Dreamwork: Tips to Help You Recall and Interpret Your Dreams
“I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.” – Emily Bronte, English novelist and poet
Dreams have the tremendous power to transform our lives in so many ways. Taking the time to explore and understand our dreams can help us improve relationships, solve difficult problems, diagnose illnesses, inspire creativity, fresh ideas and new inventions, and teach leadership and right conduct. Sometimes, even a single dream can help shape our life purpose.
On February 3, 2005, I had what world renowned psychologist Dr. Carl Jung called a ‘BIG DREAM’. It was a powerfully vivid, life-defining dream which crystallized my purpose and calling in life. It’s a sacred dream which I still refer to often and which has led me on a Dream Quest to explore and understand the magic of dreams.
To help me on this quest, I recently took an intensive sixteen-hour Dreamwork Workshop at the home of Dr. Marina Quattrocchi who completed her doctoral thesis on dreams based on her over seven year’s of dreamwork practice with high-school students.
I’d like to share with you some key learning points on dreamwork that I took away from this course as well as some fresh insights I’ve picked-up along the way based on my own independent dream research:
We spend up to 7 years of our lives dreaming
We all average about five to seven dreams a night (even if we don’t remember them) and will spend approximately five to seven full years of our lifetime dreaming.
Dreams are the language of the soul
Dreams are the language of the soul. They are spirit informing mind with the purpose of bringing wholeness and healing in our lives. Dreams serve two main functions: 1). To help us work through our issues or karma, and 2). To help us fulfill our destiny, purpose, or dharma. Most dreams will fall under these two broad pillars.
Everyone can understand their dreams
We all have the potential to self-interpret or at least understand our dreams to help enrich our lives.
Dreams come in many shapes and sizes
Precognitive or predictive dreams help us prepare for a future event that comes to pass. Clairvoyant or clear seeing dreams can often help us better perceive what’s happening in the present. And retro-cognitive dreams can help uncover something hidden in the past. Past, present, and future are one fluid continuum that dreams draw from.
There are visitation dreams where angels, mentors, and loved ones visit us to provide guidance. Lucid dreams occur when we become aware that we are dreaming – allowing us some conscious influence on the outcome of the dream. Telepathic dreams involve mind-to-mind communication with other people.
We often will dream experiential testing dreams (especially during a transition) where our soul is trying out different scenarios to help us make better choices or help prepare us for an arduous undertaking.
For example, a high school student transitioning over to college might have recurring dreams about participating in various on campus activities to better prepare him for the actual event. Or a recently laid off person who’s thinking of jumping into a business full-time might have a dream where she’s running her business but is wearing disheveled clothing, feeling exhausted, and swimming in a sea of paperwork. This dream could be warning the dreamer to transition over part-time or choose another business deal.
Dreams can have many layers of meaning
More complex dreams with several scenes will often involve multiple layers of meaning. Some dreams will require a long period of incubation involving several months or years because they are working on complex problems.
Some of these complex dreams might not make any sense at the moment of interpretation but will make sense after an appropriate gestation period has elapsed. It is well worth the effort to journal your dreams in as much detail as you can and make a conscious effort to explore all aspects and meanings of your dreams. Some dreams, like a good book, will bring new flashes of insight and meaning with each reading.
Dream Recall Tips
* Start with the belief that you can and will remember your dreams.
* Place a pad, pencil and pen by your bedside. (Pencil tips can break while pens can run out of ink).
* Try a light pen so you can write your dreams in the dark without having to switch on a lamp.
* You may wish to have a tape-recorder to speak your dream upon waking.
* Reading a good book on dreams 20 minutes before going to bed can help stimulate dream recall.
* Repeat a dream recall affirmation often such as: “I am easily remembering and recording my dreams.”
* Write down your dream as soon as you awake. 80 percent of a dream can be lost in as little as 10 minutes.
* Visualize yourself immediately writing down your dream on waking.
* Be as still as possible. Shifting positions in bed is known to reduce dream recall.
* Tell a partner or trusted friend in advance that you will share your dream with them tomorrow.
* Meditating and praying for guidance will put you in the alpha dream state and help increase recall.
* Get a good night’s sleep. Dreams get progressively longer peaking in the 6th, 7th, and 8th hours of sleep.
* You will establish the habit of remembering your dreams by journaling them for the next 30 days.
Dream Interpretation Tips
* Start with a sincere intent to learn from your dreams to better yourself and live purposefully.
* What emotional feeling are you left with? Feelings are more accurate and truthful than words in dreams.
* You are made up of 80 percent water. The state of water in your dreams often reflects your emotional state.
* Write a simple story line. Summarize your dream in one sentence and express the main theme.
* Ask: “Why did my soul have this experience? What do I need to understand? What issues need working?”
* Be aware of the events occurring in your life at the time of your dream; especially the day before.
* Remember that dream symbols often have dual opposite meanings. Good dream dictionaries will have both.
* There are three main types of symbols: archetypal symbols, cultural symbols, and personal symbols.
* Review all your dreams at least once a year. You will notice common themes and motifs to help guide you.
* Act on your dreams: call or visit someone, pick up a book, watch a movie, wear clothing from your dreams.
* Dream application leads to dream interpretation. By applying your dreams the full meaning reveals itself.
In my book, “Psychology of the Hero Soul,” I mention 7 keys to accessing the unknown for enriching and positively transforming one’s life. Dreamwork is one of those keys. If this topic fascinates you, then I highly recommend Dr. Marina Quattrocchi’s Dreamwork course. For information about her workshops and dream therapy sessions, call 416-246-0123.
I sincerely believe Dr. Quattrochi is doing an excellent job of helping people harness their dreams. In this sleep-deprived, dream-deprived world, helping people to honor their dreams will bring healing and wholeness to the planet.
In her book, “Dreamwork Uncovered,” Dr. Quattrochi mentions the fascinating culture of the ancient Senoi tribe who lived in the mystic mountains of Malaysia. This mysterious tribe was so advanced that at one period of their existence “there had been no accounts of violent crime for over two hundred years.”
Interestingly, dreams played a central role in their culture and every morning family members would share their dreams with each other and consult the village council.
We now live in a world where the village Shaman that brought healing and hope to people is all but killed off. Under the veil of science and technological progress, the world weeps silently. It is time to bring back the lost art of dreaming…