‘…I’ve dreamt in my life dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas: they’ve gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the colour of my mind.’ Charlotte Bronte
For centuries, dreams have been considered an important source of wisdom and knowledge, whether as messages from God, prophetic images of the future or messages from an inner, hidden world. In attempting to decode the dreams of his patients, Sigmund Freud proposed that dreams often disguise a hidden (usually forbidden or unpleasant) wish that needed to be kept out of waking thought.
Carl Jung took a slightly broader – and more positive – view. For him, dreams disclosed the ‘unvarnished, natural truth’ and, understood correctly, could enrich and broaden our limited conscious viewpoint on ourselves and the world around us. Dreams can compensate for our sometimes rather narrow understanding of how things are.
‘In each of us there is another whom we do not know. He speaks to us in our dreams and tells us how differently he sees us from the way we see ourselves.’ C.G. Jung
Jung understood that dreams were symbolic, that they had many layers of meaning that related not only to the life of the dreamer but also to a deeper, collective or archetypal world. Dreams cannot be interpreted formulaically, but only with an understanding of the dreamer’s circumstances and feelings.
I believe that all dreams have meanings, even if that meaning is for a while unreachable. They come to tell us things that we do not know or, quite often, that we do not want to know. They reveal our blind spots and so, when worked on alone, in therapy or with a friend, can expand and enrich our personality.
‘Dreams are the royal road to the unconscious.’ Sigmund Freud
Some tips for remembering your dreams:
We dream for about 2 hours every night, but some people find it hard to remember their dreams. With practice, it is possible to improve your capacity to recall your dreams and begin to benefit from the wisdom they bring.
- Before going to sleep, make a conscious intention to remember your dream(s) when you wake up.
- Place a notepad and pen by your bed. Some people prefer to use some kind of recording device, such as a smartphone.
- As soon as you wake up, try to recall whatever you can of your dream(s). It does not matter if they are not complete narratives, there might be just a few fragments.
- Write down whatever you can remember. Don’t worry if it does not make sense or does not seem to be in the right order.
If you are interested in exploring your dreams in an effort to get to know yourself better, why not contact me to see how I might be able to help you?