Somewhere in every meaningful dream is the potential for personal growth. Simply giving it attention aids a subconscious process of integrating experiences and setting up scenarios for your personal development.
Your dreams give you clues about their meaning through the settings, characters, symbols, actions, reactions, and especially resolutions. The resolution of a dream is often where suggestions are made, advice is given, or new perspectives are revealed. Look at the resolution of a dream first for ways to bring your dreams into your daily life.
Live Your Dreams in Meaningful Ways
Every day, I want you to try to live your dreams in meaningful ways. You might try thinking about a dream and replaying it in your mind. Review recent dreams before going to bed. By thinking about dreams as part of your regular routine, you open more links between the conscious and unconscious sides of your mind, and the information that used to be communicated in dramatic, sometimes nightmarish dreams will flow more readily.
You will also become better at recognizing moments in daily life that are first seen in your dreams. When you’re tuned in and paying close attention, seeing your future can be an everyday occurrence. Ironically, dreams often show you future moments that don’t appear on the surface to be significant. From the perspective of your dreams, the external events of your life are less important than the internal ones.
Images or Motifs Provided by Dreams
Your dreams give you images or motifs to work with that can be made part of yourself or your living environment. An especially vivid and powerful dream I had long ago involved getting a tattoo of a wolf on my left shoulder. When I woke up the next morning, my shoulder felt sore, like I’d actually gotten a tattoo.
That dream opened my eyes to seeing the wolf as a living part of me. I studied wolves and found ways I relate to them, and even years later I still remember the dream like it just happened. I worked to strengthen the connection between myself and the wolf, and my life was enriched by personally identifying with it.
Tip: Ask and Ye Shall Receive
If you have something on your mind, ask your dreams to send you an answer. Some people like to write their question or request on a piece of paper and sleep with it under their pillow. Only ask one question at a time.
There are several other creative ways you can work with dreams in your daily life. I encourage you to find personal ways to honor and work with your dreams, remembering there are no right or wrong ways, only your way, and the more effort you put in, the more you gain.
Active Imagination: Dreams are Imagination at Work
Dreams and imagination share the same brain space. In fact, a dream is essentially your imagination at work while the conscious side of your brain rests. Therefore, you can use your imagination to actively reenter, add to, or alter your dreams, and your mind won’t know the difference. For instance, if you don’t like the way a dream ends, imagine it turning out better.
“Active imagination” is basically the same as “creative visualization.” It’s the same process with different terminology depending on if it’s used with a dream or with something from your waking life.
Tip: Engage Your Dream Characters in Conversation
When dream characters transform before your eyes, they are showing you what they really are, what they symbolize. For example, a big monster that turns into a mouse when confronted might symbolize how small causes are often behind big fears.
Active imagination often involves engaging in conversation with dream characters, questioning them about their roles and pumping them for information. It only works if you are willing to wait patiently for a response and listen when it comes. When working with your dreams, leave behind your impatience, frustration, guilt, and excuses, and be open to what your subconscious is trying to tell you.
You can also use your imagination to alter disturbing scenes.
Tip: Imagination is the Conscious Counterpart of Dreams
According to psychologist Robert A. Johnson, the unconscious mind has two means of communicating with its conscious counterpart: dreams and imagination. Therefore, you can use your imagination to gain the same benefits as dreaming.
Active imagination was popularized by Carl Jung and his students, and is a commonly recommended technique not only for working with dreams, but any area of life. It is used today as creative visualization in athletics to visualize game-winning performance, or in sales strategy to visualize a sale being made, two of many examples.
Tip: Make It Personal & Change Your Dream for the Better
Can you think of a dream you’d like to change for the better? Then do so right now. First, make sure you are relaxed and free of distraction. Then fully immerse yourself in the scene, using your imagination to make the story work out better for all involved, even the “bad guys.”
Tap into the inner power you have to create harmony inside yourself and outside yourself. Just don’t force anything; the scary and disturbing parts of your dreams are loaded with potential to effect changes in your life, but the challenges they present must be met head-on.
*subtitles by InnerSelf
Copyright 2013 by J. M. DeBord. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Co.
Dist by Red Wheel Weiser, www.redwheelweiser.com
Dreams 1-2-3: Remember, Interpret, and Live Your Dreams
by J. M. DeBord.
"Dream work is a very personal process. There is no Rosetta Stone for interpreting dreams, no universal meaning for every dream symbol," says reddit.com dreams forum moderator DeBord. But don't let that scare you. With a few simple tools, you will soon be on your way to discovering just how much specific, guiding wisdom is packed into your dreams.
About the Author
J. M. DeBord began studying and interpreting dreams two decades ago, and now one of his personal dreams comes true with the publication of Dreams 1-2-3: Remember, Interpret, and Live Your Dreams, a groundbreaking book that makes dreams understandable for everyone and shows how they can be used for your benefit.DeBord's publishing career began 25 years ago. He has worked in newspaper, radio and television journalism, and is the author of a novel, Something Coming: a New Age Thriller. He currently lives in Tucson, Arizona and interprets dreams as a moderator at Reddit Dreams, where he is known as "RadOwl."