The Magic of Dreams

Use Your Dreams to Improve Your Relationships and Lead a Happier Life

Orange sun with rays spread over a valley created by mountainsDreams can improve or save your life.


Understanding dreams is no easy task, but if you take a common sense approach, it doesn't have to be so hard - and the benefits are enormous.

People have been trying to understand their dreams since the beginning of time. The dreams of the ancients foretold coming events, warned of impending danger, and helped dreamers to better understand their friends and enemies. Dreams of Joseph and Jacob are recorded in the Hebrew scriptures, and the dreams of Gilgamesh go back 2,000 years before Christ. People used to go to dream temples to find a cure for disease. And many saw dreams as the voice of God.


But how can you use your dreams to your best advantage?


Carl Jung, the great Swiss psychoanalyst, saw dreams as "psychic facts." He realized that dreams can help us to expand our self-knowledge, help us to work on our problems, and offer insight into spiritual matters. Dreaming helps with our survival and provides opportunities for creative discovery, so understanding our dreams is important business!

There are many kinds of dreams, but most dreams can be viewed as an attempt on the part of the unconscious to communicate important material to the dreamer. Everyone dreams, but some may not remember their dreams or realize they've been dreaming. Ever wonder about the significance of dreams? Well, dreaming performs various regulatory functions, such as consolidating memory.

Many of my clients have found that working with dreams can lead to career advancements, better relationships, and greater happiness.


Steps to Understanding Dreams

Asian woman sleeping under a sunroof with the white covers pulled up to her ear.Dreams can lead to career advancements, better relationships, and greater happiness.
  1. Write your dreams down in a notebook. Get a notebook just for recording your dreams and place it on your nightstand.
  2. Every morning when you awaken, write down all you can remember about your dreams of the night before.
  3. Write your recollections before you arise or start your day, otherwise you may forget. It'll just take a minute. Get in the habit of doing this and you'll develop the ability to remember your dreams in full detail.
  4. If a snippet of your dream or a dream image comes to you later in the day, write it down on a piece of paper and transfer it to your journal when you get home. Dream images or symbols are very important in dream interpretation, so don't lose one!
  5. Don't try to analyze your dream before you get it written down. Save that for later in the day or week when you have time to read your journal and think about your dreams. Understanding dreams is easier after the fact, when you find the time to sit and reflect on your notes - and it's easier to get the "big picture" of the dream.


How to Read or Interpret Your Dreams


Yes, dreams can be complicated, but there are a few simple steps you can take in understanding dreams and making sense of yours.

  1. Don't let someone else tell you what your dream means. Trust yourself to understand it. You can learn, even if you don't know how.
  2. Take note of where the dream took place. What does the dream's setting or environment suggest about the dream?
  3. Take note of the characters. I think of a dream like a play in which certain characters come together to interact and engage in some type of drama. Who are these characters? What did they make you feel? How do you see them?
  4. Ask yourself what the characters were doing. How did they interact? What was the dream's action or plot? Did someone speak to you? Were you angry at a character? Did two characters shun you? Was a character chasing you? Were animals involved? Was a snake writhing at your feet? Could the snake have been a symbol of wisdom and insight, or fear and loathing? What exactly happened in the dream?
  5. Did you see a character you know, such as someone in your waking life? If so, consider what that person or animal means or represents to you. Often when we dream of a real person, it may suggest that person wants to have a relationship with us... or we want more of one with them. Dr. Jung believed we are all connected through an aspect of our unconscious, called the "collective unconscious."
  6. Were there universal symbols (Jung's "archetypes") in the dream? For example, did you encounter a wise old woman or shaman of some sort? If any such symbols were present, what might they mean in the context of your dream?
  7. Assuming that your dreams seek to help you achieve greater success and happiness, ask yourself how a particular dream you've had may be trying to do so. See if you can identify the pathway the dream is using to confer its benefits upon you.


Assign Meaning to Your Dream

Black glasses on top of a light-turquoise journal sitting on a bed with faded blue stipes.When interpreting your dreams, trust yourself, and think objectively to avoid seeing only what you want to see.


Now that you've assembled information about the setting, characters, symbols, and action of your dream, you are ready to think in terms of the dream's meaning and what the dream could be trying to say to you.

Again, just trust yourself and follow a few simple steps:

  1. Write down the first possible meaning that comes to you.
  2. Now brainstorm. What other possibilities exist for understanding the slant of your dream? Write them down.
  3. Once you've compiled a short list, start looking for an explanation that really jumps out at you... one that seems most logical or likely to capture the dream's basic intent. What meaning seems to make the most sense?
  4. Avoid seeing what you want to see. Remain objective and think it through logically. To realize the significance of dreams, think about the stories they tell and what the story in your dream might be saying to you.
  5. Does the dream seem to be connected to other recent dreams, or is it a part of a repeating dream sequence? If so, what are the possible shared meanings?


Case Scenario


One of my clients came to me with a disturbing dream. A married man, said he had a dream about a female friend of his who is single. In the dream, they met at a hotel or banquet, talked in the lobby and went to a shower by the pool. They both got in the shower together and washed each other's body.

My client told me he awakened in a sweat, fearful that they were going to go further. He was disturbed by the sexual implications and thought he might be having an affair in the dream!

Sexual content in dreams is nothing new, and could mean many things. I encouraged him to think about the dream symbolically, not literally. Most dreams should be evaluated for their figurative meaning. Eventually, my client decided that the dream was about his secret desire to know this person better, and to conduct a more productive relationship with her. She was a business colleague and friend, but he had ignored her attempts to get to know him better. He had always been too busy for her.

We determined the dream was an apparent attempt to prompt my client to re-establish a working relationship with this woman. As it turns out, he did just that and, she responded very favorably. Before long, it paid off for him in a professional way. Our dreams often help us to understand and enhance our relationships.

When we have dreams about people we know, we at least have them on our mind, although we may not be aware of thinking about them! I have made it a practice to contact anyone I dream about within a few days of dreaming about them, especially if it's someone I know. Over the years, I have found this practice to be a good one, and the other person is always amused to learn he or she was in my dreams.



Don't be afraid of your dreams. The more familiar you become with them, the easier it will be to understand dreams  and use them to your advantage.

In thinking about the significance of dreams, keep in mind dreams can act to warn us of a problem that needs our attention and, in some cases, have alerted people of serious problems and saved their lives.

Remember to establish a close relationship with your inner mind by writing your dreams down every morning. Follow common sense steps in interpreting your dreams. You'll find yourself understanding dreams better, and soon, you'll be on the verge of making many exciting discoveries and improving your relationships in marvelous ways.





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