Although we tend to call it “reality”, daily life is in fact nothing more than a schematic of what is really happening on a cosmic level when viewed from a transpersonal perspective.
This cosmic level is the goal we are all increasingly struggling to reach, and understanding our dreams can help us on this path. As we study to achieve access to our dreams, we are slowly gifted with our own Golden Text, the unique lexicon and equivalent to our own Holy Bible that explains what is really going on in our lives.
The language of our dreams is as unique as our DNA, compiled of symbols widely drawn from elements of past lives to seemingly insignificant events from the day before. It is for this reason that the 27-pound Dream Encyclopedia that is often promoted as working for everyone does nothing more than promote confusion.
An obvious example; the meaning of a dog in the dream of a person who had a loving animal companion for the first 15 or so years of life is going to be different from that of a person whose family maintained and trained fighting dogs and staged fights in the backyard as a way to generate extra income. To work effectively with dreams you have to work with your own equivalency.
With very little practice, you can become quickly and easily literate in the language of your dreams and have access to the secrets of your unconscious, which is better than having a set of Cliff Notes to your life.
The dream speaks a language that uses left-brained symbols to describe holistic right-brained events.
If you want to save these right brained sources for use in interpretation by the language-oriented left brain, I suggest that the information be experienced by both left and right brain. One very effective way of doing this is to dictate your right brained dream into a tape recorder before writing it out for the benefit of the left brain. This way you take it through both sides of the brain before beginning the business of interpretation.
A second piece of information you can get from your dream is its mood. Did you wake up happy, sad, frightened, excited? Make a note for later use. What may at first seem to be a warning of attack by wild animals (unknown forces) may actually be notice of a harmless upcoming event when you wake from the dream laughing at the fact that the animals are unable to attack because they keep getting tangled up in their ornate uniforms of state.
Generally speaking, a dream can be broken down into three parts just like a play or story:the beginning being a situation which will tell you what aspect of you is being addressed, next what is currently happening, and last how the situation is likely to turn out. At the same time, the smallest fragment of dream material can give up enormous amounts of information. From a dream of my own in mid-life I was able to remember only that I was going through a bin of torn clothing and pulled out only a single badly ripped elaborately embroidered skirt. After some consideration I realized I was being reminded that from a variety of professional plans that had fallen through I would be able to reconstruct a useful career if I applied myself to some rebuilding, and this indeed was the case.
Once you have captured the information from your dream by recording and transcribing it, your next task is to let your mind in soft focus spend some time reviewing the various elements. Perhaps you dreamed of entering a library. What was your feeling? What do you think of libraries? Are they full of possibility or full of boredom? If they have tended to be boring might this be a time for you to consider that sources of new information may be available of which you are not aware. If the librarian in your dream is the Devil and you have just received a status report from your financial advisor, is it perhaps time for you to conduct an audit in real life? Our dreams will sometimes tell us truths that we prefer to ignore. If in your dream you are working very hard to keep a closet door closed but it flies open and bushels of money fall out you might want to take a look at your environment. There may be an opportunity against which you have set yourself where there is some unseen benefit to be gained.
Some dreams give up their treasures right away. With others you may have to spend days or even weeks allowing them to float through your consciousness and unconsciousness before you become aware of the hints being given you. By the same token, some information is sharp-edged and without question while other information processes slowly through the soil of your conscious mind.
Either way, once you get used to incorporating your dreams and learning your own personal dream language and your own archetypes, you will find that they enrich your daily life and make your way of functioning in the world more and more wise as time goes by.
As you begin your adventure with your own dreams, I would like to remind you of a general experience I have had over many years of utilizing dreams as resources in psychotherapy. I have encountered upwards of a hundred monsters who have been chasing my clients in their dreams. Many times I have suggested that the dreamer stop and ask the monster “What do you want?” Every time, in one way or another, those monsters have wanted the same thing—someone to play with.
Remember that everything you meet in your dreams is an aspect of you that wants nothing for you but your very best.
Have fun; it’s a great party.
Edith A. Cheitman Ph.D., MSW has retired from a lifetime of transpersonal psychotherapy including dream analysis on an individual or group basis, tarot consultation, energy field healing and hypnotherapy. She continues to be available by appointment for therapy and lecture on a limited basis in Sarasota and Bradenton. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org.