I realize that some of you are saying “I never dream,” but sleep research centers across the country have proven that everyone dreams, every night! The sleep state called REM (for Rapid Eye Movement) is a necessary phase of a night’s sleep, and it is during this stage that the researchers wake people and find that all of them are dreaming. The challenge is to bring the memory of that dream into daily consciousness.
HOW TO REMEMBER
Before we get into the nature of dreams, let’s review some good tips for remembering them (since we are all having them). Edgar Cayce recommends three simple things:
- Give yourself a pre-sleep suggestion;
- Don’t move the body upon waking;
- Record the content or impressions right away.
When we are “falling asleep,” as we like to call it, we are actually moving from our outer conscious mind to our inner subconscious. The subconscious is always amenable to suggestion (one of the keys to hypnosis). If, as we are entering the subconscious, we are repeating a suggestion to remember our dreams, the subconscious takes that suggestion to heart. However, the body is mostly physical and if we move it too quickly upon waking, we will jump straight out of our subconscious into our outer daily consciousness and lose the dream. Therefore, we must resist moving the body upon waking. Linger in the twilight, between the outer mind and the inner – or, as the Egyptians described it: between the land of the living and the land of the dead (sleep is the shadow of death). Here we will find our dream content and imagery.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DREAMS
From Cayce’s perspective while in deep trance, he saw how important it is to record our dreams and interpret them or comprehend the forces causing them. Such understanding would bring a much bigger vision of life to the outer person than could be gained with only outer study and application. Dreams, he said, can bring warnings and opportunities that would otherwise be lost. In fact, he said that nothing occurs in our life that is not first foreshadowed in our dreams! A journal beside the bed is his recommendation, though some of us have successfully used tape recorders (not a good idea if you sleep with someone – too noisy).
THE NATURE OF DREAMS
What are dreams? Cayce answers: “Dreams are of different natures, and have their inception from influences either in the body, in the mind, or from the realm of the soul and spirit.” Therefore, one of the first steps toward interpretation of a dream is to identify what is the influence behind the dream: Is it the body, the mind, or the soul?
Cayce says that the most common influence impelling dreams is “mental development.” Our subconscious (mind of our soul) and our superconscious (mind of our godly self) are attempting to correlate events and decisions with eternal, spiritual ideals and purposes. On one occasion Cayce modified the word correlation to “co-relation of subconscious and superconscious forces manifesting through the developing mind of the entity.” Generally, the feeling that accompanies the dream reveals how our soul feels about events, decisions, or conditions.
Beyond correlating, some dreams reflect conditions in the body that need to be cared for; some deal with opportunities that need to be seized; others are non-physical experiences in other dimensions of life that help us expand our consciousness. In some dreams we break the time barrier and see far into the past or even into the future. The subconscious mind is like a bird high above the road we are traveling; it can see around the next bend of our path and review the distant roads we’ve traveled and forgotten.
Dreams are multidimensional. It is this very quality that makes them so difficult to understand. They have a language all their own, a language of imagery, symbolism, and sometimes bizarre activity. As all who have studied their dreams can attest, dreams are often difficult to interpret and understand. But humanity has received life-changing insight and guidance through dreams. From biblical journeys with God to modern scientific breakthroughs, dreams have played a major role in human experience.
HOW TO INTERPRET
When it comes to interpretation, Cayce always said that the best interpreter of the dream is the dreamer: “You interpret dreams in yourself. Not by a dream book, not by what others say, but dreams are presented in symbols, in signs.” It is important to recognize that the dreamer is our inner self. Therefore, the best interpreter is our inner self, so we should obtain the interpretation while still in or near the dreaming self. Trying to translate a dream later with only our outer, three-dimensional self is very difficult. It did not dream the dream. We will do much better if we keep the body and outer self still as we awaken, and get the dream and its meaning from the inner self.
Here are some quick steps toward better interpretation:
- Watch your mood upon waking. This will give you the best sense of whether the inner self is happy or unhappy about conditions.
- Get the gist of the dream first, details second. Jesus once observed that we tend to strain for gnats while we are swallowing camels. The big picture, the overriding theme, is much more important for us to grasp than the details.
- Understand that the subconscious may use exaggeration to get our attention. It’s like the joke of how to get your mule to do something: first, you hit him as hard as you can to get his attention. In a similar manner the subconscious gets our attention: exaggerated activities and shocking imagery will do more to get our attention than sweetly whispered instructions. Therefore, don’t let the dramatic exaggerations overwhelm you or cause fear. In fact, the bizarre image or activity is likely the key to interpreting the entire dream.
- Dreams are usually symbolic. They speak in imagery that represents more than literal appearance. Like good parables or novelettes, they tell a story that has a deeper meaning than the details. Often they use figures of speech. For example, if I told you that I really put my foot in my mouth while talking with someone yesterday, you would know that I did not literally put my foot in my mouth. Dreams speak in the same manner and are best interpreted as you would figures of speech.
- Finally, nothing will help us get better dream guidance than using dream content in our lives. Create an action plan for each dream. Ask yourself, How can I use this dream in my life today? Even if you are not really sure of the dream’s meaning, attempt to use some portion of it. In this way your inner self will be stimulated to bring more insight and guidance through the dream channel, and it will become clearer and more relevant.
In the Book of Job it is written: “God speaks once, even twice – though man regards it not – in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls upon man, in slumberings upon the bed. Then God opens the ears of humans, and seals their instruction, that He may withdraw man from his [selfish] purposes, and hides pride from man. He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.”
We need to budget time for "swimming" in the river of dreams. They guide us to the shores of paradise. Sleep is a shadow of death and the life beyond this world. To live in dreamy sleep is to know heaven.