Every single night when we go to sleep, we dream. Sometimes we remember our dreams and sometimes we don’t, yet we have them nevertheless. But what is the purpose of dreaming, if there is one? Where do we go when we dream? Can we control them, and is there insight to be gained from them?
There’s no doubt about it: The world of dreaming is shrouded in mystery. Some people are able to analyze dreams and interpret the messages being offered, and many people, myself included, believe dreams hold significant meaning and can offer insights and guidance even during our waking life.
Ever since I stopped drinking, over a year ago now, I’ve had a recurring dream where I decide to have a drink and then, still within the dream, take things too far and feel all the emotions that I would feel if this were to actually happen — the shame, the guilt, the embarrassment… and then I wake up, overwhelmed with relief to discover it was just a dream. So, why do I have these dreams? Are there still lessons I need to learn from these experiences? Are they serving as a reminder to stay strong and continue on the path of sobriety, or are they all random imprints and memories in my brain coming together to form a story? I’m inclined to believe the former. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t really matter, since it still serves as a powerful reminder to stay strong and continue on my chosen path.
“Don’t Worry, Honey, It Was Just a Dream.”
Did you hear this as a child? Do you tell this to your own children? What we may not realize about this statement is that it instills the idea that dreams aren’t real or have nothing of value to offer us. By dismissing dream messages as “just dreams,” we may be limiting the amount of insight we can gain from listening to them. If, as children, we are told to pay attention to our dreams and perhaps to keep a dream journal, we might learn to decode valuable pieces of information that can assist us in our lives. Fortunately, it’s never too late; this is something anyone can start doing, at any time.
How Can We Use Our Dreams to Our Advantage?
Are we missing out on a whole other dimension in which we can learn, grow, explore, and play? It’s very possible that, by brushing off our dreams, we are denying ourselves access to an amazing world of discovery, expansion, and exploration! Imagine having an extra eight hours during the day in which to explore the deepest depths of yourself and this existence. Well, you do, in dream land, but we often take this opportunity for granted. We can, however, use our dreams to our advantage if we have the intention to do so.
By now, you may have heard of lucid dreaming — a technique whereby you become aware that you’re dreaming while it’s happening and respond accordingly. By learning to do this, you can literally control your dreams and create whatever you like, exploring everything you always wanted to your heart’s content. This is an amazing practice, and if you’d like to learn more about it, you can check out some previous CE articles here.
Another powerful tool you can use while sleeping is a practice known as intentional dreaming. This involves setting an intention before going to sleep to find clarity on something you need help with in your waking life. You can also use your dreams to further your spiritual growth and progression. The more aware you are of the power of dreams, the more likely you are to recognize their messages, no matter how subtle.
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The dream may not seem to make sense to you at first, but this is where I stress the importance of keeping a dream journal, especially if you are looking to gain insight into your dreams. Keep a notebook right by your bed, and as soon as you wake up, write down every single thing you can remember. It may not be much at first, but you’ll soon be surprised by how much you can recall. This is a practice, and, like any other, does take some time to develop.
But, What If I Don’t Dream?
This is a common question, but it is important to understand that we always dream, even if we don’t remember it. This is where intentional dreaming could really come in handy. You can try listening to a binaural beat before bed to get you into a meditative state and then setting your intention. If you still can’t remember your dream the next morning, don’t sweat it; you are not broken and nothing is wrong with you! Your dream messages may show up in more subtle ways. If you are setting the intention to have more clarity about, say, why your partner doesn’t feel appreciated, you might gain a new understanding while having a discussion and be able to see a new perspective. Even if you do not remember your dreams, they still have something to offer you.
“Your future depends on your dreams, so go to sleep.”
— Mezut Barazany
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