Using Dreams to Spur Personal Growth

Using Dreams to Spur Personal Growth

We can access significant knowledge stored in our dreams, but we nearly always sleep right through them.

Dreams can tell you what you truly know and feel about things. They direct you to what you need to grow, integrate, and express yourself. They help you fine-tune your path in life and help you discern unfinished business. And dreams never lie. Dreams don’t come true; they are truth.

Ultimately, dreaming is about waking. The unconscious, where dreams originate, contains images of what you’re meant to be. It constantly works toward expressing this potential. It often knows things which remain invisible to your consciousness; some things are only seen in the dark. Attempting to solve problems, forge your path, or sort your priorities without information from your dreams is like judging with just half the facts in a case.

The language of dreams is visual. They’re like homing beacons to help you get to know your spirit and navigate through life. They’re experts when it comes to communicating metaphorically.

For example, in the weeks before I lost a job early in my career, one I hung on to for security and status, my dreams were bursting with clues about how I truly felt about trading integrity for comfort and fame. And though I journaled about them, I didn’t interpret them. That’s likely because I didn’t really want to know what they were trying to tell me; I think, deep down, I already knew what they were saying.

In one dream, I was paid with a stack of hundred-dollar bills, but later realized I’d been cheated—only the top bill was a hundred. The rest were ones. In another, I lost my wallet with all my ID cards in it. In another, I found a golden calf, but it was chained to the ground. In another, I was at a fancy estate for an extravagant party, but the swimming pool was empty.

This isn’t rocket science. These dreams’ meaning was so obvious: I was being shown that the things I was doing at work and how I felt when I was there. But I didn’t want to look, so the unexpected loss of that job was a total shock, when it really shouldn’t have been.

Contrary to rationalism, dreams are very real. They deliver real information, have a real impact, include real emotions, and cause real results when ignored. The more you disregard your dreams, the more persistent they become.

Dreams are very much like junk-mail—only a small portion is actually useful and worth sorting through. Some comes in a crazy combination of metaphors, vignettes, images, and other psychic elements, that attempting to make sense of it is like herding cats.

But don’t automatically accept the first interpretation you make. Brainstorm all possible associations about the dream events and images, especially the most potent ones. What feelings, people, ideas, and words does it bring to mind? Then go with the one that causes the strongest reaction.

Avoid dream-dictionaries. Dreams are too subjective for them. For example, water means something quite different to somebody who nearly drowned as a child than to somebody who feels comfortable around it.

Since many dreams relate to things currently happening, ask what, if anything, in the dream is connected to you. Where did you see this scenario play out recently? What is its fundamental message? What is its intent? Ask how elements of the dream may symbolize specific aspects of your life. Be sure to assess physical aspects before you settle on an interpretation. For example, if you dreamed your car’s brakes went out, check your actual car’s actual brakes. If they’re fine, move on to situations in your life in which you may feel as though you can’t stop.

It’s not necessary to comprehend dreams or glean meaning from them. Merely focusing your attention on them, acknowledging their mystery and autonomy, helps open portals and shift you from analyzing to responding. In fact, the amount of interest you pay them helps determine whether you’ll recall dreams.

Dreams respond not only to attention, but also to direct requests. You don’t even need to wait for them—you can attract them by petitioning and bargaining with them. If you get yourself in the habit of requesting dream guidance as you fall asleep, dreams will make a beeline for your door.

Just be sure you’re prepared to write about them before you get out of bed. The second your feet touch the floor, you actually ground yourself, and your dreams’ energy is absorbed by the earth.

To help recall your dreams, consider conducting rituals to draw elements out of unconsciousness and into your waking life. It’s a small external sign of an internal intention.

For example, if you dream of choosing your passions over security, you can ritually burn a dollar bill while invoking the spirit of courage. If your dreams prompt you to break from tradition, break a stick of wood in two. If you dream of flying over obstructions, set up rocks in your backyard, name them after your personal obstacles, and jump over them.

Rituals can be as simple as placing flowers in a vase, arranging stones in a circle, burying a physical symbol that represents an undesirable habit, bathing yourself in a river, or lighting a candle. Many traditions consider dreams to be revelations from the spiritual realm. The act of separating dreaming from the waking life, the unconscious from the conscious, is like separating the roots from a plant.

Dreams can tell you what you really need to know. Don’t hesitate to use them for your own personal growth. They have so much to offer!


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