In the realm of dream work there is a giant paradox that is impossible to ignore:
As the dreamer, you are the only one who can say what your dream means. No one has authority over your dream images. No one else can say, “You dreamed of X and it absolutely, positively means this…”
But here’s the paradox: dreams have many layers of meaning and while it’s relatively easy for a person to glean the most obvious layers of dream meaning, it’s far more difficult to grasp the deeper layers on your own.
So how do you figure out what you don’t know?
Hiring a dreamworker, working with a dream partner, or forming a dream group can significantly enhance your dream work experience.
For instance, many of my clients do dream work with me twice a month. As a result, I notice patterns emerging in seemingly unrelated dream symbols and storylines. These patterns retell the same or similar stories using different scenarios to help the dreamer connect with the deeper messages.
When I point out the message I see, the dreamer is often surprised and has an enormous “Aha” of recognition and is better able to take action to help resolve whatever issue needs to be addressed.
However, if you are working with someone else and they offer thoughts about your dream the only way you can know if their ideas are relevant for you is if you resonate with what is said. This frequently reveals itself with a feeling of “Aha.” There are at least two kinds of “Ahas.”
1) The positive “Aha” as in, “Wow. That fits so perfectly.”
We have this type of “Aha” when we recognize the truth of someone’s thoughts about our dream. This type of reaction may cause a bodily sensation of goose bumps or shivers.
2) The negative “Aha” as in, “No way! I am not like that at all!”
Be on the lookout for a negative “Aha.” This type of reaction can indicate the dreamer else is having a negative response to something that is true, or partially true, and something that the dreamer would rather deny in waking life. The negative “Aha”, like the positive one, often creates a bodily response, like an emotion of anger, guilt, denial or shame.
A feeling of indifference to the dream projection probably may mean the dream thoughts hold no relevance for the dreamer.
You can apply the “Aha” experience to dream dictionaries, symbol dictionaries, and all dream interpretation or exploration. Just because someone (like a dream dictionary) tells you your dream means X does not mean it’s true. Only you can say what is true and you’ll know this by the “aha” feeling you get when the truth is spoken.
When you share your dreams with others, or when you share dreams thoughts about other people’s dreams, it’s important to remember 3 things:
1) Only the dreamer knows what his or her dream means.
2) The dreamer is often only semi-conscious of what the dreams are saying, and therefore may need help understanding the dream messages.
3) The only way the dreamer can know if a dream “interpretation” is right for him or her is if he or she has an “Aha” of recognition.
Exploring dreams with other people is tremendously helpful. Remembering these 3 points can help make the experience more pleasurable and safe.
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