Learn the 3 R’s of dreamwork …
… and unlock the messages of your subconscious mind
The fact that so many people are perplexed by their dreams, tells me that we need to become more literate in the language of the subconscious mind. To help you learn to read and understand your dreams, I offer here my “3 R’s” of Dreamwork: Request, Receive, and Respond. And because dreams refuse to be confined by any tidy formula, I’ll add a bonus “R”,too: Relax with the Riddle.
The 3 (Plus) R’s of Dreamwork
While most people think dreams are purely random occurrences over which we have little or no control, the reality is quite different. With even a little effort and practice, most anyone can learn to incubate a dream on a particular topic or in response to a specific question. Life is too short to sit around and wait for the phone to ring—or for the dream to serve up a custom answer to our pressing questions. So, go ahead and ask: Tell your dreams what’s on your mind, and ask for guidance. The method is quite simple:
• Before bed set an intention: Don’t bother with “Yes or No” questions, though. Dreams are better at showing you possibilities–rather than checking off an answer in a little box. So, try some version of one of these questions:
o “Tonight in my dreams I will learn about …”
o “Tonight in my dreams I will see what’s in store if I decide to …”
o “Tonight in my dreams I’ll find healing for …”
• Put a picture or object that represents your intention near your bed, or under your pillow or mattress.
• Record your dream in the morning and review it for any ways it might connect with your intention. If you don’t remember any dreams, try again until you do.
• Expect results! Don’t be wishy-washy about this. Whatever dream you receive in the morning is the answer to your question, even if you don’t see the connection right away. Consult with a dream therapist or a supportive friend to explore the dream and find where it might connect to your query.
Society gives us so many reasons to discount our dreams, and almost no encouragement to remember them. But dreams are gifts. They are creations made for you and only you. They come from within you and are constructed with care from your memories, emotions and associations. When you look inside of them—you find what is inside of you. It’s not always the gift you thought you wanted, (as when your dreams deliver nightmares, recurring dreams, or just plain confounding and frustrating ones)but it’s always worth it if you’ll receive them with your full, courageous and loving heart.
Admire the dream, spend some time with it, enjoy it, explore it. Close your eyes and replay it, noticing any emotions that arise, and where you feel them in your body.
And just as with any gift you receive, don’t forget to say thank you. Take a breath of gratitude to the dream for coming to you, and enjoy your gift.
Don’t just leave your dream on the pillow—our goal in working with dreams is to find the right action steps to take based on what we’ve learned from the dream.
• Create a bumper sticker statement based on your dream. This should be a positive affirmation, written in the present tense, based on your dream. And keep it compact enough to fit on an imaginary bumper sticker. That way not only will you have boiled your intention down to its essence, it will also be short enough so that you’ll remember it. (You can also write it on a sticky note or index card, and post it where you’ll see it often.)
• Choose one small action you will take to honor your dream, or carry an internal image from the dream into your day
• During the day, watch for synchronicities (meaningful coincidences) relating to your dream.
And a bonus:
4 … Relax with the Riddle.
A Zen Koan is a kind of riddle or paradoxical statement given to a student to force her or him out of logical thinking into epiphany, insight, or enlightenment. A famous example of a koan is, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
In many ways, a dream is like a koan created just for you. It resists logic and linear thinking. It can be mysterious, nonsensical, or downright mystifying. But by taking time to consider a dream, you can access some of the meanings it has to offer.
Often the insight will sneak up on you when you least expect it—after you’ve finished pounding away at it with your thinking mind, and you’ve let go of expecting an answer. Then whammo: It lands on your doorstep in a puddle of gold and glitter.
There’s not one right answer when it comes to decoding our dreams, but any answer that gives that “Aha! moment, is one of the right answers—and it’s always a good place to start. Over time a single dream can reveal various facets and new bits of insight may emerge.
© 2017 Tzivia Gover
If you’re ready to sleep and dream better, book a dreamwork consultation with me and I’ll help you learn to take a mindful approach to bedtime, and discover the meaning and messages in your dreams to support you all day long.
My book The Mindful Approach to a Good Night’s Sleep is chock full of information and exercises to support you in sleeping and dreaming better. Order yours now and give yourself the gift of a good night of sleep & dreams!