Climbing the dream mountain: Understanding dreams, and why it’s worth making the effort

Understanding our night dreams can feel like a difficult task at first, somewhat like climbing a mountain!

In this article we explore this illustration further – to identify some reasons why it is worth making the climb.

Plus we also look at a real dream and its interpretation.

To start or not to start?

Standing at the bottom, the mountain seems to loom above us, and it can seem a long way up. A decision has to be made: ‘Will I attempt the climb?” We might feel overwhelmed and decide not to set out. Alternatively we might choose to attempt the journey and make a start. This is not the time to worry about whether we will make it to the top, but to prepare provisions, check the map, and set off, just taking one step at a time.

It’s all about the journey

Once we are on the way, it doesn’t matter if other people are at different stages of the climb. Everyone knows that it is the journey itself that is important. The journey improves our strength and physical stamina. There are new views to enjoy at each stage of the route. There is a sense of achievement and fulfilment each time we reach a landmark . The enjoyment of the view at the top is all the greater for knowing that we climbed up there.

When we are coming back down the mountain and see other people on the way up, we don’t think any less of them for being where they are. We know that it is just a matter of time, and soon they will have completed the climb too. Rather, we would encourage them to keep going. We would tell them that it is worth the effort, and that it is possible to make it to the top.

A big shift in thinking

Believing that God speaks through dreams can be a big shift in thinking, particularly in our western culture where we have been taught that dreams are not important. When we first start taking note of our dreams they can appear to be very confusing, and even crazy. It can feel like too much effort to think about them. And if we start trying to understand them, we can get disheartened though the mistakes that we make, from the seeming lack of progress, and from just not feeling good enough.

I have experienced all those stages myself. Fourteen years ago I decided to start the journey, and I have had many setbacks and made countless mistakes. However the further I pursued understanding, the more I realised that God really was speaking to me though my dreams all the time! It was one of the most precious discoveries of my life.

For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up

Galatians 6:9

Real dream example

I had this dream a number of years ago, soon after I started paying attention to my dreams:

The dream: Pushing through the door

I dreamed that a teacher from Streams Ministries came to our church.

Then I was standing outside the old door of a church building. I tried to push the door open to get in but it wouldn’t move at first. I had to keep pushing and pushing until the door sort of ‘unravelled’ and opened. I went in.

Once inside, I walked through the traditional building, but halfway down the room it morphed into an open space – like being outdoors. As it opened up I could see a lovely lake and green foliage: it was beautiful, bright and appeared sparkling. I gazed at it in wonder, feeling as though I should tell some other people about it. Then I awoke with a sense of awe, feeling that I had been somewhere heavenly.

Some symbols explained:

Streams Ministries: Streams is the ministry of John Paul Jackson, where I first learned about dream interpretation. At that time I had just taken a Streams course on understanding dreams (see resources/links page for info). This teacher coming to my church gave the context for the rest of the dream – it was all about dream interpretation.

The church door: The church represented my spiritual life in relation to understanding my dreams. The door ‘unraveling’ was similar to the idea of solving puzzles and clues, which is all part of the dream interpretation process. The point was I would need to push through and not give up, until the mystery in each dream was unraveled!

The sparkling area: This image gave me the motivation for pressing on with dream interpretation, which would take me to a place beyond natural thinking where I could connect with the spiritual / heavenly realm.

The Interpretation:

This dream was encouraging me to persevere with interpreting dreams, even though I felt like giving up. The reward would be that I would go beyond the natural realm and gain a heavenly perspective. (I wrote about that in ‘Dreams feel like touching heaven). It also carried the hope that I would be able to help others on this journey (just like I am now).

If you continue the journey and do not give up, you will also gain a heavenly perspective on your life, and discover the amazing treasures in your dreams. Just like me.

A journey worth taking

To those just setting out in the world of dreams, and to those wondering whether to make a start, I can testify that it is a journey well worth taking. It is worth preparing, by getting some good teaching to give yourself a strong foundation, and it is worth persevering. Practice is everything. Along the way you will learn so much about yourself, about God’s ways, and how He feels about you. You will discover purpose, direction and identity, and you will actually encounter the God of love Himself.

So don’t be daunted at the challenge. A journey starts with a decision to try. Step by step, dream by dream, we learn and climb. And once we are well on the way, we will be able to encourage others who are at a different stages or just setting out. Let us press on towards the goal!

Understanding your night dreams, and why it’s worth making the effort.

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