10 Ways to Interpret and Understand Your Dreams
Interpreting Your Dreams
It is possible to determine the meanings of our dreams and to understand the symbols and process the emotions associated with them. It can be important to take the time and make the effort to try and unravel the meanings of our dreams as they are an interplay between the unconscious, subconscious and conscious minds. Understanding the dream images that play out in the conscious mind is the key to understanding information stored in the subconscious and unconscious minds; information that is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives. Our dreams, therefore, can give deeper meaning to our lives: our thoughts, feelings, aspirations and relationships.
Below are 10 ways to help you become an expert interpreter of your own dreams.
1. Recognize the importance of your dreams
In order to understand the meaning of your dreams you must recognise and respect that they have great value. Neuroscientists may believe that they are only discordant images of the mind, but these images can and do give you insights into who you are and how you feel about things.
2. Make sure you have a good night’s sleep
A good night’s sleep can stimulate the dream state and assist with our dream recall. To ensure a good night’s sleep eat a light dinner early; avoid exciting, dynamic or focused activity in the evening prior to bedtime; avoid sleeping pills, alcohol and drugs; take a short five- to 15-minute walk after dinner to aid digestion.
Make your sleeping area and bed comfortable and cosy, and make sure that the room is dark and clear of distractions.
3. Create your own dream dictionary
Your understanding of a symbol in a dream is unique to you. For example, an apple in a dream may mean forbidden fruit, a new computer, acknowledgment, health or abundance. Buy an address book and start your dream dictionary today. Don’t go through it and fill it with symbols and interpretations straightaway. Wait until you dream of a symbol then write it in along with any personal meaning(s) and association(s). If you feel you need assistance, consult a dream dictionary and look at the author’s interpretation. See if they resonate with you.
4. Keep a dream diary or journal
It is important to keep a record of your dreams. You may want to keep a written record, or use a tape recorder or dichtaphone. Take special note of any emotions you felt in the dream, particularly if they lingered. Did you feel fear, frustration, anger or lust?
Also write down such things as the time you went to bed; whether you took any medication/s; what you did prior to going to bed; and what was on your mind before you went to sleep.
5. Look for puns within your dreams
We speak and write in metaphor but we often dream in symbols. We often say things like, “I’m so hungry I could eat a horse”. We don’t really want to devour an actual horse, we only wish to express the depth of our feeling.
Because we dream in symbols, we must be conscious of puns. If you dream that someone is photographing you, do they want to ‘shoot’ you down? If you dream you are playing cards with someone does it mean you want to ‘deal’ with them? Or is it an indication of a future event, such as the saying ‘its on the cards’. If you see yourself squeezing a lemon in a dream, it could mean that you are ‘dejuicing’ a situation or thought. It is important to isolate and recognize the symbol/s and play around with the pun in order to conclude its meaning to you.
6. Relive the dream
We are often able to interpret and understand our dreams and unravel their meanings by reliving them. To do this, either write down or speak out loud, in the present tense, your experience of the dream. Free-flowing with what the images and emotions represent, you are able to discover quite a lot about the dream in relation to your life.
7. Take note of your feelings and emotions
Every symbol carries an associated emotion or feeling. Within our dreams the symbols in the dream call forth a feeling or emotion. If you dream you are falling out of an aeroplane, being chased down a dark alley, or without two cents to rub together, you may recognise that although each symbol is different, the emotion it calls forth is similar - that of 'fear'. The fear is associated with being unsupported, running away from something, or a lack of money.
Take note of any feelings or emotions associated with the dream, and the symbol/s or circumstances that caused them.
8. Expand your knowledge on dreams
Read books and listen to tapes, podcasts and seminars available on the topic of dreams. Search magazines and papers for articles on the mind and dreaming. There is a great deal of information out there regarding dreams, some of which will resonate with you. The more you know, the easier it is to decipher and interpret your own dreams.
9. Share your dreams with someone
Recount your dreams to someone close to you who you trust and respect. Having a ‘dream buddy’, someone you can exchange dreams with is a great way to honour your dreams. It can also help with recall.
10. Be patient
Practice patience and silence. Patience is a key to unravelling our dreams as not everything is instantly obvious to us. Often, our answers come to us when we are silent within.
Once you discover the meaning of a symbol, remember that it is your meaning and may be unique to you only. When it comes to interpreting dreams, each individual is an expert at interpreting their own according to their own life, lifestyle and circumstances.
A Latin word for emotion is ‘disturbance’, from the word emovere meaning ‘to disturb’. When we experience an emotion or feeling, we are disturbed from our inner-peace. By examining the emotions that arise within a dream, we learn to be present with our emotions, and from there it may be possible to determine what caused the disturbance. The idea is to learn to observe the emotion so we become conscious of the circumstances that created it.
Refer to the emotion/s that were present in the dream. Next, define the emotion/s. Then determine what it was in the dream that aroused the emotion/s or disturbance/s. Finally, ask what the connection is to events taking place in your life. Record your observations in your Dream Journal.