Inside the Dream World

Excerpted from

Sylvia Browne's Book of Dreams


As I said earlier, I've read the same dream interpretation books you've read, and often come away just as mystified as you have. The books that get on my nerves the most are the ones that start by marveling over how easy it really is to interpret our dreams and then proceed to offer such complicated, convoluted explanations of dream symbols that we come away feeling either hopeless or just plain too stupid to bother trying. So let's get a couple of things straight right up front.

For one thing, interpreting our dreams isn't always easy at all. Like so many other worthwhile skills, it takes practice, time, accurate information, and a willingness to keep an open, self-honest mind It's usually harder to interpret our own dreams than it is someone else's, since we're often so close to a situation that we "can't see the forest for the trees." So the more objectivity we can bring to the process, the more successful we're likely to be.

For another tiling, there's rarely only one 'right" answer to what a dream means. A few different possibilities can make all the sense in the world. And frankly, as long as we come away understanding the overall message of the dream, I don't think the literal meaning of the details matters all that much.

A perfect example is a client who came to me several months ago, just as I was starting this book (It's amazing how often life brings me relevant situations at the exact time I need them.) We were in the middle of a reading that had nothing to do with dreams at all when suddenly she felt compelled to tell me about a recurring nightmare she'd been struggling with for months:

"I'm trapped in this small room with gray walls and no windows," she told me. "I'm holding a baby, and I love babies, but this one isn't bringing me any joy at all-it's just making me anxious and frustrated because it has an insatiable appetite No matter how many bottles I give it, it keeps wanting more and more and more, like if s desperately needy but I'll never be able to satisfy it. I feel hopeless and stuck, because I know I'm responsible for this baby, but all I really want to do is escape from it and let it be someone else's problem."

The baby? Her husband. The bottle? His severe alcoholism, which he refused to address, let alone deal with Or, just as legitimately, the baby was her, feeling as helpless and defenseless as an infant in the face of her husband's drinking problem. Whether the baby represented him or her isn't nearly as important as the repeated snapshot she was being given while she slept of the truth she couldn't face in her waking hours: she fell trapped in a deeply troubled marriage that had long since stopped giving her any joy. She wanted to run away, but her sense of responsibility wouldn't allow it.

I didn't pick up that information about her husband's alcoholism psychically. I didn't need to She'd told me about it earlier in the reading She'd also told me how much she loved him and how it wasn't really that bad, certainly not bad enough to threaten her marriage. It was as good an example as I've seen of being too close to a situation to see the obvious message of a dream, and of how much more honest the spirit mind in the subconscious can be while the conscious mind is busy making excuses and flexing its defense mechanisms.

By the way, I got a letter from her eight months later, telling me that after repeated refusals by her husband to admit to, let alone deal with, his alcoholism, and alter a lot of therapy on her part, she'd left him. It wasn't easy, but she knew it was the right, healthy thing to do I especially loved one comment in particular: "Frankly, if you'd been the one to tell me how lost I was. I'm sure I would have refused to believe you. But since I was the one who was telling me, I couldn't exactly deny it."

Which illustrates another wonderful point I want to make about dreams before we get started our dreams and the spirit minds behind them are usually a whole lot smarter about us than we are, so what a waste not to master their language and then listen.

The Eternal Pursuit of Dreams

It should inspire, not discourage, us that people have probably been trying to solve the mysteries of dreams for as long as there have been people. Written interpretations of dreams date back to around 4000 B.C., but even before that, "primitive" societies (sometimes much wiser than we "civilized" societies, let's face it) thought of the world of dreams as nothing less than a more powerful version of the real world in which they spent their waking hours, so that those two worlds were inseparable, interdependent, and of equal importance.

Ancient Romans, who believed that dreams were messages from their gods, routinely relied on the Senate to interpret dreams that seemed significant, while the Greeks often assigned dream interpreters to be aides to their military leaders. In Africa, healers and shamans looked to their dreams for clues about diagnosing and curing illnesses. The Chinese and Mexicans thought of the dream world as a whole separate dimension that the soul travels to every night, a dimension where their ancestors waited to share comfort and wisdom. The Egyptians believed dreams to be sacred, and honored priests with the responsibility of interpreting them. Almost five hundred years before the birth of Christ, a northern Indian queen named Maya had a dream one night in which she was playing with a pure, perfect white baby elephant. At the end of the dream the elephant entered her womb, and when Maya woke she knew she'd been given a sign that she would someday give birth to an equally pure, perfect child That child was Siddhartha, who became the brilliant Buddha, and another great world religion was born, like Christianity would be, in the divine promise of a heeded dream.

Tags: Mental Health

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