Dreams are a natural, normal part of the human sleep cycle. They aren’t prophecy, nor are they an unknowable phenomenon of a mystical world.
What they are, are rich, dynamic sources of information and creativity because unlike the daytime mind, the sleeping mind is wildly free from the limits of what is imaginable, plausible and – here’s the big one – acceptable. Paying attention to your dreams can provide rich insights into the issues that are playing on your mind.
Dreams are the brain’s way of working on important issues, problems or emotions that are leftover from when we’re awake. Because the sleeping mind isn’t constrained by rational thought processes (because this part of the brain is shut down when we sleep), dreams are rich in their potential to offer creative solutions or another slant on something we are dealing with.
The content of dreams is the information that we already have, just organized and sorted through a different, novel, creative way. This often gives rise to different, novel, creative solutions.
If there’s a particular issue you want to apply your sleeping, though very powerful, mind to, see here for a how-to on how to manipulate the content of your dreams (scientifically proven of course!).
Understanding The Dream
Given that you’re the writer, director, sometimes the star, and always the audience of your own dreams, the aspects of dreams are generally an aspect of some part of you or the your life.
Because dreams are fed by the dreamer’s circumstances, outlook, emotions, struggles, joys, the particular meaning of a dream will differ from dreamer to dreamer.
Let’s say, for example, that the dream is one of a birth. This doesn’t mean you’re about to have a baby (though if you’re nine months pregnant it’s not out of the question). Rather, it’s a non-literal, creative representation of something that your brain is working on, something associated with your real life. Is your brain trying to process emotion around an beginning? Of a job? A relationship? Perhaps even a letting go? A moving on? A fresh start?
Perhaps your dream is that you’re dying. That might be referring to a part of yourself or your life that you’re struggling to hold on to. Is there a part of yourself that’s been shut down lately? Is there something you’re worried about losing? Perhaps you’re moving on and there’s been a letting go or an ending of something. Do you need to let go? Do you need to pay more attention so something doesn’t slip away?
What about the classic – that you’re naked in public. Provided that you’re undies are on when you walk out the door then again, the meaning isn’t a literal one. Think about it … Are you feeling exposed? Are you worried about making a fool of yourself? Are you anxious about something? Are you worried about a secret coming out? Are you carrying a secret that might come out?
Everybody dreams, but not everybody remembers their dreams. In trying to understand the significance of a dream, it doesn’t matter if the entire dream isn’t remembered. Pieces or fragments will do. Any remembered dream or part of a dream is still alive and is likely to contain information relevant to something ongoing. Think about it and you’ll figure it out.
Nightmares stem from an issue that is highly charged or is demanding attention. It’s like having somebody first whisper sweetly, ‘Excuse me, but if you’re able and if it’s not too much trouble, would you mind listening to me when you have a moment?’ and you don’t listen, so they throw something at you that is, of course, soft and unlikely to cause concussion – let’s say, beach balls – and say, ‘Seriously, we’ve gotta talk sometime,’ and you still don’t listen so that throw themselves at your feet and scream at you in capital letters, ‘PAY ATTENTION DAMMIT!’ and with more exclamation marks than is reasonable for one person in one day. You get the idea.
For practical info on dealing with nightmares, have a look here.
The meaning or significance of a dream won’t always be obvious straight away. If the issue the dream relates to is an important and ongoing one, the dream will recur until the issue is resolved.
Through dreams, emotionally charged experiences can be replayed and processed. Each the time the dream is repeated, the detail contained in the dream may change, reflecting the parts of the issue that have been dealt with or worked through.
And Finally …
The symbolism in dreams is just the creative way the brain has organized the information.
If you are able to move through the emotion of a dream and look behind the symbolism, there will so often be rich insights waiting. Similarly, if you can harness the messages in your dream (that have come from your sleeping self) before they fall back into your unconscious mind, you’ll be surprised with what you’ll discover.