The Dream Message to Self
I took a dream interpretation course many (many!) years ago. But what was particular about it was that it lasted about three months at the rate of once a week for an afternoon, so 3 to 4 hours at a time. We covered a lot of ground. Since then, I’ve kept a dream journal, on and off, but I’ve also, regardless if I was journaling them or not, always paid attention to my dreams. What was the message? What did I need to pay attention to?
I won’t tell you it was the course that made me interested in dreams. Rather, it was the other way around. The vividness of dreams fascinates me. Have you ever woken from a dream crying? Or feeling really good? Terrified, heart pounding? Do you speak or sleepwalk? Why that dream, those people or places and that storyline?
The more you pay attention and try to decode your dream message, the clearer the dialogue between you and your subconscious becomes. Now, I’ll sometimes awake from a dream and already know what I’m being told. The channel of communication has become clearer over time. This is what I learned in that course and what you can do to in order to better understand your dreams.
Are dreams premonitions?
The common assumption is that a dream is a premonition. In fact, this is rare. Dreams are a message from your subconscious about your feelings or a situation in your waking life. The dream can show you what you overlooked, how you truly feel or just help you sort through and evacuate emotions. The subconscious uses symbols to get its message across.
Types of Dream Messages
Dream carry a message, but the significance varies. Literature suggests it may be a way of processing experiences and sorting what will be committed to memory. From experience, dreams can also show what has affected us, even if we don’t realize it in our waking hours. Dreams can also offer a conclusion or clarity on something we can’t grasp in our waking hours. Who hasn’t woken up with an answer to a problem they couldn’t figure out when awake? Finally, it can be the mind simply sorting things out, especially after an eventful day. These dreams are just the mind ’emptying out’. Even watching a movie can trigger related dreams as the mind processes what you’ve seen and felt.
People in the Dream
We often feel uncomfortable when we dream of someone. As if this is an unconscious manifestation of a desire. In fact, the people in your dreams are all aspects of you. They are also symbols and their significance is personal to you. The important question is What do I think about that person? What qualities or faults would I ascribe to them? What do I admire or dislike about them? Your answer is an aspect of yourself, or your situation, that your subconscious is trying to show you.
I dreamt once that I was in a car with a friend. The car broke down. Here are two symbols: the friend and a stalled car. I’d describe this friend as capable and pragmatic. So despite the setback (the car) I could rely on practicality and capability (mine, as shown through a person I’d label as such) to see me through.
In another situation, I was offered an assignment at work. It was tempting, but I would be working for someone I didn’t know well, on something I’d never done before. That night I dreamt of my close friend warning me not to do it. ‘Don’t go there’ were her words. This was the friend who got me into manifesting and mindset. We learned together after she came across a book at her library. She had amazing intuition and ability to connect. Who was she as a symbol in my dream? Someone whose intuition I could trust. Trust this advice was the dream message.
No one knew about the job, the dream occurred the same day. But it was portent enough that I turned down the offer. I found out later that this boss had made the same offer to several people and expected us to compete against each other, each preparing and ‘auditioning’ (his words). Imagine my relief at avoiding all that.
I don’t dream.
We all dream, whenever we sleep. Dreaming is essential for the mind. It’s just a question of remembering it or not. The best way to remember your dreams is…wait for it…to practice remembering them. If you write down whatever little bit you do remember about a dream, as soon as you wake, or as soon as it comes back to mind, you can begin to reconstruct your dream. Or at least a part of it. Perhaps, during the day, something triggers the memory. Follow that flash of memory, try to remember more. And write it down. Keep a notepad next to your bed, or use your phone to write or dictate a dream immediately when you wake. The more you practice, the more you are likely to remember the complete dream.
How to Understand a Dream
First, use a dream journal. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can use a spiral notebook from the dollar store.
Start by giving you a dream a title. The title that pops into your head is going to be what stood out in the dream for you. Second, write your dream as if it really happened. In other words, don’t start your phrases with I dreamt that...and use the present tense. Third, once you’ve written out the dream, or as much as you can remember, use these four prompts to better understand your dream.
How did I feel? What emotions did you feel? Happy, sad, scared, irritated? Remember, not all dream symbols mean the same thing for everyone. You may dream a cat wanders into your house, and feel happy or worried if it’s injured. Perhaps you are phobic and are terrified a cat is in your house.
What is going on with me? What’s going on in your life? What’s on your mind? What thoughts and events are occurring? Can you draw a correlation between what’s going on in your waking life and the symbolism in your dream?
What symbols stood out? Did you dream of your childhood home? Was it actually your home or just in the dream? Was it a house you’ve seen before? Any numbers? What about the people in your dream? Animals? Means of locomotion?
Decoding the Message
Once you’ve answered the prompts, what dream message is coming through? Rely on your intuition or feelings. How do the elements of your dream relate to your waking life? What is the overarching theme? For example, a friend once dreamt she had found the towels she wanted for her house. But they were too high on the shelf and she couldn’t reach them. In other words, she had found what she wanted but it remained out of reach, there was still a hurdle to overcome.
A personal interpretation is the best one, because dreams are personal. But you can look to a dream dictionary for help. There are also archetypes. According to Carl Jung, these symbols are universal. Here are a few examples. Water relates to emotions. Are you seeing a tranquil lake or a hurricane? The house is the self. Any form of locomotion related to progress in our life. Are we at the wheel, speeding along? Or in a crowded bus, one of the crowd, taking forever to reach our destination? Perhaps in a future post, we’ll discuss them in more detail.
Practice Makes Perfect
The important thing to remember is that the more attention we pay to our dreams, the more the dialogue between conscious and subconscious increases and dream messages will flow more easily. And if you believe that your subconscious is the portal to the collective unconscious (or your guides, or God, or divine mind, your choice), then that’s a lot of awareness waiting to be tapped into. Sweet dreams.
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash