Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions. Edgar Cayce
My copy of Carl Jung‘s autobiographical book, Memories, Dreams and Reflections is so worn and old that the pages are literally falling out. (Note to self: classic books deserve to be bought in hard cover!). For some reason Jung’s work struck me the first time I discovered it and it has stayed important to me for nearly 40 years.
Perhaps as compelling to me as anything is Jung’s emphasis on the importance of dreams in our lives. As readers of this blog might recall, I’ve kept a dream journal for 35 years. I record dreams I remember and increasingly I take time to see how I feel about them and what the dream is trying to tell me.
Most people, in my experience, claim either that they don’t have dreams or they aren’t able to recall them. We all dream. In fact, I believe we dream when we’re awake. We often call them “daydreams” or fantasies, but they are dreams nonetheless. They are no different than nighttime dreams, we just happen to be up and active when they occur.
As we get older our dreams have much to tell us about our thoughts and feelings about life. I think we can all benefit from playing with our dreams, but where to start? I’ve always told people that, if possible, you have to quit using an alarm clock. Waking from sleep so abruptly doesn’t allow us to detect the fragments of a dream we’ve had so we can find a thread and follow it to the meat of the dream.
If you’re able to live without an alarm clock, then I suggest a few more things. As you’re preparing to go to sleep, give yourself the suggestion that you’d like to remember a dream. Don’t force it, keep it light. Just suggest to yourself this is what you’d like. It will probably take some practice, but you might really surprise yourself and remember a “big dream” (one full of important meaning) right away. Your psyche might be hungry for the chance to connect.
Also, in the early stages, it’s helpful to have a pen and paper bedside to record snippets of dreams you might recall during the night. Then you might begin keeping a journal to record the fuller version of the dreams you remember. Reach for the core of the dream, the strong images and encounters that have the most energy. Embellish these as you write, giving them detail about surroundings, players in the dream and feelings about the experience.
Once you’ve recorded your dream, there are websites dedicated to dream interpretation, such as Dream Moods and Spirit Community. By searching key words from the dream you might find a sentence or word that matches what you feel about the dream. From there you can build the meaning more clearly.
Finally, reality test the dream in waking life. Recall the images during the day and see if your earlier feelings about them stay the same or if they morph into new, deeper, and even surprising revelations. Many dreams seem just to rebalance the psyche and help us adapt to current circumstances, but my experience, again, is that many dreams have messages for us that we can use to our advantage if we’re willing to play with them.
- How to Interpret Dreams (socyberty.com)
- What if life was just one collective waking dream? (justplunge.wordpress.com)