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Do You Listen to Your Dreams?

Contents:

Listening to Dreams

It is very useful to pay attention to your dreams. They can assist you in your personal growth.

The various symbols and course of events in dreams unveil matters of a more or less unconscious and repressed kind.

Analysing your dreams will draw attention to the problematic areas in your life; allowing you to take a closer look at the particular problems and helping you find the possible solutions to them.

Indeed, focusing on these problems will often give you a clue as to what are the real causes behind them.

The unconscious is also a terrific place to look for signs of your particular strengths and resources in that these will often reveal themselves through powerful symbols in your dreams. Your individual resources can be disclosed, built up and integrated in your life by means of different techniques, e.g. meditation, imagining, painting, and drawing.

Working with dreams and acting on the insights obtained will release energy that can be invested in enjoyable and creative activities. The path of life will be smoother. Obstacles will deteriorate.

Ultimately, many people experience a completely new feeling of what freedom really is.

Remembering Dreams

We all dream every night.

But some of us find it difficult to remember our dreams.
What do we do then?

Read books about dreams. Listen to other people tell their dreams. Share the dreams you do remember with others.

Make it clear to yourself that dreams are important messages that you wish to understand.

Be determined to remember your dreams. Remind yourself several times a day.

Just before falling asleep, tell yourself that you will remember your dreams.

See to it that you have pen and paper well within reach so that you can jot down you dreams the minute you wake up - also if this is in the middle of the night!

Write down everything you remember, including fractions. If you start writing the bits you remember, often other bits will emerge.

In the morning when you wake up: Do not move, do not open your eyes. Search for dreams. If you don't find any, turn around slowly and wait for a while on your other side. Sometimes this helps.

What are Dreams?

What are dreams really? And where do they come from?

Throughout history dreams have fascinated, and sometimes frightened, people.

And isn’t it strange? You dream when you are asleep. You experience exciting and weird things - even things that could not possibly happen in your waking life or that are totally illogical. However, in the dream world anything can happen and quite a different logic presides.

Then you wake up! All is gone. In the dream it was so real, but in the waking world it has all disappeared. No trace to be detected.

Examples of dreams from the Bible show us that dreams were once considered to be messages from God in the form of admonitions or advice. And it was very important to listen to these messages and act accordingly.

Others have suggested that when you sleep the soul leaves the body and travels to other worlds - the dreams being a remembrance of what has happened in those other worlds.

Modern research has shown that unconscious material can reach our consciousness through dreams. So, in fact, dreams are messages. They are messages that emerge from the unconscious, encapsulating repressed feelings, buried memories, latent resources.´

Keys to Opening Dreams

People in dreams most often represent different parts of yourself; traits that you find it difficult to accept in yourself or that you are completely unaware of. This applies to people you know in your waking life, people you know of, and those you do not know at all. If you take a closer look at your opinion of these people, you will learn about yourself.

Feelings in dreams are your feelings. By matching them with situations and circumstances in your life, you will reach an understanding of what actions you can take and changes you can make that will improve the quality of your life.

Exploring the different elements of a dream will often ignite feelings that will bring release. Moreover, this can open the paths to hitherto repressed memories, giving insights that will bring further release and free blocked energy.

Day Residues will connect the night’s dream with the events of the preceding day: Things you have seen, felt, or thought. Experiences. Conversations. Finding day residues will ease the work with the dream by pointing to unconscious elements connected to the situations in question.

Symbols

Dreams speak in a symbolic or metaphorical language. If you wish to make use of the help offered to you by your dreams, you will have to learn that language.

As a rule the symbols have no fixed meaning. They grow from the personal history of the dreamer. The same symbol will carry a different meaning for different people. This implies that dictionaries of dream symbols are of limited value.

I use the word “symbol” to cover all elements in a dream: People, objects, colours, sceneries, forms, etc. Everything. And everything is part of the dreamer. So, basically, the only experts on interpreting dreams are the dreamers themselves. A symbol is the best possible manifestation of hidden structures.

Thus, it is important what the dreamer personally associates with each individual symbol. But the dreamer can benefit tremendously from entering into a dialogue with a dream therapist or a dream group whose questions regarding the dream can assist the dreamer in the task of unravelling the messages of the dream.

There are, however, some universal symbols that tend to have more fixed and general meanings. Among these are the 4 elements: earth, water, fire, air. Animals and plants. The sun and the moon. But, at the same time, even these universal symbols will often contain elements of a more personal kind as well.

Working with Dreams in Groups

Since 1982, I have initiated intensive dream groups several times a year. Each group consists of 5-6 people who have decided to work with their dreams for the purpose of personal and spiritual growth. They wish to learn more about themselves, look for help to solve their problems and assist others in solving theirs.

They yearn for more joy and meaning in their lives – a fuller awareness of their own particular resources, potentials and qualities.

In my dream groups, I start out by establishing the basic rules for the interpretation of dreams whereupon we embark together on the work with the dreams of the individual group members. I recommend a few books on dream interpretation that I strongly suggest people read.

Many dreams invite continued work at home, e.g. painting or drawing scenes or symbols from the dreams or some form of meditative approach, like e.g. “active imagination”. Also, it often happens that the dream calls for some specific action for the dreamer to carry out. In such cases, the dreamer can count on valuable support from the group.

After a certain period with me as a teacher, the group continues on its own. After some time, I am often asked to join the group again for a few sessions to help with any difficulties or to bring new inspiration.

A number of people from the dream groups also attend my ongoing development groups: “Dreams and Meditation”.

Basic Rules Applied in Dream Work

There are a few basic rules that should be followed when working with the interpretation of dreams.

Regardless of whether it is a question of a therapist/client situation or if you are working in dream groups, you have to keep in mind that, fundamentally, the dreamer is the only person who knows what the dream is about. So it is important always to respect the point of view of the dreamer.

There is this safety valve in dream work that blocks messages from emerging through dreams that the dreamer is not able to handle yet. You may feel sad or unhappy, but you do not crack.

Otherwise, it is first of all and primarily a question of listening carefully to the dreamer tell the dream. Then you ask into the dream, usually with questions of an amplifying character to start with and then gradually by being more specific, eventually “opening” the dream.

You should avoid leading questions and leave the dreamer time to search for the answers to the questions.

Other Approaches

Most dreams can be dealt with by looking at them more or less as a text you try to understand. You ask questions, and gradually the dreamer begins to understand his or her dream.
There are some dreams, however, that call for a different approach. Many of these contain beautiful, strong symbols, and the task here is more one of trying to integrate the symbols, so that the energy contained in them will open up to disclose qualities like wisdom and spirituality, or to be transformed into a creative expression of some kind.

For some dreams, painting or drawing scenes or symbols from the dream can obtain this. The integration takes place both during the actual painting/drawing process and in the subsequent immersion in the finished product. At the same time this whole process often gives you an increased insight into the message of the dream.

It also happens that through this process more details from the dream will emerge. (see under Examples).

Another method is to re-enter the dream in a meditative state and make changes to it. (see under Examples).

Working with Dreams in Therapy

Dreams are a unique tool in therapy.

The dreams simply, and quite clearly, point out which issues are of immediate importance to the dreamer at the present time. You are ready to deal with it, now is the time. Changes can be made; potentials can be brought into life.

The problems, the emotional imbalances, resources etc. that are shown through symbols, feelings, and dream activities form the basis of the oral part of the therapy session which brings about the release of limitations, anxiety, despondency, etc. To find the meaning of life. See the purpose.

At the same time symbols, feelings and actions in a dream can be viewed as a question of “energy”, in which case knowledge of the subtle energy system of man, the aura, the energy flow, chakras and points is needed.

This gives the opportunity to use a form of energy healing (through the hands) directed precisely to the areas of the (subtle) body that need attention. Whether to obtain an escalation of the present process, a strengthening of the resources or an increased clarity of the dynamics of the problems and their cause.

The dreams of the following night will often comment on the healing and elaborate on the issues discussed.

To further support and encourage the process, the client will be given some meditative energy exercises to do at home. Other work to be done at home will comprise a continued creative or meditative work with the dreams.

Children's Dreams

The dreams of children differ somewhat from those of adults. As a rule, they are rarely long and usually less complicated.

However, the important point is how the parent deals with the children’s dreams.

It is of utmost importance to let the children tell their dreams and to listen to them very attentively. This has the same effect on children as it has on adults telling their dreams. The mere telling has a positive effect. The joy of being listened to, being taken seriously, but also the very fact that the dream is being voiced, is extremely important. This gives release.

Children have problems too. If you have some knowledge of the symbolism of dreams, listening to your children’s dreams will bring valuable information of their joys and sorrows. This gives you the opportunity to help and support them.

Do not engage in an interpretation of your children’s dreams. It is much better to encourage them into giving the dream a creative expression. Drawing or painting it. Playing it, dancing it. If the dream is a nightmare, it can be a very good idea to have the child create a different, positive ending. And, subsequently, to encourage the child to draw, paint, play, dance the new version of the dream.

Also, you can suggest to children to change something in the dream already while dreaming it, next time they have a bad dream. Like calling for help from the family dog or maybe a popular strong cartoon character. This is usually quite easy for a child to do.

Dreams as a State of Consciousness

Dreams can also be viewed as a specific state of consciousness. Dream consciousness. Which is a lower state than the waking consciousness. Which, on its part, is lower than the higher consciousness that can be reached in meditation.

There is a special category of dreams called lucid dreams. Lucid dreams are dreams in which you are aware that you are dreaming. The waking consciousness has stepped into the dream.

A lot of people do reach this awareness of being in a dream while dreaming. This gives a freedom of action, which is not present in ordinary dreams, and brings possibilities that do not exist in waking life.

This opportunity should be taken advantage of. You could decide to fly by your own force. It is possible and quite easy. And you can fly wherever you want. Exploring, experiencing. You can walk through walls, throw yourself through closed windows. You can do things you do not have the courage to do when awake.

Or you can seek wisdom in order to get answers to important issues in your life. The possibilities are numerous.

The way to discover that you are in fact in a dream is actually when you are in the midst of flying in the dream. You wonder how this can be possible, and this may induce the realization that you are dreaming.
Often nightmares also bring about the knowledge of being in a dream.

Dreams, Meditation and Healing

Like dreams, healing and meditation are tools that can be used in reaching for personal and spiritual growth.
Combined with dreams they will yield invaluable help in the development process.

In my development groups we work with meditative exercises and meditations which, much like dreams, will bring you into contact with problematic areas, repressed feelings and memories as well as with spiritual qualities and creative possibilities.

The basis of my work with meditation and healing is Bob Moore’s teachings of the subtle energy system of man. An important aspect of the exercises and meditations is the movement of consciousness along energy lines or forming different structures or patterns over the body or connecting different chakras and energy points.

Some meditations will incorporate symbols or feelings from dreams. Dream symbols are also widely used in a number of group meditations that I have composed. These meditations are done individually, followed by a kind of energy interchange in the form of building different energy structures between the members of the group sitting in a circle, and including also an energy exchange with the group energy that will build up in the centre of the group.

We also work with some simple healing exchanges using chakras and points of the subtle energy system, thus activating and intensifying the development process.

Examples

A woman in a dream group told us a dream. In the dream she saw some large ships with red sails. I prompted her to draw these ships at home and show them to us next time. During this process she remembered that these sails had golden crosses on them. (This confirmed my original suspicion that the ships in the dream were carrying a spiritual message.)

Lucid dream, fragment:
"Now I find myself in a beautiful scenery a bit like a very big park, filled with the most extraordinary animals. None of them existing in real life. They are richly coloured and there is only one of each.
I must be dreaming! And I cry out loud: This is a dream!
I notice a lioness. A rather small one. She does not see me. But now I decide to test my courage. It is a dream. Nothing can harm me. So I call out loud to get her attention. She turns around and opens her mouth wide. I put my hand in the mouth. Nothing happens. The mouth, though, feels rather slimy, so I retract my hand, and instead start to caress her around the mouth and the whole head. She enjoys it more and more, looking trustfully into my eyes."
(Wake up in a wonderful mood.)

A dream therapy client, a young woman, had a dream in which she kissed a horse.

This woman lacked strength in her life. A symbolic way to get strength is to be sitting on a horse and being in control of it. So I asked her to elaborate this dream at home. She was to bring herself in a relaxed, meditative state, re-enter the dream and change it by mounting the horse and getting the feeling of a contact with the strength of it. This would help her in waking life to feel and mobilize her own power and strength.

Interpretations

"I am climbing some rocks. Naked, reddish, sunlit. I am going to cross a gorge by a rope. This can only be done by travelling. In order to be able to get across, I will have to take off all my clothes. I do this without giving it any further thought. Other people whom I do not know are also climbing the rocks, and the same thing applies to them. Some of them take off their clothes. Others do not."
(The dreamer, a woman, had been involved in personal and spiritual growth for some time. The dream points out that there is some hard work to be done, and you can only do that yourself. The woman used to be a somewhat reserved and shy person, reluctant to open up to others – but now she is slowly doing so. The dream tells her that now is the time to really show who she is if she wants to proceed – and that she is ready.

"I dreamed that I was in an apartment, not one I know. I was in the dining room. I was sure that the house was on fire and called the fire service. A fireman came. He said that he could not see any fire. But I was scared. At that very moment the fire broke out in the other room, and I screamed: “There is a baby in the room. It is my baby sister.” The fireman saved the baby. I hugged her and was very happy".
This dream confirms that the dreamer possesses a well-developed intuition (thus helping her to trust it in waking life!). She has lately been confronted with many big changes in her life, which can actually provoke the symbol of fire in dreams.
Something will have to be “burned down” to make room for something new, in the dream symbolized by the newborn baby. The dreamer acts correctly. She takes care of the new thing, and is very happy about it. The new thing is her own resources, which she has discovered. The dream also points out that she possesses an efficient masculine aspect that will come forth whenever it is needed.