Often our sleeping dreams reflect the experiences of our everyday lives. The frustrations, fears, and anxieties we face daily are replayed through our dreams. When we wake up in the morning, we can feel like we didn’t get a break from the previous day’s stressors. These dreams are viewed as not worthy of writing down since their meanings are easily explained away. They are our throwaway dreams that feel unremarkable, commonplace, and boring. We want the bigger, more important dreams that inspire the inventors, visionaries, and artists of the world. I long for these dreams too, but these “big” dreams happen less frequently and are smaller in number when compared to our “common” dreams.
How we relate to these common dreams is similar to how we relate to our common lives. If days, months, and years of our lives go by, and we feel like nothing has changed or nothing exciting ever happens to us, maybe we haven’t been paying attention to what makes our common lives special and significant. In a sense, we could say we have been asleep while awake, missing the uncommon events that are happening all around us. Looking for the extraordinary in the ordinary and reminding ourselves of what we are grateful for in our lives is a theme in numerous books on spirituality and creating lasting happiness. The information isn’t new, but the busier our lives get the more likely we are to disconnect from our surroundings. So, how does this relate to our common dreams, and how can we be inspired by them?
First, our common dreams aren’t that common. Your dream about being unprepared for the test, unable to find the classroom, or getting lost is different than somebody else’s. For example, you are you in the dream; you are a certain age; it is a certain time of day and year; and the school is different and so is the test. Maybe, there are other people in the dream, people from your past and present that are gathered together in the same dream. Some of the people in your dream may no longer be alive. This seemingly ordinary dream is no more ordinary than you are. Every symbol, color, noise, sensation, and person in the dream is composed precisely for and by you.
Secondly, we have lots of common dreams. If we want to work with our dreams, why not start with the dreams that are plentiful and readily available to us? Waiting for a dream that feels important enough for us to work with is like waiting for something amazing to happen in our lives before we take action. Similar to taking the necessary steps needed so that we will be prepared when opportunity strikes, working with our common dreams gives us the skills needed to receive and render our big dreams when they appear.
Tonight, before you go to bed, put a pad of paper or journal by your bed. Write a few words about what you are grateful for and at least one thing that happened in your day that was remarkable. This practice will train you to pay attention to the many days that fill your life and look at things differently than you would normally. Both of these abilities are valuable when working with your dreams.
Then, when you wake up the next morning, write down your dream. Receive your common dream that is uniquely yours with gratitude. Set aside some time (it doesn’t have to be right after you write it down) to investigate what is unusual or puzzling about the dream. Take one piece of the dream and ask yourself, why did I choose that scene, that time, that person, that age, …? Awaken your sense of curiosity. Even if you believe you had this dream numerous times before, examine what is different this time. As you begin gathering these common dreams, group them together by topic or theme. If you do, it won’t take long for you to discover that each dream is slightly different. No two are exactly the same just as no two days are exactly the same when you take the time to focus on what makes them special.
Lisa Finander is a published author, developmental editor, and consultant/teacher specializing in mind, body, spirit subjects.
Throughout her college coursework, Lisa created Independent Studies combining subjects such as tarot and dreamwork with personal development, resulting in her completion of a B.A. in Psychology & Symbolism from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota.
She is the author of Disneystrology: What Your Birthday Character Says About You. For Disneystrology, Lisa incorporated the teachings of astrology, tarot, and numerology to create 366 unique birthday entries with a corresponding Disney character... read more about Lisa