Category Archives: Understanding your dreams

How to interpret dreams

Dreams are fascinating. People ask me about them all the time once they know what I do for a living. Everyone has them but so few understand them. Across these blogs I’ll be going through some of the ways you can understand your dreams a little better and how to make them a tool for your inner and personal growth.

I was out in the surf today with a friend and he was telling me about all the travel dreams he’s been having lately. We went though a few dynamics that he is having in his life lately and a few indications of what they were about came up as we unfolded his current wishes and drives. This is where ‘dream dictionaries’ start to become irrelevant very fast. To say one dream symbol means something specifically can be very limiting and is more likely than not to miss the entire point of the dream it occurred in. Dreams are all about context. The context and storyline a symbol occurs in is vital to the symbol’s meaning itself. And that’s just a starter. There’s your personal history in association with the symbol or character in the the dream, what has that symbol or person meant to you in your past? What were the emotional dynamics associated with the symbol? How does it interact with the other symbols in the dream’s storyline?

It may sound odd referring to symbols in dreams, but to your subconscious, that’s what every component of a dream is. Every part of your dream is a symbolic expression from an inner part of your psyche. A blade of grass, a rock, your pet as a child, friends, relatives, strangers and so on are all symbolic uprisings from your mind. It might be work colleagues, someone you just met or a friend you’ve known all your life, but what that person symbolises to you is specific to your experience of them through your interactions if they are known to you or by various other features and actions if it is a character in the dream you have never known outside this space.

“So how do I go about understanding what my dreams mean?” Is one of the most commonly asked questions I get. The answer is a long one and even after 20 years of dealing with dreams professionally, there is always more to learn, and with each person you’re pretty much starting from scratch as you need to know what is happening in their life, now, in the past and their sense of any  future direction.

The great thing for you is they’re your dreams, so at some level, whether you are aware of it or not, your mind knows exactly what the dream means. Not just the whole dream but every detail within the dream as well. OK, there’s some grass there – so why did your mind construct grass there? Why exactly that much in that type of space? And why that particular length?

As you can see there are a lot of ways of looking at just a single component of a dream, so imagine the complexities of weaving every detail of the dream into an entire meaning in itself. That’s my job, this is what I do with clients every day. You can start to do it too, and I really advise having a go at interpreting your dreams, a really solid go. You never know what you’ll find!

So what are the first steps in working out your dreams? Well the first part of the process is to WRITE THEM DOWN! Yes, writing your dreams down is the only way to recount the details and sequences of events accurately. You normally have a about 40-60 seconds from when you wake before the details can start to fade, or you might even forget the dream altogether. It doesn’t matter if you can’t write the whole dream down, a few key points jotted onto a pad or into your dream diary are enough to trigger your mind to remember the dream later on when you have time to record it. Phones can be good too, but it depends how co-ordinated your typing is when you wake. Most find it easier to put pen or pencil to paper. If you put it into your phone or computer, make sure to keep a sequenced file. This naturally happens in a dream diary of course with the flow of pages. Why? Because series of dreams over time hold themes and concepts that you really can only grasp when you have a series of dreams to work through and spot the interrelationships. This may be over weeks, months or years, depending how deep the the theme is and how often it occurs.

What are some of the dreams you can remember right now? They may seem disjointed and nothing to do with each other, but if you look deeper, are there points of relationship or a common idea or symbol held in them, even though they may be quite a time apart. These are the sorts of things I look for and encourage patients to seek out when transcribing their dreams and reading back through them over time. The connections.

So there we have a key to what dreams are about, there a connection of one part of your mind (the subconscious) to another part of your mind (the conscious). By working out the messages and meanings in your dreams, the connect between your outer mind (the logical and creative thinking you entertain each day) and the deeper subconscious which houses an array of emotions, buried memories, wishes, desires and aspirations which it wants to tell you all about. But…. The subconscious can only communicate symbolically, it can’t type out a written piece like this to tell you what is happening and what is being processed in your mind. And this is where we’ll be heading in future weekly blogs, how to unravel this symbolism, the language of dreams to help you in your daily life.

Stay tuned each week, there’s a lot to come