History of Dreaming
The Oldest Language Known to Man
For thousands of years mankind has been captivated and perplexed by memories of experiences arising when his physical consciousness is at rest. Sometimes vague, sometimes vivid, these memories have become an integral part of every culture on this planet. Historical records and literature are filled with accounts of dreaming, and in every case man has searched for a reason for these phenomena. Common to them all is the recognition that nighttime dreams are a form of communication.
An investigation of dreams shows that the phenomenon of dreaming is as old as mankind. Since the dawning of sentience, the ability to be Self aware, man has experienced and remembered these nighttime communications seeking their meaning. Three thousand years ago the authors of the Upanishads, a holy text of the Hindu, described dreaming as a higher state of consciousness than the waking state. Throughout the Orient, it is a widespread belief that dreams are communications from the Creator. This idea is parallel to many Western concepts found in more recent spiritual ideals held by the Jewish and Christian religions. Adherents and leaders of these faiths believe dreams are a message from God given either as a personal revelation or as one to be given to the masses. The American Indian has used dreams in religious rites as a means to perceive and cooperate with nature. Even today, many begin their day by sharing dreams with family members. The family encourages the dreamer to seek purpose in life and receive guidance through dreams.
The Greeks thought that dreams were a means to be receptive to thought, a way to be telepathic. They also believed that dreams were a means for communicating with spirits or ghosts. Around 350 B.C., the Greek philosopher Aristotle determined that dreams came from within the Self. This was a revolutionary idea because until that time it was widely believed that dreams came from outside of Self rather than welling up from within. Aristotle’s work spanned the nature of consciousness beyond the physical and for his incredible insight historical accounts have remembered him as the father of metaphysics. Plato, a contemporary and student of Aristotle, took these ideas a bit farther. Plato identified dreams as a communication from the soul of man.
Two thousand years transpired before an Austrian named Sigmund Freud, the father of modern psychoanalysis, determined that dreams were about the dreamer. He called dreams “the royal road to Self knowledge.” Maligned by his contemporaries, and too often by modern fame filled with clichés, Freud’s revelations are often misconstrued and falsely conveyed. Society’s current fascination with external blame is a prime example. In reality, a study of his discoveries reveals that individual accountability and understanding became cornerstones of Freud’s later research. Freud’s life was dedicated to the constant pursuit of answering the question “Why?” and many of the answers he discovered elevated mankind’s awareness of personal responsibility originating with and emanating from Self.
Freud’s insight into man’s capabilities and Self determination caused his contemporaries to consider that man was more than a plaything of God or of physical science. His significant advances in moving the control of consciousness from external people or factors to the internal motivations and desires of the individual were outstanding and laid the foundation for Self autonomy. Freud realized that dreams were an important part of unlocking the considerable potential of each individual. He realized that dreams held symbolic keys to the nature of the dreamer’s consciousness. What Freud did not live long enough to discover was the Rosetta stone for understanding the language the inner mind speaks — the Universal Language of Mind.
Decades of research conducted by faculty at the School of Metaphysics in this century confirms and advances the realizations of history’s great thinkers. It reveals bold and innovative insights into the nature and usefulness of this communication. Our studies show that dreams are dual in nature, being both universally understandable and personally relevant to the dreamer. Investigations reveal two principles which universally hold true in understanding dreams:
1] The first principle, recalling the theories of Aristotle and Freud, is that every dream is about the dreamer for it originates in the inner subconscious part of man. In spiritual literature, this inner, subconscious mind is referred to as the soul.
2] The second principle also builds upon previous observations by recognizing that everyone and everything in the dream is the dreamer. The dream’s theme, characters, and action comprise a message for and about the dreamer when interpreted in the native language of the soul, what we have termed the Universal Language of Mind.
The discovery of this language is the most profound revelation of our research. It is innovative because it differs from what is commonly accepted about dreams and therefore in the awareness of the average person.
Dreams are communicated by using a language beyond the languages of our physical life; beyond English or Chinese or Latin. This language is a universal language of images or pictures, distinctly separate from man-made representations of thoughts known as words. Images in the Universal Language of Mind symbolize specific functions of mind and qualities of consciousness. All classical and spiritual literature of the world is penned, at least in part, by drawing upon this universal language.
Fables, myths, and Holy scriptures offer insightful stories of the lives of others. Underlying the facts depicted through the written word are Universal Truths that every person on the planet can benefit from understanding and using in their lives. When read, the words conjure images in the mind defining a productive action or way of thinking such as courage, integrity, or compassion. The universality of the writings assures the literature’s longevity for the truths revealed transcend the moment; they are applicable to anyone, anywhere, anytime.
An individual’s dreams, originating from the soul and communicated in the universal language, are sources of truth as well. The outer mind learns a physical language for physical communication between Self and others. In order to facilitate communication within Self, the outer mind must learn the native language of the inner levels of consciousness. Just as there are dictionaries to understand physical languages, there must be a dictionary to aid in learning the Universal Language of Mind. Thus the dictionary portion of this book seeks to identify and discern the meaning of images in the oldest language known to mankind.
–from the Dreamer’s Dictionary ©1995, School of Metaphysics
©2002 School of Metaphysics