In my previous post I was talking about how understanding our dreams can teach us a lot about ourselves and the workings of our unconscious. The problem is, very often we forget our dreams as soon as we wake up. So what could we do to remember our dreams better?
Before falling asleep, focus on your intention to memorize your dreams tonight. When you wake up, try to keep your eyes closed and not move for 5 minutes, allowing the images from your dreams to enter your waking consciousness. Focus on your feelings first – are you feeling happy, scared, exhausted? As you will get in touch with your feelings, the images from your dreams will follow.
When you succeed in remembering at least a part of your dream, you can try to “read” it, to uncover the messages from your unconscious.
In turn, imagine yourself being every character in your dream – if you have seen an animal, be that animal. If there was a river – be that river. If you were taking active part in a dream – be yourself in a dream. When in character, feel and think about what is this particular character about? What do you want to do? Are you carrying a particular message? It helps to write all this information down.
All the characters in your dream are different parts of your unconscious and they all carry certain pieces of information for your conscious mind. I f you let them talk, you might get amazing insights into the workings of your mind, which, in turn, might help you find creative solutions to your problems in waking life.
Our dreams often seem bizarre or terrifying, but if we learn to “read” them, they can actually teach us a lot about ourselves.
One of my clients used to dream about her old school teacher, setting up a test for her. She was trying to do her best, but no matter how hard she tried, she could never please her teacher. In the meantime, she saw her young daughter running away to play, laughing happily.
After we have spent several sessions reflecting upon the meaning of a dream, my client realized that “the strict teacher” was her inner voice (called Critical Parent in Transactional Analysis terminology) that was constantly telling her to do better or that she was not good enough. My client’s mother used to be very critical and never gave any positive feedback, so my client internalized her mother’s voice and kept criticizing herself long after her real mother was dead.
My client also discovered that the little girl, running away to play, was representing her Free Self. In our therapy sessions that followed she learned to “turn off” the Critical Parent in her head and instead to encourage her Free Self to flourish.
Another client dreamt of hungry children, staring at him. Exploring my client’s life we came to the conclusion that he was “starved” of love and affection and did not have any meaningful relationships in his life. Acknowledging the situation helped my client to start reaching out and learning to form new fulfilling relationships.
Sometimes a dream can point out to an unhealthy character of a certain relationship. One client dreamt of having to carry a body – she had half a body and her mother had another half. Thinking about her dream, my client realized that, psychologically, her and her mother were indeed “a one body”. Being entangled in an unhealthy symbiotic relationship prevented my client from being herself – living her own life and making her own decisions.
So why not pay more attention to your dreams if you would like to find out more about the workings of your unconscious? In my next post I will explain more about how to remember your dreams better and also talk about different ways of reading your dreams.