Dreams are far more than fantasies and wishes. They reveal inner truths, and expose incorrect conscious attitudes and resolve conflicts, providing a healing and self-regulating function. If you are inflated, they will bring you down to reality, and if you’re depressed, they can give you hope.
By interpreting the messages in your dreams, you are communicating with your true self, your soul, and God. Carl Jung wrote that he who looks inside awakens “a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul.” Understanding your dreams’ hidden symbols, guidance, and messages unlocks that doorway.
Freud wrote that dreams are the “Royal Road to the Unconscious.” Your unconscious beliefs, fears, motives, and desires can thwart your goals, your health, and relationships. According to Freud’s mentor, Charcot, what you don’t know controls you. Hence, interpreting your dreams can provide valuable guidance.
Additionally, dreams reveal shadow sides of your personality, both positive and negative, which need to be integrated into conscious awareness. Some dreams incorporate mythic and universal symbols from the collective unconscious. They can also reveal your inner masculine and feminine that are striving for balance. Most people are unconscious of the negative aspects of these archetypes that operate beneath awareness. These patterns can frustrate your goals and wreck havoc on your life. Dreams can provide guidance on how to heal, direction in your work and relationships. They can predict a doomed romance or show you when you’re off-track or have misguided judgments, plans, or business dealings. Occasionally, dreams may be telepathic, clairvoyant, precognitive, or reminisces of past lives.
If you want to remember your dreams, plan ahead the night before. Tell yourself you will remember and have a journal or tape recorder near your bedside. When you first come to consciousness, train yourself to ask, “What was I dreaming?” as your first thought. Do so before moving or opening your eyes – certainly, before getting out of bed. By then, remembrance is left to chance; however, a good place to recall dreams is in the shower. The repetitive tapping of the water can stimulate your unconscious if you’re not thinking about other things.
Once you become adept at remembering your dreams, you can also learn the practice of lucid dreaming, which means you become awake within your dream and can direct the outcome, much like a movie director. In this way, you can use your dreams to practice new behaviors and attitudes, and to overcome fears. In Lucid Dreaming, Stephen La Berge offers several techniques, including the practice of reality checking, such as checking your watch during the day, then reminding yourself to do this in your dreams. Doing this during a dream would signal your mind that this is a dream. You also can practice going back to sleep after first awaking with the clear intention to enter into and plan your dreams lucidly. Practicing meditation helps with moving between different states of consciousness and remaining alert during deep, restful states. The Tibetan monks were adept lucid dreamers.
In Dreams, Consciousness, Spirit Jungian Analyst Ernest Rossi identifies seven levels of dreams, each with increased complexity and consciousness. In the first level, the dreamer is a passive observer. There may not be people in the dream. With greater complexity, there is dialogue, self-reflection, and seeing the action in the dream from different perspectives or different ages, even dreams within dreams. Rossi posits that at the highest levels, including lucid dreaming, the dreamer is reprogramming gene expression.
©Darlene Lancer 2016