Turn Insight Into Action : Proactive-Coach - Self Knowledge & Self Motivation

understanding the meaning of dreams


Throughout the ages, people have been analyzing dreams. Many people keep have been looking for universal codes that would unlock hidden dream meanings.

Freud conceived of dreams as the manifestation of how we attempt to digest information in our subconscious. From this perspective, deciphering the content of a dream means being able to get in touch with information that is important, but difficult for our conscious mind to access.

As neuroscience started exploring dreams from an experimental perspective, some findings suggested that dreams may actually not be related to meaningful information processing. However, further studies suggested that they actually may be. So there is currently no consensus as to whether or not dreams are a language that accurately reflects the thoughts and issues in our minds, as opposed to random images.

This doesn't mean that we can't benefit from paying attention to our dreams. The rest of this page outlines how. It also provides links to videos showing the process I am describing.

The key to this process is that you are not trying to "interpret" your dream as a language (say, the way you would translate Chinese into English, or hieroglyphs into English). Instead, I suggest you see the dream as a starting point for a creative process. You use the dream’s story and specific images as an entry point. You focus on putting yourself into the situation or images suggested by the dream... and you pay attention to what it feels like when you do so.

You're no longer trying to make sense of the weird language of the dream from the outside. You are very much in the thick of it. You are living it in the moment. You are paying attention to what it feels like, to what it evokes, and you take it from there. As you do so, you're getting more in touch with creative forces that function below your conscious awareness.

Notice that this process is inspired by the dream, as opposed to dictated by it. We are not talking about a literal meaning of the dream, not even a meaning that is inherent in the dream. We are talking about a creative process that the dream inspires you to start and follow.

You're familiar with the Rorschach test: you look at inkblots, and describe what you see, whereby reflecting what's on your mind. Your dream functions as such a point of departure. It certainly feels more poignant than an inkblot because it contains imagery that is pertinent to you: You have singled it out from many other dreams to actually remember it (we all forget the majority of our dreams).

Instead of looking for standardized dream meanings, I find it far more powerful to explore what dreams mean in the context of your own life. A dream can be an incredibly powerful springboard into a whole new dimension of meanings. Exploring the dream, and what it means to you, can lead you to deep insights.

This gives you insights, which may or may not be easy to articulate into words. But whatever words you come up with, they will be rich in meaning for you. Because these words have a direct connection to what is truly meaningful to you: the experience itself.

See concrete examples of this process:
- Matthew video
- Sarah video


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