Category Archives: Dream interpretation

Posts about dream interpretation, or where dreams are interpreted.

What’s in a face?

What's in a face?

Half boy, half beast, he sat on the edge of a swimming pool in a dream I had once upon a time. His body seemed stunted, his face albino white, a long wide nose, no eyes. I was very wary of him. Not sure how he’d respond to me.

If I were to write a blog about my top ten tips for interpreting dreams, I’d include ‘Everything and everyone in a dream represents something about the dreamer’. Okay, a nice neat statement, but pretty scary when you dream about a murderer, a rapist, or just someone you really don’t like. Or a boy-beast.

I will reveal the boy-beast, but let’s begin with the murderer. Dreaming of a murderer does not mean you have murderous intent. There is no one-size-fits-all interpretation in dream analysis, but a starting point is to look at who the dream character is murdering (or has murdered) so you can get a feel for what kind of energy the murderer wants to quash, then to ask yourself where a similar battle is going on within you.

You can also contemplate your dream murderer, look at how he acts, examine his face, his body language, gather clues from this symbol your dreaming mind has created to represent something about you and your beliefs about life. You can also – when you are awake – question him by doing a dream dialogue. (One of the thumbnails at the end of this article links to a light-hearted dream dialogue to illustrate how this is done. Have your dream murderer dialogue with the person he has killed or wants to kill.)

But let’s scale it back down. Let’s look at the boy-beast I once met in a dream.

I was as wary on waking as I was in the dream. What did this strange creature represent about me, and did I really want to know? My first instinct was to let it go, but my more intelligent self knew that there would be much to gain from discovering something new about myself.

I thought about his face, and wondered what it was about his long wide nose that seemed important. The answer appeared in my mind immediately: he relied on his instinct to smell danger and respond. Just as quickly I realised that was why he didn’t have eyes. He represented blind instinct – my blind animal instinct.

He was albino white because my dreaming mind saw him as having just emerged from the pool, from the darkness of my unconscious into the light of day, with no time yet to gain a sun tan. Dreams reflect our conscious and unconscious experiences of the couple of days before the dream, and when I looked back I realised I had become newly aware of responding in a particular situation through blind instinct, and this was stunting my growth. The details of the rest of the dream painted the whole picture.

I wonder who first coined the term ‘blind instinct’ to describe an innate (or perhaps also learned) response to a situation that bypasses conscious awareness (at least in the moment it occurs). We respond without seeing, without an eye to consequence, driven by an urge to survive. Those instincts we share with animals – to bare our teeth and growl in defence, to run and hide to save our skins, to feather our nests to provide for our young, to roll over and play dead, to bite back – are genetically programmed to keep us safe and protect our species, but the more we are aware of our instincts the more we can take a moment, breathe, open our eyes, reflect, and choose better ways to respond.

There’s been a lot of controversy over the last century or so about the nature of instinct: how much is innate, how much is acquired in early life. Dreams allow us to discover our automatic, habitual, unconscious responses to life situations that we sense as life threatening. We share many of these with animals, and others we individually acquire in early life, building our behavioural survival skills with blind awareness: appease an angry parent, undermine a sibling to gain attention, get sick to be cared for, throw a tantrum to get what you want, sacrifice your needs to be protected, look the other way to be loved.

“You have such a cool job,” someone said to me recently, and it’s true. I am constantly in awe of the nature of our dreams and the life-changing insights they offer us when we are prepared to look. And I’m constantly in awe of our dreaming minds that so easily come up with picture-perfect renditions of – for example – the face of blind instinct. Asleep and dreaming we are outrageously creative: our challenge is to courageously bring more of our magnificence into the light of day and let it shine.

Related articles you might enjoy

Dreamvolution Help with facing change

Dreamvolution: Help with facing change

Cow pat patter

Cow pat patter

 

Share

Episode 153 The Dream Show: Unbearable waiting

Thank you for your help

Episode 153 The Dream Show: Unbearable waiting

Tim, my guest, dreamed of setting off on a journey, feeling sad at leaving behind animals that she had rescued, including a long-tailed monkey. She journeyed to the French mountains where she met a waiter who was mixing two fluids to create the perfect cola. There’s a lot of waiting in this dream from this point, so much so that by the end of the dream Tim feels that to wait any longer would be unbearable. She must get to that waterfall now!

When Tim contacted me to volunteer to be a guest on the show, she asked if she could talk about a dream alchemy visualisation that she had created for herself. She said she’d been doing the visualisation for a couple of weeks, but it had morphed in ways she didn’t like. That was all I knew, but I thought it would make an interesting subject for The Dream Show.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonSo you’ll hear us explore Tim’s dream, what it means, and how it relates to her life, and you’ll hear Tim describe the really good dream alchemy visualisation she created, and how it morphed. We get down to why it morphed (which offered deeper insight into Tim’s dream and life), and we designed an updated version for Tim to do.

This episode is packed with tips, demonstrations of techniques, laughter, sudden deep realisations, and plenty of take-home value for everyone.

Will Tim get to her metaphoric waterfall? Oh yes, yes, and yes. Insights abound, and new paths open. Share her journey:

Listen

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

The goat and the cobweb

The goat and the cobweb

When affirmations and visualisations fail

When affirmations and visualisations fail

Share

Video: Talking dreams on The Today Show

Jane Teresa Anderson The Today show 19 June 2014

Watch the video

I was on The Today Show (Nine, national television) yesterday, talking about recurring dreams with hosts Karl Stefanovic and Lisa Wilkinson, who each shared their recurring dreams. The Today Show posted the upcoming segment to their Facebook page, asking for dreams for me to interpret on air. Over 290 dreams were submitted, showing yet again how fascinated people are by their dreams.  Enjoy and do share.

Share

Spellbound

Spellbound

“I bet you get this all the time,” said the sales assistant helping me choose a new skirt yesterday, “but what do those dreams mean where you are trying to walk but your feet are heavy and it’s all so slow? I keep having that dream.”

“You probably have the dream when you feel you’re not making fast enough progress in some area of your life, when it feels too hard, too heavy, too slow,” I suggested, “but to be specific we’d have to look at the details of the dream.”

Her eyes flitted while she took this in, “How true. That’s fascinating!”

Fascinating is a word I hear a lot in my work. According to the Thesaurus, fascinating is similar to mesmerizing, intriguing, absorbing, and spellbinding. How true, people are mesmerized, intrigued, absorbed, and spellbound by their dreams, even when they don’t know what they mean.

Dreams are expressed in the language of your unconscious mind where much of your deeper self resides, out of sight, out of (conscious) mind. It’s your deeper self that calls to you from a remembered dream, intriguing you, feeling fascinatingly familiar yet elusive, difficult to pin down, difficult to name. It’s your deeper self that can influence the way you respond to life, beyond your conscious control or awareness. Such is the power of your unconscious mind to cast its spell upon you.

When you know how to look into a dream you can identify those unconscious aspects of your deeper self and the ways they influence your life – some good, some not so good.

So what might be going on for someone who has the heavy feet dream? Here are some of the many possibilities:

  • Fear of success. Consciously you want to succeed in reaching the goal you have set yourself, but unconsciously you fear the changes you believe success will bring you.
  • Fear of failure. As above, but unconsciously you believe you may fail and you fear the changes you believe failure will bring you.
  • Unconsciously you have the belief that you’re not worthy (or a whole host of other negative judgements) of achieving the goal you’ve set yourself or the life it will open for you. Self doubt casts its spell on you.
  • The goal is no longer appropriate for you (you have grown, changed), or you’re chasing the goal to fulfil someone else’s expectations. Your unconscious mind is wiser, and casts its spell to slow you down enough to see a better way.

There are many more possibilities, but these are some of the more common ones. In each case, your unconscious mind causes you to put obstacles in your way, for example: to strive for unachievable perfection, create complications, take on too much, let stress drain your energy, find excuses, binge eat-drink-drug-exercise, obsess over your Facebook feed, keep checking your email, overlook replenishing mind, body and soul. These obstacles successfully sabotage your likelihood of achieving your goal, and most of them also exhaust you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, making daily life as draining as the dream pictures, one heavy bogged-down step after another.

If you have this dream, reflect back on the last 24-48 hours to identify the situation that feels heavy going and slow. If it’s not obvious to you, look next for the situation that is all go, high energy, busy-busy-busy, but, when you think about it, not really getting you where you want to be. Or take a piece of paper and make a list of the obstacles that got in your way (and the unexpected things that turned up that needed your attention) during the last two days. Can you see the connection between your dream and your life now?

The details of your dream are important: what happened before the heavy feet part, what else was going on, where you were headed to, who else was there, how you felt about it all, the texture and slope of the path, what you were wearing (the list is as endless as our dreams are unique). When the details are analysed, your unconscious beliefs, conflicts, and emotions, are uncovered. The aspects of your deeper self that have you spellbound are unmasked.

It’s a fascinating process, but it’s time to ensure that your unconscious – your deeper self – is working with you to achieve the kind of goals that are healthy and appropriate for you.

Do you still want to achieve this goal? Is it time to commit to it more fully? Is it time to modify it? Is it time to let it go? Has it served its purpose?

Is it enough to unmask your unconscious saboteur? Yes and no. Awareness helps, but it’s better – and more rewarding – to do a dream alchemy visualisation to rewire the unhealthy unconscious beliefs or to strengthen the healthy ones.

It’s best to create a visualisation based on your unique dream, using your unique dream symbols, designed to zone in on the belief that needs to be changed, and change it.

But here’s a more general dream alchemy visualisation that you can do if you have this kind of dream:

While awake, close your eyes and imagine yourself back in the dream, just at the point where it all gets tough. Visualise – and feel – your feet and legs feeling light, see and feel yourself now lightly stepping, running, or dancing with ease and a sense of joyful fulfilment as you suddenly arrive at your destination.

Do this visualisation 15-20 times a day for a couple of weeks. You’ll notice that things become lighter and clearer, obstacles melt, hesitation vanishes, and you’ll feel more confident about where you’re going and why.

Related articles you might enjoy

Best excuses

Best excuses

Dream Alchemy – secret spells

Dream Alchemy – secret spells

 

Share

Episode 152 The Dream Show: Dreaming about work

Thank you for your help
Dreaming about work

My guest, Domonique, has been dreaming about work for the last four months, and wonders why, especially since she’s been on sick leave for the last three months. In some dreams she finds herself at work and then thinks, “But I’m on sick leave, what am I doing here?”

In others dreams she’s in a car, on the way to work, but lost, thinking, “What am I doing here in the middle of nowhere?”

In one of these dreams she finds herself dressed in pink leopard skin tights, talking to her HR manager about an unacceptable sexual harassment issue. Domonique falls asleep in her dream, then wakes up – still dreaming – and that’s when things change!

Are Domonique’s dreams about work, or are they about a deeper issue?

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonListen in as Domonique and I delve into her work dreams to discover what she needs to know to move forward in her life.

There’s something in every episode for you too: dream analysis techniques, contemplations, fresh perspectives, getting to know a guest, and being inspired by her story. Enjoy, and please share this podcast.

Listen

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Navigating changing times

Navigating changing times

Back seat driver

Back seat driver

Share

Dream interpretation: choosing a dream

Choosing a dream

“How do I know which dream to start with?” emailed Tim, eager to begin applying some of my techniques. Tim remembers four or five dreams a night, and realises that working in depth with one dream a day would be too much. “I was hoping you might answer my question in a blog,” she said.

When was the last time you worked deeply with a dream? If it’s been a while, or if you’re a beginner and wondering where to start, here’s my top priority list:

 

  • A recurring dream or recurring dream theme

If you have a recurring dream (or recurring dream theme) with an unresolved or unsatisfactory ending, and you’ve had the dream within the last few weeks, that’s the most powerful place to begin. Dreams reflect the last 1-2 days, so every time you have the recurring dream or theme it’s reflecting a recurring waking life issue that’s not working out well for you. Working with this dream you can identify the issue, your inner conflicts about the issue (which may surprise you), the usual approaches you try (that fail), and the unconscious beliefs that are blocking you from resolving it successfully.

 

  • An emotionally charged dream

A dream in which you feel a heightened emotion – especially an uncomfortable emotion – is invaluable to work with. The emotion is usually linked to an unconscious belief or behaviour pattern that is restricting your growth. This kind of dream can help you to identify an emotional event in your past that is still affecting your life today, and – when you apply dream alchemy techniques – can lead to powerful release and healing.

 

  • A vivid dream

An uplifting, colourful, intense, vivid dream often reflects a breakthrough (or a near-breakthrough), and working with such a dream can support you as the effects of the change ripple through your life in unexpected ways. It’s also good to understand, affirm, and celebrate the changes these dreams herald, and to prepare yourself for some strong emotions that may take you by surprise as they are released as part of the process.

 

  • A dream that poses a problem or question

Most dreams involve trying to solve a problem or find an answer to a question, and these reflect a waking life problem or question you’re trying to solve. (It takes work to relate the dream problem to the waking life problem because dreams are symbolic.) Look for a dream with a bizarre problem or question, the more surreal the better. Here’s what you can do with these dreams.  This technique can help you to question your question, or understand why you see a particular situation as a problem. It can help you shift your perspective and find new solutions. It can totally transform your life.

 

  • A dream that refers to the past

Although dreams reflect the last 1-2 days, they may include references to the past (your childhood home, ex-partners, people or places you once knew). These dreams can help you to go back to see how your past is still shaping your present, and to work with dream alchemy to change this.

 

  • A night of dreams

Don’t be too quick to choose just one dream from a heavy night’s dream recall. Those four or five dreams you may remember from one night’s sleep often reflect the same situation from different angles.

 

  • Just begin!

Or just choose that dream from last night – you know the one, the one that’s still haunting you. It’s reflecting the last 1-2 days so it’s fresh comment (and ripe with insight for you to discover) on whatever you’re going through right now.

 

  • Still not sure how to begin?

If deeply working with a dream on your own just seems too daunting, book a consultation with me. There are plenty of options, and it’s much more fun.

 

Related articles you might enjoy

Dream alchemy for every dream

Dream alchemy for every dream?

How to use recurring dreams to resolve practical life issues

How to use recurring dreams to resolve practical life issues

 

 

Share

Episode 151 The Dream Show: A cruel punishment

Thank you for your help
Episode 151 The Dream Show: A cruel punishment

Carmen, my guest this episode, dreamed of a white carthorse decorated in rainbow paint, dragging a cart without wheels, and carrying the heavy wheel axle in its mouth as a cruel punishment. But punishment for what?

Meanwhile there’s a jeep that needs to be fixed, but the chances are that the guy who owns it will just continue on as before, rattly seats and all.

Carmen is angry, something needs to happen!

Also featuring in this dream are two lizards – one quite magical – and, living at the bottom of her garden in a Womble shanty, an unsettlingly calm man who verbally abuses his very weak girlfriend.

Here’s a dream that sounds like a modern day fairytale, but does it have a happy ending? Like all good fairytales, dreams seem far removed from our everyday lives until we take a good deep look at the metaphors and find them ringing true deep within ourselves, often much to our surprise.

The beauty of working with dreams is that once we understand them we can apply dream alchemy: tweak and change the key points of the dream to create a fulfilling resolution (that filters through to the life situation which the dream reflects), a different kind of happily ever after than we might ever have dreamed possible for ourselves.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonYou’ll witness all of this as you listen to Carmen and me working with her dream, interpreting it, relating it to her life, discovering helpful new insights, and creating potentially life changing dream alchemy. Enjoy and please share.

The Dream Show was launched 5 years ago this week: happy birthday The Dream Show!

Listen

The Dream Show is an enormous free resource designed to help people worldwide acquire the basic skills they need to gain deep self-understanding and healing through understanding their dreams.

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Blinded by the light

Blinded by the light

The Princess and the Pea

The Princess and the Pea

 

 

Share

When affirmations and visualisations fail

When affirmations and visualisations fail

How many times have you set an intention and created an affirmation or visualisation to guide its manifestation, only to fail or even magnify the problem?

Here’s a simple example.

You decide it’s time to get serious about losing some weight. You decide to do this by changing to a healthier diet. It’s all quite clear to you: you know what you want to achieve (lose some weight), and you know how to do it (you’ve done all your research and you have chosen a healthy diet you know you can follow).

You come up with something like:

Affirmation: “I am slim, confident, and attractive, and I enjoy eating healthy food.”

Or you might choose a visualisation in which you see yourself as slim, confident, and attractive, enjoying eating healthy food.

You may also have done some research into how to create a successful affirmation or visualisation:

You know that it must be positive (no negative words like “no more chocolate” or even “lose weight”).

You know it must be expressed or envisioned in the present tense, as something that is reality for you today (otherwise you’re affirming something that will always be in the future, always out of reach).

You know that you must include some positive emotions or feelings to engage your heart and give every uplifting reason to make it happen.

You also know that an affirmation or visualisation works best if you can engage all your senses, so you key in positive sights, sounds, tastes, smells, skin sensations (touch), and maybe even body movements that support your intention.

Sometimes these kinds of affirmations and visualisations work, but more often they fail. In this simple example, you may find that the more you do the affirmation the more you find yourself eating chocolate, or putting off the diet until tomorrow, or following the diet but staying the same weight or even gaining weight.

Every time you affirm a conscious intention, any unconscious beliefs or feelings that conflict with it will be called into battle.

One reason for these failures is that every time you affirm a conscious intention, any unconscious beliefs or feelings that conflict with it will be called into battle.

In our simple example, you may be affirming that you are slim, but if you have an unconscious belief that being slim will threaten your relationship with your partner, your affirmation will not only fail, it will massively fail. The affirmation calls up your unconscious belief and sends it into overdrive to do its job, which it sees as protecting your relationship from the repercussions of being slim. That’s when you find yourself automatically eating unhealthy food or engaging in other behaviours that not only sabotage your chances of becoming slim but possibly result in putting on more weight.

What makes doing an affirmation attractive in the first place?

Consider this too: what makes doing an affirmation attractive in the first place? If a new attitude or behaviour is easy to do, you just do it. It works. You don’t need an affirmation. When you can’t just do it, no matter how much you try, (when you unconsciously sabotage your good intention), you may decide to enlist the help of an affirmation. So the moment an affirmation seems like a good idea, it’s probably because you have unconscious beliefs to the contrary. And you now know where that’s going to get you!

Yes, I am coming to dreams – and to dream alchemy affirmations and visualisations and why they work.

Discovering the unconscious beliefs that sabotage you

One therapeutic approach (as described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way), is to write down your affirmation and then listen to the negative voice at the back of your mind as it raises its objections. Some of those negative beliefs will be familiar to you, some may surprise you. If you do the work of tracing those negative beliefs back to their origins (when did you acquire them, from whom, what were the circumstances, how have they served you, what have they protected you from), you may then be able to do the healing work necessary to release or transform them. Once you have done that work and there’s no longer anything blocking your positive intention, your affirmation will succeed.

Here’s another approach that is more powerful, and much quicker.

Every night, your dreaming mind processes your conscious and unconscious experiences of the last one or two days. When you focus on repeating an affirmation or visualisation – and especially when that calls up powerful unconscious objections – your dreaming mind is going to process all of this. If you explore your dreams a day or two into your affirmations, you stand to gain deep insight into your unconscious beliefs and inner conflicts about your intention. But that’s not where I’m going today. Here’s where the magic begins.

Let’s look at a dream you might have while doing this affirmation

Imagine, still using our simple example, that you have spent a couple of days affirming, “I am slim, confident, and attractive, and I enjoy eating healthy food”. On the second night you dream of a tall, beautiful house built on thin wooden stilts. You see flames on one of the stilts, so you grab some water and put the flames out. But then you see more of the stilts catching fire, and you spend the whole dream putting out fires only to see more spontaneously combust. In the whole dream, you never get to spend any time in the upper storeys of the beautiful house. You spend all your time putting out fires and worrying about the stability of this house built on a foundation of thin, fiery stilts.

I made up the dream to illustrate the point. The dream features a beautiful house built on an unstable foundation of thin stilts that keep catching fire. The beautiful house is attractive (tick, you wanted to be attractive), but it is built on an unstable foundation (no tick for confidence, this whole structure could collapse), and its thin stilts keep catching fire (you’re angry – fiery – about what being thin/slim might lead to).

All the time you spend putting out fires in the dream reflects all the time you spend doing your affirmation, but the more you do this (the more you do the affirmation), the more your unconscious anger about being thin/slim sabotages what you’re trying to build.

If this was your dream – and not a simple example I made up – we would be able to identify the issue around being thin/slim that is still bringing up anger for you, stopping you from achieving your goal. But I promised you magic in the form of dream alchemy, and here it is:

Dream alchemy: talk to your unconscious mind in its own language

Your dream shows you the language your unconscious mind understands. It pictures your anger about being thin/slim as wooden stilts catching fire, and it pictures your lack of confidence as a lack of adequate support/foundation for the house.

In the language of the dream (which is also the language of your unconscious mind), if there were no fire (no anger), and if there were firmer support (perhaps the thin wooden stilts are replaced by slim, strong, marble columns), your beautiful house would stand tall and you’d be able to enjoy being in it.

In other words, if you had no anger about being thin, and if you allowed yourself more support for being slim, then you would enjoy being “slim, confident, and attractive” in perfect accord with your affirmation.

A dream alchemy affirmation is an affirmation where you talk to your unconscious mind in its own language to transform the belief that is sabotaging you into one that aligns with your conscious intention. It might look like this:

Affirmation: “I am standing in my tall, beautiful house, supported on solid, strong, slim, marble columns built on a cool marble foundation, and I’m feeling wonderfully confident and attractive.”

A dream alchemy visualisation is simply the visual version of the affirmation.

In each case, make sure they are in the present tense, and add the emotion you want to feel (confident). Make sure you feel that emotion when you speak your affirmation or do your visualisation. You can add in sensual references to engage the senses, but beware making it too complex. Speak plainly and clearly to your unconscious mind. Most importantly, transform the negatives without mentioning the negatives. Fiery wood becomes cool marble.

When you do your dream alchemy affirmations or visualisations (20-30 times a day for two weeks works well), you are communicating with your unconscious mind in its own language, gently transforming an unconscious belief by transforming the symbols that represent it. This is quite different from using a conventional affirmation (using the language of the conscious mind) that challenges the unconscious to rebel rather than coax it to change.

You’ll be surprised by how quickly dream alchemy affirmations and visualisations work. In the example, the ‘thin’ issue that was still causing you anger and sabotaging your good intent resolves, and you find yourself responding in the world in different ways, ways that bring your intention to fruition.

Related articles you might enjoy

Hole in the road

Hole in the road

Rewiring the brain with Dream Alchemy

Rewiring the brain with Dream Alchemy

 

 

Share

Episode 150 The Dream Show: Radiant light being

Thank you for your help
Episode 150 The Dream Show: Radiant light being

My guest, Caroline, dreamed she was given a cheque made out to ‘Radiant Light Being’, or, on looking at it again, did it say ‘Radiant Glowing Jellyfish’? Either way, she felt she shouldn’t be paid because she had only been helping a secretary clean up a professor’s office. “Must be because I’m angelic,” she quipped to the secretary, and they both cracked up laughing.

Later in the dream the professor holds up a tiny yellow raincoat, “Do you want this?” he asks. Ever since her dream, a month ago, she’s been enjoying entertaining people with the question of the tiny yellow dream raincoat: what a strange thing for the professor to offer, and well – did she want it?

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonPlenty happened in the dream between the radiant light jellyfish moment and the tiny yellow raincoat moment, and you’ll hear us explore and make sense of it all.

Listen to discover how the dream relates to Caroline’s life, what insight she gains from the interpretation process, and what she decides to do as a result. Enjoy: you’ll be inspired.

Listen

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Life lessons

Life lessons

Rainbow shades of grey

Rainbow shades of grey

Share

Teaching school students how to understand their dreams

Teaching school students how to understand their dreams

What did you learn about dreams and nightmares when you were at school? Nothing, I’ll bet. Can you remember some of the dreams that puzzled, worried, or frightened you as a young child and as a young adult? Did you talk about them? Was anyone able to help ease your mind, and give you practical tips on how to look into your dreams for clues about how to better handle life’s challenges?

I wish I had known, as a child and later as a young adult, what I know now about dreams. I would have learned how to recognise and deal with the feeling pictured in my childhood recurring nightmare of packs of wolves blocking my path, ready to devour me. I would have learned how to address the situation reflected by my dreams of jumping into a swimming pool for fun only for all the water to instantly drain away. I would have gained confidence from my dreams of being able to see exciting perspectives that other people couldn’t see, and as a young adult the insight I would have gained from my dream of being on an endless staircase that eternally doubled back on itself would have given me a way to create quicker, smarter outcomes than I was accustomed to experiencing. The way I felt about myself and my life, and the way I handled my life, would have been so much better so much sooner.

I received an email earlier this month from Judith, a keen follower of The Dream Show, saying:

“I woke up this morning and thought that there should be a class in high school or college where they teach the basic skills to understand one’s own dreams, or at very least, not to misunderstand them. And then I thought I should share it with you. I guess I am at a point where I acknowledge that understanding my dreams makes a huge difference in my life, a vital difference, and I wish everybody had it too.”

It’s something I’ve occasionally considered, given that we all dream every night, and most of us remember many of our dreams, especially the frightening ones. I asked Judith if I could share her waking thought with you on this blog. I thought we might start painting a picture of how taking dreams into our school systems might look, and seek your thoughts and suggestions. Maybe we can take some steps toward making it happen.

So how would it look, at kindergarten, junior school, high school, and college?

I published some tips on the internet back in 2005 for parents of children suffering nightmares, which you can still read here. While those ideas were designed for parents, some could be adapted and extended into a kindergarten class situation.

Let’s take a general approach, given that you – readers of this blog – live all over the world and experience many different education systems.

Might our picture be of specialists contracted to come into schools and colleges to teach courses on dreams? Or might we picture specialists developing courses and programs for teachers to use in the classroom? May we be bold enough to envision dreams being incorporated into standard curricula from kindergarten through to the end of high school?

Or might we picture offering specialist training in dreams to school counsellors and guidance staff, either to assist them in their work with individual students or to give them the tools to work with small groups?

Or might we picture developing books, videos, games, apps, that individual teachers might choose to introduce into creative studies, personal development, reading, drama, social studies, relationship courses, or student research projects?

I can see, in my mind’s eye, writing a book about dreams for children and young adults. I can see an outline of the content. I can imagine the stories I might write, the games and puzzles designed to teach, the practical tips to follow, the gentle imparting of how to grow and flow with the big lessons of life: coping with change, building resilience, facing fears and difficult emotions, realising potential, making decisions, developing kindness and compassion, and so much more.  It would be a lot of fun to create, but maybe some of the other ideas I’ve suggested are better – and would travel further – in the long run.

Long before I began researching dreams, I worked for two years as a high school science and biology teacher, and spent a term as acting head of biology. It was a very long time ago, and I understand from friends and clients who are teachers today that the paperwork side of things is more complex and time-consuming than ever before, and that the work needed to introduce new courses – let alone new subjects – is somewhat Herculean, but how might we nevertheless begin?

In her email, Judith mentioned helping students “at very least, not to misunderstand (their dreams)”, and I think this is a key point. As a dream analyst I see the heartbreak and high anxiety that can result from misunderstanding one’s dreams, particularly from taking them literally.

I have talked with people who believed they had dreamed the dates of their deaths – and lived their lives (with compromise) taking this into account. (When I show them how to relate the dream to their life, they recognise the symbolism, and, in due time, the anticipated death date passes proving that these dreams are not to be taken literally.)

I have talked with people who have wasted years searching for a soul-mate with the precise physical characteristics they have seen in their dreams – and missed recognising the person who would have been a great match. These dreams are symbolic, and, once understood, can be extremely helpful in identifying and encouraging a dreamer’s potential.

I have talked with people who have believed their dreams of their partners cheating on them (and taken action or withdrawn emotionally), and I have talked with people who have been so shocked by their sexual or violent actions in their dreams that they have mistakenly believed they must be wired for and capable of such acts in waking life. Dreams of cheating, sex, and violence, are normal and common and not what they seem. Once understood, they can be extremely beneficial in helping the dreamer to develop healthy skills for successfully navigating life’s challenges.

I have seen so many people suffer so much pain from taking their dreams literally.

Let’s help make a change. Let’s begin with education early in life.

What do you suggest?

Related articles you might enjoy

Painful emotions in dreams

Painful emotions in dreams

The open door

The open door

 

Share
css.php