During a recent newspaper interview, I was asked, “How do you know the difference between a dream that has a real message, and a dream that is just messing with you?”

My chin dropped.  How could the richness of dreams that I accept without question be considered as a meaningless nightly romp through a series of scrambled images.  After regaining my composure, I answered, “There is no such thing as a dream that’s just messing with you.  All dreams have a sincere, valuable message.”

Our ensuing conversation prompted me to write this article for those who are dream curious.

There are three basic premises that apply to all dreams:

1.  All dreams serve the highest good of the dreamer.   Even nightmares deliver a healing message … they just have a strong negative feel so that we can’t ignore them.

2. All dreams are multi-layered, with many possible meanings.

3. All dreams deliver new information for the dreamer.

In other words – dreams are never just messing with you!  

And here’s why. Dreams occur during REM sleep when theta brain waves are present. The theta state bypasses our conscious minds, the home of our habitual thinking patterns that are conditioned by our personal history, allowing information to come through from the collective consciousness, archetypal wisdom, and spiritual truth. 

It’s during the theta state that we experience:

  • strong spiritual connection
  • vivid visualization
  • unlimited creativity
  • deep insight

Thank goodness we have nightly access to these expansive resources. Our dreams are an infinite, priceless well of inspiration for addressing life’s complicated issues.  And once we learn to decipher their language, they serve as an infallible road map for personal growth.

Why are dreams so perplexing?  Why don’t they just deliver the message in a clear, precise manner?  Because they are loaded with symbols that operate simultaneously on a multitude of levels:  personal, communal and archetypal.

Dreams speak to our spiritual evolution, personal challenges, relationships, health, and the roles we play in the world.  Every character, action, color, animal, sensation – everything in our dreams – either individually or collectively carries meaning in these various arenas. It takes practice to untangle the images!

Over the past thirty-plus years of working with dreams – both my own and those of friends and clients – I’ve discovered that some dreams lose their “juice” over time, while others remain fresh for decades.

The difference seems to lie in whether or not the message has been fully realized.  When the dream goes “flat,” the dream has fulfilled its purpose.  If there is still energy surrounding the dream, there is still wisdom to reap!