Dream Interpretation Offers Insight
Dream experts tell what the real meaning is behind our dreams.
Doing Your Own Dream Interpretation continued...
The device both Freeman and Delaney use to get dreamers past
the literal symbols and discover how the symbols act as a metaphor for what's
happening in their lives is to have them describe the people, setting, mood,
and actions in a dream as though they're talking to someone from another
planet. They say dreamers can use the interview technique on themselves, and
Delaney suggests questions you could ask if, for example, you dreamed about
losing a purse or wallet:
- What is a purse or wallet? Pretend I come from another planet and have no
idea what one is, why humans use them and what they carry in them.
- Why would a human such as yourself care if your purse was lost or
- How do you feel in the dream when your purse is lost or stolen?
- Is there anywhere in your life where you feel the way you feel in the dream
when you realize your purse has been lost or stolen?
- How so? Be as specific as you can.
- Having identified the relevant area of your life, is there anything you
could do to change the situation?
"Insights come easily with dreams if you don't jump to
interpretations, but first describe the images and then ask what does that
remind me of in my life?" says Delaney. "Dream images aren't that hard
to get. What's hard is to act on your insights."
In addition to providing insights, dreams may also serve as
warnings, putting you in touch with something you're not consciously aware of.
Freeman cites the example of a psychologist who paid attention to dreams that
warned of illness, went to the doctor and learned he was in the early stages of
Many people have experienced psychic or prophetic dreams.
Jungian theory would attribute psychic dreams to a collective unconscious
shared by all people, and prophetic dreams to the past, present, and future as
existing more or less simultaneously. Freeman collects stories of such unusual
dreams and describes a famous case in Florida in which a mother had a recurring
nightmare about her deceased daughter whose body had been cremated. She saw the
daughter's head in a jar. "She went to the sheriff who thought she was
crazy, but she persisted," says Freeman. "Eventually they found the
daughter's skull on a shelf in the coroner's office."
Psychic and prophetic dreams raise many questions but few
answers, which points out a problem with the study of dreams in general.
Freeman and Delaney tell WebMD much remains to be learned about how dreams
function, but the field suffers from a severe lack of research dollars.
You've probably had the experience of waking up in the morning
with a creative idea or a solution to a problem. It's an exhilarating feeling.
Instead of waiting for it to happen, you can harness that power by incubating
dreams. Pose a problem or question before you fall asleep, and the answer may
be revealed when you awaken (Be patient. It takes practice). Freeman describes
how to do it. "Start by writing down thoughts. What do I really want an
answer to? If you're troubled about a relationship, ask 'How do I want my
relationship with so-and-so to evolve?' As you fall asleep, repeat the question
over and over. In the morning write down the answer."
"The question comes up, how are we smarter in our
dreams?" asks Delaney. "I don't know. But all cultures have expressions
for it, such as 'night brings good counsel' and 'sleep on it.'"