UNITED STATES—Lying down on a concrete slab restrained somehow where darkly colored demons all surround me. I observe them all and listen in terror as they casually discuss with each other how they plan to torture and destroy me.

I arise suddenly unrestrained and run as fast as I can out of their dungeon. It is dark and night’s cold hand welcomes me into it as I run aimlessly. I feel at the nape of my neck the breath of someone or something upon me. Bravely, I look behind to find the darkly colored demons a distance away from me with no desire to pursue. Their faces confused… like we just had a misunderstanding…they didn’t mean to frighten.

This is a portion of a dream I had years ago. It’s imagery, fear and confusion it struck in me and hasn’t left.

Many of us have dreams and some we cannot forget. Few of us recognize the importance of dreaming and the wisdom dreams may bring. Dreaming is a way for our brain to connect the conscious to the unconscious. They play out many of our deepest desires to our most painful experiences that we might not be comfortable examining in our waking life. Understanding dreams and their unique language is key to understanding all aspects of yourself – making you feel whole.

To begin this process, start by recording your dreams in a journal. As soon as you wake up in the morning record your dreams. Once you wake up you could forget a huge portion of your dream if you don’t record it immediately. As the day progresses, more and more of the details of the dream will fade. The ability to recall dream details is vital if you want to establish a connection with the unconscious. This ability will be strengthened the more you work to record your dreams in a timely manner.

As you record your dreams remember to take note of key elements. Begin to recognize how you felt in your dream. Did you feel hopeless, scared, anxious or calm? The feelings of the dream can make sense of the symbols that may not make much sense by themselves.

The next step would be to take note of the symbols even the seemingly insignificant ones. Just beware of any commercialized dream dictionary. While there are many universal meanings for dream symbols the human experience is diverse. This diversity can create different associations for symbols for different people due to their experiences. Instead of treating the dream dictionary as doctrine use it only as a helpful guide. It is more important to determine what a dream symbol means to you than what it might mean to “most” people.

Once you begin to analyze your dreams regularly you gain insights about yourself. Aspects of yourself that you weren’t aware of will begin to rise to the surface. If we want to feel whole it is nearly impossible to become whole if we fail to integrate both the right and left sides of our brains. Analyzing our dreams is one of the simplest ways to bring the unconscious and conscious together.