Perplexed about something? You have nothing to lose by trying to provoke a guided dream and then using dream interpretation to understand it.
It can be a powerful problem-solving strategy.
It’s a strategy incorporating several parts of your brain.
Sometimes it seems to bring in the “big guns” to deal with your problem.
Dream interpretation offers one more avenue of insight for you.
Even if you’re blessed to have many wise and knowledgeable people in your life with whom you can talk about your problems, this is an alternate resource available to everyone who builds the skill. It gives you an extra option.
It makes sense to develop your skill at dream interpretation to have this source of insight available to you. Sometimes you can’t tell wise people everything. Sometimes they’re not around. Sometimes they’re wise in other ways but not-too-wise about your particular situation.
Even if talking problems out makes you feel better, you should try dream interpretation. It activates your subconscious. The perspectives you gain from tapping into this powerful resource can be valuable.
You don’t have to worry about miscommunication and other people’s agendas. You may, however, misinterpret the symbols your subconscious displays in your dream. You diminish the risk of this with practice. Most of the time, your subconscious is straightforward. Honesty with yourself is vital for dream interpretation.
Once you’ve been journaling your dreams and you’re reasonably skilled at remembering them, dream interpretation is a powerful problem-solving tool available to you.
Dream interpretation isn’t magic.
There’s a lot of stuff written about this that’s pretty stupid. Dream interpretation to solve problems comes in somewhere at the intersection of art and science. It’s building on the work of Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Fritz Perls, and others on what we know about how the brain functions. The art comes in applying the symbols you remember from your dreams to your life and your questions.
We should talk about the somewhat uncomfortable (for many people) part of it right now: sometimes the coaching doesn’t seem to come from yourself.
For those who doubt this, shouldn’t a person be able to tell the difference between thoughts and feeling that are their and ones that aren’t theirs? When it happens, it can feel disorienting and confusing. Nevertheless, that’s a supraconscious.
When it’s definitely your subconscious, it’s more of a distillation of information that’s going on: a reminder of things you’ve forgotten, things you didn’t fully realize, other insights like that.
What can I do to improve my health?
Your subconscious obliges by providing a dream of the QR codes on food packages. Your subconscious has noticed the QR codes, and you haven’t downloaded the app onto your smartphone yet.
The cause and effect aren’t much of a mystical mystery. That’s a prompt, and potentially it’s important because there’s a lot of information about the food you’re eating that you’re passing by not having access to it. You know what the QR codes are. You’ve seen them. Since it has been asked, your subconscious is supplying you with the reminder via a dream.
You can improve your health by understanding what it is you’re eating. Simple. Makes sense.
You might not have thought about it if it wasn’t for dream interpretation.
After you’ve kept a dream journal for a while, you become aware of the way your subconscious communicates, the symbols it uses as a shorthand. Symbols it chooses can be a variety of things. Places you’ve been. People that make you feel a certain way. Movies, songs, and novels you like.
You’re subconscious will use those images to provide you with information and prompts about how to live your best life possible.
How to use dream interpretation to solve problems
- Practice, first, by dream journaling. Be familiar with the process of recalling the seemingly random dreams you have on a given night. Seek to understand those dreams first.
- You have dreams every night. When you’re successful at recalling at least three-fourths of them, you’re ready to try dream interpretation of guided dreams. Write a good question. This is key. Write your question across the top of a blank page in your dream journal. Don’t write a lot—one line. Don’t explain too much—no need to. You’re communicating with your subconscious. Just. One. Line.
- Follow all the steps for dream journaling. Put your pen on the top of your journal. You can easily find it if you do. Ideally, it’s going to be a lighted pen if you’re sleeping in a dark room. If you sleep with a partner, cover up the light with your blanket if you’re writing at night. Doing this is considerate to your partner and much easier on your eyes.
- Put a memory aid on the opposite wrist from which you wear a watch.
- Think about your problem as you go to sleep, though don’t dwell on it. If the problem makes you anxious, stop thinking about it because that will ruin your sleep. You’re going to sleep. You should relax. Sometimes scents can help you do this by getting you into the right frame of mind. This is highly individual.
- When you wake up, use the mnemonic PACTREPS to recall the finer points of your dream as you lay there. When you have PACTREPS memorized, and you’ve practiced recalling your dreams, this is going to work well for you. Dream interpretation works through the use of details and experiences. Think of the stereotype of a shaman. It’s some wizened man or woman. That’s because through life experiences, they’ve had time to practice this, and they have the experiences from their subconscious from which to pull these images and symbols.
When problem-solving dream interpretation doesn’t work
Don’t look for it to work when you’re depressed and you ask something like, “Why am I such a screw-up.”
“Why am I so awful?”
“Why do I always say the wrong thing?”
It can work if you do this. As they say, anything can happen, and it often does. The thing is, you shouldn’t expect it to. That’s not specific enough. That’s you being depressed and self-destructive. Dream interpretation of guided dreams works much better if you’re honestly proactive.
As a biological organism, deep down, you don’t want to destroy yourself.
Your Creator doesn’t want you to destroy yourself either.
There is one who somehow feeds off your despair, however.
So it’s a mixed bag.
Don’t expect an answer.
Possible domains for guided dream interpretation
Guided dream interpretation isn’t going to give you the winning lottery numbers. Guided dream interpretation isn’t going to bring back your sweetheart magically. Guided dream interpretation isn’t going to guarantee winning his or her heart.
However, it might help you figure out how to earn more money or save some money through your actions. It might tip you off as to what went wrong with your relationship, and it might counsel you as to ways to listen more closely to what your sweetheart is saying, what concerns lie closer to his or her heart. It might help you figure out how to help your friend.
That’s the magic of guided dream interpretation. It’s pretty wonderful in its own right.
These are some of the domains where guided dream interpretation shines.
1. Your job/ income security.
Trouble at work can rock our world. We spend a long time at work. Work can end up giving us a lot of our identity. It provides a way of helping up meet our goals, material and otherwise. Anything relating to your income is natural to explore in your dreams, especially if you’re feeling insecure. Does office politics have you down? Does your business need to have new sources of revenue? What are you meant to do with your life? Dreams can help you sort the whole mess with your work life out.
2. Physical or property security or the security of your family.
How safe is the place where you live? Was there a person in a car sitting outside of your home watching the comings and goings? What are the threats you might be facing that you don’t realize? Your subconscious does a great job of picking up on any threats you might be facing. Since your conscious mind is interested in your security, it doesn’t always need the prompt of a guided dream to let you know it has concerns, but it doesn’t hurt to prompt one if you’re curious.
3. Your children and their needs/ how you can help them.
Have they made friends you’re not too sure about? Do they seem to be getting all they should get out of school? Is your attitude a negative influence upon them? Being a parent is one of the most important jobs we have. It’s not a job we want to mess up at. Guided dream interpretation can be the ticket to understanding anything having to do with your children.
4. Your spouse/ significant other and how to build a strong relationship.
Has she or he told you things that don’t quite ring true? Why are you fighting all of the time? What kind of birthday present would knock their socks off? There are so many different concerns when it comes to our beloved. Prompting a guided dream to help us understand how to make the relationship prosper.
5. Your purpose in life/ ultimate career goals.
Life presents competing priorities. Guided dream interpretation can help you sort them all out. While this might come under the job, for many people, their purpose in life is a little different than their job. The thing about their mission, too, is it can change depending on their stage of life. Self-help gurus like Tony Robbins and Steven Covey advocate writing mission statements. Figuring out what matters to you can be a challenge. Interpreting a guided dream can help.
6. Whether one thing or another is more important.
Should I go here or there? Do I save for this or that? Do I date this one person or the other? No matter how many options you have, dream interpretation can help you figure it out. Sometimes it doesn’t, however. Sometimes it shows you that it doesn’t matter what you choose. Both are good. This leaves you free to flip a coin and decide.
7. How you can best help a particular friend or acquaintance.
Sometimes our friends and acquaintances need help. Their heart has been broken. They feel powerless, useless. You’re not sure how you can help them out. How can you give them advice they’ll listen to? How can you encourage them? Do they somehow pose a danger to you? Should you get involved in some why? If you do get involved, what should your parameters be? There’s a lot of issues that surround helping someone else. Dream interpretation of guided dreams can help you make sense of the issues.
8. How you can stop doing something.
Is there a habit or addiction you’d love to stop? Is there some habit or addiction you have mixed feelings about giving up? Dream interpretation can help you surmount the issues surrounding giving up these addictions.
9. How you can start doing something.
It can work going the other direction as well. There’s something you’d like to start, and interpreting guided dreams can help you figure out how to start. You want to start exercising to lose weight, but you don’t seem to have time? Dream interpretation can help you figure out how to clear those obstacles.
10. Your health issues.
This is a wide classification, but one relatively common issue professionals can have a hard time helping you with is food allergies. Dream interpretation might be able to help you make sense of your symptoms. This is probably a topic that’s best covered in its own article. This is an area where dream interpretation can shine, pulling information from a lot of disparate experiences.
11. How can you understand a complex topic for school.
Whether it’s a concept in math, science, or foreign language, sometimes a concept or process can go right over our heads. Try breaking it down step by step and then breaking those components further. Then, when you sleep on it, let your subconscious break it down further in a way you can understand. It might provide you with an analogy or trick to understand it.
12. How to communicate something to someone else they’re not understanding.
This another take on number 11. What is a new way to present the information? What concern of theirs can you address to motivate their understanding?
13. How you can get better at doing something you care a lot about doing well.
One popular coaching technique is to visualize the steps of the activity mentally. Whether it’s more on the mental side, like public speaking, or on the physical side, like a sport, it’s a common exercise. Interpretation of a guided dream can give you a wide view of ways to improve, especially when you’ve already reached a certain level of competence at the activity and further improvements are likely to be only incremental.
14. Mentally planning what to do with a windfall.
This is a fun thing to think about. What would you do if you won the lottery? What are you going to do if Uncle Bohefius leaves you a big inheritance? What should you do with that tax refund? A lot of people blow it when it comes to using windfalls wisely. Dream interpretation can help you not be one of them.
15. Coping with loss.
Whether the loss comes from a relationship that’s disintegrated, death, from people moving away, or whatever the reason, provoking a guided dream and interpreting it can help you put the relationship in perspective. Sometimes the loss is temporary; sometimes, it’s necessary to help us grow. Dream interpretation can help us put it in perspective.
16. Complex situations/ Prayer
This category is something of a catch-all. Sometimes problems are multidimensional, and we’re tied up in figurative knots. Sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a correct answer. Sometimes the problem seems so big. In cases like this, people of faith often turn the trouble over to God for help. “God, what do you think I should do?” You can write this at the top of the page in your dream journal.
Guided dream interpretation can be a powerful resource. Don’t be afraid to use it!
For Further Reading:
If your dream is interrupted, note what you do remember.
AIs will never provide useful dream interpretation
This is the best way to record your dreams
The meanings of the symbols in your dreams can change
The symbol language of dreams parallels verbal and sign language
James Cobb, RN, MSN, is an emergency department nurse and the founder of the Dream Recovery System. His goal is to provide his readers with simple, actionable ways to improve their health and maximize their quality of life.
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