One of my favourite and most mysterious methods of soul work is consciously working with my dreams. Dreams can be the most incredible source of guidance and information about what's going on for you. The tricky bit of course is their symbolic form of communication, which takes time, patience and curiosity to learn to interpret.
Which is why I thought I would share with you a couple of examples of how I work with my dreams and why I love mining them for their potent guidance and wisdom.
Dreams are a way for the deep and mysterious recesses of your psyche - your unconscious mind and soul - to reach your conscious mind and communicate with you. The symbolism we encounter in our dreams often shares common meanings across all cultures. That's because symbolism itself is an ancient form of knowledge that transcends language, providing other layers of meaning to our experiences.
When I was much younger and wanting to make new friends, I had a night out with a group of people I didn't know that well. I didn't have a great night, which is unusual for me, and I came home in turmoil, unable to make sense of why I felt so uncomfortable. That night I dreamt of betrayal and infidelity. The dream was vivid, emotional and lingered for hours.
On waking the connection between the dream and my night out became obvious. The dream showed me the people from the night out weren't my people. There was nothing wrong with these people - but in forcing myself to be with people I didn't have any real connection with was a form of betrayal, an infidelity to myself. At the time these were people I thought I wanted to be friends with, but my heart wasn't on board. The dream provided simple honest clarity and helped me stop trying to force friendships that weren't meant to be.
Of course the people from my night out weren't actually in my dream - it was my husband having the affair! Dreams are rarely literal because symbolism doesn't work that way. I knew the dream wasn't warning me about marital disaster...
Another example is a dream I had last night: I was in the kitchen of the family home where I grew up, except it was my office. Some lawyers arrived and were about to come into the house. There was some danger, I did some painstakingly slow flying to escape, got chased by lawyers in suits, and it all ended with such an unexpected positive twist I burst out laughing and of course woke up.
Once I woke up it didn't take long to weave the threads of the dream together. I'm currently shifting the balance of work and motherhood and this dream is pointing to some unconscious fears that have been holding me back in these areas. Now that it's conscious I can do something about it.
The dream clearly symbolises themes of career (office/lawyers/suits) versus motherhood (kitchen/home) and my soul (my original family home). I only recognise this symbolism because these have been common themes in my dreams over the years. Dreams are clever - I spent 15 years working with lawyers and so they represent something very specific to me. Whereas for someone else a lawyer could symbolise a legal issue, justice or even long lost dream of a different career path.
I love how you can go to sleep one night with questions, and wake up with clarity. That's the power of working with your dreams.
Here are some tips I highly recommend for extracting the wisdom from your dreams:
- Keep a journal by your bed and jot down the details of any dreams that stand out, as close to waking up as you can. You may not be able to make sense of it immediately, but don't worry the meaning will come in time.
- Note down where you were in the dream, who was with you, what were you doing, how you felt, the overall theme and any symbols that stood out in the dream. Write down as many aspects of the dream as you can remember, even if it doesn't make sense.
- It's good practice to write about your dreams in the present tense - i.e. I'm standing in the kitchen looking out the window and I notice a child standing outside etc ...
- Start to notice the common themes and symbols that arise in your dreams and have specific meaning to you.
- By all means get yourself a good dream or symbolism resource book, but ultimately nothing beats learning to use your own intuition to pull the threads together.
Ultimately, interpreting your dreams is about understanding yourself better and using all of the intelligence you have within you to live a whole life.
How about you? Do you work consciously with your dreams? Do you find them helpful in adding extra pieces to the puzzle? Do you have any interesting practices that helps you interpret your dreams? I'd love to hear from you.
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