Virtually all dreams are unique to the psyche of the dreamer, but there are a few that have common meanings to almost all dreamers. Some of these are culture bound as would be expected.
For example, industrialized countries might produce dreams of symbolic anxiety where the dreamer is frozen in front of a test/exam that they’re unprepared for, or didn’t remember they had to take, or from a class that they forgot to attend.
Some dream themes such as “being chased”, “falling”, “naked in public, and “flying” seem to show up in some form across all cultures and seem almost archetypal in nature.
Falling is basically an insecurity dream and may even be primordial in nature in that it is part of the human vigilance built into the psyche from the time when we had to take care not to fall out of the tree we were sleeping in. These dreams often reflect a loss of equilibrium and can reflect a loss of self-control. If the dream were a pleasurable falling then you might want to consider it a “flying” dream.
Flying dreams typically reflect a desire for freedom from tedium, or a stressing situation. It’s a cry for independence, to be free, to be your own person, to overcome problems, or restrictions e.g. oppression. They are often the dreams of adolescence. Prisoners, or those who feel imprisoned by circumstance, such as a job, or relationship and those who are forced to endure unhappiness, and those who are experiencing traumatic and chronic health issues can feel free of that in their dream world as they fly free above the walls of a building and across an open meadow.
Statistically, older people seem to dream more of flying which might reflect a desire to slip the bonds of their increasing physical infirmity. For me these dreams show up when I feel overly stressed and out of control and seek to fly free of the situation. At times I feel threatened and flying has served as a means of escape which is more a being chased, escape, or “running for your life” dream.
Dreams where one feels attacked or chased is a common dream across all societies as well, though the particulars may be culturally affected, e.g. a Masai warrior might be chased by an animal whereas someone living in L.A. or New York may be chased by a mugger with a knife. Today being chased or attacked could relate to the Corona Virus however, this theme still reflects anxiety and insecurity on the part of the dreamer. I’ve read that those people who tend to have being chased dreams don’t tend to have falling dreams and vice versa even though both are insecurity dreams. When I look back at my dreams, they do tend to be predominantly “chased” dreams. These dreams may also expose some feelings of vulnerability especially if you’re running naked, or semi-naked (when in your underwear).
The naked in public dream, however, shows up more often than not when one is feeling exposed as when the façade, or social mask, has been broken, or let down and leaving one vulnerable to being emotionally hurt. If there are disapproving on-lookers it might imply that the dreamer is experiencing guilt, but if the public is cheering it might suggest that the dreamer is feeling successful at shedding some bad habit, or inhibition or reveal some inner exhibitionism. However, performing in front of the public can be very anxiety producing and might therefor reveal a sense of being unprepared.
Which brings us to the on stage and being unprepared dream such as not knowing your lines, or not remembering your character and can be almost nightmarish and show up when one thinks they may be in over their head and think they may not be up to the task as when one questions whether they can handle the new responsibilities presented to them. Basically, these are a much stronger version of the test/exam anxiety dream. Frequently these dreams show up at major decision points in our lives.