Dreams as one of the attributes of brain are the least understood and yet most written about. Though science has progressed rapidly in trying to understand the workings of brain and sleep but why we dream and what do they signify has still remained a mystery.
Yet throughout the history of mankind there have been innumerable episodes of prophetic dreams and in every religion and society dreams have been thought to be the mechanism to connect the present physical world to that of supernatural. Thus before Buddha’s birth his mother Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant has entered her body. Similarly Shri Ramakrishna’s mother dreamt that a small green figure, whom she identified as God, was telling her that he will be born in her house or mother Mary dreaming about the birth of Christ. There are other innumerable instances of prophetic dreams in the annals of history of mankind. Sage Patanjali also acknowledges the importance of dream when he says that a yogi can still his/her mind by contemplating on spiritual experiences obtained during the dreaming process.
Similarly there are many celebrated cases where persons have produced wonderful solutions through their dreams. Kekule’s benzene structure, Mendeleev’s invention of periodic table, Howe’s invention of sewing machine, Neils Bohr’s atomic model and Mahatma Gandhi’s idea of Dandi March came in their dreams. There are also large number of examples where scientists, inventors and technologists have literally dreamt up solutions to problems which they could not find in the waking state.
There is a possibly apocryphal tale about the great inventor Thomas Edison producing solution dreams via an ingenious system. He used to hold heavy weights in his hands and would doze off in his chair. As he started to doze off the hands would relax and the weights would fall on the floor with a big thud waking him up. Many times he said that during this stage of being half-asleep he got solutions to quite a few of his technical problems. How does mind produce such prophetic and solution yielding dreams? The brain never sleeps. During sleep there is blockage of sensory inputs and thus the ego sense ‘I’ is suppressed. Since ego is nearly absent the neural pathways in the brain are randomly energized resulting in disjointed and random thought patterns called dreams.
Depending on which pathways are energized the dreams are associated with those memories. Most of the times these memories are of everyday events and so the dreams are generally associated with them. Thus the probability of having such dreams is high and follows the Maxwellian distribution (the bell shaped curve). Also depending on the intensity of dreams we remember or forget them.
Sometimes however the suppressed memories and those of psychological knots are also energized resulting in nightmarish and frightful dreams. Similarly at other times when the memories of unfulfilled desires get energized they result in pleasant dreams. Thus dreams are windows to soul and reflect the psychological makeup of a person.
However under certain circumstances, about which very little is known, the brain is somehow able to synchronize the random thoughts into a powerful single thought. This could be triggered either by internal churning process in the brain or sometimes, in rare circumstances, by a signal from outside sources.
This results in Samadhi like state where nearly 100 billion neurons of the brain synchronize in a laser like fashion to produce a higher dimensional thought signature. This thought connects us to the higher-dimensional knowledge space from which we get the knowledge and powers of clairvoyance.
The probability of getting this type of synchronized dreams is very small but still is finite and lies at one end of the bell curve. The energy for such synchronization comes from very active thinking about the problems during the awake cycle and thus the probability of brain somehow activating those neural pathways during sleep is high. This sometimes results in solutions and prophetic dreams.
However such prophetic and solution producing dreams come only to those who have a prepared mind and have been thinking deeply about these problems continuously and for long time. As they say Gods always help those who help themselves!