However, rationally understanding your dreams can prove a useful tool in self exploration and can prove interesting in itself. So if you still wish to go ahead and try to analyze your dreams rationally you need to have a dream diary and enough 'material" recorded.
Of course, the more dreams you have recorded the better, as this will allow you to be able to spot similarities and make associations. Before you go any further decide which dreams are worth studying more closely and including in your analysis.
Some dreams will be more significant than others. Of course you wouldn't want to analyse a dream that you found uninteresting or a dream that was obvious in content and meaning (such as for example a dream about needing to go to the toilet after which you woke up needing to do exactly that) . Dreams that matter are those that possess special resonance such as dreams that give you a feeling that stays with you (whether positive or negative)
After you have sorted through the dreams you consider significant you ask yourself some questions:
- Is the 'place' where the dream is set somewhere you have been to recently or in the past?
- How does this place make you feel?
- Try describing the setting: if for example you have dreamt that you were back at school and were taking a test , some of the words that might come up could be "young", "teacher", "test", "exam".
- How do you feel about these words? Do you feel pressure or stress or anxious when you think about those things?
Other questions to ask yourself are:
- Who are the people in your dream? (if any)
- What role do they play in your (waking) life ?
- If they are people you never met before do they remind you of anyone you know?
- What qualities do they have?
- Once again, try to think of words that might describe them. Are they young, old, sweet, helpless, powerful, free, vulnerable, trapped etc?
- Does this relate at all with your current emotional state? Does this say anything about how you feel at the moment in your waking life?
Finally, think about the feelings around your dream:
- how did you feel during your dream?
- How did you feel immediately afterwards?
- Have you felt a lot like this recently? The emotions in your dreams can give you a clue about how you feel in your waking life.
Once you have gone through a few dreams you may be ready to move on to find possible parallels among them so you may begin to understand your own unique dream "language". Ask yourself :
- do certain themes appear regularly?
- do you have similar kind of dreams in times of stress?
- do you see any patterns emerging?
We all create our own dream language. A big part of this language is made out of symbolic imagery. The best way to understand the language is to understand the symbols and what they mean to you.
Remember: your subconscious has created your symbols so only you can truly understand what they mean. Although your rational mind may not understand them your subconscious does, and the subconscious is the seat of the emotions. This is why it is important to always connect to the feeling behind the image.