What exactly is the source of our dreams? Is it our Subconscious? Is it Deep Intuition? Divine Consciousness? Is it God? While some scientists will say dreams are merely the by-product a unique neuro-chemical cocktail that’s stirred up in the dreaming brain, I think they’re more than just that.

I recommend you think of your dreams as a really good pal. You know, the kind of friend who tells you when you’ve got a big gob of spinach stuck between your teeth; the one who will tell you your fly is open or that the shade of orange you’re wearing doesn’t work on you. That’s the kind of friend your dreams are. You won’t always like what you hear, or what they say about how you’ve been behaving out in public these days, but the message is given with love, for your own good, and often with a dollop of humor thrown in for good measure.

Yes, sometimes your dreams will lay it out on the table with painful urgency—but you can trust that there’s loving intent behind the disturbing imagery with which the message may sometimes be delivered. Yup, even that nightmare that shook you awake was meant to help you out, not just to scare you silly.

Whatever the source of dreams, I recommend you listen to them in a way that lets your dreams know you are paying attention, so they, in turn, will show up for you.

Your dream journal is a good place to start.

Open the conversation by putting your journal beside your bed. Before sleep, write down you intention to remember your dreams. And in the morning, write down whatever you recall, whether just a snippet or a lengthy saga. And if you don’t remember your dream, just jot down a sentence or two about the quality of your sleep—that way you let your dreams know you are listening. And when you do, sooner or later, they will begin to speak up so you can hear them.