The Waking and Dream states

When trying to sleep, we fluctuate between the waking and dream states. This blog post explores these states and provides some insight into them.

The waking and dream states – A comparison

In our waking state we are fully conscious, using the conscious mind to make decisions where we employ logic and reasoning. For example, if we walk down a corridor looking for a particular person in one of the rooms, we ourselves will decide which room to enter to find them. If it’s the wrong room that we enter, we simply leave and choose which door to try next.

in our dream state, however, is where the conscious mind is at rest. The unconscious is working solo and it does not understand logic or reason. What’s at work here is the filing cabinet of our memory and experiences (hippocampus) and the emotional control centre (amygdala). Both are house and connected together. The waking state and dream state are in complete contradiction to each other. The dream state is chaotic and surreal. Both states exist entirely separately. We may as well be in parallel universes.

The dream state – A deeper look

The dream state borrows its dream material from the conscious state of what we have already experienced. It cannot detach itself from that reality. When we dream, what we experience in the dream state is the combination of the filing cabinet experiences of our lives and the emotions which attach themselves to those memories. Let’s say it’s like a partnership between the two, i.e. what we feel in our dreams depends on what memory we are visualizing and this will evoke an accompanying emotional response, without any logic. It appears in a bizarre and confusing format not of our understanding.

The waking state – Dream recollection

When back in the waking state, it can be hard to recall all the dream. The knowledge is often fragmented and unclear. We can look at them as jigsaw pieces scattered to the wind, leaving us thinking “what was that all about”.  The selection of the dream material is usually random daily occurrences of little significance. These, none the less, attach themselves to the more in-depth cerebral cells, which carry our heavier weight experiences from the past. Working out the dream from the symbolic snapshots and accompanying emotional feelings takes some investigative work to understand. 

Last week’s dream, for example, highlighted a repressed emotion of fear by being chased in a hay field by an angry farmer. The long forgotten childhood memory of the experience was triggered by seeing a haystack in a field whilst driving in the countryside.

Freud’s Dream Psychology

Sigmund Freud argued that repressed emotions, sometimes as far back as childhood can manifest themselves in dreams, even years later. During the Victorian era is when we discovered that our emotions are evolved physical responses. They are affected by our unconscious minds.

Next week, we will explore another dream and analyse the interpretation of it.