Chapter two of the Bhagavad-Gita (2:40) says, “No step is lost on this path, and no dangers are found. And even a little progress is freedom from fear.” This struck home the first time I read it. That’s understandable, for I’ve always felt from early childhood that if I didn’t face my fears, the fears would overrun me. Facing my fears straight on has always helped diminishes their psychological hold on me. Even so, freedom from fear is truly out of the question. Fear is a core survival emotion.
In pondering dreams, my own, and those others share, I invariably find fear to be an underlying impetus. I don’t mean a flee-the-tiger kind of fear mind you, although nightmares probably fit that bill. The fears to which I refer are the general apprehensions, insecurities, worries, and concerns that haunt waking life.
Interestingly, when I am deeply concerned about something and trying to solve the problem, an answer often comes after sleeping on it. In a biological sense, I’d say dreams are a way the nervous system manages the emotional currents that drive life — need and fear, essentially.
Naturally, we need to look beyond any bizarre details of a dream to see the bottom line of the dream. The nervous system, in building a dream, is not concerned with how logical the dream is. It just needs to reproduce the emotional context. The dream needs to match our emotional reality. Then the nervous system can work on that.
This Science News report, When dreams come true, supports some of what I’m saying here. At one point the researcher, Morewedge, says, “Our results suggest that the dreams most likely to affect our daily lives and relationships are the dreams that accord with our existing beliefs and desires”. My only quibble is that he fails to realize that fear and need form the foundation for desires and beliefs. (Also google [The Science Behind Dreaming].)