Dreams often perplex and intimidate the conscious mind. We often talk about the dreams we have with friends or family, but most of the time we have no concrete idea of what they mean or why we have them.
Recurring dreams are particularly interesting as it is apparent our subconscious mind is trying to send us a message, but without the right knowledge most people will never grasp what is being shown to them.
Dreams are one of my most favorite topics to talk about, as they are an aspect of our lives that is rarely discussed in depth. In this post I want to go over what recurring dreams mean, how they relate to our waking life and what to do to stop them.
Dream interpretation doesn’t have to be difficult, all it takes is knowing what to look for. So without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Why Do We Have Recurring Dreams?
Dreams show us the things that we suppress from our consciousness – in vivid color right before our eyes. They highlight consistent obstacles that we may not be aware of, or would rather pretend don’t exist. Recurring dreams bring our shadow up to the surface for conscious examination, so that we may shine awareness on them.
Recurring dreams can also show us desires that we suppress. The goals that we feel are out of reach. They can show us a persistent problem in our relationships. Suppressed emotions. Anything that we are stuck on or constantly thinking about in waking life can be represented in a recurring dream.
Back when I was a teenager I had recurring dreams of flooding and running from a flood for years! In one dream I was with a group of people and we were stacking up all the items around us in order to gain height over a rising flood. In another my home was being flooded as I ran up the stairs.
Eventually it dawned on me that these dreams were trying to tell me something (obvious I know) and I wanted to figure out what that was. I would notice the dreams would follow the days and weeks in my life where I was the most stressed and anxious.
I figured out that the floods represent anxiety – constantly running from the present moment and never feeling at peace. Rather than face a problem I would literally run away from it. Rather than look for a long term solution I would try to take a shortcut.
Once I acknowledged and came to peace with this aspect of myself, the dreams stopped entirely! I haven’t had a dream that featured flooding in this way for years.
Keep a Dream Journal
So you’ve identified that dream has a message for you, but how do you go about interpreting it? As our dreams use metaphor to represent issues we need to be a little creative in how we interpret them.
The first and most important step is to start keeping a consistent dream journal. Keep a notebook that is dedicated solely to your dreams, keep it close to your bed and make a habit of writing in each whenever you remember a dream.
You can also keep a record of your dreams in the notes section of your phone, as a voice memo or start a dream art book. Use whatever method and medium that works best for you, after all this is your dream journal.
For each dream entry have a section for:
- A title for your dream
- A detailed account of it
- Dream symbols
- Types of dream characters
- The emotions you felt while dreaming and upon waking
- Your take on what it represents
Although this is a lot of work, it will make referencing back a whole lot easier.
How to Interpret Recurring Dreams
When we have a record of our dreams we can start to see the patterns that pop up in them more easily. You’ll notice that certain dream characters, emotions, symbols and themes consistently appear in your dreams. You will also begin to see that the mood of your dreams can shift depending on the stage of life you are at.
When you have a recurring dream you are ready to interpret start with the symbols, characters and emotions you feel during it. Use a dream dictionary as a reference to get a broad idea of what some of these aspects symbolize. Next write down what these characters, symbols and emotions mean to you. How are they relevant to your daily life?
Bring all of these information together and see if you can notice a connection between the different seemingly disjointed aspects. The next thing you want to do is compare these dreams to the events from the last days and weeks of your life. Think about your current obstacles, relationships, goals and emotions.
A recurring dream may represent:
- A repeating relationship dynamic
- A dream or goal you want to reach
- An obstacle and how you approach it
- An inner conflict
- A suppressed emotion in your life
- Your predominant thoughts/patterns
You should start to connect the dots.
How to Stop Recurring Dreams
Once you have a good idea of what a recurring dream means, now is the time to start addressing it. Don’t become overwhelmed trying to fix a problem or work towards a goal right this moment. To stop a recurring dream we have to stop running away from or ignoring what are dreams are trying to show us.
Whether your dreams are representing a goal you have, or a problem you can’t seem to get over the first thing we must do is come to peace with this. Peace is what settles the anxious energy that recurring dreams represent.
Once you have come to peace with what your subconscious mind is showing you, you can now work on overcoming it. If the dream represents a goal you have, start by thinking of all the ways you can achieve this. If it represents a problem, think of how you can overcome it.
Once we have come to peace with an issue or have began to work on overcoming it, these recurring dreams stop. Our subconscious mind is no longer constantly anxious or anticipating as soon as we shine awareness on what it shows us.
Over the course of our lives we may have several different types of recurring dreams, depending on the obstacles we are facing. When you tune into this aspect of your consciousness you will become incredibly familiar with the ebb and flow of it, specific themes will surface and then disappear according. Using this information we can navigate our waking lives with increasingly clarity.
Do you have a recurring dream?