The key to interpreting your dreams lies in remembering as many details (and symbols) as possible, and in remembering the mood and theme of the dream. Your reaction to a dream, as well as the overall mood and central theme of the dream, play large roles in discerning a dream’s meaning.
If for example you recorded the following dream:
“I dreamt I entered a dark cave. I was scared, but felt I had to go in even though I had no light with me. The light from the mouth of the cave became dimmer the further I went. Suddenly I heard a roar. I stopped and looked around. A huge bear stood in front of me. He lunged at me and wrapped his humongous paws around me. I screamed in terror and woke up.”
You would probably also record that the overall theme and mood are ones of fear and compulsion—you felt compelled to enter the cave, even though afraid. So, the initial interpretation would be that you feel compelled to take a course of action even though it frightens you, and you may have to confront some person or problem that terrifies you.
But, in order to be able to even start interpreting that dream, you first have to remember it. So, how do you do that?
5 Steps to Help
Below are 5 simple steps that can help.
- Keep a pen/pencil and a journal under your pillow or on your side table next to the bed. It needs to be within immediate reach.
- As you drift asleep, coach yourself to awaken immediately after dreaming. While lying in bed about to drift off to sleep, repeat to yourself, “I will awaken at the end of my dreams.” You may not awaken after each dream, at least not at first; but, as you continue this practice, you will soon be able to wake yourself up without any prompting.
- When you awaken, write down your impressions, memories, and feelings, but do it without leaving the bed or turning on any lights.
- In the morning, go through your dream journal and add any additional details or impressions that you might remember to each of your entries for that night. Then use the newly updated book, On Dreams and Dream Symbols, to figure out what the dream images might mean and add that information to your dream journal.
- Discuss the dreams and their possible meanings with a friend or loved one. This helps you not only refine your dream interpreting, but it also helps you acknowledge the dream. Because even if you don’t understand what the dream means, acknowledging that you had the dream is sometimes enough to help you gain insight from it.
If you follow these steps, you should be able to start remembering, acknowledging, and understanding what your dreams have been trying to tell you.