Updated: Oct 14, 2022
I'm sure that at one point or another, a lot of us have been intrigued by our dreams (or dreams in general) and have found ourselves googling "what does it mean when you lose your teeth in your dreams" (🤣) or dreamt of flirting with Brad Pitt (this honestly happened to me) and searched "how to know if your dream will come true"?
Whether our dreams feel like a nightmare or take us to a fantasy world that blows our socks off (or something in between), there is a certain fascination with the dream world and rightfully so because dreams play a very important role in our life.
Some scientists say that they "are meant to help the mind process emotions, incorporate memories and solve problems. Others think that they are helpful to the brain in processing the day’s events and the dreamer’s thoughts." (Source)
Now, if you're thinking "But I don't dream, so how am I supposed to use my dreams for my personal growth?", don't worry. Even though you may not remember your dreams, it's been scientifically proven that everyone dreams (Herlin et al.), even you.
In my experience, dreams are one of the simple things we can use for our transformation and growth:
they give us a glimpse into what's happening in our unconscious minds + what's wanting to be cleared
we can easily use them to get insights and/or gently transform our blocks
There are two main types of dreams
Some spiritual schools of thought believe that dreams can either be:
1. Clearing: during this type of dream we're processing and transforming emotions, thoughts, what we’re currently experiencing in our life & what we’re ready to let go of. These dreams are usually very busy and active, include a lot of images, and we can often wake up from them because of all the action.
2. Prophetic: these are dreams, in which we receive information and clarity regarding our life and/or can see ourselves experiencing/manifesting what we’ve desired. These dreams are more gentle and clear.
If we're having recurring dreams (there can be different versions of it, but they feel about the same), Ester Hicks says that "that's a big indicator that we are on a brink of a manifestation that's going to be quite similar to it."
Analyzing our dreams to make the unconscious conscious
Most of us consciously suppress our emotions, thoughts, and whatever is coming up for us throughout the day (either we don't know how to process it or we simply aren't willing/ready to go there), but our bodies have been designed in an intelligent way so that these things come up during the night while we dream or in the morning.
According to Freud, our dreams are "linked to emotional processes so much so to be considered as a key to “access” in the human inner world." (Scarpelli et al.), which is why dream interpretation is still of the main instruments in psychoanalysis (a form of psychotherapy, originally developed by Freud).
Psychoanalysts believe that dreams are an important source of information about our unconscious desires and motivations.
While we sleep, our superego (the part of our personality that stores values, beliefs, moral rules and norms, our "conscience" so to speak) is less active and it’s easier for the impulses of the id (the primitive and instinctual part of the personality that contains sexual and aggressive drives and hidden memories) to come through.
That’s why desires and motives that wouldn't be able to come through while we’re awake, can be expressed in our dreams.
Some of these desires and motives are so unacceptable to our conscious self that even in our dreams they can only be expressed through symbols. Through psychoanalysis, therapists try to interpret the hidden motives and symbols to discover the meaning of the dreams.
Every aspect of the dream represents a part of us (us, the other person, floor, chair, sky, food) and we can work with the dream by giving voice/speaking as every aspect of the dream - either expressing those parts through writing or changing chairs for each part.
This allows for deeper insights to come through and gives us a clue as to what's wanting to be expressed and made conscious. Once we bring the material into our conscious mind, we're able to work with it and resolve it.
That being said, you don't need to go into a deeper process to analyze your dreams, you can use them in a much more passive way. 👇
Setting an intention before you go to sleep
A very simple and effective way how you can work with your dreams is to set an intention before you go to sleep to either:
receive an insight: you can ask for clarity in your dreams around a particular topic or your next steps - this is a wonderful way you can work with your intuition
ask for a block to be cleared in the most gracious way without you needing to know the details
Let it be easy and play with it!
I would love to know whether you've been working with dreams in your personal growth journey and what was your biggest insight from this article. Let me know in the comments! 👇
With all my love & gratitude
Article Why Your Dreams Are Important, American Sleep Association (https://www.sleepassociation.org/blog-post/why-do-we-dream-and-what-do-dreams-mean/)
Herlin, B., Leu-Semenescu, S., Chaumereuil, C. and Arnulf, I. (2015), Evidence that non-dreamers do dream: a REM sleep behaviour disorder model. J Sleep Res, 24: 602-609. https://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.12323
Scarpelli Serena, Bartolacci Chiara, D'Atri Aurora, Gorgoni Maurizio, De Gennaro Luigi (2019), The Functional Role of Dreaming in Emotional Processes . Frontiers in Psychology, Volume 10, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10
Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Ahlborn and Camilla von Loesch, Personality Psychology, Impulse e.V.
Alyssa Nobriga, Institute for Coaching Mastery, Study Materials 2021