From Biblical days to the present, people have been obsessed with deciphering dreams, mostly using them as tools to predict the future. I have a different view of dreams.
During sleep, when the normal business of the day is over and only a night watchman is left on duty, the world becomes a poorly assembled puzzle because the only entity who knows where the pieces go is absent. So the pieces rearrange themselves.
Our dreams occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of our sleep. That is the time when the prefrontal cortex of our brain is deactivated, impeding logical reasoning but creating unusual associations, which some people believe are a state of precognition, a sort of sixth sense.
Dreams are elusive and evanescent, as hard to capture as a passing cloud. Our dreams are very personal and often fascinate us. Yet, dreams are difficult to share without boring people. Morpheus, god of sleep, likes to deal in riddles.
To me, dreams are tools for explaining our past and present states of mind as we try to make sense of our vision of the world. They stem from the unconscious part of our brain and represent our repressed thoughts and wishes. They serve to make our unconscious conscious by free association. Dream interpretation was reinvented at the end of the 19th century by Freud and Jung as part of the new practice of psychoanalysis.
I personally believe that our unconscious is submerged for a good reason as it allows us to go on with our lives without reliving painful situations.
We all have recurring dreams which we can recognize because even though they take different shapes, there is a common core. They often arise out of anxiety or frustration.
In one such dream I am packing for a trip but no matter how hard I try I always feel that I am forgetting something important and I know that I will never be done packing. In another common dream I am returning to a hotel but they do not know me at the desk and cannot tell me my room number. Or else there is no one at the desk to ask.
The common thread of such dreams is impotence and one is happy to return to the real world where action seems possible.