Chances are at some stage in your life you have had a recurring dream. This may have been a period where you dreamed of the same thing night after night, or it may be a very dominant symbol that seems to come back through-out your life at important times.
Recurring dreams are often trying to give us a wake-up call. The message they have is so important that they insist on you paying attention, and will come back night after night until you:
either understand them and act upon them
inadvertently change your life which will also change the dream
or manage to suppress them so deeply that you might even stop remembering your dreams at all.
I would suggest the final option is really not the best way to go! Sooner or later the things you choose not to address in your life have a way of popping back up, maybe in the form of a nightmare, maybe with an illness or accident, maybe with some form of self destructive behaviour.
So how do you deal with a recurring dream then? The first thing to realise is whether this is a normal dream to help you through a life transition, or whether it is the direct result of some trauma. In the case of trauma, and repeating dreams related to this event, I would suggest that you please don’t go it alone. Find someone who can help you and support you through this time. Your dreams are a reflection of your subconscious mind trying to deal with what has happened. Eventually, with time and help, you will heal, and your dreams will start to show you signs of resolution. Your dreams can help in this process, but especially early on they can seem to be as bad as the event itself, so that it is always a good idea to have someone wise and caring there to support you as you go through the difficult period.
Many recurring dreams though, are not related to a specific trauma at all, and are simply the mind’s way of helping you make some important life change. This can be at a transitional phase of your life, such as finishing school or university and preparing to become independent, at the start or end of a relationship or marriage, taking on a new job or new responsibilities. Or it could be something much more internal, such as finally overcoming a long held fear, giving up a harmful habit or starting a new good one.
If your recurring dream has come back after many years of being absent, ask your self how this period of your life is similar to when you had these dreams before. Does the end of your relationship make you feel abandoned as you did when your parents divorced? Does the stress of taking on a new job remind you of the nervousness you felt in going to a new school? These kind of recurring dreams remind us how we coped with this situation last time, and give us hints as to whether we should use those skills again, or maybe try something new. They do remind us that we survived last time, so we will be alright again this time. But maybe we can do it even better than last time, learn from our old mistakes and have a second chance to get it right this time.
If you are having recurring dreams and not doing anything to change your life, look for ways you can. If you keep dreaming of running from something, you might have to learn to face who or what is chasing you before this dream changes. If you keep dreaming of crashing a car, you might need to learn how to gain better control of your life before this dream goes away. These are just some examples, but the important thing to recognise, is that recurring dreams are urging us to do something, to wake up to ourselves and change the repeating patterns in our own life that aren’t getting us anywhere.
When you start to dream about the same thing that always appeared in your recurring dreams, but the ending of the dream changes, you are on your way to breaking the cycle. As you grow and develop, so too will your dreams evolve to reflect the new changes in you.