What Are Dreams?

Dreams are a reflection of the soul and a window to the truth that lies within. What emerges in a dream is a pure reflection of your mind. Dreams are a mirror into the essence of who you truly are and what you honestly feel. They can illuminate situations, present a new perspective, and sometimes even provide clues to the solutions we seek in life.

Things Your Dreams Can Tell You

  1. true feeling about ourselves and others
  2. potential future events
  3. insight on present situations and conditions
  4. guidance and direction

There are universal symbols embodied in dreams that, when interpreted and applied, can help you to overcome some of the challenges that you may be experiencing. Our consciousness often covers up and hides feelings and observations, but if we recognize them in our dreams, they offer a roadmap to transformation.

Dreams are Messengers

In dreams, you will find an exhaustive volume of information that has the power to transform your understanding of yourself and the world around you. Dreams come from the subconscious, they may very well uncover more than your conscious mind offers.

Before you analyze and learn from your dreams, it’s important to understand how they communicate their meaning. Dreams work with symbols and metaphors. Though it’s impossible to know exactly what all the things that come to you in a dream are representing, even if we can process some of it, that power has huge potential. Connecting the dots to issues, struggles, and situations in our lives can unlock keys to happiness, peace of mind, and perhaps even advanced knowledge of things that have yet to rise into your consciousness. Remember, the unconscious mind is your ally. It provides information, but only if you are open to it and willing to do the work to understand what it’s telling you. When you become more observant and mindful of your dreams, it will carry over to your waking life.

Dream Analysis

As a way of beginning to think in a symbolic way, let’s look at a common setting. For example, when you dream about a house or building, it is a metaphoric representation of yourself and the internal information that you are holding. Are you looking at the front of a house in the dream? The information you’re receiving is about the future. If you’re looking at it from the back, that’s the past. If the dream is about something that is happening in your life currently, you may very well see the house from the side.

Objects in a dream

When you then go inside the house, each of the rooms are associated with different parts of your anatomy. If you go up a center stairway, your dream is pointing to your back or spine. This could have literal meaning (you’re having a medical problem with your back) or a metaphoric one (you feel the need to center and focus your life in some way.)

A dream that takes place in the kitchen in your house is about your stomach, nutrition, and digestion, and how you process things. Again, this can be about a physical condition or a symbolic stand-in for your life in general. Perhaps you are having a hard time “stomaching” a certain situation. A dream that occurs in your bedroom may be about relationships and their dynamics in your life. Other parts of the house point to additional aspects of yourself. Look at details and take away as much as you can.

  • roof or the attic represents your mind or brain
  • windows your eyes
  • bedroom is the reproductive system
  • back door is, well, your backdoor!
  • bathrooms and sinks are the liver and kidneys
  • stove, refrigerator, and washing machine are all symbols of your stomach
  • vacuum cleaner takes in air – it’s the lungs
  • wiring in the house is your nervous system
  • stairs are your spine
  • heating system and fireplace are your circulation

Emotions in a dream

Along with the symbolism of places, objects and people in our dreams, the emotions you experience in the dream are important to add to the mix. If you can link these feelings to things in your dream, you may be able to see the cause and effect of something going on in your life from the past, the present, or a situation coming up in your future.

Universal Symbols

Here are just some of the thousands of universal meanings of things, people, actions, and dynamics that appear in dreams:

  • Animals are about your instincts, which include sex, aggression and love. Take note of what type of animal it is and the nature of each – for instance a cuddly bear vs. a grizzly bear!
  • If you are dreaming about trains, boat journeys or airports, something is new or about to happen in your life. A departure lounge could represent the project you’re about to embark on, and an arrivals area could be a birth or a new idea you have.
  • A narrow road – A narrow state of mind.
  • A hairdresser – Changing the way you think.
  • A foreign country – Expanding yourself.
  • A prison – Repression.
  • A football or other sports field – The game of life.
  • A war, war scene, or conflict – You’re at war with yourself.
  • A courtroom – Self-judgment.
  • Dentist – You need to heal your “bite” by letting go of some of your aggression.
  • Look for the representation of key words in your dreams like “avoid” or “blind.” If you take a detour that keeps you from going down some road or into a building in your dream, you are avoiding something in your life. If you’re blind in your dream, you are most likely “blind” to a part of your waking existence.

There is a multitude of books and online material myself and others have written about dreams. I encourage you to explore the role dreams have played in different cultures and teachings.

Derek O’Neill inspires and uplifts people from all walks of life, offering guidance to influential world leaders, businesses, celebrities, athletes and everyday people alike. Distilled from his life work in psychotherapy, a martial arts career and study with wise yogis and Indian and Tibetan masters, Derek translates ancient wisdom into modern day teachings to address the biggest challenges facing humanity today. For additional insights on decoding dreams listen to his free radio archives or download Dreams

Image courtesy of Dayne Topkin.