Dreams can leave us feeling an array of emotions when we wake and while many relate to our day-to-day lives, others seem unnatural and downright confusing.
Some experts say dreams are the body’s way of confronting emotional drama and others claim they’re the brain’s way of sorting through memories and information. A widely agreed theory is that dreams are actually based on recent activities, issues and conversations in our lives.
Dream analyst and therapist Jane Teresa Anderson returns to Starts at 60 with some more insights into how your unusual dreams could possibly be interpreted.
How did you feel about flying in your dream? Take this feeling as the cue and look for a situation in the day or two before your dream where this feeling came up.
For example, if you were feeling excited and amazed about your new talent (flying), perhaps you’ve been discovering new talents, or stepping out of your comfort zone with success, or reaching a (literally) higher potential. If you felt anxious about flying, or kept losing height and dropping back down, perhaps you’ve been feeling anxious about the new heights you’re having a go at achieving, or letting a little self-doubt draw you back.
If you flew in your dream to escape, then what are you trying to escape in waking life? The other details in your dream will fill in the details and throw light on your mindset around these feelings.
Always bear in mind that our dreams reflect our unconscious as well as our conscious experiences, so some of the feelings you noticed in your dream may reveal feelings that are more unconscious but still powerfully influencing the way you go about your life.
These dreams are not what they seem. They’re generally not about our fears or feelings about our bodies or body image. They’re typically more about our fears and feelings about people seeing through us, seeing the real you, not the one we may prefer people to see.
Be guided by how you feel about your nakedness in your dream. If you feel good about it, your dream may be processing feeling good about being your true self in the world. If you feel worried about it, let the other details in your dream spell out the reasons why you prefer to hide behind an image or feel too vulnerable to trust letting your real self show.
Again, begin with the feeling you had in your dream and then see where that feeling came up in the day or two before. Were you clinging on to a cliff top in your dream before reaching a point where you couldn’t hold on any longer? What situation in your life feels like this?
Might it be a relationship, or a project, or trying to hold on to control a situation but having, finally, to let go? Were you trying to climb but fell? Might this reflect a fear or feeling of falling behind in a goal you’re trying to achieve?
Did you fall because you were on unstable ground? Might this relate to feeling insecure about something? If you have been experiencing walking difficulties or balance issues in waking life, your dream might be processing these experiences, helping you to practice and find ways to establish more stability.
As with all dreams, it’s the other details in your dream that help pinpoint the full meaning and that reveal aspects of your mindset that are affecting your situation.
Again, every dream is unique, so the meaning of this kind of dream ultimately depends on the other details in the dream, but a good place to start is to ask yourself how you would describe this person’s personality. It’s helpful to look at everyone and everything in a dream as representing something about the dreamer, so this person may represent an issue you’re currently experiencing around that personality trait that you’ve identified.
For example, if you see that person as courageous, what is the courage issue that you’re facing now? Or if you see that person as distrusting, what is it that you’re distrusting right now? Alternatively, the person might represent an era in your life: for example, if you last knew this person during your student years, ask yourself what’s been on your mind recently, looking back to your years as a student.
What can you learn about yourself by looking back to those times now? If you lost contact with the person over an issue, ask yourself if a similar issue has come up for you recently, or if it’s time to look back and find a way to resolve that long ago issue now, with or without contacting the person.
Dreams are more about our inner world than about the people who feature in our dreams. Do you need to forgive yourself, or that person, within your inner world, to move on? What inspiration or learning can you take from contemplating that person?
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