Metaphor, Dreams as
Metaphor, Dreams as(dreams)
Whether we view dreams as arenas within which we act out repressed desires, as communications From the unconscious to the conscious, or simply as reflections of our everyday concerns, they are often symbolic and indirect. For whatever reason, the part of the mind that directs our dreams often chooses to embody meaning in dream images by “literalizing” metaphors. For example, a ball in a dream can represent everything from a game or some other form of recreation to childhood itself (depending on what kind of ball is in the dream). However, a ball can also have metaphorical connotations, such as being “tossed around,” “the ball’s in your court,” “having a ball,” and “having balls” (having courage). Depending on other elements in the dream landscape, any one of these possible meanings may be indicated by the dream. Many other concrete examples of this literalizing of metaphors can be found in the Symbols section of this encyclopedia.
It is believed that by achieving insight into the metaphors present in nightmares it is possible to lessen their occurrence. This is achieved because once the consciousness acknowledges a message from the unconscious mind there is no longer the need to present the unresolved issue in nightmare context. Another approach suggests that by gaining any understanding of what the terrifying imagery represents the dreamer will then be able to confront that aspect of the nightmare and dispel the fear associated with it.