"We are such stuff as dreams are made on..."
What can I learn from my dreams?
"I dreamed I got a job at an office," said Michael E. "Other employees were working in cubicles at desks and computers. But when I came in every day, I took big Lego pieces out of a duffle bag, assembled them into a piano and entertained the staff all day. Soon, the others were giving me dirty looks. I began to get paranoid and frustrated and it was becoming harder and harder to put my piano together. One day, I just couldn't do it. My boss told me I was fired."
What did the dream mean?
"For most of human history, dream wisdom has been a revered means of interpreting life," says David C. Lohff, author of Dream Coaching: Achieving the Life You Were Meant to Lead by Understanding Your Dreams. Dreams have played an important role in many cultures, from the ancient Greeks to Native American tribes; the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament include stories of significant dreams.
Lohff, a pastor, dream therapist and faculty member at George Washington University Medical School, believes that, through dreams, your soul guides, warns and encourages you. You may decide through the guidance of a dream to leave a bad relationship, change jobs or join a gym.
What did the dream mean?
The piano-playing dreamer was a recent graduate who had moved to New York to begin his career in publishing. Asked to analyze his dream, Patricia Baker, psychotherapist and dream analyst for 20 years, said, "It's an important dream. One of its messages is that he is feeling a lack of authenticity and he needs to get in touch with that.
"He may have insecurities that he's not aware of. As an entertainer in the center of a busy office, he seems to be a fish out of water. He may feel that he doesn't fit in. He may be questioning his skills. He seems to have concerns about whether he should be where he is, whether he even wants to be where he is.
The dream doesn't necessarily mean that he must take action. But he needs to look within himself for guidance. He may want to consider whether he is in the right profession but the wrong place, or vice versa. We need to pay attention to our dreams and ask ourselves how they are related to our life right now."
Tips for interpreting your dreams
Here are guidelines from Baker and Lohff to help you learn from your dreams:
Keep a dream journal. Jot down your dreams within the first few minutes after waking to help you remember them.
Ask, how does it relate to my waking life? Write down details.
Note the environment in which the dream takes place.
Use your dreams to consider what decisions you face and what choices you have.
The guidance of a professional can help you gain more benefit from your dreams.
Note how the dream ends.
Look for classes, books and DVDs about learning from your dreams.
To find a qualified dream therapist, ask at local colleges or metaphysical bookstores; check the Internet.
Not all dreams have significance, says Baker. "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar," she quoted from Anna Freud, Sigmund Freud's daughter.