When you’re in the midst of a long hike it’s usually too hard to mark the distance that you’ve traveled until you reach a higher vantage point – preferably a mountaintop. Then, suddenly, the path that you took may become visible and you can mark its various twists and turns. Over the course of our lifetimes, we can reach various peaks that can be thought of as the metaphorical equivalent of mountaintops. A person may reach a state of inner peace and stability in middle-age, for example, and then look back upon the various struggles and challenges of his or her youth with a fresh perspective.
Just as our outer lives will witness many ups and downs over the years, our inner lives go through many marked changes, all of which will be reflected in the dreams that we’re able to remember. Over time, a collection of dreams can illustrate the distance that we’ve traveled on an inner level much like the view from a mountain can reveal to us the serpentine route that we took to get to the top.
To see this picture clearly, we, of course, have to familiarize ourselves with the language of our own dreams so that we can hear the messages that they are offering us. But this becomes easier as we continue to journal them. If you begin recording your dreams tomorrow then in a year’s time you may be able to go back and read your journal and mark the various inner hurdles that you overcame, the detours that you took and the high places that you reached along your own spiritual path. You may even be able to see where these inner movements were reflected by changes in your outer life.
Sometimes dream sequences that seem incomprehensible will begin to make more sense when they’re viewed alongside other, later scenes. The same theme may be explored from different angles, and when something within you shifts than your dreams will likely reflect that change. It’s like slightly altering the directory of a rocket ship out in space. Such a change may not be noticeable in the moment, but if you go back months later and look at your progress – with the help of your dream journal – you can see how you may have reached a drastically different destination than what you originally intended to thanks to many inner shifts along the way.
The meaning of certain dreams only becomes apparent in time, and these sorts of messages can be lost if the dreams themselves aren’t preserved. Perhaps a particularly vivid dream can be remembered, but others will fall out of our recollection unless we record them. A dream journal can be as valuable as a photo album or a scrapbook in that respect. In this case, what we are preserving are inner snapshots, which we can then look up later when they have new stories to tell us. If you collect enough “snapshots” then you can illustrate the whole arc of your inward journey.