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For effective dream interpretation, it is key to understand how the mind works. Dreams manage to pack layers of information into symbols and bypass the limitations of conscious awareness. After reading the explanation, try the dream interpretation exercise below...
How the Mind Works
The mind is like an iceberg. Humans only tend to see the tip of the iceberg sticking out above the water. In other words, we are conscious of very little! Beneath the surface of the water, the iceberg is huge. Most of it is actually under water. This hidden part of the iceberg is like the unconscious mind. In other words, we humans are unconscious of a lot!
How Symbols Work
Each night, dreams try to bring information from our unconscious into our conscious awareness. Dreams have to squeeze a lot of information from the big unconscious into the small conscious mind. To do this, dreams need to pack their messages into symbols layered with information. For dream interpretation, it is important to keep in mind that symbols do not have just one 'correct' meaning. Rather, symbols can be layered with many different levels of meaning.
Bypassing Defense Mechanisms
To feel safe in life, we surround ourselves with defense mechanisms. Basically, defense mechanisms are our personality's ways of coping and trying to protect us.
Surrounded by defense mechanisms, we go about life like an armored tank. We are trapped in a small space and can't see very well through all the armor around us.
We can only see through a little slit in the armored tank. What we can see through this tiny window is our conscious awareness.
At night--when we dream--it is like opening up the hatch of the armored tank and climbing out into the big world. In our dreams, we get out of the tank and walk around. We can see everything for 360 degrees all around! By dreaming, we can be aware of things we normally shut out of conscious awareness.
Now you understand how the mind works:
In dreams, the large unconscious mind tries to communicate to our small conscious mind by bypassing our defense mechanisms and squeezing information into symbols layered with meaning.
You're now ready to begin dream interpretation...
Exercise for Dream Interpretation
This useful technique helps decode the layers of meaning which can be packed into a dream symbol...
Write down your dream. Read your dream aloud. As you read, see each symbol as a part of you. Use the phrase, "The _______ part of me..." While you're reading, brainstorm other words you associate with each symbol in your dream. For example, if the phrase from your dream was "rescuing a baby from a monster", you might say...
"The rescuing part of me--the brave part of me, the strong part of me, the true part of me..."
"The baby part of me--the vulnerable part of me, the helpless part of me, the weak part of me..."
"The monster part of me--the scary part of me, the ugly part of me, the painful part of me, the wounded part of me..."
By doing this exercise, you can decode the symbolic messages in "rescuing a baby from a monster". One meaning might be 'you need to find the strength to do something vulnerable and face your wounds.'
Meditation also helps in living more consciously. Find out more in how to meditate.
Find out about Dream Symbols, What Dreams Mean, Journaling Dreams, and learn more tools for dream interpretation in Dream Meanings.
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