Dreams have fascinated humans and have been analyzed by them for centuries. While dreams might seem to be meaningless or merely entertaining, resulting from a random firing of neurons in the brain , they reveal important information about our subconscious thinking and give us powerful insights into potentials for personal growth.
Dreams carry messages from our subconscious mind and higher consciousness down to our conscious awareness. Once we get beyond the conscious mind, communication stops being linear. It doesn’t flow in sentences built out of words. It comes through stories that speak with emotions, associations, and symbols. That’s what some of our dreams are – non-linear messages transmitted through stories and symbols, and when those are interpreted, the message is revealed. When we figure out what dreams mean, we access information and guidance about ourselves and the best path forward.
So if you’ve ever wondered about how to interpret dreams, read on. In this article, we will explore what the dreams may be communicating to you and how understanding your dreams may help you on your path.
Three Functions of Dreams
All our dreams are not the same. They perform different functions. Some of them simply vent out excess information we have accumulated during the day (akin to going through the mail and tossing out junk mail). When we are overloaded with information, we become tired and even overwhelmed. Releasing unnecessary information allows us to free energy and space to tackle new information in the morning. Some dreams may be predicting what is coming up in the future.
These dreams may be pointing out something of significance for which the person should be on the look-out or for which one should be preparing. Some dreams allow us to process our deepest desires and test our limits in a safe environment without bringing harm to anyone in the waking state. Yet other dreams give us a peek into the adventures our consciousness has when our body is asleep. These dreams lift the veil between the two worlds and send us home with an awareness or memory of the reality beyond our conscious comprehension.
But it is the final function of dreams that is the most significant for self-understanding and self-improvement. Dreams that perform this function reflect to us our innermost thoughts and emotions, revealing the issues that are out of balance, identifying the time period with which the issue is associated, and pointing out that it is time to release or let go of it.
Understanding the messages of these dreams can help us focus attention on the issues that are standing in our way. They provide clarity and guidance. As a hypnotherapist, I use clients’ dreams in the course of therapeutic work as notes from the clients’ personal guidance systems. Once interpreted, the dreams reveal to me what we should tackle next on the client’s healing journey. To be able to decipher dreams, we need to understand several important things about them.
How to Read Dreams
Understanding some important dream elements and facts can help us make the interpretation more precise. Here are some important points to keep in mind:
1. The Symbols Used Within the Dreams are Unique to Each Dreamer
therefore, no dream dictionary can adequately interpret every dream. Some symbols are archetypal, which gives them a more universal meaning, but even they may mean something different to each dreamer.
For example, the sun may have an archetypal meaning of bringer of light or a life-giving force, but if the dreamer recently experienced a painful sunburn, then to this person, the sun may be representing something that is potentially dangerous if they are not careful.
2. Dreams Provide Time Markers
Dreams identify to the dreamer the timeframe on which the dreamer should focus. If the dreamer appears in the dream to be the same age as in waking life, then the dream is about the present condition or present circumstances of the person. If the dreamer appears as a child in the dream, then the dream points out that the issue originated in childhood. That is where the source of the issues lies, and that’s where it needs to be healed.
3. The Vocabulary of Dreams is Emotions
It is the emotions associated with each symbol and each part of the dream that string the linear interpretation of the dream together. It is the emotions that allow us to understand the true meaning of the message. For example, if the person who was sun-burned sees herself watching the sunrise and at that moment feels excited, then it could be said that she knows about a potential rising danger and is excited to face it.
On the other hand, if the dreamer who’s been sun-burned looks at the rising sun and feels nervous or uncertain, then he could be nervous or uncertain about the potential danger coming from someone in a position of power that he knows or depends on (the sun is no longer an impersonal celestial body, it is something by which the dreamer has been personally affected).
4. If Dream Messages are Not Literal, They are Symbolic
When interpreting a dream, it is appropriate to ask if the events described in it have actually taken place in waking life. In other words, has the dreamer recenty gotten burned by the sun? If yes, then the dream is speaking about that and perhaps telling the dreamer to take it seriously and do some follow-up for the body.
However, if no such events occurred in dreamer’s waking life, all of the “characters” in the dream should be viewed as symbols and archetypes. Often, to understand a specific symbol, we need to ask the dreamer about their relationship to that symbol, “What does the sun mean to you? What comes to mind when you think about the sun?”
5. Dream Messages are Relevant to Current Events
Dreams that identify limiting emotions and beliefs that should be released typically show up about 2-3 days after the relevant event in waking life. So for example, if a person makes a mistake at work and begins to experience anxiety about the consequences that might come down from the administration, a few days after the mistake is made, the person might have a dream about nervously watching the sunrise.
When interpreting dreams, it is always necessary to ask what occurred in waking life prior to this dream. This allows us to put the symbols of the dream into a meaningful context. l.
6. Predictive or Instructive Dreams Provide Clues for Their Identification
For example, if a person identifies herself as being 45 years old in the dream, but she is only 40 in waking life, it would indicate that the dream is not referring to a past event. It is identifying events that might happen in or within five years of her waking life.
Dreams offer new perspectives on our lives and situations. They point us to the beliefs and emotions that may be limiting and that should be released. They offer guidance for how we should approach situations or respond to challenges. They guide us to the root of the issues to make it easier for us to release it. They teach us and inform us of future events. By offering this information, dreams serve as a powerful tool for self-discovery and personal growth. Interpreting your dreams allows you to receive direct communication from those parts of you with which you typically do not consciously interact, and this opens the door to insight and wisdom that was not accessible before.