So the title of this post may sound hyperbolic, but I really do feel that there’s one tip about interpreting dreams that’s more important than any other. Dreams are more about who you are and less about what you do. And yet, they guide you on solving everyday problems. Sound like a paradox? It’s not when you realize that what you do is a reflection of who you are.
The Practical Side of Dreams
Dreams, of course, have a practical side. They guide us on everyday situations and problems. This is why I’m constantly stressing that a dream only has meaning in how it relates to a real-life situation. Last week, for instance, I wrote about gay people in dreams. I wrote that they could represent the balance of “male” and “female” within you or dealing with unconscious “male” or “female” characteristics. It’s impossible to know, however, what “male/female” characteristics the dream is referring to without linking the dream to a real-life situation.
The most important rule in figuring out which real-life situation the dream is helping you with is that the situation is emotionally charged. That might not, though, be the situation you assume it is. Part of the function of dreams is to raise your awareness to what you’re feeling, so a small incident during the day may reflect a much larger emotional issue that you’ve been struggling with for a long time.
At times, I hear people who are interested in dreams stretching to find a spiritual meaning in every dream. But in my experience, dreams aren’t like that. They mostly relate to life on the material plane of existence. And because they track your thoughts, feelings, and activities on a daily basis and pick only the most important issue you need to be dealing with right now, they help you connect to the present. This is a beautiful thing because the most empowering moment is the present moment. Even if what’s happening sucks, it’s the only moment you can really change. Dreams teach us the power of the present moment.
“Spirituality 2” by Rainbow Gryphon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
The Spiritual Side of Dreams
There is, however, a deeper function to dreams, and I believe it’s difficult to get much out of them if you have trouble appreciating this. Dreams are more about your personal development than about what you do or what happens in your life.
Why do I say personal development rather than spiritual development? This has to do with my approach to spirituality. I think of personal development as a part of spiritual development. I even go so far as to say that connection with Spirit is impossible if you don’t work on yourself.
When I say personal development, I mean facing your weaknesses, your destructive side, and your blind spots. But I also mean recognizing your strengths and bringing your gifts to the world. Dreamwork is emotional work. It gets messy and ugly sometimes. It makes you look at things in your life and yourself that aren’t pleasant to see.
If you’re not ready to look that deeply into yourself and act on the dream’s guidance, whether it’s doing something differently or just acknowledging a weakness or block, then perhaps it’s best that you not bother to interpret your dreams at this time in your life. It’s intense work, and if you’re not up to it, it could cause you grief and confusion. Hopefully you’ll be ready to make that kind of deep change within yourself at some future time.
Dreams, and personal development in general, are never just about you. It’s also never just about being happy. It’s really about enabling yourself to give more of what you have to give to the world. It’s a stepping stone to connecting with the Universe in a constructive way. Dreams are, for the most part, personal and individual, but their underlying purpose is to connect you with something bigger.
This is honestly the most important tip I can give you when working with dreams. Always be looking for how the dream is guiding you on changing yourself. No one is exempt from needing to change. And when I talk about change, I don’t just mean dealing with your dark side. I also mean bringing out the beauty within you.
When relating a dream to a real-life situation, don’t just focus on what you’re doing or what’s happening in the situation. Focus also on what that situation says about you. How is it trying to help you grow?
For example, since 2011, I’ve been having many dreams about my business. But they’re never just about my business. They’re more about the person I can become through my business. If a dream shows me I’m making a bad business choice, I know that it’s never just about the choice. It’s also about why I made the bad choice and why I didn’t make the better choice. It’s about the fears or blocks that led me to making the bad choice.
If you remember nothing else about dreams, please remember this: To get the most out of your dreams, figure out how the dream is helping you enrich yourself.