finish each other’s phrases, etc. This happens even in a long distance relationship, or even if they have only known each other for a week or so. The reason for that is because of the strong focus on one another, and the emotional and mental attachment that develops from it.
Layer of Thoughts
The fourth layer of consciousness - this is the lightest part of your energy. Meaning, if you think of the city Paris, you are instantly taken to Paris with your thoughts. There is no dimension of time.
One single thought has no density until we accumulate energy around that thought by focusing on it and bringing similar thoughts together. When we focus long enough we eventually manifest that thought into the physical world.
For example, excessive negative thinking leads to headaches which creates tension in our heads. This can lead to an emotional breakdown which ultimately leads to physical illness. Everything starts with thought before it becomes physical, whether we talk about health conditions or a physical creation of some sort. Before you create something - you must think of it first.
So What Are Dreams and How Do Dreams Work, Anyway?
DREAMS are the disintegration of the last two layers - the layers of emotion and thought. While aura remains with the physical body, the emotional layer (the so-called astral body) and layer of thoughts ‘fly away’ and fully immerse in a non-physical form.
As for the exact definition of dreams, that's tough to say. It's impossible to define dreams using all the presented theories in the world, rather, each theory adds up to the whole understanding of this phenomena. The reason being that it is not just a phenomenon. It is largely a third of our human existence, and very much worth exploring. Answering 'what are dreams?' in one way would be very limiting. It's similar to how we try to define God. No one has one single right answer, but all of the answers from different perspectives united could very well be the right answer.
Carlos Castaneda, an American author on Shamanism, spoke of dreaming in the waking state, which I find very similar to how I see things regarding dream psychology and how dreams work. A dream is a journey to the non-physical, which we are never separated from in the waking state anyway. A dream is also a journey to your subconscious, which you always have access to in the waking state as well. Not only do you always have access, but your subconscious IS you. It is the biggest part of you and it runs your life. It's crucial to know this while trying to understand dream psychology. So, what happens when we expand our consciousness? We bring conscious awareness to our subconscious which is also connected to the limitless superconscious (will speak later on that).
Inner Workings of the Subconscious Mind and Dream Interpretation
Some of us often experience falling sensations in our dreams which wakes us up in a lot of stress. I perceive this as a failed attempt to let go and let the layers "separate." People who experience this phenomenon often usually have vulnerability over expressing their emotions and the fear of losing control. Also those who practice astral travels and lucid dreaming will agree that these experiences are extremely real and emotional.
So the dream is a journey of our thoughts and emotions, but what are the meaning of dreams and why are they so strange?
We humans, have invented language, words, and sentences through which we explain our thoughts. We tend to think in a specific language as well, but if we dig deeper into our subconscious - we see that it is a world of pictures, metaphors, associations, and abstracts. The same goes for dream psychology and how dreams work, as well as how dream interpretation works. We can understand the meaning of dreams, personally, if we understand what is buried in our subconscious.
The older you are the more information you accumulate throughout life. Let me give you an example. Perhaps your brain, in a strange way, once consciously associated the color blue with a vicious dog because as a child you were scared by a dog while walking passed a blue house. Now you would have never guessed that your brain made that association. The combination of the color blue and a vicious dog only appeared once in your childhood as a scary experience that made a huge impact. Let’s say you are going through something in life which builds up a lot of fear in you and it manifests into you having a nightmare. You end up dreaming about drowning in the deep blue sea while hearing a dog bark on the shore. This is a simple example of dream interpretation and how you can decipher the meaning of dreams. We all know how absurd our dreams can get as our subconscious world is very messy and metaphorical.
Dream interpretation is a skill. If you think that you will never be able to properly analyze your dreams and understand your own dream psychology, that's not true. You are very much capable of dream interpretation like anyone else may be. It just takes some practice. I ask all my clients to keep a dream journal and write their dreams down every morning immediately after waking up. This is how I started my journey with learning how dreams work, dream interpretation, and understanding the meaning of dreams. It's a great self-help practice that connects you to your subconscious mind. You get to know yourself on a deeper level. You become friends with your mind, and eventually, you can even learn lessons through dreams, receive valuable information, and even be guided towards the right decisions in life.
Just imagine for a second how much information goes through the head of a modern day citizen in todays era of the internet. We live in tough times for our psyche which also deeply affects our dream psychology. We have never seen such statistical rates on insomnia, and healthy sleep is a vital component for a healthy psyche. Creating and sticking to a healthy sleeping routine is more important than ever and should be prioritized even above having a healthy diet.
Subconscious Dreams Versus Superconscious Dreams
Dreams are not just a journey to your subconscious, or the process of sorting out information or forming memory, but it is also a doorway back to the limitless superconscious - the space that connects us all.
Again, we cannot draw a line between the subconscious and superconscious as this is not how the mind nor how dreams work. There are no borders and separation in the non-physical world. I separate subconscious and superconscious dream experiences for the purpose of learning about dream psychology, human consciousness, my own psyche, psychic abilities, and the non-physical world in general. Otherwise, it is one and the same - an inseparable world.
In both, subconscious and superconscious dream experiences, you identify yourself with a process in a dream. You don't know that you are dreaming. But if your subconsciousness is your personal space, I consider superconsciousness to be a shared space - a vibrational state where you are able to see beyond your self, beyond your own subconsciousness. It is the state of your mind where you are able to perceive, connect, and even exchange information with other, more or less, self-aware energy forms. I use the term ‘energy forms’ as a generalization and it's not my purpose to unfold this topic here.
On the other hand, while in a subconscious dream state, everything you see and interact with will not have an external awareness of it's own. It's action will be fueled by your own subconscious. For example, I once was able to gain lucidity while being chased in my dream. Every time I become lucid in my dreams, I try to gather as much information about the dream world as I can. So I gained some courage, stopped running and started walking towards the "thing" I was chased by in curiosity to have some form of interaction. To be honest, I expected anything but this - the "thing" stopped as soon as I gained consciousness and it had no awareness of its own at all. It had the level of consciousness of a snail. The more I would walk around it, trying to understand it, the less consciousness I was able to register. We can compare this experience with our subconscious fears that chase us down in life until we "shed light" on them, stopping them from having power over us.
The way you define superconscious dreams is by having interactions within the dream. You distinguish a projection of your own subconscious from an external energy, by the level of awareness in it. For example, you interact with something in your dream and you can clearly say that it is something of their own awareness / thoughts / personality / emotions / intentions and that it is something clearly external from you - then it is a superconscious dream. It is important to understand that the "other," just like you, can have a different level of awareness within one single dream. You can gain and lose clarity in a moment because our consciousness is flowing and it is not as focused, as we are usually focused when we are awake.
Also, superconscious dream experiences do not occur as often as we might want them to occur, and they are very similar to usual dreams. So don't let your wishful thinking make you believe that you had a superconscious dream, instead, keep questioning your dream experiences, and as your dream awareness will grow, so will grow your ability to distinguish a regular dream from a superconscious one.
These experiences are normal, real and happen all the time since we are all non-physically connected.
Superconscious dreams are not something weird or something to be afraid of and as our level of awareness is rising, we will be experiencing more of them. To be able to define a superconscious dream experience you first need to train your dream memory and the best practice for it is writing your dreams down every morning right after you wake up. After you train your memory you will have enough of experiences to distinguish superconscious dreams from subconscious dreams, they will occur more often, and your level of lucidity in your dreams will rise up as well.
Some people experience superconscious dreams very often and think that we all do, which is not the case. For those lucky ones, it took some solid, unbroken or not totally broken, connection to themselves preserved from their very childhood. This means that the more you are connected to yourself spiritually, the better your dream experiences will get. Some spiritual practices, therapy and any kind of deep self-awareness work will do well for you.
The Phenomenon of Lucid Dreaming
Another fascinating phenomenon in dream psychology is lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is the experience of being fully aware of the fact that you are dreaming. This is the most entertaining experience of all, and it can occur in both subconscious and superconscious dream states.
Many people have experienced lucid dreaming at least once in life, and it is certainly something you will never forget. But I can also say that MOST of us experience it slightly but we tend to forget. It takes FOCUS to remain lucid in a dream and have the full experience of it. However, more often than not, we become lucid for a few seconds and then the dream takes over. Focus is a vital skill you need to develop to experience a lucid dream. By focus, I don’t mean super intense "nothing can distract me" type of focus, but rather a gentle focus that is fully under your control. A type of focus that you are aware of and can effortlessly navigate.
Having lucid dream experiences is not necessarily abnormal. I think they help point us in directions to further our intellectual evolution. But for now, it is still an unchartered territory in dream psychology and we must strengthen the ability to focus and live consciously (rather than on autopilot) in order to move through the unconscious that drags us back to sleep when we become lucid.
Read my next post on How To Lucid Dream.
Remember the movie ‘Inception’ with Leonardo DiCaprio? Where he would travel into another person’s dream and that person’s subconscious will start to fight against him as an intruder. What I am talking about is kind of similar, but instead, in a lucid dream you travel to your own dream. Your own unconscious then does not fight you but rather works against you to put you back to sleep. Your unconscious will suck you back into a dream, and in order to prevent that, you have to have a strong ability to focus your consciousness. It is similar to our everyday life when we try to change for the better or develop a new habit - our subconscious will try to prevent that from happening to keep things as they are, what we are already used to.
Your experience of life in the waking state will differ depending on your vibrational state. When you are in a dream, it works the same way. Your mental clarity, focus and vibrational state while awake will reflect the quality of your lucid dream experiences.
Choose that which resonates with you in this article, or any article for that matter. That is what will add up to the expansion of your personal consciousness. Don’t blindly take anyone's truth as your own, because that can inhibit your unique perception of things. There is no ultimate truth to any subject, only a unique perception and resonance.
If you are seeking to deeper understand yourself, then no amount of meditations, affirmations, reading books and articles will be as effective as the life transformational work that I, as a Certified Psychologist and Spiritual Awakening Coach, can assist you with. Click on the picture below to book a Self-Discovery Game where you will be able to UNDERSTAND, LOVE and ACCEPT yourself on a whole new level ⬇
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