Dreaming is a natural activity that often carries many erroneous and negative connotations. This is due in part to the intense emotional charge that some dreams carry, and the superstitious fears that many people have about it. Some of the research that has been put forth in the field of psychology has further compounded the problem. The message or meaning of our dreams is made to seem esoteric, hopelessly convoluted or even nonsensical.
All of this makes it more difficult for the average person to learn how to listen to his or her dreams. We have a much easier time receiving a dream’s message if we feel that it belongs to us. Some schools of psychotherapy put forth the contrary idea that it is sent to us by the unconscious mind or by a higher power. Others still maintain that dreams represent the discarded contents of the conscious mind, dumped into the unconscious to re-emerge in the form of random and incomprehensible images. Such ideas can convince us that there either isn’t any meaning to be found within our dreams to begin with or, if there is meaning, it is far too remote and disguised to ever be uncovered by us.
If you want to learn how to listen to your dreams, you’ll first have to discard these misleading notions. Treat your nightly excursions as something natural and necessary, and it’ll become a lot easier to hear what they’re trying to tell you.
The process of learning personal dream interpretation is similar to trusting your gut feelings in waking life. How often do our instincts point us in the right direction, but we start second-guessing and analyzing our options and end up making a different choice? Your first impressions regarding your dreams, and the feelings that they provoke in you, can be a clearer guide to their true intent than any dictionary of dream symbols.
Our inner life is highly personal. It speaks to us in a language that we are uniquely equipped to hear. Listening to our dreams is largely a matter of trusting ourselves and taking our first thoughts, feelings and impressions seriously. We are essentially listening to messages from our deeper selves. Acknowledging this truth can help to dissolve many of the detrimental beliefs that might get in the way of our understanding.
When you feel that your mind is clear, uncluttered by the superstition that can surround dreaming life, take a moment to fix your impressions in whatever way feels natural to you. Some people write out the thoughts and insights that their dreams evoke in a journal. Some try to capture the feelings on canvas, or in a sketch book. You can even engage in dialogue with figures from your dreams. All of these methods can help us to bring the deeper significance of our dream adventures into our conscious awareness.