Is life a dream? At first glance the question may sound as fictitious as something from the popular science fiction movies Avatar or The Matrix. While dreams and waking reality differ in many ways, you may be surprised at the startling similarities of human perception and experience between dreams and waking endeavors.
Before we begin let’s make one thing clear -- I am not implying that you should attempt to fly or try to walk through walls in your waking life. This article has been written to explain the mental and physiological similarities between our dreams and waking lives.
Don't be afraid of the space between your dreams and reality. If you can dream it, you can make it so!
Physiological similarities between dreams & waking life:
Studies have shown these regions of the brain many times have more active blood-flow then when we are awake. This could suggest that our brains and minds are more active and aware in dreams then when we are awake.
It is important to note that specific areas of the brain responsible for mental reasoning and logic seem to receive less blood flow while we are dreaming. This may explain why we believe certain absurdities in dreams to be logical – like talking to animals or flying in mid air – except in a lucid dream. Scans of person’s actively lucid dreaming show that these areas of the brain, which control logic and reasoning, are active when one consciously knows he or she is in a dream.
Psychological similarities between dreams & waking life:
Have you ever touched or tasted something in your dreams? Were you astonished by how real it seemed at the time? This is because, as far as your brain is concerned, you did indeed experience something while dreaming. You’re also psychologically capable of remembering the details of these experiences, just as you would remember a relaxing trip to the beach or a frightening ride on a roller coaster.
Your brain and mind isn’t so much concerned with whether your experiences originated from dreams or during waking moments. It simply perceives them as “I had an experience.” In dreams we can feel pain or become upset, like in our daily lives.
Does life reflect our dreams, or do our dreams reflect our lives?
Given the idea that dreams do have meaning and can be interpreted, one would be quick to assume that life and dreams have no similarity – sense our dreams typically tend to reflect themes and imagery from our waking lives.
But what happens when a person begins to notice their dreams, interpreting and applying its meanings to his or her life? This individual would begin to develop a greater sense of self-awareness, using this knowledge gained from dreams to make life choices and decisions. They would begin to treat life as if it’s limitless – just like our dreams!
Here is one of my favorite videos, which should help explain how we as humans perceive life as a dream and how we mysteriously dream-up our day-to-day lives.
Video, The Dream of Life - Alan Watts, by Tragedy & Hope.
Keywords: dream interpretation, lucid dream, is life a dream