I have always been fascinated by the twisting (il)logic of dreams. Since I have moved my dream journal to this blog, I thought I would investigate what Buddhist beliefs say about dreams. One person suggested to me that we shouldn't focus too much on dreams because it distracts us from waking life goals. I agree that we shouldn't get completely wrapped up in dreams, but I also think that dreams can be a learning experience. So, I took to the Internet to see what other people think.
"Dreams are not thought of as being illusions, but depict the illusions of our everyday experience of life. The very nature of dreams are expressive of the complicated realm of fears, longings and mental concepts we are deeply enmeshed in. Nightmares especially show how deeply involved our waking self is with the internal world of passionate feelings and imagery."
Urbandharma.org writes that dreams are a simile for emptiness:
"Dreams symbolize the changing and impermanent nature of all things known to the senses. Sights, sounds, smells, flavors, sensations of touch and thoughts are all dream-like, fleeting, and ultimately unobtainable. By pursuing and grasping material things or ephemeral states, we create the causes for misery and suffering. Those desire-objects are not real and permanent. When they break up and move on, we will experience grief, if we can’t let go. The hallmark of living beings is that we are “sleeping, “ unawakened to the truth of the emptiness and impermanence at the nature of conditioned things. This covering of sleep and lack of awareness is called “ignorance,” and it makes us in our waking state, from the Buddha’s viewpoint, look as if we are dreaming."
I think that dream analysis can help anyone realize flaws in his or her thinking, unhealthy attachments, and can cut through the delusions of the conscious mind to see what we subconsciously know about circumstances. I would agree that the Buddhist view of dreams is not to get too attached to them because, like everything else in life, they are fleeting and impermanent. When we wake, we sometimes notice how silly our thinking in dreams is, which gives us the opportunity to practice mindfulness and examine our flawed thinking in waking life. Also, if you begin to record your dreams, you will notice that you suddenly remember more of your dreams, which is a great example of how the mind can be trained.
What do you think about dream analysis? Have you found it fruitful? Or is it just another time waster?
Posted as part of Much Love Monday.