Question: There are many times where my dreams are grand adventures that seem to be movies specifically designed to meet my fancy. Other times, my dreams are quite easily traced back to events that occurred the previous day. For example, I went to the movie theatre and saw a preview for a new movie where Denzel Washington crash lands an airplane. That night I had a dream where I was in an airplane that was crash landing. Are all dreams based on events of the previous day? Even if they are does that mean they have no deeper meaning than processing the day’s information?

Answer: One of the most important aspects of dreams that I have picked up from science is that they do not adhere to a set of psychological rules or guidelines.  Thus, it is not always the case that your dreams pick up where you left off from the previous day.  I can speak from experience that many dreams refer back to both significant and entirely random time periods of my own life– sometimes even in the future.  However, dreams are based off of memories that inadvertently build a hypothetical plot-line. This is spontaneous thought, meaning the impact of the dream can only be defined or dismissed subjectively.

But let’s discuss your dream.  Don’t you think that the way you process the day’s information potentially insightful?  I always say it is how you react to the hypothetical plot set up by the subconscious mind that allows you to understand what your dreams are saying.  It is interesting to think that you recall from your day seeing a preview in which Denzel Washington crash lands an airplane, but in the dream you were only a passenger in an airplane someone else controlled.  I would wonder if there is anything in your life that is making you feel somewhat settled and content, and yet that force might also be restraining you from being the ideal character you want to be.  That is how I would think about this dream.

My advice for dreams in a situation like this would be to not seek out an interpretation if it is not placed in front of you.  From my own experience, the meaning comes to me immediately after waking up.  If I do not feel emotionally affected by the dream, I usually just think of the dream as a movie and enjoy it as entertainment.

-James Wadman

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