Driven Jane Teresa Anderson Dreams

What drives you to get out of bed in the morning? Hunger for food, a full bladder, a sense of duty, a need to earn money, a passion for your work, your baby’s cry, fear of being late for work, hunger for success, a sense of adventure?

Before reading on, have a think about all the things that get you moving during a typical day. As well as some of the above, perhaps you are driven by love, sex, exercise, chocolate, alcohol, drugs, helping others, a need for order, curiosity, a wish to learn, friendship, self-improvement, high drama, a need to impress, to be right, to feel valued, to set a score, to atone, to hide, to be seen.

Take a moment to list the top ten things that drive you through a typical day. Write them down.

It’s easy to see how your drives affect how you act each day. Hunger drives you to find and eat food. Thirst drives you to reprioritise all other plans while you find and drink fluid of some kind. A caffeine addiction drives you to plan your morning around the required number of coffee, tea or coke hits. A need to be right drives you to argue the point instead of negotiating a win-win situation or learning something new. If you’re driven to help others, you may avoid asking for help. If you’re driven by a sense of adventure, you’ll take risks, and if you’re driven by a need for high drama to keep life interesting you’ll stir it up good.

All of this is easy to understand. Our drives ultimately dictate our actions, and our actions dictate the outcomes of our lives.


It’s all well and good to acknowledge what drives you and to see how it affects the way you go about your life, but what about those drives you DON’T know about? Your unconscious drives – those deeply embedded beyond your awareness – have a strong grip of the wheel. In any battle between the drives you know about (your conscious drives) and your unconscious drives, the unconscious wins.

Imagine, for example, feeling driven to succeed in your career – making all the right moves, getting excited about the prospects, heading for the right goals – yet having a conflicting unconscious drive to avoid commitments of all kinds, including commitment to career. In this scenario you’re likely to wonder why things never quite succeed in the way you imagined, why unforeseen circumstance seems to conspire against you at the last moment, why ‘bad luck’ seems to dog you, and why, if you listen very carefully, you hear a whisper of relief at the back of your mind as you think, ‘Ah well, at least I’m free to ….’

This is where dreams come in.

And in a simple, easy to interpret way too.

Have you ever dreamed of being in a car, in the passenger or back seat, with someone else driving? It’s a common dream. The person driving the car – the person driving you somewhere – represents a driving force in your life at the time of the dream.

It’s usually a car. We ‘drive’ cars, and, as dreams often use word play, cars can symbolise your drive or motivation. The person behind the wheel symbolises the prime driving force. However your driving force might be driving any vehicle in your dream, or driving an animal – either riding it or shepherding it.

If you dream of being driven by someone you know, your father perhaps, then ask yourself if you’re driven by your father’s expectations, or by the kinds of beliefs your father subscribed to. And remember, we’re talking unconscious drives here, so you may think you’re very different from your father, but if your father’s driving you in your dreams, then there’s an aspect of your father driving you deep in your unconscious. Once you think about this possibility and examine your life for evidence of its effect, you’ll see it. That’s the way you catch an unconscious drive – getting the clue from a dream and then collecting the evidence from your waking life. You can then decide whether this drive is working for you or against you, and disable it if you wish.

As soon as you’re aware of an unconscious drive, it’s no longer unconscious, so it loses its power. From that point forward you can observe the way you respond in life and question the driving force behind your response. For enduring results you can apply dream alchemy practices.

When interpreting a driving dream, write down three words to describe the personality or approach of the person driving your dream vehicle. For example, if Jack (an acquaintance of yours) is driving your car, you might write ‘proud, dutiful, reliable’. Ask yourself if, at the time of your dream, your actions may have been driven by pride, duty or reliability. (It’s likely to be at least one of the three on your list.) Look for evidence in your life, especially in the day or two before your dream. What actions did you take that could be explained by pride, duty or reliability?

What if your dream car is driven by someone you don’t know in waking life? Your dream driver’s character will have been evident in the dream by the actions taken, the way you were treated, or the gut feel you got from the person. For example, if your dream driver seemed really helpful – perhaps even over-the-top helpful – then it’s likely that you were driven by an unconscious need to help at the time of your dream. In this example, if the dream worked out well, then all is good, but if the dream did not work out well, or remained unresolved, then ask yourself why you’re driven to help others and why this might not be ‘getting you anywhere’.

If your driver isn’t getting you anywhere in your dream, then that drive isn’t getting you anywhere in your life.

Your dream driver might take you back to the past – perhaps your school days, somewhere you used to work or live. This often indicates the origin of the drive.

We think of drive as a positive thing. It’s good to have drive, to be motivated. But we can be driven by negative as well as positive factors. We can be driven by greed, by a need to dominate, by a need to avoid a feeling or issue. We can be driven to prove ourselves to someone, to sabotage our plans to avoid the things we think success will bring, to appease, to suffer the pain we think we deserve.

There’s a difference between driving and being driven, but is there a difference between having drive and being driven? Maybe, maybe not, but I can guarantee that if you take this question and contemplate it today, you’ll be wiser by the bedtime and set up to dream of drives yet to be revealed.

[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, March 2008. First published as a Dream Sight article.]

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3 comments on “Driven”

  1. J

    Jane, I can’t thank you enough for all the work you’re doing, but this post in particular is what i’ve been looking for all along. I keep have recurring dreams about driving and it’s really starting to get to me. They’re all so different, the only real common thread is that i’m a passenger, except the oldest one i can remember, where i was around 5 years old and i’d stolen a car and was the driver.

    This post has given me a lot to work with and a great starting point, it’s the only thing i could find online about driving dreams though, if you have any more to add to the topic, i would love to hear what you have to say, you’re the only dream interpreter i’ve found truly credible. Thanks again for all your hard work.

  2. J

    Thank you Jane! Those links were very helpful.

    Just after i posted this i found your 101 interpretation tips audiobook, and the sections about driving dreams were extremely insightful. I just had yet another passenger dream last night, ending in a car wreck, so i think it’s time i start putting your dream alchemy practices to use. 🙂

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