Ever since the first person woke up yawning and stretching from the first sleep, dreams have intrigued humankind. At some point all of us have been mystified or terrified or delighted by a vivid dream, and we all wonder -- what do our dreams mean? In her inspiring book, Dream Power, Los Angeles Times dream columnist Cynthia Richmond draws on her experience as a therapist and dream counselor to show us how to harness the power of our dreams and make our life goals come true.
Understanding our dreams can give us a huge advantage in all facets of life, Richmond demonstrates -- in work, love, health, and spirituality. "By listening to what your subconscious mind and your spirit tell you through your dreams," she predicts, "you will have all the tools you need to achieve the life you want."
But before we can interpret our dreams -- and change our lives -- we need to learn how to remember them, and so Dream Power begins with a simple tutorial in the art of recall. After providing us with practical, step-by-step techniques for gaining access to our dream lives, Richmond then charts the landscape of dream themes and their rich, perplexing meanings. Most of us have dreams that fall into certain important categories -- dreams of departed loved ones, schools and tests, flying, water, public nudity, and sex. Analyzing more than 200 real-life dreams (some from celebrities such as Jane Seymour and Kelsey Grammer), Richmond reveals the common themes, symbols, and meanings that run throughout them.
Our dreams express universal hopes and fears, and these Richmond explores with warmth and insight. But she also takes traditional dream interpretation an important step further, showing us how to transform our insights into life-changing opportunities. To understand our dreams fully, she insists, we must look deep into our hearts and souls and ask: What do we want out of our lives? What are we afraid of and what do we love? Who are we? The answers to these questions will come to us in our sleep, if we recognize the wisdom and truth of the dream world. "Every one of us has a lesson to learn and a gift to offer to the world," Richmond declares. The wisdom of those lessons can help us make powerful changes in our spiritual, social, professional, and romantic lives. As Cynthia Richmond shows us with authority and inspiration, the path to a better life is only a dream away.
Richmond's weekly dream-analysis column in the Los Angeles Times contains the disclaimer that it "should be read for entertainment purposes only." And so it is with her first book, a collection of sample dreams followed by possible meanings and questions to help dreamers analyze their own reveries. Richmond claims that dreams relieve stress; impart self-knowledge, inspiration and warnings; and solve problems. She even touches upon "astral projecting," in which the soul leaves the body during sleep to communicate with or visit "that which exists in spirit." But readers seeking an exhaustive examination of the age-old, worldwide tradition of dream analysis may be disappointed. Richmond invokes Freud, Jung and Joseph Campbell only once, and makes such questionable assertions as "studies show that as many as 12 to 15 percent of dreams may predict the future" without citing her sources. Instead, she offers prosaic advice for remembering dreams (e.g., write them down) and mostly superficial explanations for such common dream elements as water, vehicles and sex. Nonetheless, readers who enjoy checking their daily newspaper horoscopes may find this dream-analysis-lite equally entertaining.