1. Upon awaking - before you become fully alert, still feeling sleepy, lie quietly and try to recall as much detail of your dream as you can. (See article: Learning to recall your dreams). Don’t reject your dream because you think its silly, crazy, makes no sense or because you can only remember bits and pieces.
2. Write It Down - Honor your dream by recording what you remember, in a notebook or a journal. Keep this journal under your bed or on the night stand for easy access.
3. Acknowledge the Feeling - Make it a habit to record your feelings when you wake up. Do you feel happy, sad, peaceful, scared, worried, concerned, guilty, or any other emotion that accompanied the dream?
4. Pick out the most outstanding symbol, person, place or thing that you remember clearly. For those of us with busy schedules, by writing a few outstanding pieces to the dream, you may be able to recall more of it later in the day. Examples of this; “I remember a Big Red Truck.”
5. Define the action in the dream - Look for the verb meaning, what was the truck doing in the dream? Example; The Big red truck was driving on a one way street.
6. Title and Date Your Dreams - Always title your dreams based on what you wrote down in sections 4 and 5. This helps you to find them easily and to reference them in the future. Example title: 01/02/07, Red Truck on a One-way Street.
7. Define the characteristics and personal definition for each outstanding person, place, or thing. For instance: What does a big red truck mean to you? Think about its character verses a small pick-up truck.
I might define it as a fire engine, large, powerful, intimidating, carries a heavy load, makes a lot of noise to keep people out of its way…Now, do any of these characteristics apply to you?
Example: Looking at my definition of a red truck, you would discover a lot of character within me. I might be a large person in stature, I may come across as intimidating, I may carry some heavy burdens and I make a lot of noise to keep people at a distance. (Just so you know, none of these apply to me). ?
8. Be Transformed - Your dreams are painting a picture for you, revealing attitudes, behaviors, habits and emotions which need to change or ones you might need to develop. Generally speaking, every person, animal or thing within a dream symbolizes some aspect of you. For instance, a monkey in your dream could represent the angry you, the shy you, the playful you, the comedian in you, your childlike behaviors, your parenting skills, or your animal nature and so on.
Scripture tells us to, “ be transformed by the renewing of our mind, daily.” Our dreams help us to confront the truth about our weaknesses as well as our strengths. It is human (carnal) nature to deny our faults and even some of our strengths. However, change and spiritual growth are delayed until we admit that we have them.
Dreams tend to throw a spotlight on areas in your life that need transformation, either to improve upon or to omit. I can think of hundreds of case examples, but to keep things simple, I will use a dream that a client of mine had, that revealed to him, something which had been denied for a long time.
Bill’s Dream: “I continually dream of my brother Robert. This time we were fishing in the ocean. Instead of catching fish, I pull up a man, with fishing line around his neck. I am shocked and think he might be dead, but he isn’t. He is alive, he is happy and thanked me for saving him.”
Dr Kathy: “Tell me about your brother Robert, describe him to me.”
Bill: “He is my older brother, he is a big guy (tall), He is a minister, a good husband and a great Dad to his kids. I really admire him and wish I could be more like him…I’m such a loser.”
Dr Kathy: “What was the action in the dream?”
Bill: “We were fishing on my Brothers boat, in the ocean.”
Dr Kathy: “Did you know the man you saved?”
Bill: “No, never saw him before.”
Dr Kathy: “How did you feel in the dream?”
Bill: “At first I was shocked but then when the guy was thanking me, It felt really good.”
This dream was obvious to me from the onset, but it was important for Bill to understand the meaning. Bill was a Christian man and knew his scripture so we spoke about the fishermen in the Bible and I asked Bill to look up a few references. When we came across “fishers of Men” Bill identified his Brother as one of them.
Dr Kathy: “But Bill, in the dream, YOU catch and save the man.”
Bill denied having a calling of being a minister and continued to deny it for some time. He later became a deacon in the church, promoted to a youth pastor and finally realized it was time to go to seminary. That is when I received a phone call from him, telling me of his journey. “You were right Dr Kathy, I would never have believed I would be a minister someday. I always remembered that dream and what you told me about it, but I just brushed it off thinking you were crazy!”
Bill finally arrived. Transformed into what God called him to be…a fisher of Men. He also became a better husband and a great Dad to his girls. He became like the person he admired most, his brother.