Guest Author - Aisling Ireland
Ever had that dream where you show up for class only to discover that you are naked and/or there is an exam you didn't know you had? I have. In fact, once I experienced a scenario very similar to the dream one in waking life. I showed up to class fully clothed, but having read the wrong chapter for the quiz I was actually meant to take. The waking life feelings were the same as the emotions conjured by dream tests - panic, disbelief, and horrific embarrassment. In waking life, my lack of preparation was a result of exhaustion following illness. But what does showing up for a dream test unprepared or naked symbolize?
Test Dream Themes
Most test dreams come in common forms - the test taker shows up late, unprepared, naked, is suddenly paralyzed, can't remember answers, didn't know there was a test, can't find the testing facility, discovers the test is written in a foreign language. No matter what form the dream takes, the emotional aspect of the dream is usually the most pervasive and the emotions conjured are usually panic, anxiety, and embarrassment.
More ideas about dream exams:
Carson Kressley's show, "How to Look Good Naked," may inspire women with confidence issues, but even his enthusiasm can't alleviate naked-dream-test embarrassment. Showing up naked for a test in a dream goes a little further than simply showing up unprepared. Being naked and tested means that not only does one feel completely exposed, but powerless, vulnerable, and harshly judged by a force over which one has no control.
Showing up naked for an exam may also mean that one is overlooking something completely obvious. Getting dressed before leaving the house is the most obvious thing we do - there is not way we can ever forget to put on clothes before facing the world, unless one is seriously ill in some manner. Showing up naked then can mean that one has an irrational fear - one is fearing something that in actuality can never occur.
Many people have a nameless fear, an unnameable anxiety that there is something devastating waiting around the corner, some catastrophe for which they will be completely unprepared. Unexpected dream tests can symbolize these kinds of elusive anxieties. Sadly, we cannot ever prepare for all life events - we cannot make our lives completely stress or disaster free. There is always going to be something that will take us by surprise. There will always be something that happens for which we were completely unprepared. Worrying is not a magic talisman that somehow keeps unpleasant life experiences at bay. In fact, worrying compounds rather than alleviates anxiety.
If you find yourself having recurrent anxiety dreams, try to learn meditation techniques or try what is known as centering prayer. Yoga is also extremely helpful as it engages both the body and the mind, making both feel as if they are "doing something" to stave off the anxiety. Links to centering prayer and a great yoga dvd are below.
Paralysis and Memory Issues
Dreams of being unable to complete or unable to remember the answers to a test are a little different than other test dream nightmares. Rather than signifying simple anxiety, these dreams point to a life event to which one knows how to respond but simply can't for some reason.
It is important to remember that there is a difference between "choking" and panicking. Whereas panic occurs when one really doesn't know what to do, choking occurs when one knows exactly what to do, but sabotages one's self for some reason. It happens to star athletes from time to time. They know exactly how to perform but allow performance pressure to stifle their expert abilities. Try keeping your core Self in charge of your life at all times. Your core Self is free from judgement, doubt, and is unconcerned with performing for outsiders. Learn to listen only to the "still, small voice" instead of chaotic, vocalizations of fear and anxiety. And remember, those petty voices of insecurity can come from the outer world as well as the inner.
Parle vous tests au reve?
Probably not. Dreams of tests in a foreign language may signify a life event that one finds completely incomprehensible. They may also signify communication difficulties in relationships with the accompanying feeling that one is "failing" because of these problems. Try to learn speaking your partner's "language" by opening up regarding your lack of comprehension. It sounds obvious, but we often fail because we never admit we need help or ask simple questions.
Sometimes a Test is Just a Test
If you are involved in some kind of educational setting, then applying Occam's Razor to your dream may shave off the confusion of your dream's meaning. Test dreams may simply indicate actual anxiety regarding academic performance. If you are becoming incessantly plagued with recurrent dreams of examination catastrophes, it might be worth your time to speak with a guidance counselor or your school's academic counseling center.
Until next time, sleep well and dream out loud!
*~Aisling Ireland~* is an ordained Spiritual Counselor providing dream interpretation and Tarot readings. To make an appointment check out her website at: web.mac.com/aisling.ireland
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