Have you ever had a dream in which you are given some very specific advice? It happened to me a few nights ago– I dreamed that I was told (not exactly in audible words, I just knew) that I must take a dose of homeopathic gold (Aurum- metalicum) and go sit in a church. That’s pretty specific isn’t it? But this is the exception, not the rule. The dreammaker does not usually spell it out for us like that—directly, clearly, and unambiguously. As much as people would like to have their dream prescriptions spelled out for them dream messages are usually embedded in metaphor and things are usually left open for the dreamer to work out a suitable response on his or her own. This response is the “advice” that has been offered (although perhaps “direction” would be a better word than advice). In other words the dream is asking for a creative effort of the imagination to be made in relation to the dreamer’s problematic current position. Dreams don’t usually tell us: “This is what you need to do”. Usually they tell us: “This is where you are. What might you be able to do about it?”
This lack of directness in dreams is something that many people find frustrating. I think it has turned many people away from working with their dreams. People tend to want quick answers, and they don’t like ambiguity or hard work. If dreams are supposed to be giving us “messages” why can’t they be more clear and direct about it? But I believe this is something we must accept if we really want to “work with our dreams”. We must accept that we have to do at least half the work. Occasionally, as with my dream of the gold and the church, we will have things served up to us on a platter. But most of the time we need to prepare the meal ourselves, using the ingredients that the unconscious mind has brought to the table. Our dreams are indeed giving us advice, but it is not prescriptive advice. It is situational advice. The dream helps us better understand our current situation, so we can start to make our own authentic change using our own resources and insights. This is the best kind of advice you can get.
To take full advantage of this inner guidance system you must cultivate the habit of responding to your dreams. It is not enough just to ponder what your dream means; you have to shift gears and ask yourself what it asking you to do. Once you start to live this way you are constantly heeding the advice of your dreams; you are accepting the guidance and direction that is being offered by something that is both you and much bigger than you. For me this is the real meaning of “working with your dreams”. So what of the cases where the dream advice does seem to be a straightforward prescription?–“You must take some homeopathic gold and go sit in a church”. Is there any reason to be suspicious of this advice? Might it be some kind of trick? Or should we just go right ahead and do what the dream is telling us to do? In my case I felt there was nothing to lose. I know that the gold is accurate (meaning just that it is a resonant symbol for me) because it hearkens back to the many dreams I have been having over the last year that have featured gleaming gold and silver rooftops. I can sense that the dreammaker is carrying forward the story of gold and what it could mean for me in my current life situation. The church…I’m not so sure, but I’m looking forward to exploring this part. I’ve already taken the dose of gold and I will be heading off to a church as soon as I can…