People get quite excited when they hear about it. “Oh, this is amazing,” a radio presenter said to me recently during a breakfast show, “and it makes so much sense!”
We were talking about how to combine the art and science of interpreting dreams, and I gave a very simple example of looking at a dream as an analogy:
Imagine you dreamed you couldn’t get your car started.
You wake up the next day and ask yourself where, in the last one or two days, you were unable to get something started, or you couldn’t get yourself motivated, (couldn’t get yourself into drive), or you felt frustrated that things weren’t moving along for you. If you let the thought percolate, you recognise the situation.
You might have been very aware of the feeling at the time, or you might only recognise it on reflection if your feelings were more unconscious.
You might have had a brilliant day, getting things moving along through Herculean efforts, driving yourself hard, pushing through your doubts about your direction or your abilities and ploughing on with it anyway, refusing to give in to a desperate need to stop, or sleep, or rejuvenate, or reconsider. But your dream nudged you into noticing that underneath it all, perhaps unconsciously, you were battling a can’t-get-started or things-don’t-happen-for-me kind of feeling. Or, more accurately, as you discover when you learn how to interpret dreams, you were battling an unconscious belief – based on past experiences and feelings – that moving forward is never easy or that it isn’t really desirable.
Every dream is unique, and if you’ve had this kind of dream the analogy that rings true for you and the conclusions you draw about the conscious and unconscious beliefs and feelings that underpin your situation will be unique to you. But ring true it will. Something deep in your bones, or deep in your soul, will resonate.
So far so good, and this is not what the radio presenter got so excited about. I’ll get to that.
In reality you need a lot more than this one approach to interpret a dream. It’s a first step, and a brilliantly helpful first step too. Once you’ve identified the analogy you then bring on board a whole set of tools and techniques to complete the process and learn how your mindset is affecting the way you experience life at the moment, and how your life will likely unfold if nothing changes.
When you’ve finished interpreting a dream you have new awareness.
In this example you might have discovered that the reason why you drive yourself so hard is that you have an unconscious fear of under-performing, or an unconscious belief that you’re not good enough, or perhaps you’ve discovered that you’re driven by an unconscious belief that you’re lazy or that it’s wrong to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. The unconscious belief you unearth when you interpret your version of this dream will be unique to you.
Where can new awareness take you?
You may be able to use your new awareness to make more enlightened, healthy decisions for yourself.
But all the while there’s still some part of that limiting belief holding its sway over you you’re not really free. Awareness of a long-held deeply unconscious belief or pattern is a little like becoming acquainted with a neighbour rather than knowing her deeply as a soul mate. You have some level of awareness of a belief that has been influencing you unconsciously, but it still has deep roots you haven’t glimpsed yet.
So how do you pluck that limiting belief out? How do you stop it from obstructing your path? How do you remove it to free up your future?
You don’t. You don’t pluck it out, stop it, or remove it. You use dream alchemy practices to transform it into a positive belief or pattern that will support you rather than obstruct you. There are good reasons to transform rather than delete a limiting belief, and you’ll discover these when you learn how to prescribe, create, and do dream alchemy.
So why was the radio presenter so excited?
On air, I continued with this very simple example. A suitable dream alchemy practice for this dream might be to imagine – when you’re awake – that you’re back in the dream only this time it’s not with that difficult-to-start car. This time it’s a smooth, easy-starting car, perhaps a model and colour that has all the energies that you’d like to feel in your life, and you imagine yourself getting into the car, starting it easily, and driving off. This car is special, because it travels at the perfect speed and you also enjoy stopping for rests or to take a walk along a beach or to change your destination. As you imagine this you summon up all the positive feelings you’re ready to welcome into your life. You engage all the senses.
Well, this was radio, so there was only time to paint a rough picture. In reality a dream alchemy practice is very carefully crafted to take into account the information gathered from the dream and the healthiest new outcome for the dreamer. Like dream interpretation, it is an art and a science. It involves assessing the dream, making sure the dreamer understands her situation and has as much insight and awareness into it as possible, discussing a plan to transform a key limiting belief, coming up with a prescription for a dream alchemy practice, choosing a modality (they’re not always visualisations), creating that practice according to the prescription, and then – crucially – actually doing the practice to a prescribed formula and number of times.
If it sounds a bit magical, and you’re aching for explanation, here it is:
Dream alchemy is a process of engaging with symbols from your dream (for example, the car) in a way that communicates directly with the unconscious mind. It’s the unconscious mind that comes up with our unique and personal dream symbols, so when we want to talk to – and transform – the unconscious mind it works best if we communicate in the same language.
The results are indeed magical. When you move from interpreting your dreams to understanding them to doing your dream alchemy practices, life changes swiftly and remarkably around you. As within, so without. Transform the inside, and the outside follows.
There is one proviso. You have to actually DO your dream alchemy practice. Not just understand it, remark upon its wisdom, intellectualise it, but actually do it. It’s a touchy-feely-sensual thing, this conversation with the unconscious. It’s a body, heart, and soul thing. And it’s very powerful in such a delightful way.
Learn about how to create powerful dream alchemy over at The Dream Academy.