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All of us have dreams when we are sleeping. Many times we feel puzzled and confused about what a dream might have meant. There are many different ideas about what dreams are, but few certainties. What we do know is that dreams occur in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep. The typical person will spend two hours in the REM stage during an eight-hour sleep.

With those facts aside, what do our dreams mean?

Throughout history there have been many different theories about the purpose of dreaming. Modern interpretations of dreams use “dream symbols”. This practice universally defines items in dreams. However, there are arguments against this idea. The main argument being that one person may fear snakes while another may be fond of them. For the one person, the dream would be a nightmare, while the other could have had an enjoyable dream. This would support the argument that “dream symbols” can not be defined universally.

Dream symbols should be applied according to the context of the dream and by the dreamer themselves. Only you know what your dreams signify. After all, it is your unconscious mind that puts it all together. Dreams reflect your personality, hopes, fears, and character. They are an extension of you. Only you can decode your dreams.

There is no quick guide or method to understanding your dreams. As each person is unique, so are our individual dreams. Dreams differ by gender, age, culture, etc. and since science has no exact definition for dreams, you are left to figure it all out for yourself.

Someone that is interested in finding out what his or her dreams mean usually writes in a dream diary. A dream diary or journal is used to document dreams. Since we usually forget the majority of our dreams, it is important to record what we can recall when we wake. Experts in the field recommend keeping the diary near your bed so it is easily accessible when you wake. You might also consider using an audio recorder. With all your dreams documented in one area, you can get a better idea of what your dreams represent.

Dream symbols are a good place to start. However, you must decide what the symbol means to you. The process of decoding your dreams may seem like work, but it can actually be a thrill. Tracking your dreams can make you feel like a detective unraveling a mystery.