The interest in dreams is by no means new. There are documentations of dreams reaching back thousands of years. In ancient Greece, they had dream temples dedicated to dream healing and receiving sacred messages from the gods. Native Americans placed high values on their dreams as well. Some Iroquois tribes even believed a person could get very sick if dreams were ignored. As we will see in the chapter about nightmares, they were right about the importance of dreams. If we ignore our dreams, emotional blockages are built up and we do indeed risk becoming very sick. Many world religions also honor dreams. In the Bible, there are over a hundred references to dreams, and many Tibetan Buddhists practice dream yoga, a beautiful way of enhancing higher states of awareness even when dreaming.
Australian aborigines believe in the concept of "Dreamtime," the space where everything is created and dreamed. According to this tradition, we dream ourselves into this world, and then back into Dreamtime! The Australian aborigines' view on dreams illustrates that there is, in fact, no differentiation between past, present, and future. It is all happening now, in Dreamtime. In the chapters about synchronicity and guidance, we will see that we can miraculously dream about something that is simultaneously happening in another part of the world, or dream of a person we haven't seen in years, only for them to show up on our doorstep the next day! The concepts of time and space may not be as fixed as we believe them to be.
Many scientists and fiction authors have also drawn inspiration from their dreams. For instance, author Robert Louis Stevenson dreamed up the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in one of his dreams, and the Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev received help from his dreams when he discovered the right order of the elements according to their atomic weight.