WHAT IS A DREAM?
Modern psychologists, especially the Freudian school, will tell you that a dream expresses a suppressed desire, which is not the complete truth. Some dreams could express a hidden desire, but not necessarily.
Dreams originate from the subconscious mind. Erroneously, psychologists will tell you the same thing, but they have never, ever troubled to analyze what the subconscious mind is. What is the extent of the subconscious mind? They have only gone just a little bit deeper than the 10% conscious mind, so they have gone down to 30% of man’s consciousness. Seventy per cent still remains unanalyzed, and the 10% of analysis done of the dream state is not yet complete. They are primarily presumptions and suppositions.
Why should man want to express his suppressed desires in the dream state? And who says that that is the only way of expressing one’s desires? And who says, in the first place, that there is a suppression of appetite? How do we know that that very desire is expressed in the waking state of life in a different form? These are questions that psychologists must study.
Dreams typically have their origin in far, far deeper layers of the so-called subconscious than what is imagined. We had repeatedly said that the mind’s extent is as vast as the entire universe, and every experience gained from the primal atom, from the time of the Big Bang explosion when you were propelled forth as that minuscule atom. All the experiences gained from that stage, right through to mineral, plant, animal, and then to man, exist in the mind. Call it subconscious, call it conscious, whatever you wish to call it, but all those experiences remain in the mind, and those experiences cannot be destroyed; they are not destructible.
A thought is usually translated through words or symbols. In a dream, one symbolizes a thought that is deep within oneself. The thought, not being conscious, or the thought not being brought about by effort, necessarily must be triggered off by a samskara which means an impression. So, this impression is in the mind.
WHAT IS AN IMPRESSION
The impression is not the experience. Let us say that someone cooks a very hot curry, and you visit the person’s home. Even if you do not like hot curry, because of your gentlemanly nature, your courtesy, you are obliged to sit and eat the curry. You are eating this food, and it is burning your mouth. The picture left, the impression that will be left, would not be of the varieties of the curries you have eaten – it could be bean curry, okra curry, mixed curried casserole, one of the dahls, whatever it could be. The impression that would remain would not be what that meal constituted. But the impression that would remain in the mind would be that pungency, that strongness, that burning sensation. That is an impression.
Although the mind contains every existence that we have lived through in its totality, that which comes to the fore and that which formulates our future life and our actions, that which formulates what we are today is because of the impressions that are there. That is an impression.
With this meal, the impression would be of this hotness. This hotness can be experienced in the waking state of life, where you might be in a desert, and you will experience intense heat. That heat you experience through the environment will associate itself with the heat that you felt inside. The heat in the environment will become hotter for you. It has its correlation with heat and hotness, and thereby, that impression can be eradicated or lived out, but in a different form. That heat of the desert had nothing to do with the curry, yet it has been re-experienced. The outer heat has been enhanced or made hotter by the inner heat, which the association of ideas causes. Heat is heat.
IS IT NECESSARY TO INTERPRET A DREAM?
You have these little books sold in the shops where you are going overseas if you dream of water. If you dream of death, this and that will be the answer. If you dream of fire, this is the interpretation. Of course, that is all rubbish! We know that. Because a dream is a composite story. I want you to get this very, very clear. We understand that a dream is a combined story. A dream might contain the elements of various experiences and not necessarily of one experience.
You dream of Auntie Matilda, who has passed away. It is not necessarily Auntie Matilda that is the main factor in the dream. Still, Auntie Matilda is just an association of the beautiful experience you had doing “Waltzing Matilda.” That is a waltz, a dance. You enjoyed the dance; you enjoyed the music of “Waltzing Matilda.” So here is an association of ideas, opposite, something you enjoyed (doing that waltz), and it is associated with Auntie Matilda, that has passed away. So, a dream is a composite story, and the dream can draw forth elements from various experiences and not necessarily of this life only. A dream might be a composite story that would get together experiences of this life or of many other lives, many instances all brought together and thrown into this pot, and the soup that comes out is the dream.
Now, how does one interpret a dream? Or is it necessary to interpret a dream?
BEYOND THE MIND IS A FACTOR THAT KEEPS US SANE
Many people say they do not dream. Psychologists will tell you that they do. They might not recollect the dream when they wake up because what has been dreamt has not been strong enough for them to remember it. Therefore, the dream is forgotten when waking up. But tests have been made in laboratories where it has been found that everyone dreams. Because although the conscious mind is put to rest or given rest by going to sleep, the subconscious mind, as far as it is known, is permanently active. We know that – that is elementary psychology. But what keeps the upper layer of the subconscious active? That is not elementary psychology.
When you go to sleep, you are entirely unaware of everything around you. You are not there. Yet, when you wake up the following day, you recognize yourself… that I am this. And where you have left off from your troubles, it restarts again. So, what was present that formed this continuity? What was there? That they failed to analyze. Because it is beyond the mind to analyze that, the constant factor forms the continuity. That is the factor the subconscious’s various layers play in its turbulence.
When the dream seems very vivid, specific experiences of the day or the week have left a deep impression upon your mind. That impression, in turn, has stirred up a samskara which is hidden deeper down, and by stirring up that samskara which is deeper down, it has enlivened what the conscious mind is associating within the subconscious. And, when that happens in the subconscious, in that vividity, then the next morning, you are conscious of the dream. You remember the dream in all its strength and vividness.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang US 1978 – 16