Dreams Tell You What You Really Know

April 22, 2016

Some years ago, a Johns Hopkins University study found that pregnant women who had an intuition about the sex of their baby were correct 70% of the time—but women who had a dream about the sex of their baby were correct 100% of the time!

We have access to very deep knowledge in there, and we’re sleeping through it most of the time.

Dreams tell you what you really know about something, what you really feel. They point you toward what you need for growth, integration, expression, and the health of your relationships to person, place and thing. They can help you fine-tune your direction and show you your unfinished business. They’re meaning machines. And they never lie. Author Tom Robbins once said that dreams don’t come true; they are true. When we talk about our dreams coming true, we’re talking about our ambitions.

Dreaming is ultimately about awakening. The unconscious, from which dreams bubble up, seems to contain an image of the way you’re supposed to be, and continually works toward the expression of this potential, day and night. It often knows things about which you’re otherwise in the dark, things which in the broad daylight of consciousness remain invisible, just as the stars play to an empty house during the day when the sun is shining. Some things can only be seen when it’s dark. Trying to solve your problems or make your way or get a grip on your priorities without the information that dreams provide is like being a judge with only half the facts of a case.

To ignore dreams is to tear out pages from your own unfolding story, which winds right on through the night-shift, and cut yourself off from that place from which passions and callings emanate. Most spiritual traditions clearly regard dreams as revelations from the gods and goddesses, and consider the act of separating the waking life from the dreaming, the conscious from the unconscious, as not unlike separating a plant from its roots.

The Jungian author James Hillman has written that “When I ask, ‘Where is my soul, how do I meet it, what does it want now?’ the answer is, turn to your images.’” By which he primarily means dreams and art, since both speak a visual language. So if you want a homing beacon to help you know your soul and navigate your life, you can’t do much better than turning to your dreams.

For one thing, they’re masterpieces of metaphoric communication:

You’re trying to decide between following passion or security, and dream of throwing a rock through the window of a bank, and then burying your briefcase in the backyard.

You’re following a call toward a very public life, and don’t realize your true feelings about sacrificing privacy, until an anxiety dream shows the island you live on being towed toward the mainland.

Someone with whom you’re considering teaming up appears in a dream wearing costume jewelry and fake leather shoes.

You’re postponing an important decision, and dream of “missing the boat.”

You’re unsure whether you have the ability to handle what seems like an impossible task, but then have a flying dream.

In the weeks prior to losing a job early in my journalism career, one I was hanging onto primarily for the security and status, my dreams were splitting at the seams with portents of how I really felt about trading off integrity for comfort and a dollop of renown. And though I faithfully recorded them in my dream journal, I did absolutely nothing about interpreting them. At some level, I didn’t want to know what they had to tell me. Which is another way of saying I knew what they had to tell me.

In one dream, I was handed a stack of hundred-dollar bills and later discovered that I’d been cheated: only the top bill was a one-hundred; the rest were ones. In another, I lost my wallet with all my identification cards in it. In another, I found a golden calf, deformed and chained to the ground. In yet another, I was invited to the boss’ estate for an extravagant pool party, but the pool was empty.

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