The Body’s Dream Language

Over the past month, I’ve had two clients tell me powerful dreams they had after bodywork. I’ve had several clients describe images that came up during sessions. And I’ve had one reader request an article on dreams. So today, I’ll share some of what I know about the body’s dream language, my gift to them—and to you.

If you’ve worked with me for any length of time, you know I’m always interested in how things feel for you. Your body’s language of sensation and feeling is a powerful tool for healing and for knowing yourself. But there is another: the body’s language of symbols.

A symbol is a compact assemblage of meaning—all highly personal to you. Take an oak tree, for example. For you, it may connect to a sense of climbing, freedom, and elation. For another, it may be linked to falling, fear, and pain. For yet others, it may evoke coolness and shade, warm fall colors, or the start of school. All of your associations get built into the symbol. And you can draw on them to figure out what it means.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned from many years of writing down my dreams:

Create your own dream dictionary. We are all humans, having similar human experiences, so often symbols have common meanings. But just as often, the meaning of your symbol is highly personal. So it’s best to figure out that meaning for yourself.

Look at what went on the day or two before the dream. Dreams often process unresolved issues—especially feelings—of the past day or so. What stirred you up or left you unsatisfied, even if it’s about the past? That is fodder for dreams.

Follow the feelings. Dreams help us process undigested emotions. So give priority to the emotions in the dream. How do they relate to what’s going on in your life?

Ask what the symbol is like. Look at all of your past associations with the symbol. What stands out as the essence? Then ask what that essence is like in your life now.

Imagine every character is a part of yourself. Dreams about people we know can relate to outer relationships. But often, those people embody an aspect of ourselves.

Figure out what you don’t know. Dreams are communication from our deepest selves. They don’t just rehash what you already know. They tell you something more.

Lastly, look for the “aha.” Dream interpretation is more art than science. So look for a sense of “aha,” that inner ringing bell that tells you when you’ve got it.

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