What Your Dreams Can Tell You

dreams

Are you listening to your dreams? Dreams can tell you all sorts of things! They can give you insight into your path, ideas to use to expand creativity, and warnings to save you grief or disease. They can also help you solve problems. Here are some famous examples.

  • Mary Shelley had a vivid waking nightmare in 1816 that turned into the first piece of science fiction, Frankenstein.
  • In the Bible, Joseph was warned in a dream to leave Egypt. Because he heeded this dream, Jesus escaped the slaughter of all male babies.
  • Dmitry Mendeleyev created the periodic table based on information he gleaned from a dream.
  • James Watson had a dream of two snakes chasing their tales. This visual lead him to discover the structure of DNA.
  • Poet Edgar Allen Poe was plagued with nightmares and took many of his literary ideas from this source.
  • Elias Howe was working on creating the sewing machine but couldn’t figure out how to make it work. The solution came to him in a dream.
  • On March 15, Julius Caesar’s wife warned him not to go to the Senate that day based on visions she had while asleep. He went, and the rest is history.
  • Pontius Pilate’s wife also had a dream that Jesus wasn’t guilty. Her dream influenced Pilate’s behavior during Jesus’ trial.
  • Abraham Lincoln saw his death in his dreams just a few days before he was assassinated.
  • The Roman emperor Caligula also dreamt his death. He was assassinated the next day.
  • The same almost happened to Hitler. He had a nightmare. So he, got up to take a walk, and a few moments later, a shell landed in his trench killing all who were in the same area he just left.

Your dreams are probably not that dramatic, but they could be! If you’re not paying attention, you could be missing out on a lot of information that you could use to guide your life.

For instance, if your dreams are simply a replay of the day’s events, this could be a sign that you’re not getting adequate rest. Some feel that we all have these processing type dreams, but then dreams move on to other subject matters. If all you have are these “throw away dreams,” you may need to sleep more.

Another explanation for throw away dreams is that your life is not all that exciting. Your dreams are a reflection of your presence. If you put garbage in your mind, you get garbage out. So, if this is you, perhaps you need to slow down. Smell the coffee. See the roses. Read a book. Get out of the grind and so something different.

If you’re having the same dream over and over again, either exactly or a repeating theme, your unconscious is probably trying to tell you something important. Listen! If you repeatedly dream that trash is piling up, you probably need to take out the trash – either literally or figuratively. If you keep dreaming that you want to fly but something is holding you back, find out what it is! Overcome it.

How fanciful or spectacular is your dream imagery? This can tell you a lot about how structured or imaginative your reality is. Wild visuals with no pattern and no apparent meaning and/or nightmares could be a sign of mental illness. (This could be due to poor gut flora). Dreams with no deviation from every day life could be a sign of a lack of imagination or too much routine.

As hinted at above, your dreams could be warnings. The clue to this is how you feel upon awakening. Calpurnia (Caesar’s wife) and Pontius Pilate’s wife both had dreams so disturbing that they told their husband’s about them. Then thought it was so important that they urged a particular action. Warning dreams tend to have that sort of impact. They aren’t just scary or curious. They tend to be more emotionally powerful. This doesn’t mean that you should act on every dream that disturbs. However, the more attention you pay to your dreams, the easier it becomes to discern the difference.

Dreams are an integral part of life. They are a reflection of you. They are also a free communication tool from your unconscious to your conscious that you can use for self discovery and growth. It’s not a one way communication. You can ask your dreams for answers. They show you what is hidden from you every night. Why not use them purposefully?

 

How to Dream More

dream more

Dreams are the road to the unconscious. They can show you what is hidden from you. Dreams can direct you to your desires. They can warn you of danger. Your spirit ancestors and helpers can speak to you through your dreams. You can solve problems in your dreams. So, if you’re not dreaming, you may want to know how to dream more.

Everyone dreams every night. The problem isn’t that we don’t dream. It’s that we don’t remember our dreams. Dreams have always been present. They are wired into the DNA of humans. They come whether we want them or not. It doesn’t matter to dreams if you are sleeping on a train, doing a sleep study, or are writing them down for your own personal use. They are just there. Dreams do require something of the dreamer if they are to “show up” consciously and consistently. Let’s take a look at how to make it more likely that you remember them.

Practice Good Sleep Hygiene

Those who have good sleep hygiene tend to be better dreamers. If you have insomnia, hypersomnia, work third shift, or have an irregular sleep schedule, your dreams will be negatively impacted. To dream more, sleep 8 to 9 hours per night. Be in bed by 10:00 p.m. Have a wind down routine to program your body to know that when you get in your pajamas, brush your teeth, and get in bed, it’s time to sleep. This will help you fall asleep faster. Don’t watch tv, eat, or talk on the phone in bed. Use the bed for sleeping and having sex.

When you have a good sleep routine, you may be able to awaken naturally without an alarm. This is also going to help with dream recall. When you’re jarred awake, your brain may start thinking immediately. When you awaken slowly and naturally, you will be in a hypnopompic state where you have awareness of ideas, inspirations, and dreams that come from your unconscious.

Practice Good Self Care

A person who eats healthy food, has good water intake, and engages in mild daily exercise is going to sleep better. Better sleep means more dreams. Your self care routine creates the baseline for your life. If you have a good self care routine, everything flows better. You’re more mentally alert, you feel more social, your mood is better, and your body functions better. Better dream recall is just another way that your life improves.

Turn Off the Lights

Before the dawn of electricity, there was more darkness. Darkness is required for melatonin production and healthy sleep. The body needs it to restore itself at night. When you spend more time away from light pollution and turn out the lights within your own home, your body goes back to a natural rhythm. If you live in the city, this could mean that you spend more time in the country or woods. It could also mean that you use more candles or use candles after a certain hour.

Get Away From the Computer and TV

Screens like computers, tvs, and digital readers emit a blue light that interferes with sleep. In fact, it makes you stop producing melatonin! This can also impact mood. If you’re not having great sleep, you’re not having great dreams.

Meditate

We’re all way overstimulated. Our bodies are not designed to endure the amount of noise, thinking, activity, and sound that we’re all subjected to daily. Meditation gives your body some downtime to shut all this out. If your brain is subjected to so much stimulus, how do your dreams compete with that? Will you even recognize them? The more contrast (quiet, stillness) that you have, the more easily you will be able to remember your dreams.

Pay Attention to Your Dreams

If you ignore or dismiss your dreams, they will stop coming into your awareness. It’s like everything else. If you don’t think pink roses, gerbils, or Porsches are important, they will pass beneath your notice. If you’re really into those things, you will start to see them everywhere. The frequency of them doesn’t change. We just see more of what we pay attention to.

One way to pay more attention to your dreams is to write them down. Do this first thing in the morning. Dreams are fragile. Details disappear rapidly. If you wait a few hours to do this, you may only end up with a fragment. Once written down, don’t just file it away. Think about it. Play with it. Get curious about any messages within.

Another way to pay attention to your dreams is to tell them to someone. Children tell others their dreams instinctively. It’s as if they had an adventure that they want to share. When they are told, “it’s just a dream,” this behavior stops. This desire to share doesn’t go away though. It just goes underground. When most people know they have an interested listener, most willingly share that strange and important dream that just doesn’t go away. Speaking your dreams into the world gives them life outside your unconscious.

To do this, you have to let go of your fear and judgment. Having a sex dream with your brother or boss doesn’t mean you’re a pervert. Dreaming about being a mass murderer doesn’t mean you’re a mass murderer. People can get self conscious about bearing their soul to another person. Dreams are really personal. But so what. Vulnerability the cost of admission to learning and growing. It’s what you need to have any real connection to yourself, other people, and the world. I think it’s a bargain. If you don’t have a place to share your dreams, feel free to  join my Facebook Group.

Use Your Dreams

The more use that you make of your dreams, the more they will show up for you. How? By heeding their messages. If your dreams seem to be telling you to slow down, slow down. If you get a sign that you need to get a check up, do that. Keep in mind that dreams don’t dictate the future. For one thing, you may not be a great interpreter of what you are seeing. Your dreams may also be a reflection of your fears. There is also not one “right” interpretation for dreams. You could have ten messages from a single dream fragment because dreams are like art.

This is another reason for sharing your dreams. Don’t trust a dream dictionary or the “expert” to unravel your dreams for you. Share them. Play with them. Look at them from different angles. An expert, or even just a good listener, is there to bounce ideas off of. This feedback can transport you to new ideas. So always approach dream sharing like an intimate, yet playful, conversation. Don’t take it too seriously or too lightly. Dreams can dissipate under too much scrutiny.

We all have a natural therapist within us – our dreams. The more we use it, the better quality of guidance that we will have. It’s like anything, the more skilled you get, the better the outcome. You can’t do that if you’re not remembering your dreams. So make some easy changes and see if you don’t dream more.

Why We Don’t Talk About Our Dreams

dreams

Dreams are a treasure trove of information! They are a free risk management tool that can make your life safer, more fun, and easier. Yet we don’t talk about our dreams – at least not outside the therapist’s office. Why?

It Feels Self Indulgent

Holding someone hostage while you divulge your nocturnal vision can feel selfish. It can seem like there is nothing in it for the listener. In our dream deprived/sleep deprived society, this could be so. We don’t spend a lot of time thinking about dreams nor do we value them. If this is what is stopping you, feel free to join my Facebook group. That’s all we do is talk about dreams. Your dreams will be appreciated there because they give everyone practice in learning the language of dreams.

One more tip about this. Before telling your dream, practice your storytelling skills. A dream that meanders, gets bogged down in details, and goes around in circles isn’t all that interesting. On the other hand, we all love a juicy, thought provoking story.

We Think The Content is Weird

Everyone has weird dreams. Dreams are not left brained creatures. They are comprised of symbols. They aren’t restricted by the physical world. If you walk on water, have your feet facing backward, or talk to aliens, that’s par for the course. Nobody who has dreams of their own is going to look at you any differently for having dreams that behave like dreams.

We’re Embarrassed

Sex with your boss generally isn’t lunchroom conversation, but a sex dream about your boss isn’t quite the same thing. I can see how the thought of it might be embarrassing. You might be asking yourself if you have some hidden desire that you aren’t acknowledging. In reality sex dreams are common. They don’t usually mean that you’re having sex, you will have sex, or that you want to have sex with anyone. If your audience doesn’t know this, it could be embarrassing.

Once you know this, it doesn’t have to be. It’s no more embarrassing than if you were naked or you got caught stealing in a dream. Everything is symbolic.

We Don’t Want to Be Exposed

As you get familiar with dreams, you can start to see your life in them. Everyone is entitled to privacy, so I am not suggesting that you put yourself on display. However, dreams aren’t always what we think they are. Dreams can also have more than one meaning. For example, let’s say the obvious meaning of eating dinner with family is telling you that you need social nourishment. It might also be saying that your appetite for success is not being fulfilled. If you have only your own interpretations to go off of, you could be missing the boat.

You know what? We’re all works in progress. Everyone is growing. If you aren’t willing to put yourself out there to be judged, your growth is going to be limited. This isn’t to say that you should tell all your dreams to all people. I’m just asking you to consider the cost/benefit of sharing your dreams.

Also keep in mind that even if someone has an opinion about what your dream means, you are the authority on your dreams. If snow symbolizes purity for you, you might have a dream where it means an unpleasant new beginning or a power outage. Meanings vary from person to person and from time to time. So anyone who tries to judge you based on their interpretations of your dreams is on really shaky ground.

We Think We’re Weird

Sometimes we’re worried that if people saw our inner world, they’d think we are weird. So we hide our weirdness by not sharing our dreams. In Native American cultures, people with the ability to dream true were highly respected. They use their dreams to find game. This meant the difference between life and death. In the Bible, Joseph’s ability to interpret Pharaoh’s dream saved the Egyptians from famine. A hundred years ago in England, dreams were used to solve crimes. Had Julius Caesar listened to his wife’s dream warnings, he may not have died when and how he did. I’d say all those things are valuable.

Dreaming is not weird. Dreams are not weird. We’ve just become so isolated from our inner world that we are strangers to it. So, I am encouraging you to get curious. Find out what’s inside you. Find someone to share your inner world with. If you do, you will have a vibrant, current, personal tool for self growth.

How To Make Dreams More Meaningful

dreams

It’s not enough to dream. If you want to use dreams to improve your life, you have to know how to record and interpret them. Here are some suggestions on how to make dreams more meaningful.

Record them upon awakening

If you wait to record your dreams, you may lose vital details. Get a loose leaf notebook or journal and record your dreams right away.

Who is the dreamer?

We can all see dreams that are our own, someone else’s, or see third person viewings of something. Pay attention to who “you” are. Are you the dreamer or observer? If you are an observer, are you a random bystander or someone that you know? Look around. Are you in your sister’s house? Perhaps you are your sister. Are you somewhere you’ve never been? It could be that you are seeing an unknown event. This is a huge key in making your dream interpretations more accurate and meaningful.

Where are you?

Often in dreams, background information is sketchy. If you can get some details about where you are, this can add lots of context to help make your dreams more meaningful. We might say that we had a flying dream, but flying in your third grade classroom is probably a lot different from flying to an eagle’s nest or to a fairy kingdom.

When is it?

Time is particularly important if your dream is predictive. Let’s say that you are dreaming that you are going to be in an accident or the dream has some kind of warning. Look around you for clues as to when this occurs. What time of day is it? Are there any clocks or numbers of any kind? What season is it? How old are the people around you? If you have a one year old baby and your child is five in the dream, that could be a clue that the event is 4 years away. If it’s your birthday in the dream and that’s only four days way, that’s also good to know.

Look for metaphors

When I first got interested in dream interpretation, I went for themes. This makes sense because I am a big picture person. Don’t overlook the details. These are often important metaphors. Masks may be an obvious metaphor for things that are obscured, but what about babies? Many people talk of knowing babies are coming because they dream “X.” “X” may be fishes, cherubs, seeds, or bees, but they all know it’s their symbol of life. Things may not be what they seem to be.

How does it make you feel?

Let’s say you dream that you are in a field of flowers. Does the message change if it’s terrifying or deeply satisfying? Of course! The emotional climate of the dream matters a lot! A dream about your dead grandfather could be a warning, symbol, replay of today’s events, or rehearsal for something that is coming up. If it leaves you feeling very peaceful, it could be a visitation. How do you know? By how it feels.

If you’re not getting this level of detail in your dreams, set the intention that you will become more aware of the details before you go to sleep. Expect it. Record your dreams in as much detail as you can remember upon awakening. With time, more details will come. When you give your dreams priority, you will get more from them. That’s just how the brain works. We see what we expect to see.

If you have more material to work with, your access to your unconscious increases. That can help you make better decisions, be more aware, and head off problems before they manifest. If you’d like some practice with this, check out my dream group. It’s open to anyone who wants to become better at learning to hear the whisperings of their own soul.

 

If It Were My Dream…

dream

Yesterday someone came up and asked me if I would listen to her dream and give her some “If it were my dream” feedback. I thought, “Hurrah!”

When science and reason began to push the feminine, intuitive arts out of the window, dreams were no longer seen as important. Gone was the idea of using dreams for medical diagnoses and treatments. Gone were the prophecies and messages from the other side. Dreams were meaningless projections from a slumbering brain.

Our society is so disconnected. We are disconnected from ourselves, our families, friends, lovers, communities, and the larger world. It makes so many aspects of healthy living so much harder than they have to be. This is why I rejoiced when someone asked to share her dream with me. Honoring our dreams is one pathway back to living more consciously.

Here are just some of the things that dreams can do for you.

Gives you a heads up on your health

I once had a dream that my body had a black spot on it. I tried to rub it out and couldn’t. When I woke up, I was so disturbed that I went to the doctor. Sure enough, we caught something at an early stage that could have been a lot worse. Pay attention! Your dreams can be an early warning signal that your body isn’t as healthy as you think it is.

Helps you to solve a problem

Your brain is a great communicator if we just listen. Our conscious mind might spin something over and over trying to find a solution while the unconscious is sending you the perfect solution on a silver platter in a dream. If you want to struggle less, pay attention. This happens all the time. It’s like free life coaching.

Changes the outcome of the past

We can’t change the events of the past, but we can change the outcome. For example, let’s say that while in high school, you were really embarrassed when a girl refused to dance with you. Consequently, you never put yourself at risk in that way again. If you have ever had a dream about that incident, you can use it to change the outcome.

Yes! Once something is dreamt, you can re-enter the dream to see things differently, become more resourceful, or do something different. Any of these things can change the outcome in the here and now. Instead of that being an incident that left you feeling broken and insecure, it can be as if it never happened at all. When that happens, both the present and future are transformed.

Gives you a warning

Sometimes things are hidden from you. Like maybe your best friend is really a snake in the grass. Or maybe you’re about to be hit with a nasty surprise at work. Or it could be the wrong day to travel. Dreams often tell us these things. It’s not always life changing, but it is worthwhile to pay attention anyway. For instance, I had a dream that I was weed wacking and threw a stone that broke my front door glass. I totally forgot about it until about three seconds after that exact thing happened the next day. Had I been more alert, I could have saved $500 in a front door repair.

Brings you comfort

Dreams can be visitations from the other side. Of course there is no way to prove this, but many people report seeing loved ones who have passed on. Their visit usually doesn’t tip them off to who committed the murder or where the family jewels are buried. They are usually just about letting the living know that the departed is okay and that the love continues. This is a really heart warming message to receive.

Don’t wait until you absolutely have to know what a dream means before you start to pay attention to them. You wouldn’t wait until you had to cook dinner for someone to break your first egg. You wouldn’t wait until a book report was due to learn how to read. That would be too late.

Understanding your dreams are as essential to your well-being as cooking or reading. Truly! The easiest way to start to make use of this information is to honor it. Write down your dreams. Share them with other people. Ask, “If this were your dream, what would you make of it?” Get creative. Explore. You may be amazed at how much this enhances your life.

Four Steps to Understanding Your Dreams

dreams

If I said there were four steps to understanding your dreams, would you learn them? Here they are. It’s easy. It is fun. Here they go!

Write it Down!

Something miraculous happens when thoughts flow out your head, through your pen, and onto a piece of paper. The thoughts become more real, more solid, and make more sense. You can recall them more easily and see how they fit together. If you want to make sense of your dreams, you really have to write them down. And do it in first person present tense. It puts you in the perspective of the dreamer so that you can recall details better.

Give Your Dream a Title

Titles encapsulate the main idea or at least create a central focus. This can also help you to clarify what is important and what is not – especially if it’s a long, complicated dream with many parts. A dream that contains a kidnapping, lottery win, blue eyes, anticipation, and pencils could be about walking in your courage or it could be about figuring out how to complete a project that has stalled. Go with your gut on this.

Look at Every Person, Place, and Thing as a Symbol

Write down every person, place, and thing. Also write down what the symbols could mean. You can consider archetypes, but be sure to include things that are idiosyncratic to you. If red is the archetypical color of blood, war, and love, but to you it symbolizes weddings because you love a movie where the heroine was married in a beautiful red dress, write that down. That will be far more important than what others think.

People like to take dreams literally. They rarely are. People tend to represent their roles, traits or characteristics. For hints on what things represent, look at how they are used, what purpose they serve, and what they want (as if they were people – for example horses, buses, bikes, cars, and trains could want to take you places).

If you had a great time while on vacation in Greece, dreaming that you are in Greece could be a message to get back to your happy place. If Greece makes you think of the Trojan War, a dream set in Greece could be about doing battle of some sort. All symbols are personal. They may not mean the same thing from dream to dream or from person to person.

Connect the Dots

Each bit of dream data is a puzzle piece. The emotion is the glue that holds it all together. Take each piece, look at the emotions, and see how they fit together. What picture pops out? Some people have the same dream over and over. Some people have different dreams that mean the same thing over and over.

When you don’t pay attention to your dreams, they often repeat. When you do pay attention to your dreams, you get more worthwhile information that you can use to guide your life. You are the expert on you. This means that the information that comes from your own unconscious is a wildly invaluable source for inspiration and guidance. When you pay attention, you will give yourself the key to understanding your dreams and yourself.

Can You Have Lucid Nightmares?

nightmare

Lucid dreams are those where you know you are dreaming. That’s it. Lucid dreams tend to have this fantastic association where they are extremely vivid, the laws of physics do not apply, and sensory input is very different. For example, you may taste colors, feel sounds, and know things outside of the regular ways of knowing (seeing, feelings, tasting, touching, and hearing). This may or may not be true. How a dream presents does not determine whether or not it is lucid. Lucidity also doesn’t make a dream more meaningful than other dreams. They are just dreams where you know you are dreaming.

A nightmare is an unpleasant dream that leaves you feeling undesirable emotions like sorrow, terror, or anxiety. It can have an identifiable antagonist or simply be a feeling. It can recur or happen only once. In order for nightmares to be nightmares, they just have to be dreams that leave you feeling not great in some way.

So, can you have lucid nightmares? Not likely. Why? Because if you know you are dreaming, you can also change your response to the action and emotion in the dream. Once you have choices, you can choose to do something about the thing that is disturbing you. As long as you make that choice, there is no longer a reason to feel terrified, anxious, or uneasy. You probably will feel empowered.

For example, I am a lucid dreamer. I had a dream that I had been tiger hunting and had a tiger in the back seat of my car. The tiger was calm so when my friend asked me if she could see him, I said, “Sure.” She got into the car and the tiger began to maul her. This was pretty bloody and awful and could have been a nightmare, but being lucid I chose to handle it by sternly telling it to stop and it did. Voila! The blood cleaned up, she was fine and there was no nightmare.

This is actually great life practice. (In fact all dreams are great for this purpose). When confronted with something unpleasant, we always have many options. When we understand that we have some control and choose to act in ways that empower us, we become more resourceful (in dreams and reality). When we are resourceful, the fear, anxiety, and sorrow dissipate.

The takeaway? You have power right now. When life appears as if it’s a nightmare, make a different choice. When confronted with nightmares, we often run, fall, scream, freeze in place – maybe like in life. You can do something different. So do something different. You can’t control what people and things around you do, but you can control what you do. This often neutralizes threat and increases skill.

 

Types of Dreams

types of dreams

When people find out that I do dream analysis, they often tell me a dream fragment and then ask me what it means. Dream analysis starts with understanding what type of dream you experienced. Avoiding that step can have you working too hard. Here are the most common types of dreams.

Nonsense Dreams

Sometimes a dream is simply a reflection of what you ate, not having enough sleep, watching too much television or having a fever. These dreams don’t mean much of anything. It’s like fluff between the channels of an old fashioned tv set.

Straight Forward Dreams

These dreams don’t require interpretation. They are what they seem like. For example, I had a dream once that my goats were out of water. It seemed an impossibility given how much water is usually available to them, but when I checked, sure enough, they were out of water.

Prophetic Dreams

These dreams show you glimpses of the future. Maybe you are hoping for a new job, house, or baby and your dreams show you that it is on the way. Or perhaps your dreams are showing you how to avoid a horrible accident. These dreams do not have to be about big things. Sometimes they are there to get you to pay attention to little things that you overlook every day, but one day in particular, it’s important that you be aware of it. Perhaps it makes the difference between locking yourself out of your car or not. These dreams are usually strong enough that you remember them and pay attention to the message.

Healing Dreams

Healing dreams can alert you to a disease or condition before you have any symptoms. They can tell you how to resolve the issue. Sometimes the healing is between people. If there is a personal rift with a friend or family member, the images in a dream can help you to deal with your end of it and come to a place of forgiveness. This healing can also extend to whole communities. Everything is connected. Your soul wants to be whole, so the body, mind, and spirit can and does communicate to us through our dreams.

Spirit Messages

Not only does our unconscious communicate with us, spirits can also communicate with us through our dreams. Our ancestors and friends may want to visit. Or sometimes they have important messages for us. Dreams are a way for them to make that contact.

Any of these types of dreams can be lucid. Lucid dreams are just those where you know you are dreaming. They can be alike in every other aspect or they can be more vivid and fantastic, containing elements that don’t exist in real life with action that doesn’t exist in the terrestrial world. Lucidity doesn’t make them any more or less important than a non-lucid dream.

Anytime you encounter a nonsense dream, it’s not going to have much meaning. It doesn’t matter if the visuals were vivid or not. Nonsense can’t be made into sense regardless of how you twist it.

Straight forward dreams don’t require any interpretation because you can take them at face value.

The rest require some investigation. A dream analyst can help to take you out of your habitual thinking so that the meaning becomes clearer, but ultimately all dream interpretation comes from you. Your mind manufactured the symbols that you dreamt for the purpose of communicating with you. So your insight is the most valuable piece of the whole process. Consider the emotional content of the dream as well. Reality check everything. Sometimes the most obvious answer isn’t the right one. Finally, trust your gut.

How to Keep a Dream Journal

dream journal

Examining your dreams is a way of honoring your unconscious, learning about yourself, growing into a stronger, truer version of yourself, harnessing the power of your unconscious, deepening your spirituality, and working through issues. Creating a dream journal is an excellent way to start, document, and further the journey.

Not a dreamer? Don’t worry. Everyone dreams several times each night. With a little persistence and discipline, you will be remembering your dreams in no time.

Here is what you need to get started:

  • pen
  • small flashlight
  • notebook

Before going to sleep, set your intention about what it is you’d like to dream about. Right it down along with the date before you go to sleep.

If you talk to your subconscious regularly, it is more likely to be available to you and listen. Your intention may have to do with problem solving like: “Where should I look for a job” or “How can I find the money to get through this crisis?” Your intention may have to do with gathering information such as: “How might I improve my health” or “Is this the right person for me?” Or you could use it for personal growth and ask something like, “What is it that I most need to know?”

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t dream the first night or don’t seem to dream about what you wanted. This is where discipline comes in. You didn’t learn how to ride a bike the first time you tried, and dreaming consciously takes some practice too.

Try to transition between waking and sleeping gently. As you lie there in the state between waking and sleeping, leave your mind in an open (unfocused) state and scan for memories of your dreams. Perhaps they will continue or you may get fragments or details you didn’t remember before.

When you awaken, write down what you remember. This may be fragments or whole dreams. Include as much detail as possible. Include your feelings and reactions. Don’t skip over dreams that seem to be about “nothing.” Hindsight may prove they were more useful than they initially appeared. If it’s the middle of the night, go ahead and write your dream down just then. If you wait until morning, you may forget it. Include a title and tags at the bottom of the page that highlight important elements or themes. This can help you to find it or cross reference it later.

Leave the following page blank so that you can make notes such as recurring themes, recurring locales, thoughts, emotions, connections between the dream and reality, or anything else that may seem fun or relevant. If you are an artist or doodler, you might want to draw things you saw in the dream in this space. If something meaningful happens, such as you dreamt of something that actually ended up happening or you got a bit of advice in your dream that ended up saving you a lot of time, money, or headache, acknowledge it! This opens the door to receiving more information like that.

Periodically review old dreams. Your dreams are a reflection of you. You can always learn more about yourself.

Don’t get too involved in memorizing meanings of symbols. You are the expert on your dreams. Your symbols are your symbols. Flying might mean X, Y, Z according to a manual. Meanwhile it has a completely different meaning for you. Trust your own instinct. That’s one of the skills that develops from keeping a dream journal. The more you use it, the stronger your intuition becomes. Trust it. If you get a stern reality check, trust that. Your inner self is far wiser than your ego self.

Don’t get too hung up on making it an exercise. Don’t worry about perfection, spelling, punctuation, or judging the dream or yourself. Keep it light. Have fun. I’d love to hear about the cool things you discover.

The Magic of Dream Work

dreams

Modern society often dismisses the importance of dreams. We say things like, “It was only a dream” or “You must have been dreaming” or “I can dream, can’t I?” to indicate that dreams aren’t real. They have no value, and they aren’t worth contemplating. When we have this attitude, we miss out on the magic of dream work.

Some dreams are a function of what we ate or what movie we just watched. Some are a replay of the days events that help us to process memories. In the rest lie gold. They are the superhighway to the soul, the gateway to healing and growth. Treating them as if they are unimportant or “not real” is throwing your riches away.

Dreams can be prophetic visions of the future that may give you warnings. They can be visitations from the other side. They can be a means to diagnose and treat illness. They can give us a peak into the world we are creating for ourselves by our thoughts and actions. They can give us clues to our resources and help us solve problems. They can be like our own All Seeing Eye that illuminates blind spots so that we can live more effectively.

“Dreams are often most profound when they seem the most crazy.” ~Freud

If you are on a self-help journey, dreams are the perfect teacher. Write them down. Say them aloud. Learn how to interpret the language of your dreams so that your soul’s messages are revealed to you. I will show you an example below of what a dream looks like on the surface and the deeper meaning.

I have been traveling a long time and am tired. I get on a new bus and see someone I think I used to know. It’s been years. I am not sure. As I walk past, I see from the look on his face that it’s him. He recognizes me too and is disappointed that I didn’t speak. We sit in darkness rows away from each other, unmoving, and in silence. He rises to get off at the next stop. I hesitate. I want to go after him, but I don’t. I watch him disappear as the bus pulls away.

When you dream things like this, it may be tempting to dismiss it as boring. Every dream is personal to the dreamer. It includes your symbols, your feelings and can only truly be understood by you. A dream analyst can help you figure it out, but you are the ultimate authority on what your dreams represent. The dreamer interpreted the dream above as meaning: “Seize the day! Don’t be timid. Chances are lost when you don’t speak up and don’t go after what you want. Be bold. You’re missing out.” It could have just as easily be a symbol for, “It’s time to move on” or “There is a move up ahead.”

Your dreams don’t have to be lucid, fantastic, or emotional to be meaningful. The more attention you pay to your inner world, the more it will show up for you and delight you. It’s a whole lot easier to live a holistic life when you provide an outlet for your your inner light to shine.  Dreams are a tool that we all have access to. Won’t you use them?