A Mindful Doctor Discusses Our Dreams

‘To sleep perchance to dream’

I have always dreamt a lot, and my dreams seemed to be a repetitive jumble of images of my memory. Then one day, in my twenties, to challenge that idea I thought I would write some dreams down.  I now have 30 journals with over 900 dreams, and although some are similar none are the same.

When We Dream

We dream when REM sleeping (Rapid Eye Movement), which is about 20% of our sleep time.  Of course we only remember a small part of any dream, usually for the few moments when we wake up. Some people say they never dream, but most people remember some.

Meaning of Dreams

Dreams can seem mysterious and somewhat meaningless, but if you think of them as telling a story in metaphors and using symbols, you can begin to sense a meaning.  I would advocate not referring to books or seeking others opinions as you are the expert at interpreting your own dreams.

Each Person in a Dream is an Aspect of Yourself

If you do wish to study your dreams, as soon as you wake up write down the dream as you remember it, without any editing. I start by giving the dream a title, then looking at the setting, such as travelling, being in a house or on an adventure holiday.  The people that appear in your dreams are not friends and family making a guest appearance, but each person is an aspect of yourself. So it is best to think of their qualities, positive and negative, as aspects of yourself.  For men male figures tend to be their negative aspects (shadow), and women their helpful aspects (anima). The opposite applies to women.

Facing the Tiger

Usually something unexpectedly happens in the dream and there is a shift, like you fall, or a storm comes or a monster appears.  This can be terrifying, often called nightmares, and this is when you need to face your fear and ask for a gift; it is called facing the tiger, and the experience can be transformative.

The dream is not telling you what to do in your life, but is an expression of the unconscious.  It is a counter balance for your conscious attitude.  I would encourage you to have a go at interpreting your dreams as it is the source of your inner creativity and wisdom and the key to discovering who you are.

Craig Brown

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