In a long-ago dream, I was a passenger in an open carriage train, sunshiny blue skies lightly kissing my skin as we journeyed peacefully alongside an ocean.

The sense of the journey was liberation, an unblocking, a throughway to the future.

As I watched the ocean, I noticed churning dark waves, tsunamis that rose quite majestically before subsiding into silvery sparkles and luminescent pearls.

How would you interpret such a dream?

You might wonder if this dream reflected a distancing from dark emotions, an ability to stay calm in the face of turmoil, and you might wonder if this is a good thing or not such a good thing. Isn’t it better to befriend dark emotions, to let them speak to you, to feel them roiling in your belly, to acknowledge them, to be open to what they can teach you, to let them go? Generally, yes, it is.

Or might such a dream reflect perspective? Was the dreamer – a long-ago me – seeing the silvery sparkles and shooting stars of insight, the pearls of wisdom that result from facing, acknowledging, and travelling through difficult or seemingly insurmountable troubles?

When worries, fears, or troubling emotions begin to rear their heads, you might dream uneasy dreams, perhaps a sense of foreboding, a storm or tsunami on the horizon, or you might dream of being chased by dark shadowy figures, or running away, or hiding.

If those stormy emotions, worries, fears, or challenging circumstances get closer, you might dream of being engulfed by darkness, trapped by evil forces, deluged by floods, frozen in the face of an advancing tsunami: the list of nightmarish dramas that reflect your feelings and beliefs is endless.

Working with these dreams helps provide insight into your conditioned patterns of reacting or responding to such circumstances and offers the possibility of more effective ways of surviving and thriving through challenge.

You might dream of facing the shadowy figure chasing you, or riding the wave, or surrendering to the majesty of a thunderstorm. Such a dream may remind you of how you have transcended difficulties in the past, or it may reflect fresh insight – a magical moment where your dreaming brain has come up with a solution – that equips you with the ability to navigate your way through the storm and emerge into calmer waters.

Dreams capture the moment. My dream captured a moment of reverence for life’s challenges, what they can teach us, and how they can liberate us to move forward with our lives. It was a reverence born from perspective, from looking back on the past and seeing a particular challenge in a different light.

How did I know this? One of the many keys to interpreting a dream is to note how the dreamer felt. In my dream I didn’t feel distanced, disengaged, uneasy, queasy, or fearful. I felt calm, liberated by a profound awe for the way the ocean shaped and reshaped itself as time passed. I felt a sense of perspective.

I also used the dream interpretation techniques you can learn in How to interpret your dreams step-by-step to explore other areas of this dream, each of which added context and understanding. (You can begin this course any time: you can start right now!)

See Jane Teresa’s online courses

Read Jane Teresa’s books

Jane Teresa Anderson

Graduating with an Honours degree in Zoology specialising in developmental neurobiology from the University of Glasgow, dream analyst and dream therapist Jane Teresa Anderson has been researching dreams since 1992, and developing and teaching dream alchemy practices that shift perspective and reprogram unconscious limiting beliefs. Jane Teresa is a multi-published author (her latest book is her debut fiction, NINTH LIFE), and is a frequent guest in the media. She is also host of the long-running podcast, 'The Dream Show with Jane Teresa Anderson', and offers her online study and certificate courses through The Dream Academy.