How much are your dreams worth?

What you need to know:

If you seek wisdom, ask God instead of making yourself vulnerable to exploitative characters

When was the last time you had such a wonderful dream that you were sad to wake up? And by dreams, I do not mean the kind our motivational speakers deal in. You know where they assure you that every dream is valid.  I mean the ones that occur when you are sleeping. The renowned psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud believed dreams allow people to express unconscious wishes they find unacceptable in real life. This explains why when you dream about losing millions of shillings, you wake up and console yourself it was just a dream. But when you dream of driving a beautiful car, you share it with your loved ones.

Freud’s theory tells us that the unconscious mind plays a significant role in shaping behaviour and experiences. Understanding the deeper meanings behind one’s dreams can provide valuable insights into one’s emotions, motivations, and relationships, ultimately contributing to personal development and self-discovery.

It is safe to assume that while not many average Ugandans have heard of Freud and his theory; they seem to intuitively understand how significant their dreams are. Freud also emphasised the use of symbolism in dreams but discouraged the belief that symbols are universal because they are not.

For example, a sunny day or rain cannot have the same meaning for all people. Whereas they may signify good fortune for one person in Muyenga, they certainly mean something else to someone in Bwaise or Bududa. He emphasised that to get an accurate interpretation of someone’s dream, you have to know the person well.

I do not know if the coat of many colours Joseph’s naivety in telling his family about them precipitated his being sold into slavery but they certainly played a part.

From those ancient times, dreams still cause disagreement and remain a source of mystery for so many so much that some unscrupulous pastors have turned their interpretation into a source of income.

While it is often prudent to refrain from interfering in others’ affairs, there are moments when moral imperative demands action. This dilemma is particularly poignant when confronted with those who prey upon the ignorance of others for personal gain. I recently found myself having to intervene when a person close to me found herself in the clutches of a city pastor.

 It all started with a dream. In it, she had dreamt of picking ripe fruit from a tree in her compound. Not sure about what to make of the dream, she approached her pastor and asked him to interpret the dream for her. The pastor told her the dream signified prosperity and happiness in her life. She was so elated that finally her prayers had been answered. For one week, she spent nights in the church to express her gratitude to God.  We were of course happy for her and could understand this gesture.

 But soon, our happiness turned to concern when she came back home and confessed that she was planning to sell her plot of land to reward the pastor for his interpretation. To say I was shocked is to put it lightly. I asked her what part of the dream she was rewarding the pastor for. Had he put the dream in her consciousness or was he able to make it come true? She had no answer for either question but said the pastor had talked to her about taking a step of faith.

He had asked her what thing of value she possessed and she had told him about her plot of land she had sacrificed to buy with the hope of building a home for herself and her children. He then told her he could sense that the plot had been tampered with and would bring her nothing but heartbreak.

The right thing to do would be to sell, donate some money to the church ministry, and invest in a business that would bring her the prosperity and happiness she had dreamt of.

This young woman is usually as smart as they come but all of a sudden she was behaving as if she was under a spell. After several interventions to talk her out of selling her plot failed, I explained to her that the man of God unlike Daniel; he had not got the interpretation from God but had relied on the almighty Google. I dared her to google the dream herself and see what she found out.

It soon dawned on her that her dream might not even be that profound but could have been because she spent the whole day looking at a sea of ripe fruits from her stall in Nakasero Market

Dreams indeed may have a place in human affairs but one can be too sure to the extent of throwing away what you already have for what you dream. This risk seems too high. Prudence dictates that one should approach the pursuit of dreams with careful consideration and strategic planning.

Rather than impulsively abandoning the present for the uncertain promise of the future, it may be wiser to integrate dreams into a broader vision that encompasses both aspirations and practical realities. This may involve setting achievable goals, devising concrete plans, and incrementally working towards realising one’s dreams while responsibly managing current circumstances.

Also, while these men of God may provide inspiration and direction, we must be particular about whom we trust. Rather than impulsively following their directions like cult members, we should try and do some studying of our own. I am also one of those people who believe that God will answer you when you ask. If you seek wisdom, ask God instead of making yourself vulnerable to exploitative characters masquerading as preachers.

And yes, as motivational speakers like to say, every dream is valid as long as it is tempered with pragmatism and based in reality. 

Make connections to your life

•Books that offer dream interpretations can be helpful, but you will often gain more insight by examining the dream from the unique lens of your experiences.

•People have plenty of things to say about their dreams, but someone else’s meaning might not hold for you.

•Maybe you dream about a rabbit eating grass in the park. At first, this might seem like a simple, even somewhat boring dream. But, when you dig a little deeper, you remember feeling happy and peaceful in the dream, and that you wanted a pet rabbit as a child.

•Connecting these facts to your everyday life, you might conclude that spending time outside felt good and decide to visit the park more often. You also realise you would enjoy having a pet in your life.