Dec 6, 2008

Lifestyle - Top 10 common dreams and their meanings

Vaibhav Chaudhury

Dreams have always been a mystery to us. The Association for the Study of Dreams has revealed that the majority of us have dreams with similar Dreams and their meanings (Getty images)

themes, and it is possible to gain better health (mental and physical), entertainment and even financial gains from such dreams.

A well known American psychic, Edgar Cayce claimed that through dreaming, people gain access to their spirit and all possible questions are answered by our inner conscious. Some dream interpretations are strange, while others are pretty understandable. We bring you ten most commonly experienced dreams to help you interpret their meaning within the context of your own life.

Car troubles

Description: This is a common nightmare among all ages, even for people who usually don't drive. In this dream, you are usually in or near a car or some other type of vehicle which goes out of control. The circumstances can vary, for example, you may find that you have no brakes, or that the steering wheel doesn't work, or that you have run out of fuel. You may also dream that you are going off the road, off a cliff, going through a red light, or crashing into an object or person. Vaibhav Jain, a sales manager with a leading telecom company, recalls "I don't remember my dreams. But a few years ago, when I was getting over a troubled relationship and going through an emotional turbulence, I used to have a recurring dream that I am driving a car and suddenly the brakes failed. It was an intense feeling."

Interpretation: A vehicle is the symbol of our life's path. This dream arises when things are not going well for you and you are unable to control the unpleasant events happening in your life. If the car in your dream has poor control or missing parts, it suggests that your sense of control over current conditions is being compromised. "A troubled car dream always means that you are going through a change - be it changing jobs or experiencing your first pregnancy," says Anuj Singh, a clinical psychologist.

Failing a test

Description: This dream is often seen by those who have been out of school for a long time. In this dream you are prevented from passing a test in diverse circumstances. In one scenario, you find that you are unprepared to undergo the test either because you have not prepared for it or because you are missing the necessary equipments needed to sit for the exam. In another scenario you may find that you can't answer any of the questions or that the test is in some unknown language. You can also not complete the exam within the stipulated time or find that you are late in arriving at the exam hall. All these factors contribute to you failing this test. Monika Tomar, a content writer with a MNC, says, "I get this dream periodically. It's usually college and I've blown a class off for almost the entire semester and once the finals come I have to find a map and locate the room like it's my first day there."

Interpretation: Such dreams highlight your frustration and depression. It usually means that you are feeling tested in life and may experience the fear of not being accepted. It could even imply not being prepared to face challenges or not being good enough. You are worried that you are not making the grade and measuring up to other people's expectations. "To dream that you are taking an exam indicates that you are being put to the test or being scrutinised in some way. These dreams also suggest that you are feeling unprepared for a challenge. These dreams are not about the content of the test, but rather how you are feeling while taking the exam," explains Anuj.

Illness or dying Dreams and their meanings (Getty images)

Description: A dream death is a moderately common nightmare and it involves deaths of famous people, your parents or children, a lover or even yourself. Occasionally, it occurs during the onset of an illness. According to American psychic, Edgar Cayce, when you dream about the accidental death of any person, that person's death symbolizes something in you that is no longer functioning. Manish Kumar, a senior engineer says, "I usually dream of goons breaking into my house and shooting at my father. I'm the only one who witnesses this in the dream"

Interpretation: This dream is related to your life and it means that you are emotionally hurt or are afraid of being hurt. "This dream may work as a warning for you to make you aware of an upcoming physical risk to yourself or a loved one. When it is someone else in the dream who dies, it can mean that you feel that part of yourself (that you see represented by that person) is also dead. It may also mean that you wish the person would go away or that you fear losing them," interprets Anuj.

Being chased

Description: Dreaming about being chased is also a commonly experienced nightmare. Most often the chaser in the dream is a monster or some person who is frightening; occasionally it may be an animal. Such dreams are not only horrifying and shocking, but often leave the dreamer with a lasting image of the dream. It is also worth noting that sometimes this dream is a replay of an actual event in your life. Atul Kulkerni, a student, says, "When I was young I used to have nightmares about being chased. Usually I was chased by two lions and I would be running away from them towards my house, but I could never reach the door no matter how hard I'd try."

Interpretation: This type of dream often results from stress. In this type of dream you feel frightened, attacked and in danger. If you dream of being chased by someone you know, this person is somehow contributing to your anxiety. If you dream of being chased by a stranger, it's possible that the stranger represents some aspect of yourself. "Running is an instinctive response to physical threats in our environment, therefore 'chase dreams' represent your way of coping with fear or stress. Instead of confronting the situation, you are running away and avoiding it", explains Anuj.

Bad or missing teeth

Description: Teeth dreams usually involve the discovery of extremely decayed or missing teeth in your own mouth. Common dream scenarios include having your teeth crumbling in your hands or your teeth falling out one by one with just a light tap. Priti Singh, a call centre executive, recalls, "Five years back, I would constantly dream about my teeth falling out. And not just falling: they actually crumble into much smaller pieces, and I end up spitting the pieces throughout my dream. I was seeing that dream so often that I actually went and talked to someone about it, and they told me it could mean that I wasn't feeling nurtured or loved by those around me."

Interpretation: What does it mean when we dream about missing teeth? At the most basic level it means that we are afraid of being looked upon as unattractive. At a deeper level, it can signify a fear of embarrassment or loss of power in real life. "Sadly, we live in a world where good looks are valued highly and our teeth play an important role in conveying that image. The dreams about your teeth reflect your anxiety about your appearance and how others perceive you. Another rationalization for falling teeth dream may be rooted in your fear of being embarrassed or making a fool of yourself in some specific situation", explains Anuj.

Falling or sinking

Description: We have all had falling dreams. This is the most common dream, and is sometimes accompanied by muscle jerks, which may jolt you awake. In such dreams we are usually falling through the air and are extremely frightened. Occasionally we may be sinking in water and in danger of drowning. Shradha Singh, customer care executive, says" I often dream that am floating or have the ability to levitate, sometimes with a great sense of power other times with powerlessness."

Interpretation: Dreams of falling often arise from the fear of losing control. A person who is having this dream is either insecure or lacks support in real life. If you have this dream you should evaluate your current situation and try to identify the problem. "Falling is an indication of insecurities, instabilities, and anxieties. Sometimes when we have these dreams, your whole body jerks or twitches and we wake up. This happens because falling or sinking dreams typically occur during the first stage of sleep and the dreams in this stage are often accompanied by muscle spasms of the arms, legs, and the whole body. This jerking action is part of an arousal mechanism that allows the sleeper to awaken and become alert and responsive to possible threats in the environment," says Dr. Anuj.

Missed a train, bus, boat or plane Dreams and their meanings (Getty images)

Description: In this type of dream you are rushing to catch a bus, train, plane or other type of public transport, but you miss it generally by a fraction of second. You feel frustrated rather than afraid in these dreams. In a variation of this theme, you arrive very late for a performance in which you are supposed to participate and find that the event has already begun.

Interpretation: "Travel images often signify an emotional journey of discovery and this dream usually means that you have missed out on an important opportunity in your real life. This dream often occurs when you are struggling over an important decision", explains Dr. Anuj.

Faulty machinery

Description: In the faulty machinery dream you dream of trying to operate some mechanical equipment while it malfunctions. Many such dreams involve telephones, with the dreamer having trouble dialing, getting disconnected or making a faulty connection. It can involve a lost Internet connection or a jammed or broken machine. Abhishek Srivastava, a web developer, says "I dream about the faulty connection most often. I can never dial the right number or get hold of the person I am trying to reach"

Interpretation: "This dream means that you are losing touch with reality or that a part of your body or mind is not functioning properly. You can also have such dream when you are feeling anxious about making a connection with another person in real life," says Dr. Anuj.

Lost or trapped

Description: In this dream you try to find your way out of an unknown territory such as a forest, city streets, a large building or any other maze-like structure. Another way this dream plays out involves you being trapped, buried alive, caught in a web or unable to move for some other reason. Ankur Srivastava, a bank employee says, "One recurring dream is of being on my way somewhere and taking a shortcut through a building. This turns into an endless series of stairs and doors that lead nowhere."

Interpretation: Dreaming about getting lost is very common and will usually occur when you are not able to decide on how to react to a certain situation in real life. "This type of dream will usually carry an element of fear or of frustration and it usually means that you are trapped in real life and you are unable to make the right choice," interprets Dr. Anuj.

Dreaming nudity

Description: In this type of dream you are in a state of undress, partial undress or inappropriate dress. For example you have gone to work wearing pyjamas. Occasionally you are the witness of another person who is naked while you are clothed. This is often accompanied by feelings of embarrassment and shame, but occasionally with the feeling of pride or freedom. Kumar Mohit, a software engineer, recalls "When I was young the most recurring dream was that I went to school wearing only pajamas and I am surprised that I still remember it"

Interpretation: As with all the dreams, the emotional tone of this one is important to the meaning. The meaning of this dream is that you are feeling exposed, awkward or you are afraid that you have revealed too much of yourself to someone who is not trustworthy. An interesting fact about this type of dream is that it occurs much more frequently in people who are involved in a wedding ceremony or event management in their real life. "Getting humiliated at the realisation that you are walking around naked in public, is often a reflection of your vulnerability or shamefulness. Finding yourself naked at work or in a classroom suggests that you are unprepared for a project at work or school. But if you are proud of your nakedness and not embarrassed or ashamed then it symbolises your unrestricted freedom", explains Dr. Anuj.

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