The Devil is in the Detail

Recently I had someone present a dream to me and ask the meaning. The problem was that although the re-telling of the dream took a while, there were a few general principles, there was zero detail. Detail is there for a reason in dreams, to hone and specify the meanings of the symbols/architecture used to communicate more from your subconscious.

So there were rooms in your dreams – what era were they from? Large rooms, small rooms? Furniture or empty? What types of furniture? What colours were the coverings? Did they have texture?
There was grass? Was it long? Had it been mowed? Thin or stout thick blades? Luscious or brown? Was it seeding at all?

All these things may seem pedantic but every detail, no matter how small, adds meaning. Your dream process has put everything there for a reason. Why did it place a stone on the pathway that you walked by. The psyche is smart, too smart to waste its efforts on useless items, so when it constructs a dream, every single thing is there for a reason and adds to the collective meaning. The more nuance, the more felling, the more detail you can derive from a dream, the more you can see into the mystery of what it is trying to tell you. It allows a better engagement in the conversation between your outer and inner mind.

So what detail should you look for? Everything and nothing. It’s about noticing, you don’t want to shift your mind from the narrative too much by thinking you have to memorise everything, notice everything that you can. One of the most important factors you can pull out of dreams is the emotions and senses you experienced while it was occurring. These can be huge, almost overwhelming at times, but if you have remembered visual details in the dream as well, this can provide order and more meaning as to what the intricacies of the dream is trying to tell you.

The same as in life as being a good listener if we wish to understand our friends, we need to be a good dream ‘rememberer’ to better understand the hidden realms of our psyche. This creates what is really a conversation between our outer conscious mind and the subconscious, so much that would otherwise remain hidden can then be facilitated into our conscious mind for consideration and further insight.

The other thing that wanting to look for details in dreams, is it helps you to actually remember your dreams, as the memory of them is very much about your degree of interest in them. The more interested you are in your dreams, the more they will come to you in the morning, then they can be recorded and scrutinised, or just rewound through your mind for enjoyment.

At this point it is important to remember that one of the most important functions of dreams is to process unresolved emotions and tanged thoughts (we know this through the effects upon a person when their dream phase is stopped for a few nights). This being the case, taking note of details can help extrapolate the more intricate details of the thoughts and emotions the dreams are trying so hard to communicate to us. They go to the effort of trying to inform us of what’s going on inside, it’s the least we can do to try and ‘listen’ as best we can.

Which brings as to sound and smells. If you have sounds and smells in a dream, be sure to note them down. If there’s a voice, someone you’re speaking to, note their tone and timbre. Note the expression on their face too. If there is a sound around you, try to remember its nature, volume and intonations. Did the voice ‘warm’ you or was it critical and harsh? Did the environmental sound reverberate within you at all?

This may all sound a lot, but actually it isn’t. If you think back to recounting a story to a friend, these are often details you include without thinking. That’s all you’re doing with remembering and recoding dreams, recounting details by being engaged with the story. What happens then is it peaks your interest in dreams and that lets them lodge in your memory better as well. All around it’s a win-win. Its a good way to bring out the story teller in you as well. These dreams are about your life, your emotions, your thoughts, so innately they are interesting to take note of. They’re a form of psychological selfie, taken from every possible angle.

Next blog we’ll be looking at some of the reasons people often stop following their dreams, particularly when they’re trying to show details we haven’t wanted to see about ourselves. And yes, in case you’re wondering, I’ve had patients with the devil in their dreams….