I’ve recently started keeping a dream journal. Keeping a dream journal is something I have done in the past, but have found a new passion for recently. One of my first observations is that I have a lot of dreams about being back in school. Some of these dreams have found me at grade school, others at high-school and some in college.
Reading A Book About Dreams
The reason I got into recording my dreams again, is that I read a book on the science of dreaming. It talked about all the different scientific discoveries related to dreams. This included information about how lucid dreaming was first verified as a real phenomenon.
If you aren’t sure about what lucid dreaming is, in the most basic sense, it is becoming aware that you are dreaming. Many people may have become aware of this idea because of the movie Inception. Inception is about corporate espionage done through tapping into people’s dreams. Though taking control of your dreams the way they did in the movie is a very advanced form of lucid dreaming.
As for the verification, it was done by observing eye movements that had been previously agreed upon. The idea being, that while someone is lucid, they can look around in their dream, following a pattern. The assumption was that those eye movements would be observable in the real world. The experiment was successful and created a foundation for further research on the topic.
Dreams Are About Balance
One interesting idea from the book was that dreams are a way for our minds to deal with the events of our day. In a way, dreams provide us with a way to try and make sense of what has happened. Or, they can be a way for our minds to find balance with what we have experienced. In this sense, they even us out psychologically. This balance can be helpful when things aren’t going well, but it can also provide balance when things are going well. There is also the view that dreams are a way for our minds to reinforce the things we already believe.
In the extreme, when a dramatic event happens in our lives, dreams are there to help us deal with those emotions or help us work them out. From this perspective, reoccurring dreams can be there to get us to take action on things we have been ignoring or refusing to address. At the same time, they can occur to remind us of the feelings they are inspiring in us. This last explanation is interesting when it comes to dreams about being back in school.
Due to my reoccurring dreams about being back in school, I decided to look up the meaning of those dreams. Many of the descriptions I found suggested that these dreams are reflecting our emotional states in school. The explanations, also said that these sorts of dreams are often negative because many of our experiences in school were negative. School might not have been bad, but for many of us, it was the first time we experienced challenges.
In this sense, we have dreams about school because we are experiencing similar emotions as we had back then. If your life is stressful now, then dreams about school might be a reflection of the stress you first had while you were in school.
For me, my dreams aren’t so negative. But many of them are about missing a class or having an exam or assignment that I am not prepared for. These kinds of themes seem pretty typical from the various dream descriptions I read.
The Meaning Of Dreams About Being Back In School
Putting this in perspective, it would have been stressful to miss an exam or not be ready for an assignment. So our minds have created associations with those emotions and experiences. On top of all of this, because they happened early in life, they are a sort of emotional foundation for many of us.
That said, on a grand scale of potentialities, I could imagine much more stressful dreams, then those about school. At the same time, work isn’t as stressful as school was, at least in part because I’ve been able to work out ways of dealing with it. On top of this, surprise exams aren’t that common anymore, but unexpected events might be.
I get the impression that many of our first emotionally significant events happened while we were in school. Now, our minds use those experiences to try and give context to what is happening in our lives now. When we are young and in school, we lacked experience, so everything is new and an opportunity for learning. As we get older, we have new experiences, but now our minds try to fit them into the templates of our past. This isn’t to suggest that the things we learnt in school were any more important than what we learn now. Instead, they are the first experiences we have so that makes them significant.
Missing an exam would have made us feel unprepared and unready for what was coming. Having a similar experience now feels the same way because it reminds us of those memories. Our school experiences would have been our first glimpse of ‘real life.’ Other things could have happened since, but for our ‘work-life,’ exams and assignments seem like a perfect predecessor.
Saying this doesn’t mean I’m sure that this is the cause of our dreams. The truth is, we don’t often know what our dreams are about, and many factors often influence them. But if we humour the view that a lot about what we know in life came to us as kids. School is the archetypal setting where lessons to be learnt.
What These Dreams Mean To Me
Using that idea and being honest with myself about what these dreams mean, it likely has to do with the time I spend on my writing. As a child in school, writing was often a traumatic event; it would have been a massive point of conflict and self-doubt. Those same emotions are likely haunting me now. Subconsciously, I may be wondering if my work is good enough. Further, it could be about questioning if I am living up to the standards I’ve set for myself.
From my perspective, these interpretations make sense. That said, these aren’t the only possible explanations. What else could explain these reoccurring dreams about being back in school? I’m not sure, but I’m not in school these days, nor am I considering it, so any explanation would likely link back to learning.
Have you had dreams about being back in school? What do they mean to you? Let me know in the comments below.