I recently came across a piece in Bustle called “What do dreams about crushes mean?”. It made me want to answer that question. And then it made me want to answer the question I hear even more often—what does it mean when you dream about your ex?
People’s questions about dreams tell a lot about what they think about dreams. People often claim their dreams make “no sense”, but after just the tiniest bit of pressing, actually have a quite firm concept of what their dream means, even if the assumption is merely that it is meaningless.
I’ve steadily observed the searing, tender wisdom of dreams so trust them more than most. But when people ask, what does it mean when you dream about your ex?, they often are secretly worrying that it means something is wrong with them, especially if the situation in the dream is difficult.
I believe that dreams come in the forms that they do in order to stimulate very specific and individual shades of inner experience. You could think of your emotional body, your soul, as an instrument vibrating at different notes. We can use our mind and our body to play those notes or we can use them to resist their vibrations. When we resist, we fail to grow, truly, we fail to live, and we begin to decay in some way or another. Our dreams come to us nightly to play those notes in the hopes that we can begin to break the dam we have built around our hearts.
I don’t impart this to suggest that our dreams direct us on an easy path. Far from it. There are reasons why our notes go silent. Too many times, it is the only way to survive.
So what does it mean when you dream about your ex? What I’m trying to say is, you actually do know the answer. Somewhere, deep inside of yourself, the truth of who you are is alive and well. It is screaming, actually, in some cases. Or it is hurt and hidden far away. To find it, ask yourself—what does it feel like inside of your body when you let your heart sink into the sensation of hearing your ex-lover’s name? That’s the feeling your dream is referencing, on some level or another. You tell me—you ask your heart of hearts, the voice that rings inside of you that despite all your sorrow and your frustration and your suffering and your rebelliousness. The voice you know as truth. Feel deeply into your dream and ask, why would your dreams bring you a gift like that?
There are different kinds of dreamers, different kinds of dreams, but ultimately they are all variations of experience. Sometimes they can be relatively straightforward, but more often they work in the realm of imagination and metaphor, quite similar to art.
I like to think of dreams as a work of art that was specially made for you out of pure unconditional divine love. You are not meant to judge it. Don’t we love dark and gruesome art? Or delicate and tender art? Or intricate art with layers upon layers of depth? Cherish your dream for the precious gift that it is, whatever it is.
And if you dream scary dreams about your ex, remember that our wounds from relationship are what provide the necessary imperfections to our vessel that make us whole. Every single wound can be healed, in time—and make no mistake, our time here is much longer than merely when we live and die. Each step is essential, brutal, optional. We are beings of the choice and we can either wither at the storms or stand up to meet the challenge that is our very lives.
So I will admit all this applies for all dreams—but I guess especially of those dreams you worry about, the dreams you fear portray you in a negative light or are reflections of your biggest fears. Understand those experiences are simply a current aspect of you. These aspects need to be seen, and heard, and felt, simply because they are a part of you because you are perfect because you live. Through time, as they are seen, they are healed, the process of inner alchemy that is the source of all life. Through that transformation, your fire will shine a little brighter, and soon enough, we’ll all bask in the heat of each other’s glowing hearts.