How to use recurring dreams to resolve practical life issues

How to use recurring dreams to resolve practical life issues

What kind of practical results can you expect to see in your life when you understand a dream and apply dream alchemy?

Ian's recurring dream is being being stuck in a corner with large balls coming at him.

Ian’s recurring dream is being being stuck in a corner with large balls coming at him.

Last month I was a guest on Ruby and Dave’s breakfast show on Radio 94.9, chatting about dreams and taking calls from listeners. One of the callers, Ian, asked about a recurring dream he’s been experiencing for many years. Being radio, where we need to keep things short and sweet, he summarised his dream as being stuck in a corner with large balls coming at him. In just those few words, he painted a vivid picture, and I’m sure you can imagine how he feels in this dream, and how that feeling spills over into his day as his dream lingers on his mind.

Actually it starts the other way around, because dreams reflect our conscious and unconscious experiences of the last 24-48 hours. So whenever Ian feels stuck and cornered by what life seems to be throwing at him, he has this dream, and because the dream doesn’t offer a solution to his predicament, he wakes with a residue of the same feeling colouring his day.

Because the dream is unresolved, his situation is unresolved. He hasn’t managed to find a way out of that cornered feeling.

Because the dream is unresolved, his situation is unresolved. He hasn’t managed to find a way out of that cornered feeling.

Ian’s dream is unresolved. It reflects a situation in his life that is unresolved. I didn’t get to hear the whole dream, so I didn’t have the opportunity to pinpoint the unconscious beliefs and conditioning that cause Ian to experience this stuck and cornered feeling from time to time in his life. What we do know is that because the dream is unresolved, his situation is unresolved. He hasn’t managed to find a way out of that stuck in a corner feeling.

Dreams help to identify unconscious beliefs or attitudes that are blocking you from seeing fulfilling solutions.

Dreams help to identify unconscious beliefs or attitudes that are blocking you from seeing fulfilling solutions.

While our dreams reflect our waking life experiences of the previous two days, they also work on finding solutions – on problem solving. (That’s why sleeping on a problem is a good idea, as you’ll often wake with a solution, regardless of whether you remember the dream.)  If you look closely at complex dreams, you’ll see they frequently involve trying to solve a dilemma or problem, such as how to find your way somewhere, how to escape a tsunami, how to feed too many dinner guests. The dilemma or problem is usually framed at the start of the dream, and the rest of the dream is devoted to trying a variety of solutions. If a solution is found, you may wake with an insight into a current problem, though your dream solution may also reflect a stuck-in-a-rut solution you habitually apply that feels promising but only keeps you stuck. If your dream does not find a solution – if it is an unresolved dream – it reflects a waking life situation that is unresolved, and the likely cause is an unconscious belief or attitude that is blinding you to seeing a fulfilling solution.

If you were to meet Ian, what would you discover? What might his situation be?

If you were to meet Ian, what would you discover? What might his situation be?

If you were to meet Ian, you might find that he seems cornered and stuck. Or you might find that he seems to be very driven, active, and apparently coping with all that life throws at him. If this second scenario is the case, Ian’s recurring dream reveals that he is driven by a belief that life throws overwhelming difficulties at him that must be fought and overcome or else he’ll be stuck and cornered. This belief would most likely have been conditioned by Ian’s early life experiences, the emotional shadows of which haunt him in his recurring dream. Ian may attribute much of his success to his drive, and be blind to the fact that he could achieve all his success and more in a less stressful way and by feeling encouraged and inspired by passion rather than driven by fear of being cornered.

Again, because I didn’t get to hear the whole dream or talk with Ian for longer, I don’t know where he’s feeling the pressure in his life, so let’s imagine some possible situations:

WORK

  • He might feel stuck and cornered at work, overwhelmed with demands.
  • He might be a high achiever at work, daily battling overwhelming demands.

RELATIONSHIP

  • He might feel stuck and cornered in a relationship, feeling overwhelmed by his partner’s demands.
  • He might exert his independence and freedom in a relationship, feeling overwhelmed by his partner’s demands.

FINANCES

  • He might feel stuck and cornered in his finances, overwhelmed by debts.
  • He might be focussed on amassing wealth and security, feeling overwhelmed by the cost of living.

COMMUNICATION

  • He might feel stuck and cornered when it comes to expressing himself, feeling overwhelmed by criticism and judgement of others.
  • He might be persuasively expressive, or even opinionated and defensive, feeling overwhelmed by a belief that others will criticise and judge him.

There are many more potential situations, but these serve to illustrate the point.

In dream therapy we would identify the situation and explore the psychology behind it before doing an appropriate dream alchemy practice to reprogram the belief that has been blinding Ian, into a new supportive belief.

What kind of practical results can you expect to see in your life when you understand a dream and apply dream alchemy?

What kind of practical results can you expect to see in your life when you understand a dream and apply dream alchemy?

Let’s cut to the chase and answer the question I posed at the beginning of this blog: What kind of practical results can you expect to see in your life when you understand a dream and apply dream alchemy?

If Ian understood his dream and applied dream alchemy, what kind of practical results might he expect to see in the suggested scenarios?

IAN’S WORK

In his work, he might expect the usual workload to suddenly feel less demanding, perhaps more inspiring. He might notice that demanding people become less so, or that they take their demands to others, sensing the shift in Ian’s psyche. He might notice that work suddenly seems less a battlefield and more a joy, and that success comes with more ease and less stress. Rather than coping with overwhelming demands, he might feel more creative about setting a productive, healthy pace.

IAN’S RELATIONSHIP

What kind of changes might Ian expect to see in his relationship?

What kind of changes might Ian expect to see in his relationship?

In his relationship, he might notice his partner feels less demanding, or he might gain insight into her real needs and expectations and realise that some of these can be easily negotiated or fulfilled. Or he might notice that his partner seeks help for her demands elsewhere – perhaps talking things through with friends or a counsellor – or that she suddenly seems to resolve issues herself. He might feel less driven to express or protect his independence and freedom, and realise that he can enjoy these while also enjoying spending more time with his partner, pursuing common goals, and being more intimate. Or the relationship may end, prompted by Ian’s shift no longer fuelling the old dynamics.

IAN’S FINANCES

What kind of changes might Ian expect to see in his finances?

What kind of changes might Ian expect to see in his finances?

In his finances, he might expect his debt situation to ease. This might be through an increase in income or funding, an insight into a better way to negotiate or handle his debts, sudden clarity on how to reduce excess living costs, or unexpected workable offers from his debtors. Or he might notice a shift away from focussing on amassing wealth and security, and toward appreciating other areas of his life. He might notice that the money he spends on living suddenly seems less of a cost and more of a reward.

IAN’S COMMUNICATION

In his communications, he might notice that people seem less critical or judgemental. He might suddenly notice people being supportive, or offering helpful insight. He might notice a shift in his thoughts about himself and others, becoming less critical and judgemental. He might feel less defensive in communication and more interested in understanding other people’s views. He might find people interested in what he has to say, and feel less inclined to add drama and persuasion in an effort to underline his validity. He will find communication eases.

That different response changes how the other players in the situation respond, which feeds back to the dreamer, and so on.

That different response changes how the other players in the situation respond, which feeds back to the dreamer, and so on.

As you can see from the examples, accurate interpretation and appropriate dream alchemy results in the dreamer experiencing positive, practical change in a situation which had previously been problematical.

In most cases, the situation remains the same, but the dreamer’s perception of it shifts, so he responds differently. That different response changes how the other players in the situation respond, which feeds back to the dreamer, and so on.

Look at your life.

What do you see?

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3 Responses to How to use recurring dreams to resolve practical life issues

  1. Charlotte says:

    Hi there, this really resonates with me. I have used dreams to create solutions to problems I just couldn’t find a way through, by just entrusting it to the dream and waiting for a solution! Awesome. Equally, I’ve had many many recurring dreams that I feel are a little message to me that I am not feeling fully in control or overwhelmed. They take different forms over time. As a child/teenager it was about being chased by a scary trucker and flooded escape route (the back field). In my 20s I stopped having those, then started having three very similar types – either where I had guinea pigs that I worried about neglecting, not feeding, forgetting etc, or the same for small babies made of food (sausages or cake!)- that to me said something of caring for things or not being able to look after things properly. I also started having dreams about goldfish, specifically about containing them in water/appropriate recepticles, usually when they were breaking for some reason! Again overwhelm. I later found I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Then in my 30s I started with the balls! 2 or 3 foot across massive footballs hurtling towards me on a pitch. I was able to do some amazing kicks, but the feeling was scary, and I had enough coming at me at work over the years to cause 3 bouts of depression, so they’re not to be ignored! I already have had lucid dreams, premonitions (even before some of the above) and am able to get so far with astral projection, yet I ignored these warning signs really, to my detriment. xx

    • Jane Teresa Anderson says:

      Hi Charlotte,

      Thank you for your interesting review of the periods of your dreaming life, and you’re clearly adept at understanding the way in which your dreams offer you reflection on your waking life. You’ve captured this process well – the mix of problem solving and the opportunity to become more aware of issues that could do with some problem solving (handling overwhelm, the right balance of nurturing, the right balance of control and so on as you’ve outlined). The next step from awareness is dream alchemy, since our powerful unconscious mind is so brilliant at ‘overwhelming’ our conscious mind’s intents and actions. Yes, those ‘balls coming at you’ dreams are not to be ignored! Thank you for your wonderful contribution.

      Many blessings,
      Jane Teresa

  2. Charlotte says:

    Thanks so much! Yes we can learn a lot from them about how on-track we our with our path in life.

    I’m not so sure “Peter Falk world”, the Columbo theme park, the green hairy talkin fish man, or the lampshade gangsters I have dreamt of have much to contribute, but they were entertaining all the same!

    xxxx

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