If you woke up one morning and suddenly realized that you lived with friends and advisors who could provide you with helpful and consistent advice about your life, wouldn't you want to check in with them at least occasionally? What if you discovered that this advice extended to much needed insights into any area of your life, whether it was romance, work, health, spiritual growth, finances, relationships, even your future? You might think it foolish to ignore the wisdom of individuals who knew the answers, who loved you unconditionally, and who only had your best interests in mind. And yet most individuals ignore this very insight every day because it comes to them in the form of their dreams – and it is a wealth of insight and guidance that is just waiting to be tapped from the subconscious mind.
Regardless of what we may think to the contrary, science has proven that everyone dreams. The challenge is simply that we have not conditioned ourselves to remember let alone work with our dreams. A secondary challenge may be that we might think dreams are too difficult to understand, but the truth of the matter is that anyone can learn how to work with dreams even if they don't understand every symbol. For example, this is the dream of a middle-aged man:
I dreamed that I was looking at a shiny new car in the showroom on a car lot. It was beautiful and I decided that I wanted it. I tried to get into the car but there was no key. When I finally found a salesperson with the key, the car wouldn't start. When the car was fixed and finally started, I couldn't get the car in gear – the car rolled backwards off of its platform in the showroom, crashing through the showroom window and into the parking lot. I quickly got out of the car and suddenly the hood opened and the engine rose out of the car and started heading towards me. I ran off in a panic.
At first we might wonder what the individual's dream was all about, but what if we were told that in real life this individual had just been offered a new job that looked fairly attractive? Is it possible that the new car in the dream is somehow connected to the new job offer (e.g. a new direction in life) and that the position is not as promising as it appears?
For the most part, dreams contrast and correlate the activities that are going on in our lives. They often provide the dreamer with other ways of looking at activities, relationships, and concerns that have been on his or her mind. Working with a dream simply suggests that we get a sense of whether or not the dream is positive, negative, uplifting, a warning – whatever it may be. After we have a sense of the theme or storyline in the dream as well as the overall feeling of the dream, the next step is to attempt to compare our dreams with literal events in our waking lives and get a sense of what the dream may be about. In other words, even if we don't understand every symbol in a dream we can often see “connections” to our waking life events by some of the actions, feelings and pictures being portrayed in the dream.
The Edgar Cayce readings suggest that we have dreams related to every aspect of our being – physical, mental, and spiritual. In terms of a physical dream, a twenty-year old woman had the following:
I dreamt that I was hungry and went to the refrigerator to get something to eat. When I opened the fridge I was horrified to see that the bottom shelf was covered with big, ugly cockroaches.
If you had to guess about the dreamer's diet, would you guess that the dreamer was prone to healthy eating or instead that the dreamer had been eating garbage? Even if you did not know immediately how to interpret this dream, the dream obviously suggests that there is something bad about the dreamer's food.
A dream that ultimately dealt with a dreamer's emotional feelings and concerns occurred for a middle-aged woman:
I dreamt that I was trying to go back into a building that was being destroyed. I was trying to save something. Everything around me was crumbling and I suddenly realized that there was nothing in the building worth saving. Saving my life was more important.
Since dreams oftentimes contrast and correlate the current events in the dreamer's life, we need to ask the dreamer what was occurring in her life at the time of the dream. If the dreamer responded with the fact that she was having second thoughts about following-through on her decision to divorce her husband, what would you say the dream was suggesting? Obviously, the woman needs to move on.
In terms of spiritual guidance dreams, a humorous dream occurred when a man wrote out the question before falling asleep in order to see if he could obtain the answer in his dreams: "What do I need to work on spiritually?" His dream was as follows:
I dreamed that I was in the army (I have never been in the army) and I was some kind of a drill sergeant doing important paperwork. My desk was filled with important papers and things that were scheduled – everything was neatly organized and in its proper place. Suddenly a younger man came into my office unannounced. He was singing and dancing and appeared to be having a very good time with himself. To my surprise, he jumped up on top of my desk and started tap dancing all over my paperwork. Everything that I had neatly organized was in disarray. After making a thorough mess, the man continued to sing and dance and danced right out of my office. Immediately, I picked up the phone and called security and yelled into the receiver, "I want that man arrested, and I want to know who he is!" I slammed the phone down, very angry for the interruption. Suddenly, security came into my office bringing the man who had caused the disruption. They announced that they had caught him and that he was "the company clown."
From the dream, do you think that the man needs to be more serious and regimented in his life, or do you think the dream is telling him that he needs to become more relaxed and to learn how to enjoy life? Obviously, the dream is suggesting that the dreamer is already too serious and too controlled. In the same way that this individual sought dream guidance, each of us can ask virtually any question and receive helpful insights from our dreams.
Having worked with dreams for more than forty years, I am convinced that even a novice to the world of dreams and dream interpretation receives valid and helpful guidance anytime that she or he is asleep. All we really need to do is to attempt to begin remembering our dreams. Perhaps putting a notepad next to the night stand will jog our memories in the morning, or maybe we're one of those individuals who makes several trips to the bathroom during the night – keep some paper near the sink and simply jot down a few notes before falling back to sleep. The best thing to do is simply to begin writing something down every morning, even if it's only "I feel tired."
With a little practice, most individuals are amazed at how frequently dreams provide insights into the concerns and questions occurring in their waking lives. As we let our subconscious mind know we are open to the inner world of dreams, we avail ourselves of a wealth of knowledge and insight we always had available but just never knew where to look.