8 Simple Tips for Understanding your Dreams

I remember the first and only time I astral travelled. To anyone else it might have felt like a dream, but as a 6 year old it couldn’t have felt more real. So real in fact that when I awoke, I tried to recreate the scene by running down the very hallway I’d flown around in my dream. Much to my confusion and disappointment, I was never able to get off the ground!

To this day I’m still not certain if it was in fact just a vivid dream, or if I really did astral travel that night. Regardless, encountering this profound dreamlike experience at such a young age, peaked a passionate interest in understanding and uncovering what is really going on when we dream.

Over the years my dreams have played an important role in delivering higher wisdom and insight.

I’ve always struggled to tune into my inner vision in the waking state, and a part of me feels that my active dream state has actually been over-compensating for this. That it eagerly anticipates my return to slumber each night. Waiting to deliver more guidance through imagery, during this precious time of ego hibernation.

I’ve come to truly value the exciting otherworldly adventures into my dream state. I’ve had encounters with future lovers before we’d met, healed past life trauma, and am frequently visited by a menagerie of spirit animals.

Most recently I was visited by my power animal, something that was later confirmed for me in a shamanic ceremony. Interestingly enough, I was terrified of this animal even though it presented no signs of harming me. I believe her message for me was simple, “Do not fear me, for I am your power. We are one and the same”.

We’re often quick to dismiss our dreams as being made up fantasies, devoid of any real meaning. While in some instances that may be totally true (because hey, we all deserve to enjoy our wildest fantasies in some form or another!), I believe we dream for many different reasons, not just one.

Sometimes we’ll dream of fantasies, other times we’ll process actual experiences from our waking lives.

All the while as the movie plays in our mind’s eye, we are receiving a collage of visuals and imagery. A lot of which holds a vast amount of important information, providing a very real way to begin to understand yourself and your world more fully.

Our dreams really do hold the key to our unconscious, and act as a bridge between ourselves and the spirit world. If you’re interested in understanding your dreams and in turn yourself more fully, try out these 8 simple tips below:

1. Start with an intention

The foundation for all great spiritual and metaphysical exploration is intention. This element is crucial when it comes to receiving clear information during the dream state, making it easier to decipher insights from this information.

Intention focuses your energy and sends a clear message to the Universe regarding what it is you want. Without intention we open ourselves up to receiving an abundance of information that may not be as relevant to our conscious desires. I say this because the information we receive is always relevant to us in some way. However we may be more strongly influenced by our unconscious energy if we have not yet clarified our intention.

You’re intention might be as simple as stating “I receive clear and insightful information during my dream state”. If you’d like specific information on an important theme in your life, be sure to add that into your intentional statement.


2. Ritualise your bedtime

While you’re busy setting your intention, why not craft a special bedtime ritual to help magnetise your energy towards it.

This could include a short meditation, perhaps the verbal repetition of your intention, a hot cup of herbal tea to wind you down, or even a drop or two of essential oil behind your ears. Using essential oils in your bedtime ritual can not only help you drift off to the dream state faster, but the use of aromatics can be highly effective when it comes to memory recall.

Try using a specific oil or blend every night before you sleep to strengthen the connection between the scent and the act of sleeping/dreaming. If you’re having trouble with recall the next day, use the oil to help re-establish the connection back to this state.


3. Don’t get out of bed immediately

When you wake up from a dream, take your time and stay in bed. Consciously call in all the imagery that has visited you over the course of the night.

We’re all so eager to jump into our days, that we don’t allow ourselves the luxury of soaking up the last of this delicious dream state energy. The moment we get out of bed we step over a threshold into our waking lives. Your bed and place of sleep act as a powerful energy portal for travelling into the dream state. The longer you stay within the boundaries of the portal (without the added influence of new stimuli), the easier it will be to recall memories from your dream.


4. Write/draw it down

Keep a dream journal or a phone next to your bed to jot down as many dream details as possible upon waking.

If pictures are more your thing, have a go at drawing key imagery instead of writing. Make sure you do this before hopping out of bed though, that way the imagery is still fresh in your head. You don’t need to know the exact sequence or storyline of your dream, just make note of anything that you can remember. This could be key themes, people, or even feelings that had a strong impact on you during your dream.


5. Pay attention to signs, symbols and patterns

There are many books, websites, and resources specifically dedicated to interpreting dreams, however this information can often be more of a hindrance than a help. The one question we should really be asking ourselves when trying to understand our dreams is, “What does this mean to me?”.

Your dreams communicate in a language that only you can understand. As we’ve all lived a rich and varied life, our dreams are coloured by our own experiences and particular perspective.

Pay close attention to any signs, symbols and especially anything that recurs between dreams. Remember to always bring it back to you though, what meaning do you place on these things?


6. How do they make you feel

It can be very easy to get caught up in the imagery and storyline of our dreams, always trying to construct meaning and make sense of what we experience. Sometimes it’s not so much about what we see in a dream, but more about how it makes us feel.

Take a nightmare for example. Nightmares instill terror in us, and quite often can be incredibly far-fetched and not at all realistic in their depiction. However the associated fear felt within the dream is actually very real, and can point towards suppressed emotion that has not yet been acknowledged. So next time you’re struggling to make sense of your dream, take a step back from the story and take a closer look at how each element made you feel.


7. Take advantage of nap time

I find that the most powerful time for dreaming and dream recall are the periods of light sleep just before you drift off completely or when you haven’t woken up fully.

I seem to really remember the details of my dream more vividly when I wake early and fall back to sleep for an hour or two. This can be similar to the type of sleep you have when you take a nap. If you’re having trouble remembering your dreams at all, try incorporating more periods of light sleep into your day. It’s also a great excuse for a midday nap! ;)


8. Meditate on it

If all else fails, meditate on it! A regular meditation practice can help you tap into the wisdom of the unconscious mind more easily. It allows you to reach a similar state of egolessness, the same as when we dream.

If you wish to recall forgotten memories from your dream, before heading into your meditation, set the clear intention to receive these particular insights. That way you’ll know that the information you receive through your meditation directly relates to your dream.