Do you experience recurring dreams?  Most people do.  Dreams are messages from us to ourselves, yet people seldom pay attention or understand how to decipher their own dreams.  The movie Inception, although it was fiction, also revealed a lot of information about how dreams work.

When we are sleeping, our minds continue to work.  That’s why sometimes people say, “let me sleep on it,” and when they awake they have a clearer perspective on their preferred course of action.  In fact, you can deliberately ask yourself a question before you go to sleep and awaken with an answer or decision that has eluded you.  So, what are our dreams trying to tell us, and what can we do to resolve the things our subconscious may be flagging for us?

There are many universal recurring dreams or themes within dreams. 

  •  Driving (or being in a car).  This represents the direction your life is taking. Where you are sitting in the car can also indicate how much control you feel you have over your direction. I have lots of these kinds of dreams: 1) I’m driving and going very fast, but entirely driving backwards looking over my shoulder, 2) I’m driving but the longer I go, the worse the road gets until I am literally driving in a small rut in a field, 3) the car won’t go where I want it to go; it just idles or drifts slightly backward. Consider the pun “going nowhere fast” or “all revved up with no place to go” or “headed in the wrong direction.”  This is one I believe you have to resolve in your waking life by either gaining control of your direction or “going with the flow” by accepting the new direction you’ve taken.
  • Bathrooms. In dreams, these can represent your emotions – things you need to “let out” that might be getting clogged up inside. Consider puns like “all bottled up inside.”  To resolve this dream, you have to just “go” anywhere you happen to be.  Gross, I know.  But it is a great way to tell if you are dreaming.
  • Underwater. Usually represents things that are “below the surface” of your consciousness. Things that you can’t quite grasp that are inside of you – can be good or bad.  Often this one doesn’t need a resolution, just some reflection on what you are seeing.
  • Clothes. Represent the persona or how you portray yourself to the world. Consider ideas like “just doesn’t fit me” or “this doesn’t suit me” or “buying off the rack.”  Likewise a dream in which some of your clothes are missing is usually about feeling exposed.  I think the best resolution for this one is to go with it and become comfortable naked (in your dream anyway).  Tell yourself you have nothing to be ashamed of.  After all, since you are in a dream, the other people are really just manifestations of you anyway. If it’s about poor clothing choices – are you trying to fit in where you know you shouldn’t?
  • Test taking.  Sitting an exam for which you are completely unprepared is about performance anxiety or fear of failing and being seen through.  You may feel unprepared for the challenges you are facing, and afraid you will be found wanting.  Personally, I like to just walk out of the test, but I’m not sure that’s much of a resolution.
  • Animals. Often represent our underlying emotions.  It’s good to pay attention to these to find out what you are discovering about yourself.  If you are confronted by something really scary, I resolve this by confronting it, and usually it fades away or changes to something less scary.
  • Being lost or never getting to destination. This is my least favorite one I sometimes get. I’m trying to get somewhere, like home to my family, but obstacles keep happening and I just never get there, or I’m trying to find my way to my childhood home, and I don’t remember how to get there or it has all changed.  I think in my case, this is either a reminder to call my parents or to quit traveling so much in my job.
  • Airplane. This can literally refer to being “on a higher plane.” Like a car, it deals with going somewhere – one’s direction in life – but in this case you are traveling with others who surround you, so the crowd you hang out with.  Once I had a dream about having a conversation with a person who had wronged me sitting next to me on a flight.  It was evidence that we had risen above the previous conflict and were able to relate on a higher plane (at least in my mind).

So do you have any interesting recurring dreams?  Discuss.