What Do People Mean in a Dream?

What does it mean when someone appears in your dream?   If you have read my postings in the past, you know that I believe strongly that dreams are given to us so that we can become more of our true selves by developing new qualities and processes.   One thing most people have not thought about in regards to dreams is that, despite the fact that dreams are written in metaphoric language, there is such a thing as a message being more metaphoric than other.  Some messages are closer to the real world and less in the metaphoric world.

What I mean by this idea is that when you have a dream with an animal in it and it exhibits a certain quality such as the way a bear represents strength or a tiger represents courage, that animals in dreams are more metaphoric than people.   This means that when you have an animal dream, that the process you are trying to manifest in your life is further away from its full application in the world than if you dream about a person with a developed quality.

When an animal appears, you are more likely to be in a stage of development where you can do a lot of  meditation and reflection and inner work, but not have a great deal of application in the outer world.   When the dreams shift to people, it means that the application in the outer world is much closer after you do the change work.   The person in the dream is still best understood as a metaphor, but the degree to which you can act with the quality or need to avoid it, is very high.

The mistake that most people make in dream interpretation with people is that they tend to regard them too literally rather than regarding them as metaphors and then acting on the message.   It is generally more transformational to regard people in a dream as parts of yourself that you either need to change because they are negative or move toward because they are positive.  It always helps when you ask the question, “What is the positive quality that this dream is trying to develop in me?”

Many people, because they are not used to thinking in a metaphoric manner,  try to immediately react to a person in a dream in real life because they think the dream is telling them to do so.  Dreams always point in you in the direction of change and when you make the change, the person may show up and have a relationship with you, but it is not the first step.  The first step is always meditation and change because the purpose of life is to develop your capacities.

Take this example.   Suppose you are in a marriage that is relatively stable, but going through a difficult patch because of the trials of life.   Then one night you dream of an old girl friend or boy friend that makes you feel really attracted.   The worst mistake you can make is to think that the dream wants you to leave your marriage for the old flame.    What the dream really wants you to do is to remember the qualities of the old boy or girl friend that you already have in you, and then begin using the qualities again in your life and marriage.   As soon as you do this then the marriage always gets better.  If the old friend had the quality of enthusiasm or inner perception,  then that is what your current marriage needs you to be and use.

There is a different scenario that happens in dreams when you are in a marriage for the wrong reason or were forced into it.   Your dreams, in this case, will have you remember the people and qualities that actually cause you to leave the marriage.   When you develop that part of you, the door will open so that you can be a relationship that is more suited to you.

Persians have this idea that if you dream about a wedding with someone that is a very bad sign that something bad is going to happen.   And this is clearly because a wedding in the Persian culture is not between people who chose each other.   The marriage is usually chosen for material values based upon status and gain.

7 Comments on “What Do People Mean in a Dream?

  1. Like other things in dreams you can get a lot of benefit by looking at food as a metaphor, but the other thing that you can do with a dream that is about food when it is so obvious is regard it as literal also. I don’t like for people to start out literally in their dream analysis because the sequence of development is always first to develop the spiritual quality and then to get the physical development. So in this dream you can think of it both ways. People tend to over indulge in sweet things because sweetness is the thing that is missing in their lives. There are a lot of cultures that entice you in with sweetness in the first interactions, but then when you get to the core of the relationships there is just not a lot of good qualities that can sustain healthy development. In a Baha’i marriage, for instance, Baha’u’llah encourages us to look beyond the superficial sweetness so that we can see the character of the person, if it actually has some nutritious aspects to it.

    Anyone coming from middle America, which is an area not typified by sweetness, will naturally crave it. There tends to be people there who have strong fundamental values, but lack sweetness. Let’s face it, -20 degrees, means you have to be tough.

    Now you are in a situation, where you have been in a culture where you have experienced more sweetness for a long time so you don’t crave it so much. You can choose it if you need it, but it isn’t the thing that compels you. You can choose the healthy qualities and do so in moderation.

    By having the internal self being filled with sweetness the outer self does not crave it so much. The outer self can eat moderately and healthy and then the inner self can go back to working on other qualities.

  2. I am really appreciating all of your posts, Richard, and starting to look at my dreams in new ways. Do you have any thoughts on dreams about eating? I often have dreams that I am at a buffet and am enticed and can’t choose between all the food and often pile up my plate high with donuts, chocolate, and other food even though I couldn’t imagine eating all of it. But the other night for the first time I was choosing healthy food from a salad and pasta bar instead and chose only as much food as I could eat. I did want to go back and get more but they had cleared up.

  3. Ah yes. I see. Courage, confidence and adventurous. These are the things that Mexico is going to help me remember.

  4. Fiona is best understood in the dream as a part of you rather than the dream being about you. She represents a part of you that has already come up, that you have been distracted from, and that you have left alone. Now you are going back to it, but it seems so small to you and lifeless and also very heavy to develop. If you can discover the part of you that is trying to develop, you can begin to nurture it fullest expression. When you do this, then you will be able to naturally nurture it in Fiona.

    I would guess that the part of you that needs work is that of being more adventurous. When you try to be adventurous, the first feeling that you will encounter is heaviness and then fear. The fact that you are going to Mexico next week should be no small coincidence since it was in Mexico that you were really on your own for the first time for an extended period of time. It might help you to be more adventurous again if you realize that Fiona can not become the person she is intended to be unless you become more adventurous.

  5. Very interesting. I was just looking back over your older posts about water because I had a dream the other day where I put Fiona in the bath and turned the water on. Then I got distracted and went to the bedroom and the kitchen. Suddenly I remembered that she was in the bath and ran back there. She was immersed under the water and completely lifeless. She was the size of my pinky finger and I reached under the water to get her out to resuscitate her, but the water was so heavy and just kept pushing her from one side of the bath to the other (under the water). I couldn’t get her out and woke up in a fright (and reached down to make sure she was still breathing in real life!).

    I was thinking that I means that I am being too “heavy” and distracted in my relationships and I need to be more smiley and playful, like Fiona, with my relationships with others. Do you have any other ideas?

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