In our waking lives we tend to operate as a composite of physical and emotional needs and unexamined beliefs which we think of as us. Whether we spend our time remembering the past or thinking about the future our feet are on the ground; we move about in a world of the physical senses; we know (or believe we do) its limits.
In our dreams we're in a world in which the rules of physical existence are relaxed and sometimes suspended altogether. We may find ourselves in a different time period, be a different sex. We may meet dead relatives or friends. We may fly.
None of the interesting and sometimes bizarre things which happen to us in our dreams are accidental. Our dreams are our creations, in which we try out various possibilities for our lives, eventually choosing the ones which we most want to manifest.
A dream about the deceased grandmother who was always a source of love and support for you may be telling you to love yourself or that you have hidden resources. A flying dream may tell you that you're ready to free yourself from certain restrictions, and a dream that you're a different sex may be urging you to express qualities you keep repressed.
Our dream images can show us not only our deepest feelings and desires, but also the beliefs which may prevent their expression.
Suppose you dream about moving into a new place which will cost more in rent than you're paying now. When you turn on the faucet no water comes out. This could mean that on a psychic level you sense a plumbing problem; it could also mean that you're afraid that paying the higher rent will drain your financial resources.
If we lived among the Senoi of Malaysia, where people discuss their dreams each morning, or in Native cultures where the direction of the tribe is guided by dreams we'd all probably wake up each morning with a clear remembrance of the night's dramas. Most of us, however, live in a culture which honors only that which can be experienced with the physical senses. We may discard any experience which doesn't fit inside these limitations.
Thus, we may find ourselves disregarding about one-third of our lives. We pay a price for this neglect on many levelsãin part because we can't completely disregard it.
While our ordinary waking consciousness may not remember our dreams, on a deeper level they leave their impression, and when we don't admit our dreams to full consciousness that impression may be a disturbing one. The fear of one's dreams may cause insomnia or restless sleep. We may wake up confused, our minds fuzzy and unfocused. During the day we may experience emotions which seem disconnected to the events taking place, feelings which sound the invisible chords of repressed dreams.
Our greatest loss is of the ability to use the rich resources provided to us by our dreams; we deny ourselves the power and creativity which they are designed to give us.
Once we decide to welcome our dreams back into our lives it becomes relatively easy to remember them and work with them--if only because each night you have several opportunities to practice. It will help if you keep the following guidelines in mind:
1. Don't think about how much time this is going to take out of your life--or if you do, think about how much time it takes trying to fend off anxiety, how much time you spend worrying or wondering about making decisions, or agonizing about a lack of direction. Dream work takes much less time, and the more you focus on them the easier it will become to understand them.
2. Be patient. If you don't remember your dreams right away it only means that because you've had the dream channel closed for a long time it may take a while to open it up again. Further on in the newsletter I recommend crystals and Bach Flower Remedies which may accelerate your process of dream recall.
3. Be receptive. This could mean saying before you go to bed, "I'm going to have a dream tonight, and I'm going to remember it." I recommend that you be prepared to record any dreams or dream fragments you may remember in a notebook kept on a bedside table. (Also make sure that you have a pen there, too.)
Just the sight of that notebook before you go to sleep and when you wake up can serve as a powerful stimulus to dream recall. When you wake up write your dreams down immediately, as well as your feelings about them.
At first, that may be all you want to do, just to get yourself into the rhythm of dream recording. Later on, though, you will get more benefit from your dreams if you begin to interpret them.
Be wary of books which center on universal meanings for symbols. Perhaps some symbols are universal; most, however, have specific cultural associations.
A snake, for example, is often considered to be a phallic symbol. However, in older, matriarchal-based societies, the snake may represent the birth process; in others it stands for life force energy.
Your feelings and intuition are more relevant than traditional interpretations. It's YOUR dream; thus, a snake is a symbol which has a unique meaning for you. If you feel that it represents an unfolding process of creativity, then it does.
If possible, make time in the morning for this process of interpretation. Many images and sensations are fresh then, which later on may become blurred by the events of the day.
Joan dreams that she's in a Broadway production, a musical comedy with many big dance scenes and lots of songs. She tried out for the lead role but made the chorus instead. In the middle of a dance scene the lead actress trips and falls on the stage. Jean thinks, "I'm so glad I didn't get that part; it could have happened to me."
One could say that Joan is afraid to be in any kind of leadership role because she fears failure and humiliation. This analysis would be reinforced by the events of her waking life, in which she has been asked to accept a major promotion. Because she feels ambivalent about it she's asked for time to think.
Is the dream telling her that she really doesn't want the promotion? Is it predicting that if she does get the job there will be some kind of disaster for her? While there are genuinely predictive dreams, we could also say that if she believes this she may well make it happen.
So what should she do about the promotion? This depends on how she feels when she wakes up, and whether that feeling persists throughout the day. If she feels relieved, and that feeling continues it seems likely that accepting the promotion isn't her best move at this time (although she would be well-advised, on general principles of spiritual growth, to examine her fear of humiliation, as it may be stopping her in other areas of life).
If when she wakes up she feels disappointed or frustrated, if she finds herself going through her day and saying to herself, "I don't want to stay in the position I have; I need some risk in my life," then the dream is telling her that it's worth the possibility of falling on her face, that she's tired of being in the chorus line of the Broadway production which is her life.
Dreams which call for special attention are those which one has repeatedly. I have a recurrent dream that I've been in college for several months, and realize that there's a class I haven't attended at all.
When I have it I look at my life very carefully in order to discover what I'm neglecting. Lately the situation has gotten resolved in the dream itself; i.e., I find the classroom; the professor doesn't notice that I've been missing; I manage to make up the work I've missed.
I mentioned towards the beginning of article that in our dream lives we experiment with different possibilities for our waking lives. You can create a bridge between these two worlds by reliving and changing a dream while in a meditative state.
Joan relives her Broadway spectacular dream, and changes the ending this way. When the lead performer falls down she is asked to replace her, to become the new lead. She then imagines how this makes her feel. Is she thrilled? Does she love being a star? Does she find that it's really a lot of work with little reward? Her response to the changed ending will tell her a lot about the decision she has to make in her waking life.
The purpose of writing down one's dreams isn't simply to encourage your remembering them or to provide an immediate reference. It can be equally valuable to read over your dreams for the week or month. Doing so will make it even easier to understand their special language and their particular messages for you.
As you examine your own dreams for patterns while reviewing the events of the period during which they occurred you may also find that your dreams accurately forecast your hidden beliefs, which, if unexamined may lead to the creation of a reality you'd prefer not to experience.
Your dreams can also point out solutions you've overlooked in waking life and describe new avenues for your creative expression.
So, discover the night world, and dream on.
There are several stones which are useful for various aspects of dreamwork. You can keep them on your bedside table (right next to that notebook) or inside a pillowcase (this keeps them from wandering).
Amethyst is ideal for peaceful dreams, and is especially recommended for those who are afraid of them.
Smoky quartz or hematite (or any other grounding stone; these are our favorites) can help to keep you grounded so that you'll remember your dreams in the morning.
As you develop your relationship with dreams you may want to experiment. If you want to have a dream about love use a rose quartz; for abundance, citrine. To have a healing dream use aventurine. You may want to amplify the ability of a particular stone to help you by programming it to give you insights into the crucial area of your life.
People often discover that taking any flower essence mixture intensifies dreams. We find that when we add a new Remedy to a mixture dreams become particularly intense and frequently related to the nature of the Remedy. Taking Larch (self-confidence) might create dream situations in which one either effortlessly experience self-confidence or discovers what was blocking its full expression.
Aspen (for fear of the unknown) can be particularly valuable for those who are afraid of their dreams. Rescue Remedy, which contains Rock Rose for terror, Clematis, for dreaminess or unconsciousness, Cherry Plum for the fear of doing harm to oneself or others, Impatiens for impatience, and Star of Bethlehem for shock and trauma, can be very good to take before going to sleep.
Way back when, we both worked as typographers. Our work was interesting, and we both worked in supervisory positions. In time our parallel career paths expanded to training, and we both discovered that we were good teachers.
About fifteen years ago we each had our first astrological consultations. Mine indicated that I was a born teacher and that I would do wonderfully teaching metaphysics. I thought that would be nice, but didn't see how it would ever happen. Joyce regarded with similar disdain the notion that she was destined for a career in wholistic health.
Five years later we found ourselves owning a metaphysical store in New York City, publishing a popular monthly newsletter, and giving crystal workshops. We acknowledged that our astrology readings had been accurate, and began to pay much closer attention to our intuition, dreams, and other messages from the great beyond. When the idea, outrageous though it seemed, of having a website came to us we took it on.
The moral of this story? Follow your dreams--both the ones which
come to you when you're asleep and the ones you receive when you're