Even simple dreams present so many possibilities for symbolism, it’s a wonder they can be understood at all. But you have a big factor working in your favor. Not just big. Huuuge.
Simple Fact #1: You know (subconsciously) what your dreams mean.
Deep inside yourself, you know what your dreams mean because you create them in your unconscious mind. You create your dreams. That fact can be counterintuitive because dreams can appear foreign and disconnected from you. Why?
- The unconscious mind is, by nature, outside your conscious awareness.
- The unconscious mind communicates with symbolism. Symbolism is covered in-depth at this site. The unconscious mind isn’t. Refer to my Dream Interpretation Dictionary. Eventually I’ll share that content here.
The fact that you know what your dreams mean gives you an approach to understanding them:
Remember what you already know!
When you already know something, you don’t have to learn anything new. Your approach is different than if you don’t know something. Dream interpretation and its techniques such as make associations and follow your feelings are really ways of jogging your memory. “I remember now.”
If it sounds easy, that’s because it is — well, it may not be fair to say dream interpretation is easy, but neither is it as hard it can seem. It really depends on the person and their ability to think creatively. Be confident that anyone — you, too — can understand dreams.
Simple Fact #2: Dreams are stories.
They can be crazy stories that don’t follow normal logic, but nonetheless, they’re stories, and figuring them out is similar to analyzing a novel or movie. Literature 101. If you can analyze a story, you can analyze a dream.
Dreams that aren’t structured as stories are better understood as dreaming, a succession of images and sensations you experience while asleep. Dreaming can start soon after you close your eyes and it doesn’t really mean anything important.
A dream, on the other hand, is a story and it’s always meaningful. It engages your thoughts, emotions, feelings. It moves you. It’s memorable. You can start experiencing meaningful dreams soon after falling asleep, but usually your mind needs time to warm up.
Dreaming is the rehearsal.
Dreams are the performance.
Dreams are stories you tell yourself. They’re messages from the unconscious mind. Why does the unconscious mind use stories to communicate? Because stories are interesting and they sure beat a lecture!
For thousands of years, humans have used stories to learn, grow, adapt, pass down history, teach the truth and find meaning. Think of when a student approaches a teacher with a complex question and the teacher tells a story, and contained in that story is the answer. It paints a picture and engages the imagination. When the student “gets it,” they really get it. The lesson sinks in. It’s like Jesus telling parables. He didn’t lecture to his disciples, he told them stories.
Dreams allow you to figure it out for yourself. They respect your intelligence. And they are very clever about tailoring stories just for you. It’s like having the world’s best life coach living in your head. Your own personal Jesus.
Simple Fact #3: Everything in dreams is symbolism.
Dreams use symbolism to tell stories about you and your life. Your unconscious mind takes all input from other areas of the mind and body — memories, emotions, thoughts, feelings, perceptions, physical conditions and stimuli — and spits out symbolism. It’s all put through the grinder and out pops your dreams.
Symbolism is the native tongue of your dreams, the language of the unconscious mind. If you want to understand dreams and your unconscious mind, begin with symbolism. We’ll talk more about symbolism later.
This simple fact has an exception — dreams can create direct representations that are not symbolism — but it’s a solid rule of thumb.
These three facts—you know what your dreams mean, they’re stories, and everything in them is symbolism—prepare you for launch to explore the mysterious and exciting world within you. Dreams truly are experiences unto themselves, like living another life or many lives simultaneously. Deep in your mind, dreams are no less real than “real” life. Treat them that way. They’re never “just a dream.”
Next, dive deep into dream symbolism: