Do you remember your dreams?
Did you know your dreams could potentially give you the answers you’ve been looking for most of you life?
During the day, our conscious mind is very active. This is the part of your mind that thinks, makes decisions and take actions. Most of the time our decisions and actions are the result of a logical process – controlled by that same conscious mind. However, research suggests that more than 95% of our life is driven by our unconscious mind, so it does raise the question of the validity of our decisions and actions if they are based mainly on the 5% part of our mind…
So why is our unconscious mind so important? All our memories and our emotions are processed by that mysterious part of our mind. Most of our behaviours are driven by patterns and beliefs that originate in our subconscious. Our fears, our limitations: it all lives within the unconscious realm. So if you are not aware of that immense pool of information that exists in your subconscious, are you really in control of your actions or decisions? Are you really sure they are based on the right reasons or could they be driven by unconscious patterns that come from your past? Would you then want to stay the prisoner of your past?
The alternative is to start exploring that huge database of beliefs, fears and desires that is unconscious. Through talking therapy and transformational coaching, you may begin to bring to the surface some of your hidden patterns. Hypnotherapy is also an amazing way to dive into the subconscious. And dreams could be another way to discover what lives in the depth of your mind.
During the night, when we are asleep, our conscious mind is out of the way whilst our unconscious mind has got all the place it needs to come to life. Nothing can be repressed or judged, and it has got free reign to express itself. Everything you have repressed or pushed aside during the day, when your conscious mind convinced you it wasn’t important or worth taking the time to look at, is sent directly into your subconscious to be processed later. A little bit like adding items to your to-do list to complete them later.
Night time then becomes the place to process all those un-addressed emotions. And that’s when your subconscious comes into play. The language of the unconscious mind is through symbols and metaphors, and this is exactly what most dreams are: stories made of symbols that mean something very specific for each individual. Your unconscious mind will use those metaphors to process the information that you’ve accumulated during the day, in an uncensored and free way, that is without the judgemental spin of the conscious mind. It will create stories to resolve problematic emotions or to express fears or repressed desires. According to traditional psychology, we would grow insane if our unconscious mind didn’t do its emotional cleansing during the night.
So how do you work with your dreams?
The first step – if you’re lucky to remember your dreams – is to get into the habit of writing them down. It is very easy to start forgetting them as soon as the conscious mind wakes up in the first few minutes of your awaken state. In order to start translating the language of your unconscious mind, you need to become accustomed to the patterns and the stories that are being told.
Once you’ve got into the habit of remembering your dreams by writing them down, you can get on to the interpretation phase. It’s a little bit tricky at first, as the interpretation is very personal to you and your psyche. Which means that you won’t get very far by getting a book on interpreting your dreams as they are only very general and can’t be applied specifically to you.
- So the best way to learn to interpret your dreams is to tell the story – or write it down. As you do this, you may use different words that can give you a different perspective, and therefore help you potentially to draw a deeper meaning to the dream.
- Then ask yourself about all the specific elements of your dreams “What does that mean for me personally?” a person, an object or a situation will have complete different meanings for each of us. Find out what is your individual meaning and associations for that specific item.
- Then generalise your dream by chunking it up: ask yourself, what is the general pattern or the general thread to that story? and begin to draw similarities with what is going on in your life.
So for example, last night I dreamt I unleashed a hippo from its cage, and it started running after me in a busy city. I was surprised that I didn’t manage to run faster than him as I held the belief that hippos are slow. Thank God Superman intervened and helped me and the population to not get hurt 🙂
So if I was to identify the specific elements of that story, I would have to elicit what associations I make with a hippo, what does it mean for me specifically to be chased by one in a city, and what is associated with the belief that hippos run slowly.
Then I would generalise by looking at the general thread of the dream, which is in this case something I didn’t know was dangerous has been unleashed, it’s threatening me and other people, but there is someone or something that will take care of it and make all of us safe. I would then look at what I’m currently experiencing in my life and draw similarities to begin to understand what fears, hopes and beliefs my unconscious mind is running in the background.
Identifying those hidden patterns are hugely helpful to start taking control of your life. If you know why you’re behaving in a certain way and what drives your responses, you can begin to address it and take the reigns of your life back.
So how do you work on those patterns?
One important thing I often see in my practice, is clients reporting recurrent dreams. A dream or a theme that has been haunting your night time regularly. This is often the sign of repressed emotions or unresolved problematic patterns that your unconscious mind is trying to process. If the dream re-occurs, it means your unconscious mind hasn’t managed to sort it out. You might need some help to address that stubborn pattern.
Talking to a therapist or a coach could be your first step. They will help you identify the stuck pattern and will use different tools and approaches to help you resolve it – depending on what type of therapist or coach you’re seeing.
One very interesting approach I’ve found is using EFT. By tapping on the emotions as you tell the story of the dream out loud can help bring to the surface the unresolved blockages and release them. I’ve had incredible results with clients recently using what I now call my EFT dream therapy.
I am often asked if you can do this by yourself ; the answer is yes, of course, and you can get brilliant results. Sometimes however it helps to have a professional present to whom you’re telling the story, as they could ask you questions and guide you in a direction that you might not have explored by yourself. A professional will also help you in case if you experience a strong emotional reaction during the release of the pattern.
Have you used dreams as a therapeutic tool as well?
I would be delighted to hear about your experience on that topic by posting a comment below! in the meantime, enjoy your dreams! 🙂
- working on dreams with EFT