Scientific studies have shown that each of us dreams, but not all of us remember them. If we'd like to try working with our dreams, we need to begin by keeping a note pad by the bedside so that we can jot down whatever we remember immediately after waking up—even if it's only a feeling. If we get enough sleep, if we expect to start remembering our dreams, and if we make an effort to record whatever is on our minds when we first wake up, we should be able to start remembering our dreams in a relatively short period of time. As we look at what's going on in our lives and then look at a particular dream, we'll begin to have an idea of what individual symbols may mean to us, especially if the symbol repeats itself in later dreams. The symbol won't necessarily mean the same to us as to someone else, because dreams are as individual as dreamers.
There is a simple five-step approach to working with dreams that even the novice can begin using immediately:
- Write down your dreams each day. Begin by realizing that the feeling you had about the dream is at least as important as trying to come up with an interpretation. Because of the multiple levels of our own beings, dreams generally have more than one meaning.
- Remember that, for the most part, every character in the dream represents a part of yourself. Watch the actions, feelings, expressions, and conversations of these characters in your dreams and measure them against the activities in your waking life.
- Watch for reoccurring symbols, characters, and emotions in your dreams, and begin a personal "dream dictionary" of these symbols and what their importance is to you.
- When working with dreams, remember, first of all, that your dreams can be extremely helpful even if you don't recognize immediately what they mean.
- Lastly, remember to practice, practice, practice!