About

Dreams blur the lines between real and unreal and sometimes makes us question what we believe to be true in our waking lives. Dreams are filtered through a different state of consciousness and so the worlds built in them take on a different character. Does this mean dreams are either less or more real than waking life? Maybe so, maybe not. In any case, dreams show us that what we accept to be truth is liable to change and oscillate rather suddenly. The hidden parts of the mind exert a tremendous influence over our daily thoughts, impulses, and behaviors. Therefore, it is highly important to be able to excavate these depths. For countless millennia, our ancestors have been using dreams as keys to better understand both the internal and external worlds.

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Quotations

Swami Vivekananda
Hindu monk
Hinduism

“The whole life is a succession of dreams. My ambition is to be a conscious dreamer, that is all.”

The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“‘We both had dreams,’ they answered, ‘but there is no one to interpret them.’ Then Joseph said to them, ‘Do not interpretations belong to God? Tell me your dreams.’”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Russian novelist
Art & Literature

“But what does it matter whether it was a dream or not, so long as that dream revealed the Truth to me?”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

“There is no doubt that a reality exists other than the outward, physical reality. Again for instance a person is dead, is buried in the ground. Afterward you see him in the world of dreams and speak with him although his body is interred in the earth. Who is the person you see in your dreams, talk to and who also speaks with you? This again proves that there is another reality different from the physical one which dies and is buried. Thus it is certain that in man there is a reality which is not the physical body.”

Huston Smith
Scholar of religion
Hinduism

“If we ask if dreams are real, our answer must be qualified. They are real in that we have them, but most of their images do not exist in the real—i.e., waking—world. Strictly speaking, a dream is a psychological construct, a mental fabrication. The Hindus have something like this in mind when they characterize the world as maya.”

Pierre Hadot
French philosopher and historian
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Another interesting psychological point: Plato and Zeno had remarked that the quality of our dreams allows us to judge the spiritual state of our soul. We find this observation repeated by Evagrius Pontious and Diadochus of Photice.”

Tree of Souls: The Mythology of Judaism
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“While the golem of Adam lay sleeping, God whispered in his ear the secrets of Creation, and showed Adam the righteous of every generation, and the wicked as well, until the time when the dead will be raised. Indeed, God showed him every righteous man who would ever descend from him, every generation and its judges, scribes, prophets, and leaders. So too did God show him every generation and its saints and sinners. And as God spoke, Adam witnessed everything as if he were there. Some of the righteous hung on Adam’s head, some hung to his hair, some to his forehead, some to his eyes, some to his nose, some to his mouth, some to his ears, some to his teeth. And later, when Adam did come to life, he dimly remembered all that God had revealed when he was only a golem. And at night, in his dreams, he still heard God’s voice recounting mysteries, and telling of all that would take place in the days to come. In those dreams Adam would travel to those places and see the events firsthand, as a witness. And since there is a spark of Adam’s soul in every one of his descendants, there are a few in every generation who still hear the voice of God in their dreams.”

Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

““Eventually comes the day of reckoning and awakening, and then we shall know that it was all a great dream. Only fools think that they are now awake and that they really know what is going on, playing the prince and then playing the servant. What fools! The Master and you are both living in a dream. When I say a dream, I am also dreaming. This very saying is a deception. If after ten thousand years we could once meet a truly great sage, one who understands, it would seem as if it had only been a morning.”

Joseph Campbell
Scholar of comparative mythology and religion
Science, Psychology, & Philosophy

“Dream is the personalized myth, myth the depersonalized dream; both myth and dream are symbolic in the same general way of the dynamics of the psyche. But in the dream the forms are quirked by the peculiar troubles of the dreamer, whereas in myth the problems and solutions shown are directly valid for all mankind.”

Sefer Ha-Aggadah
Collection of Jewish writings
Judaism

“As long as a dream is not interpreted, it is like a letter that has not been read. Neither a good dream nor a bad dream is ever entirely fulfilled.”

Lieh Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“The six experiences of our dream life are: normal dreams with nothing significant, dreams of warning, dreams that result from excessive thinking, instructive dreams, happy dreams, and fearful dreams or nightmares. These dream states are experienced when our minds are restless. If we do not recognize when changes come and why they occur, we will be confused. However, if we know the cause and effect of things, then we are prepared and will not be excited or afraid. This is the same with dreams.”

Chuang Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“Once upon a time, I, Chuang Tzu, dreamt that I was a butterfly, flitting around and enjoying myself. I had no idea I was Chuang Tzu. Then suddenly I woke up and was Chuang Tzu again. But I could not tell, had I been Chuang Tzu dreaming I was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming I was now Chuang Tzu? However, there must be some sort of difference between Chuang Tzu and a butterfly! We call this the transformation of things.”

Lieh Tzu
Daoist sage
Daoism

“Are events in our waking life more real than dreams? To people who sleep all the time, dreams are more real than waking life. However, to those who divide their time equally between waking and sleeping, experiences in their waking life are real, and events in dreams are unreal. And yet, to those who do not know what it means to sleep, it does not make sense to talk about a difference between waking and dreaming. What then is the difference between waking and dreaming?”

The Qur'an
Islamic scripture
Islam

"'O my father, indeed I have seen [in a dream] eleven stars and the sun and the moon; I saw them prostrating to me.'" He said, "'O my son, do not relate your vision to your brothers or they will contrive against you a plan. Indeed Satan, to man, is a manifest enemy.'" (12:4-5)

Al-Bukhari
Islamic scholar
Islam

The Prophet said, "Who ever sees me (in a dream) then he indeed has seen the truth, as Satan cannot appear in my shape."

His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV
Tibetan Buddhist leader and activist
Buddhism

"It is also possible within this lifetime to enhance the power of the mind, enabling one to reaccess memories from previous lives. Such recollection tends to be more accessible during meditative experiences in the dream state. Once one has accessed memories of previous lives in the dream state, one gradually recalls them in the waking state."

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

"As to truthful dreams: I beg of God that thy inner eye (insight) may be so opened that thou mayest thyself differentiate between truthful and untruthful dreams."

Swami Vivekananda
Hindu monk
Hinduism

"Blows are what awaken us and help to break the dream. They show us the insufficiency of this world and make us long to escape, to have freedom."

The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

“When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams." (Numbers 12:6)

The Hebrew Bible
Jewish scripture
Judaism

"Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.'

'I cannot do it,' Joseph replied to Pharaoh, 'but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.'” (Genesis 41:15-16)

‘Abdu’l-Bahá
Baha'i leader
Baha'i

"The soul as thou observest, whether it be in sleep or waking, is in motion and ever active. Possibly it may, whilst in a dream, unravel an intricate problem, incapable of solution in the waking state."