When I was a boy, maybe five or six years old, I would have a reoccurring dream of being chased by crocodiles in a small lake near to where I lived. Another repeating dream I had around the same time was standing outside the door to infant school naked.
A crocodile (or alligator) in a dream represents an emotional need that is not being met, that you are afraid to express your emotions or acknowledge how you feel about a situation. Nakedness in a dream is common and, in my case, symbolised I was unprepared for school.
When I think back to these dreams, I don’t feel I was unprepared, rather I was not prepared to go. I certainly didn’t acknowledge how I felt, but looking back probably had a fear of being ridiculed and disgraced – represented by nakedness. Although my first primary school teacher nicknamed me “the absent-minded professor,” I was a shy child and went through my school years with an uncertainty about my intelligence and ability to perform well academically.
As things turned out, my education was a waste of time and for years afterwards I still doubted my intelligence. I passed my exams, but could and probably should have got better grades. That the education system is designed for left-brain thinkers that absorb information and not creative right-brain thinkers that raise questions is by the by – the point I want to make is my boyhood dreams were prophetic.
Sceptics question dream analysis
Interpreting dreams has been a means of understanding the subconscious since ancient times. The earliest writings date back to the Babylonians who believed dreams or visions were a means of foretelling the future or communicating with the Gods. All major religions talk about dream interpreters.
In the modern culture, the idea of dreams being symbolic was revolutionised by psychoanalysts Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, despite many of their peers criticising their ideas. Jung in particularly was ridiculed by the scholarly community for his belief that the human soul has a deeper spiritual meaning.
Freud and Jung were both firm believers that dream analysis can help understand aspects of your personal life at that moment in time. Freud said that every action and thought is motivated by your subconscious, but because we are so often judged by others, we suppress our urges and impulses. Because feelings need to be released in some way, they emerge as dreams.
I suspect the majority of practicing psychologists in modern day accept that dreams do divulge secrets of the soul and can be used to determine underlying issues with the individual, especially when the dreamer continues to experience the same dream. However, there are sceptics that label dream analysis as a “false science” and has no significance whatsoever. I suspect these people are the left-brain sponges that are so superficial and materialistic they do not realise they even have a soul!
Scientific meaning of dreams
Dreams are defined by the Oxford dictionary as “a series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.” They are believed to develop from what Freud called “day residue,” leftover remnants of events that occurred the previous day.
Using advanced technologies, scientists have determined dreams the result of electrical energy that stimulate memories triggered by biological and emotional processes in the brain. They are not necessarily left over remnants from the day before, but a combination of concerns festering in the recesses of your mind. Dreams therefore are your subconscious trying to give you a message that you need to deal with something in your life.
Although we dream every night, we rarely notice. Even in lucid sleep when we are aware of dreaming, many people struggle to remember the details. Psychoanalysts and dream interpreters recommend writing your dreams down the moment you wake up. So what are your dreams telling you?