Dr. Oz held a slumber party on national TV tonight. Interesting concept – the whole audience, as well as Dr. Oz and his guests, dressed in PJs! You’ve got to give the man points for showmanship.
No slumber party would be complete without some sweet dreams and so, of course, dreaming was one of the topics covered. (If you missed the show, you can watch the dream segment in three parts from the links at the end of this post) I have mixed feelings about the dream information presented during the show.
First of all, kudos to Dr. Oz for recognizing the importance of dreams and emphasizing that they are offering vital guidance for our health and well being. I couldn’t agree more. And, it’s about time the topic of dreams got some prime time exposure on national TV.
There was also some very good information about the physiology of dreams and what’s going on in the brain and body during the dream state delivered in true Oz style, although no lab coat or purple gloves were necessary this time as he used a projected visual rather than an actual brain. It’s fascinating to realize how very active your brain becomes during sleep, even as your body is immobilized by paralyzing chemicals to prevent you from acting out the motions in your dreams.
Three of guest Lauri Loewenberg’s four suggestions for improving dream memory were right on. And I was not aware of the Vitamin B connection to dream recall, so that’s something I’m going to try out. However, I disagree with her on her fourth suggestion. She says you must not move from the position you are in when you awake, because that’s the position you were dreaming in and therefore that’s the only position you’ll remember your dream in.
I agree there’s a powerful body position connection in dream recall, but the position you wake in is not the only position you may have been dreaming in. I often remember MULTIPLE dreams by quietly and slowly moving through all three of my normal sleeping positions (back, left side, right side). Even if I don’t remember anything as I lie quietly in my waking position, I often will find some dream recall in one or both of the other positions. If you want to learn to remember your dreams more clearly, download my own 10 Tips for Improving Dream Recall by signing up for my mailing list at the top of this page.
As for how to find the meaning in your dreams, I have a huge problem with the way Loewenberg “analyzed” Dr. Oz’s dream and the dreams of some of the folks in the audience. If you learn nothing else about dreams, please learn this. NOBODY can tell you what your dream means. YOU are the only one who knows that. Canned symbol definitions just don’t cut it, and that’s why dream dictionaries aren’t that useful. Neither are dream “experts” who want to tell you what your dream means rather than helping you to connect to the unique and personal meaning it has for you. Your own personal response to the symbols in your dream is the key.
It irks me when someone says things like, “high school is usually about work or career” instead of asking the dreamer, “what do you think of when you think of high school?” Depending on the dreamer, high school could be about having fun, or not fitting in, or being bullied, or feeling lots of pressure over grades, or learning, or partying, or any number of things. And any of those possible meanings could be connected to any number of situations in the dreamer’s life. It’s not as simple as “it’s usually about work or career.” At least have the consideration to preface these kinds of comments with “if it were my dream, I might think that high school could be about career” and then let the dreamer see if that fits or not.
Dr. Oz dreaming that he’s back on the college campus and wanting to be part of a football game does NOT mean “go back to ground zero and start over,” for heaven’s sake! Find out what Dr. Oz thinks about when he thinks about college and football and the other symbols in his dream, then help him to connect those feelings to his current life and arrive at his own sense of meaning about it.
I could go on about the other dreams, but the message is the same: your dream symbols are speaking YOUR language. Other people, even “experts” like Loewenberg or myself, can never tell you “this is what your dream means” and they are doing you a great disservice if they do. My approach is always to first get you tuned into your personal feeling response to your dream symbols. I may then offer my own thoughts and suggestions, but always with the qualifier of “if it were my dream” and always with the understanding that it’s true for you only if it resonates with you.
In the segment’s closing, Lowenberg offered three tips for decoding your dreams.
Tip one, according to Loewenberg: your dreams are always about you.
I agree with that for the most part, but I’m inclined to shy away from the “always” part. It’s maybe more like the 80/20 rule – most of your dreams are about you and some of them can be about others or about global or cosmic themes. There are precognitive dreams, visitation dreams with departed loved ones, and dreams that are purely adventures in other dimensions. Dreaming is not always about your life and your psyche, although often it is.
Tip two, according to Loewenberg: Tune into the emotion of the dream and match it up to the same emotion in waking life.
This is a good approach. Your emotional state within the dream, your emotional response to the dream and any matching emotions in waking life are really good North Stars for aligning yourself with the meaning of the dream. Emotional response is really a key element in dreamwork.
Tip three, according to Loewenberg: “Your dreams are always, always, always – did I mention always? – connected to the previous day.”
OMG. Okay. Did I mention I’m not a fan of “always” rules when it comes to dreams? Dreams are often related to a current concern or situation in your life, true – but not always, and certainly not always in direct connection to the day prior to your dream. You can dream of future events. You can dream of past events. You can have dream liaisons with people you’ve never met or departed loved ones or spirit guides. You can journey in your dreams to other realms. These experiences, and many more, are all possible and may have nothing to do with the activities or concerns of the prior day.
I am glad that Dr. Oz did this segment and there was a lot of good information in it. Unfortunately, as is often the case with TV, the subject was glossed over with soundbites taking precedence over substance and a good bit of misinformation sprinkled in. I encourage you to trust your own inner “Aha!” to guide you to the meaning of your dreams. And, should you choose to consult me for help and guidance, I promise I will never feed you a canned, one-size-fits-all interpretation but will rather guide you skillfully and carefully to your own truth.
Watch Dr. Oz’s dream segment here: