Dreams are proof of non-ordinary reality. They are a window into the subconscious mind. So, interpreting dreams can help us understand who we are. What is the most common meaning of dreams?
What Are Dreams?
Dreams are the projection of non-ordinary reality. The content and scope come from various sources, including our Ego and every event in our memory. Some believe these psychedelic adventures of the subconscious are messages from our soul and the universe.
Other people think dreams have a deeper connection to the spirit world as messages from our ancestors or the Universe. Dreams can be playful or nightmares where our deepest fears and insecurities manifest. Dreams can be a combination of all these elements at the same time. It makes dream interpretation both an art and science.
So, what are dreams? They are one of our three default states of consciousness, along with waking and sleeping. The psychedelic landscape of dreamland takes liberties with our memories and imagination, often combining metaphors that only we can understand. These can stretch the boundaries of our thinking.
Since dreams make up such a large part of our experience, it makes sense to understand what they are and what they mean. Finding the meaning of your dreams is an essential aspect of learning who “we” are. Deciphering these messages can hold keys to our development.
Some cultures believe that dreams are the exclusive domain of the Observer. The Observer is the person who is listening when you are talking to yourself. The Observer is pure consciousness. Consciousness is vibration, which is eternal. So, the real you infinite. It is not temporal, like our personality or our body.
So, dreams are a way for our eternal consciousness to communicate empirical wisdom to our natural mind. We cannot get this level of insight from words or feelings alone. It takes a complete experience to learn the lesson. Dreams are full of metaphors, analogies, and word pictures with personal meaning.
Therefore, dream interpretation requires knowledge of several levels. It’s best if you start by understanding the symbols and patterns in your dreams. The best way to do this is to keep a dream journal. Then you’ll need to determine the meaning of these symbols and patterns. Only then is interpreting dreams possible.
One of the significant branches of early psychology finds its basis in dreams. Sigmund Freud is the creator of psychoanalysis. He theorized that dreams represent unconscious desires, thoughts, and motivations. It uses the most common meaning of dreams as a template.
And so Freud thought our dreams are an expression of repressed sexual desires. In other words, your dreams express unacceptable sexual instincts. But this doesn’t seem like a rational basis for understanding everyone’s psyche. However, this is the belief that underlies this system of thought. Perhaps it’s more of an indication of his psychological issues.
Finding Help For Dream Interpretation
In our modern society, we have very few people who can help with the meaning of our dreams. That is because our culture is a humongous blend of many traditions. And groupthink manipulation tactics taint our cultural narrative.
It is helpful to have a process that will help us account for the programming we get from the cultural narrative. Religion has a tremendous impact on our cultural folklore. Even if you are not a believer or follower of the dominant world religions, they affect the values of the cultures they control. They inject their religious, ethnic, and gender bias and prejudice.
Our society does not have one narrative but many subcultures. It makes interpreting dreams more challenging because your dreams’ meaning is likely different from anyone else. You have a unique understanding of a diverse cultural narrative. The metaphors within this landscape differ from everyone else. The first important thing to remember is that the symbolism of your dreams is unique. So, another person could have the same elements but could have a different meaning.
For example, “fire” has a traditional definition as a metaphor. However, your meaning of fire likely differs from this because of our modern cultural narrative. That doesn’t mean we should ignore historical references. However, we should not use traditional meaning only. Use the tradition as a starting point for your research. The most probable meaning of any symbolism will come from your own experience.
What is a dream made of anyway? They are a complex mixture of experience and imagination filtered through symbolism. These living movies can express meaning or communicate some message from our subconscious mind. Dreams are a snapshot of our subconscious mind.
The Role of the Advisor or Shaman
In the past, cultures would exist for eons with the same narrative. So, a Shaman would assist others in interpreting dreams. They would ask a lot of questions about our dream life. Then, use their knowledge of symbolism to interpret the meaning. Their advice would have a basis in the standard cultural narrative.
However, we no longer have a cohesive cultural narrative on which to base symbolism. Therefore, we must use a method that accounts for the personal meaning of symbolism rather than the traditional definition. We can use a process to the Shaman but drill down further. We need to find the “personal meaning” of the symbols.
Interpreting dreams is still possible. We need to update the process to account for our meaning. It will require you to do some investigation to determine their significance.
We need to record our memories of significant events. We need to pay special attention to those memories with lasting emotional impact, and this is where you’ll find the meaning of the symbolism in your dreams. So, this is where your journal will come in handy. Record your dreams or fragments of memory first thing in the morning.
Spend some time thinking about the personal meaning of events of your dreams. Ask yourself, what do these metaphors, analogies, and word pictures mean to me? What is my subconscious mind trying to tell me? It’s the most accurate way to interpret word pictures, metaphors, and analogies.
This process will be more accurate in dream interpretation. It’s the best way to interpret the messages of your dreams. And, it should also include what is going on in your life. It will reveal how these nighttime tips coincide with other “odd” or synchronistic events.
Much of what an experienced Shaman would do is precisely the process we would recommend. Except we would delve more into your life history, which gives the perspective to derive the meaning and messages in the dream.
A Shaman might administer powerful psychotropic herbs to suspend the natural mind. It’s a way to open up vistas beyond ordinary consciousness as a means of either healing or completing lessons. But we would not recommend this approach until you exhaust the above procedure.
The Most Common Meaning of Dreams
As mentioned above, interpreting dreams is the basis of one of the major branches of modern psychiatry. But Freudian psychology is based on the idea everyone has unhealthy and repressed sexual instincts. No doubt it this a flaw of Freud’s psyche. As such, his system ignores the other two main instinctual types of self-preservation and social. Additionally, Freudian psychoanalysis lacks the eons of practical historical knowledge of the Shaman.
So, absent the ability to consult a qualified Shaman, you will need to do some personal research. You need to gain the perspective to identify the elements at work in your dreams. Then find the “personal meaning” of the metaphors. It will provide the keys to the analysis of your nighttime psychedelic experiences.
This process is not as easy as having a qualified guide, but you can compensate for Ego’s interference using some resources. In short, if you don’t have access to a competent Shaman to guide you, then you need to “become your own Shaman” and unravel the meaning yourself. This DIY approach is becoming more common.
Another tool we recommend for interpreting dreams is the Enneagram of Personality Profile. This system will help you find the thought scripts related to your personality and instinct. It will provide insight into the influence of Ego on dreams. The Ego is a rich source for the content of dreams. When you find these scripts in your dreams, it’s your mind telling you you have something you need to address.
We find this is a “best practice” approach which anyone can use. It is not like taking an online quiz to give you immediate answers. You will get the best results when you have a consistent process to record and analyze your dreams.
Recording your dreams takes discipline. Interpreting them takes persistence. It means you will need to do some inner work to identify your ego’s elements and the influences of your cultural narrative. The following is a list of the ingredients for dream interpretation. If you follow this recipe, it will produce accurate results.
- First, use a spiritual journal to record all of your dreams or fragments of dreams. Once you record them, they will open your memory. Writing is a way of accessing another level of your mind, and it’s the primary key to interpreting dreams. Don’t overlook its importance.
- Record all your major life events. Putting them on paper will help determine the material for your dreams. Pay special attention to events that have a significant emotional impact.
- Use the Enneagram of Personality Profile to find your personality type’s thinking patterns.
- Don’t assign meaning to your dreams based on a metaphor’s “generalized or historical” definitions. The definition and value of the symbols and metaphors of our dreams are unique. Please don’t confuse the standard meaning of a symbol you find in dictionaries or bestiaries with what they mean to you.
- Be sure to note reoccurring themes, images, or scenarios in your journal. If you are repeating bad experiences, you need to investigate.
- Don’t give up if the meaning of a dream seems elusive. Your natural mind is attempting to grasp a message which is beyond words.
- See if you can spot similar themes and scenarios from your dreams in ‘normal’ waking consciousness; it’s synchronicity reinforcing the message.
- We only perceive what we expect, and our natural mind will often miss or tune out things it’s not willing to recognize. So look for the unexpected when interpreting dreams.
- Often, the Universe will assist the Observer by sending you messages via the environment. It can take many forms of animals or birds repeatedly, “showing up” to strangers using particular and unusual phraseology. Anything that makes you pause and recognize something out of place.
These messages may come to you as mundane occurrences that catch your attention. They often suspend our internal chatter. Again, these are synchronistic events. These are cues that help us determine the meaning of our dreams’ metaphors.
What is a dream? Is it just the expression of a playful subconscious? Or do dreams have a deeper meaning? Interpreting dreams is an essential element in learning who we are. It is also an excellent way to expand our awareness. We can do this by recording them and asking the right questions. The most common meaning of dreams is not likely to be accurate. These definitions come from superstitions and folklore of ancient civilizations and do not apply to the modern world’s symbolism.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia