The dream world has fascinated and mystified us for centuries. People have long attempted to decipher their unconscious minds, fears and desires through their primeval nightly escapades. From scientific studies to dream book dictionaries, we’ve discovered certain useful methods for interpreting and benefiting from our very own unconscious message board.
Dreams: Answers to Questions We Have Yet to Ask
Your conscious mind can and does come up with many different ways to circumvent or avoid certain realities in your life that you’d rather not face. It’s easy to distract yourself when you’re awake and fully engaged in the daily responsibilities most humans face: jobs, family needs, social engagements, etc. However, when you finally give your mind a chance to rest at night, all those submerged thoughts and feelings come right to the surface, albeit sometimes in rather cryptic ways. No matter how negative these dreams may be, you should appreciate them for what they ultimately represent: important messages sent from your unconscious self in an attempt to merge your unconscious with your conscious mind. When you face your problems head-on, you take away much of their power to do continual damage. With a clear mind, you can then intelligently and courageously tackle whatever problems plague your life.
Part of the problem with dreams is that they can be difficult to remember, and often the bits and pieces you do manage to recall offer a convoluted message at best. Because the human mind dreams about three hours a night, there’s a lot of potential material to work with. One way to retain more of your dream material is to start a dream journal. This will give you a written record of your dreams, which should be recorded as soon as possible upon awakening in order to retain the most details. Because dreaming is a right-brained, metaphorical activity, your dreams tend to fade quickly, as the waking mind doesn’t easily grasp these images and concepts. As you awaken, still in a metaphorical state, you can use your left brain’s logical side to record these events on paper.
This journal should be kept right beside your bed, enabling you to write down all images, emotions, feelings, symbols and physical sensations immediately upon waking. When you analyze your dreams, view them metaphorically rather than literally, as your brain uses personal memories to create your dreams. You should try to compare your dreams to real-life situations to assist you in understanding them. Asking yourself questions such as how you felt, why you felt it, whether you felt deserving of the feeling and how you could alter the dream, are likely to point you to the basic motivation of the message. Talking through your dreams with a friend can also help put them in perspective; they know you well, but exist outside of you and might be more objective in assessing your dreams. Sometimes, you are so close to a harrowing experience or a loved one that you simply have no perspective on related issues. Your confidants can take that necessary emotional step away from the situation and provide new insights into your dreams.
An assertive approach to managing your dreams is to constructively meditate on their plots and outcomes right before bed. Before falling asleep, come up with a problem in your life that you would like solved. You should hold this situation in your mind clearly and vividly, but not so specifically that your mind will be inflexible in coming up with possible solutions.
You can also visualize the problem as resolved by imagining yourself already experiencing the positive results of the resolution. This visualization should also be as vivid as possible: see yourself as lucid, effective and powerful. Upon awakening and reviewing your dream memories and their successfully resolved problems, you can begin your day with a clear focus on achieving your goals, as well as a more open mind towards another fascinating piece of the human psyche. As Astrid Alauda has so eloquently said, “Dreams are free, so free your dreams.”