One of the many ways to work with dreams is to pay attention to your dream settings, meaning the places you find yourself in during the dream itself. Settings can give you important clues when trying to understand the dreams meaning.
Dream settings give us the ability to see where we are in our life, whether it be emotionally, mentally physically or spiritually. We may not realize it consciously, but our dreams will connect current feelings and experiences to other times in our life when we may have had similar feelings. They will also use settings as indicators showing us what is going on in our life and areas that may need attention. We can use dream settings as a way to become aware of something we may otherwise miss during dreamwork.
For example, let’s say that in your waking life you are going through difficulties at work with a boss that is very controlling and who treats you like a child. Your dreams may bring this to your attention by placing you in a dream that takes place in a home you grew up in with a father who had very similar qualities to your boss. You might find yourself back in elementary school or in a playground you used to frequent where similar experiences were prevalent in your life. Though you might not be surprised by the correlation, you may find that it helps you to understand what beliefs, habits, attitudes or patterns you may be operating from in your current situation, and why you may be reacting in a certain way to what is going on. With this understanding, we can assess how we are handling something and make adjustments if necessary. We can also come up with a new and improved ways of handling a situation or circumstance altogether.
When we are in alignment with what our soul wants for us and our creativity is flowing with fresh new ideas and outlooks, we may dream we are walking through a house or office and suddenly start finding rooms that never before existed. If you are excited and feel good about finding these new rooms as if they are treasures, then there is a strong possibility that you are awakening new aspects of yourself that you didn’t even realize existed. This kind of dream helps us to see that something we are doing in our inner or outer life is working and our dreaming psyche is responding to that.
If in our dream we find ourselves in the desert, whether we know this place or not, we can ask ourselves questions like, what is a desert, and what is a desert like? We may come up with qualities such as it is a very dry place, there is no apparent life, water is hard to find, etc. We can then ask ourselves, where in my own life am I feeling dried up, lifeless and thirsty for something that makes me feel fulfilled? On the other hand, perhaps you are someone that loves the desert and finds deep solitude and time to think while immersed in that landscape. In that case your desert setting may be an important sign showing you that it is time to make space for some alone time and meditation. Our personal associations to settings are key to determining what the settings mean to us.
Here is a tip in working with dream settings; be sure when journaling your dreams to write your dream in the present tense. There is a big difference between writing, “I was in jail”, versus, “I am in jail.” It brings you into the immediacy of the moment and shows you where you “are” at the time of the dream.
Click here to view my YouTube Video, “Tips on How to work with Dream Settings”