I. Working with Dreams

How to overcome the three enemies of working with dreams. Decades of working with dreams have convinced me that every dream is like a puzzle. The images--or pieces--fit together to form a message. When you've got the dream's message, all the pieces fit beautifully together, with none left out. Usually, there will be several images that share the same or a similar meaning, helping you confirm that you've interpreted the dream correctly. There may also be images that will be used in the interpretation more than once, yet in different ways--like squares of a crossword puzzle where two words share a letter.

The kind of puzzle that dreams most closely resemble is the old-fashioned rebus--a story that's told partially in words and partially in pictures. In a rebus, the word house, for example, might be replaced by a picture of a house every time it occurs in the text. If a verb is intended instead of a noun, then to house might be replaced by the numeral 2 followed by a picture of a house. The word housing might be represented by a picture of a house followed by that of a person singing (house + sing = housing). Dreams often contain this sort of visual pun, or play on words.

I've learned that there are three enemies of working with dreams. The first enemy is the assumption that if any part of the dream seems to be missing from your memory--a word, an image, an action, or a scene--then the dream can't be interpreted.

If a word is missing--the name of a street, for example--it simply wasn't important. It was the concept of street that the dream wanted to put across. You had to notice something about the street in order to remember it. So the soul, or whatever you might want to call the source of our dreams, had you look at the street sign. You'll only frustrate yourself if you spend hours trying to remember the name of the street in order to interpret the dream.

If the dream was in several scenes and you've forgotten one scene, it may be that each scene was about a different subject. The one that's missing may have had nothing to do with the others. Why throw out the other scenes because something that had no bearing on them seems to be missing?

Whatever you remember upon awakening, even an apparent fragment, has meaning. Don't make the mistake of assuming that the dream is incomplete if it seems that more happened in it than you recall.

Such apparent incompleteness can serve several functions. If you're just beginning to learn how to interpret your dreams, then the shortness or fragmentary nature of your dreams may mean that the soul is trying not to overwhelm you with too much information at once. Also, if you're too intent on getting to work in the morning to take time to write down your dreams, the soul may select only the most important messages for you to remember. These messages will seem fragmentary only because the soul allowed you to forget everything else.

The soul can block your memory of dream images or parts of dreams that might be misinterpreted. Sometimes it will retract messages for which the consciousness mind may not be properly prepared. Fragments of dreams may also stir up within you a desire to remember more. They may be a kind of bait whose message is: "There's more where that came from."

The soul often makes use of people's tendency to get hooked on soap operas. If you see only one episode of a story, not knowing the background of the characters' problems, and wondering how they'll resolve them, you're likely to tune in to the next episode to satisfy your curiosity. The soul may present you with intriguing and fragmentary glimpses of your dream life, hoping that you'll tune in the next night for something more.

When dealing with dream fragments, it's probably better to think of them as vignettes. That way you won't beat yourself up for not remembering more, or develop a belief that dreams are difficult for you to remember. No matter how much more may seem to have gone on in the dream state, assume that whatever you don't remember isn't important. Take whatever you've got, assume that it's significant, and go on from there.

The second enemy of working with dreams is the fear of being wrong in your interpretations. It's true that you can twist the meaning of a dream so that it seems to support the opposite of the soul's intended message. Overconfidence, trying to defend your interpretation to yourself, or a deep-rooted feeling of dissatisfaction with or uneasiness about the interpretation can be clues that you're on the wrong track. Acting on the dream message and experiencing consequences that are different from those you expected can be another such clue.

My trance-channeled guide Charles says that dreams often run in three-day cycles. If you don't get the correct message on the first day, then it comes back again the next day, clothed in a new set of images. The same thing will be true of the third day. If you still don't get the message, then your dreams will move on to other topics and return to the original topic later. Or your soul may break the message into pieces that will then be brought together in new ways in later dreams. Whether or not you get the message of the dream, if you misinterpret a dream image, the soul will remember that fact. It will use the "misinterpreted" meaning in a later dream, if it should prove useful.

The third enemy of working with dreams is the belief that they’re difficult to interpret. The difficulty of interpreting a dream is related to the degree of your resistance to the dream's message. If a dream message you don't want to hear is too obvious, then you'll conveniently manage not to remember the dream. Your soul will try to find another, somewhat more obscure set of symbols to represent the same message--and so on, until at last the dream has been remembered, usually because it seems to be so bizarre.

Unfortunately, the message may by now have become so deeply encoded in symbolism that you may not be able to perceive it. Because you don't want to hear the dream's message, the area of your life that it concerns may be the farthest thing from your mind when you try to interpret the dream. This will make the dream even more difficult to figure out.

Sometimes the soul tries to grab your attention with a truly surreal association of images. You're more likely to remember a dream with a strange creature representing your boss than one in which he appears as himself. But the combination of obscure symbols and bizarre images may confirm your belief that dreams are difficult to interpret.

To interpret dreams, you must be willing to accept a soul's-eye view of your life. In some areas, there may be little relationship between the soul’s perspective and the ego's. Those are the areas your dreams will most want to talk to you about. The more willing you are to listen to such messages, the easier it will be to  interpret your dreams.