Dreams: Our Night Counselors

by Laurel Clark, D.M., D.D.

Every night we all visit an invisible, intangible, mysterious world.  It is a world of relationships, reconnecting with old friends, meeting strangers who seem familiar, sometimes falling in love.  In this place, we can experience things we’ve never seen or touched in our physical life.  It can seem supernatural, mystical,and  magical.  It’s a place where blind people can see, the paralyzed can walk, and we can fly through the air like birds.  This is the world of dreams.

Have you ever awakened from a dream with the feeling that something profound had happened?  Even if you don’t remember the dream, you can wake up with the sense that something deep and meaningful had just occurred.  It is true—dreams are important.  They all have significance.

Our nighttime dreams can serve as counselors, giving us insight into our own feelings and attitudes.  Every dream is about the dreamer, and dreams can be interpreted symbolically to give us insights about ourselves.  Everything in the dream symbolizes some part of the dreamer, and every person symbolizes an aspect or quality of the dreamer.  Dreams come from the inner self, or subconscious mind. They are messages to the conscious mind, telling us about our waking state of awareness.

In these times of economic uncertainty, people are seeking lasting security.  Dreams can aid us in this endeavor, pointing the way to self-understanding.  I think that most people would agree that even difficult experiences can be rewarding when we grow through them — becoming a better person or developing our character in some way.  Our nighttime dreams can give us feedback regarding how we have learned such lessons in our waking state.

The first step in this process is to remember a dream.  Everyone dreams every night.  If you want to remember dreams, communicate that desire to your subconscious mind!  Say an affirmation before you go to bed.  Get a dream journal and put it by your bed with a pen or pencil, dating it for the following morning.

Waking up gently, without an alarm clock or using a clock radio set to classical music, is a big help in remembering dreams.  As soon as you awaken, immediately record the dream to capture as much of the action and detail as you can.  You’ll find that with practice you will remember more and more of the details in your dreams.

Some people remember dreams but don’t have any idea what they mean.  Dreams communicate in a universal language of pictures. These pictures are symbols that have universal meaning.  Learning what the symbols mean is like learning a new language, or re-awakening a forgotten language.

Once you learn the “vocabulary” or interpretation of the symbols, you put the pictures together so you can glean the meaning of the dream — the attitude or way of thinking that the dream is describing.  The next step is to understand how the dream-message applies to your waking life and then put that into practice.

For example, I knew a young woman who was making some big changes in her life.  She had just moved halfway across the country for a new job in a managerial position with much more responsibility than she had ever had before.  She was also a volunteer coordinator for a not-for-profit organization.  During the transition period, she had a recurring dream that troubled her. She kept dreaming that she was driving her car on a busy highway with lots of cars going in all directions, and her car was spinning out of control until it crashed.

The symbols in this dream are:  the car, which symbolizes the physical body, and the road or highway, a goal or path in life. The dream was telling her that she was going in too many different directions, and she needed to slow down, set some goals and determine a direction for her life or her physical body was going to crash

The young woman never learned to interpret the dream to find out what it meant.  She often thought, “I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  I need some time to visualize my goals and set priorities,” but she didn’t heed her own advice!  She kept doing the same thing — and her dream kept recurring.

After a couple of weeks, she found herself coming home from work exhausted.  She went to the doctor who ran tests to see if she had mononucleosis.  The tests were negative, but she continued to feel run down. Finally, she got so sick that she had to take time off from work to stay in bed and rest.

While in bed, she had some time to think about her life and make some plans for her future.  She set goals, put them into perspective, and decided what needed the most attention.  The planning, visualizing and goal-setting rejuvenated her.  In a short time, she felt healthier and more energetic.  As a result, she ceased having the car-crashing dream.

Had this young woman known how to interpret the dream, she might have made the changes that she needed without getting sick.  This is a great benefit of learning to interpret dreams:  they can help us to live healthier, more productive lives!

Some of the basic symbols that appear in dreams are the following:

People: aspects of the self.  When you dream of someone you know, identify the outstanding quality you see in that person.  That will tell you what aspect of yourself you are dreaming about.  (If John is in your dream and you see him as being kind, he symbolizes the aspect of kindness in yourself.  If Sally is in your dream and you see her as stubborn, she symbolizes the stubborn quality in you.)

Houses or buildings:  your mind

Clothing:  your outer expression

Face:  identity

Animals:  habits

You can learn the language of your dreams to become your own interpreter.  When you know how to interpret your dreams, you can become your own counselor, teacher, and guide by listening to the guidance of these nightly messages.

Laurel Clark, D.M., is a teacher and Regional Director with the School of Metaphysics, a not-for-profit organization with 16 branches,  She is a psi, counselor, dream coach, interfaith minister and author of several books, including Intuitive Dreaming.  Dr. Clark is a member of the International Association of the Study of Dreams and frequent presenter at their annual conferences. She was instrumental in making the pilot for the PBS television series Dreamtime.