Most of us go to bed and don’t remember our dreams when we wake up. We don’t commonly ask each other, “How were your dreams?” This is curious to me.
So, I started becoming more aware of my dreams. Why limit my consciousness to waking hours only? And, I soon realized dreams are a path towards a greater awareness of the world around me. They are opportunities to receive guidance, inspiration and support to improve my life.
I have discovered many different types of dreams. Processing dreams help me sort through emotions and thoughts in my life. Reflective dreams are replays of experiences, such as a movie or a conversation I’ve had. Then, there are the deep dreams that have a bit more energy. Deep dreams usually are more vivid and easier to remember, even after a long period of time. Deep dreams may feel every bit as real as waking life. Occasionally, there is a nightmare that I wake up from afraid. A nightmare is often an unfinished dream.
All dreams can teach. It doesn’t matter if the dream is short or long, simple or complex. As long as it’s remembered, the dream holds potential for our waking life.
Where is the best place to start? Start by remembering your dreams.
This may seem simple, however, some of us face challenges here. It helps to set an intention before I go to bed such as “I intend to remember my dream tonight”. Once I started remembering my dreams with intention, they started coming more regularly.
I also keep a journal next to my bed so that, when I do remember a dream, I can write it down before I forget it (sometimes at three in the morning if it’s a really good one). Writing the dream down, upon awakening, often helps me recall more details of the dream. I personally take this a step further and type up my dreams once a month to highlight patterns, messages and key information. It’s a little bit like a treasure hunt, looking across the series of dreams for jewels of insight.
Once I remember a dream, it’s possible to replay and share it with others. This process of sharing the dream, with at least one other person, helps me see more angles to the dream. There is an analogy I like for explaining this: I am looking at the front of an elephant while the person I share my dream to checks out one side. I hear their description of the left side of the elephant and gain new insights. For example, now I am able to see that the elephant has more legs. Sharing my dream opens up the potential to receive a more complete picture or another piece of my dream puzzle.
Pulling together the pieces of the dream can take time. Personally, I like meeting with the same person each month. She helps me take a deeper look at my dreams, track any patterns over time and come up with actions to take in my waking life. This is one of the reasons I work as a dream facilitator for others – because I’ve found it so powerful for myself.
Working with a Dream Teaching
I’ll share one personal example of how a dream teaching helped me shift a nightmare into positive energy and actions in my life.
I had a nightmare I titled Beast Lurking Nightmare.
In the dream, I opened the door to my house, although it was a different house with fancier doors. Outside was a Tiger in the tall grass to the left and when I saw it I slammed the door shut. The Tiger pounced on the door and I was pushing back on the door. I was scared that it would get in and the door would not hold.
At this point, the Tiger turned into a beast and my husband was chasing it and then the beast chased him.
Finally, we were in the house watching TV and I looked outside to see the beast watching us. I got up and closed all of the doors. There were lots of doors in the house. I awoke scared.
After a dream teaching session, my nightmare was transformed energetically into “Open the Doors to the Wild”.
This alone was a huge shift. However, an important part of a dream teaching is seeking messages, energies and actions that we can bring into our waking life. My dream facilitator saw the hopefulness of the many fancy doors as pathways to something more elegant and abundant. The Tiger and beast represented a new wild energy that I could choose to engage rather than fear.
So, as part of playing with the energy of this dream, I read Women who run with the Wolves, I researched Tigers and I danced to honor this new wild energy. These were a few of the actions I took based on the dream teachings.
Within the year, I was accepted into a Soul Retrieval Training and the first journey we did was to connect with our power animal who will assist us with Soul Retrieval work. Guess who showed up? Tiger.
All of this started with a nightmare. If I hadn’t been playing with the energy of my dreams, and open to the dream teachings, I might never have followed and integrated this wild energy into my life!
I’ve found dreams to be a simple yet effective way to receive helpful insights, guidance and energy for my waking life. If you’d like to try this practice all you need is a dream!
A dream may not seem like it has any insights or guidance at first. At times we can’t quite make out what a dream teaching is all on our own. However, once we share a dream with at least one other person, different angles can be revealed and often the insights and guidance become more apparent.
Sometimes our dreams have clear messages and guidance for us. We may meet our future life partner in our dreams, learn the key to selling our house or be advised on how to heal. Frequently, people are healed in their dreams.
By engaging the energy of a dream the possibilities are beyond our imagination. These possibilities are typically relevant to our higher self (rather than our ego self).
Common Dream Teachings
Many people experience themselves flying in their dreams. Depending on the feelings associated with the dream it can mean varying things. For example, if a person feels a sense of freedom, the dream may mean they have achieved a release of some sort in life, letting go of something that was limiting them. The dream may be showing them the way or the “high road” towards meeting a goal.
As you are flying, do you notice anything or anyone below you? How high up are you? Do you land? The answers to these questions may help you receive any messages or dream teachings.
Another common dream is to experience yourself with loose teeth or teeth that are falling out. The dream teaching often has to do with something we are anxious about in our waking life. Consider whether your physical body is in good health. Do you need to visit the dentist, exercise more or get your hair cut? Maybe you need to take better care of yourself in general.
Are you anxious about a relationship, work or school? The dream may be trying to remind you to relax, meditate and do what you say you are going to do (honor your word).
Many people dream about all sorts of animals – snakes, bears, orca whales, mice and lizards to name a handful. Dream teachings with animals have varying meanings depending on the animal, what it is doing and how you feel about it. Consider how you can bring the energy of this animal into your waking life. Maybe you can watch a national geographic video on bears, draw a picture of a snake or put a photo of a mouse up on your screensaver. What behaviors do you notice and what does the animal remind you of?
From a shamanic perspective, animals often show up in our dreams and shamanic journeys as power animals. In this case, the dream teachings are often related to our destiny, and the animal is the bearer of power, support and new energy on our path.
People and Mythical Creatures
Dreams often include people from our past. These dreams can be portals for healing old wounds or teachings relevant to our present. Sometimes a dream will introduce us to someone we will meet in the future or a future scene that will unfold with someone we know.
Dreams can also include people who have passed on such as ancestors who loved us, big teachers in history like Einstein and big healers such as Mother Teresa. We may also dream about mythical or extinct creatures such as dragons and dinosaurs. From a shamanic perspective, there are many spiritual relationships that can provide dream teachings to improve our waking life.
Spiritual Invitations and Callings
Dream teachings often invite us to observe situations, follow someone, open and close doors, go through gates and generally invite us to engage in some way. For example, a dream may invite you to attend an art class. You decide to go to the art class and notice that it is not about the theory of art. This class is all about you getting your hands in the paint, sculpting and drawing. You are creating art.
By sharing the dream and playing with the energy of it you may decide to take an art class in your waking life. The dream may guide you to choose a creative path in a new project or engage your creativity in a challenging situation at work. Invitations in our dreams are usually an invitation to take action in our waking life.
Another common dream teaching centers around the location of our dreams. We dream about our homes and places we live. Often, the different rooms in our homes signify different dream teachings. For example, if you dream about being in your kitchen it may have meaning around your creative, intuitive self. What are you cooking up in your kitchen, the home of your creative self?
Dreams about the Elements: Earth, Fire, Water and Air
Dreams about the Earth can tap us into dream teachings related to our flow in life. Are we moving fluidly or stuck in the mud? What are we afraid of? Fire can come to us in our dreams to teach us about following our heart, creating clear boundaries and expressing our true self. The element of water often signifies the emotional and energetic realms. What are we feeling? Is the water overflowing, calm or a big tsunami about to take us under? What needs to be released to feel joy? Air can show up as a gentle breeze, a tornado or the north wind. Air offers many teachings including how to carry ourselves lightly and express true joy.
Contact us for a personal dream session or to learn more about dream teachings!