Dreams: Your Internal Compass


Dreams: Your Internal Compass
Dreams tell us what we need to know; but don't in our waking lives.

What if you had a source of information that offered guidance and a commentary on whether you are on the right track - professionally or personally? Would you be interested?

I challenge you to deny skepticism for a brief moment and consider the possibility that within your dreams is an untapped, hidden source of self-knowledge. Dreams tell us what we need to know but don't in our waking lives. (Robert Johnson)


Unconscious emotions, motivations and beliefs drive the very behaviors that can sabotage what we want. Dreams help us become more aware by providing insight into areas of our lives that need attention and showing where healing or adaptation needs to take place. They give commentary as well as direction on personal and professional aspects of our lives - almost like the reins of a horse that correct us when we go off track.

A few years ago, I had a dream of being imprisoned in a desert surrounded by a brick wall and chain link fence guarded by a somewhat arrogant and surly middle-aged man. On the other side was beautiful lush country and hills. I came to realize this dream was a metaphor of how I was trapping myself and keeping myself from being in the place I desired to be. 

Unfortunately, in our rational western thought, dreams are frequently discounted.  What we do not readily understand, we fear or dismiss. It seems few people choose to explore this world we visit every night.

Dreams have played a role in every major religion and have led to scientific discoveries and inventions:

The Talmud states, "A dream that has not been interpreted is like a letter unopened."

Kekule' was inspired to understand the molecular structure of Benzene by dreaming of a snake biting its tail. He admonished his colleagues, "Learn to dream!"

Einstein recounted that he first came up with the theory of relativity as an adolescent. He dreamed of being in a sled going down a hill faster and faster until it approached the speed of light. He even went as far to say, "That in many ways his scientific career could be seen as an extended meditation on that dream."

Dreams speak to us through metaphor and symbols. They offer ways to reframe and look at problems from different perspectives and broaden our horizons of inquiry. The messages of dreams are individual and we each have our own unique way of understanding them.

In studying over 65,000 dreams, Maria Von Franz, who in her time was considered the foremost authority in psychoanalytic theory concluded that we dream of exactly what we need in each particular life situation. She also believed that dreams have an advantage over other techniques of self-knowledge in that they give us a dynamic, continuous self-diagnosis and can clarify momentary erroneous attitudes or reactions to situations.

Jungian analyst Robert Johnson advocates that we never dream of anything that is not useful or needed. Jung believed, "In sleep we awaken to who we are. We need to be connected to our dream life because dreams show us the maps to our psyches."

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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