All the good things in life have come from the world of visions and dreams. Someone entered the finer realms of life for a moment and brought back a treasure. The practical mind turned it to use and the world was richer and better than it was before. ~Christian D. Larson

Are our dreams – those wild, fantastic, uncensored jumble of images that bombard our sleep – just a retweet of our day’s events, or are they more?  Can we open our mind to the possibility that our dreams might actually come bearing gifts…valuable gifts that could help us gain guidance, solve problems, and figure out our magic formula for meeting the man of our dreams or getting the raise we’ve been praying for? 

I believe the answer to that question is an unequivocal "Yes!" In fact, in my experience I’ve found dreams to be therapeutic, cathartic, predictive, cleansing, healing, and inspiring. 

I’ve found that in order to make sense of these multi-faceted, multi-purposed, multi-layered, and multi-platinum gifts that we awaken with each morning, it is helpful to know how to categorize them. 

There are telltale signs within each dream classification to help us discern whether they are helping us to process information, release negativity, embrace our shadow, breakthrough limitations, predict the future, receive inspiration from our higher selves, create the life of our dreams…or all of the above.

The following are the 8 Most Common Dream Types and what they are telling us:

1. Processing Dreams—These dreams can feel quite annoying, in that they are a rehash of the day’s events, in other words, “sleep-working”.  In these dreams we are tying up loose ends from the office or rehearsing ways to resolve a conversation that went awry. As tedious as these dreams may feel, they can give us an advantage like eyes in the back of our head or a rehearsal before a play.

2. Venting Dreams—These are our nightmares where we are being chased, falling, or screaming bloody murder at an intruder. Venting dreams are, let’s face it, terrifying.  But, the good news is that they can be therapeutic in that they are helping us to release beliefs that keep us from being our most fabulous selves. If we properly vent out these limited thoughts, we might, upon waking, deal with situations in our life more powerfully.  Think “out with the old, in with the new.”

3. Integration Dreams—We dream that we or someone else is acting out in an extreme way. The characters that show up in an integration dream are either ones that we hold in high esteem or have great judgement or resistance toward (i.e. a celebrity that we love receives a standing ovation, or a skantliy clad co-worker pole dances in the lobby at work). Consider that this character or behavior is a vital aspect of ourselves (as disturbing or too good to be true as that may sound) and in embracing it we become more whole. Think of a jigsaw puzzle with more of its pieces intact.

4. Breakdown/Breakthrough Dreams—Dreams of disaster, death, fires, tornados, floods, earthquakes (oh my!) may reflect that we are in the midst of great change, or to prepare for the change that might be right around the corner.  We humans are creatures of habit that cling to routine with white knuckles, and these dreams are the help we need to loosen our death grip and create a bit of wiggle room within our business as usual routine. The trick is to embrace change…I even suggest going so far as to celebrate it if we can….even if it shows up like a rug being pulled out from beneath us. As they say, Shift happens, and we might as well meet it at the door with open arms.

5. Recurring Dreams—Our recurring dreams are like a Secret Agent, on a mission for the S.C.I.A.  (Sub-Conscious Intelligence Agency).  The mission: To deliver a message to our conscious mind that will enhance our well-being and happiness, should we choose to accept it.  Until the mission is accomplished, the agent (repetitive dream) will try again and again until the message is received and decoded successfully.

6. Pre-cognitive Dreams—These are dreams where we look into the dreamtime crystal ball and see the possible or probable future.  We can never quite be sure
that ours is precognitive until an aspect of it plays out in “real” life (duh!). However, here’s a clue that our dream may be prophetic: We dream of people, places and situations that are future extensions of what is currently taking place in our lives (i.e. we dream of baking a cake in an oven, and we find out later that day we are pregnant—ala something sweet in the oven).

7. Prophetic Dreams— These are like our own personal burning bush that can, if we heed their messages, reveal more than any psychic friend ever could. Our dream falls into the “prophetic” category if we dream of a wise, loving being (i.e. Jesus, Krishna, Buddha, Mother Teresa, Ammachi, Gandhi, our departed pet, or grandparent) and we feel that we’ve been given a gift or taught a life lesson. To make the most of this dream, I suggest sharing it with a friend, creating it into an expression of art (i.e. painting, dancing, poetry, even a tatoo) and most of all, making a point to recall the wisdom and/or feeling tone of this dream throughout the day.

8. Wish Fulfillment Dreams—Like a genie in a bottle, these dreams can align us with the resonance of our heart and soul residence. Just as people who are wealthy attract more wealth to them and happy people attract more circumstances to them that make them happy, when we embody the energy of a wish fulfillment dream, we add velocity to the process of manifestation. These dreams might include dreaming about an upcoming vacation, an ideal scene at work, or the resolution of a conflict that we’ve had with a sibling. Because our subconscious mind cannot discern between actual events and that which is vividly imagined, our wish fulfillment dreams create an energetic map that can lead us from where we are to where we would prefer to be.

What type of dream did you have last night?

Join the conversation! Post your dream on Dreams Cloud, then tweet it using #DreamChallenge. 

Excerpted from I Had the Strangest Dream: The Dreamer’s Dictionary for the 21st Century
Excerpted from It’s All In Your Dreams (Conari Press). Once you buy your copy, click here to receive fr*ee dreamy gifts throughout the month of May.