For centuries, great innovators have made their legacy by dreaming bigger.
Google co-founder Larry Page said the idea for the now-most popular search engine in the world came to him while he was sleeping.
“It was kind of a strange dream. It went like, ‘I think I can download the entire Web on the small computers that were lying around,’” he said during a speech at the 2014 Breakthrough Prize ceremony in Mountain View, California.
“I stayed up a couple of hours in the middle of the night doing some math, and it seemed actually pretty possible,” Page explained.
Elias Howe said he invented the sewing machine in 1845 after a nightmare that he was taken prisoner by a group of natives with spears that had holes near their tips. Before his dream, he was struggling to come up with a functional design idea for the needle. When he woke up, he realized those holes in the spears were the solution he needed to make the machine work.
Our dreams can frighten us, soothe us and in some cases, inspire us.
But is it possible to solve real-life problems simply by paying closer attention to signs in your dreams?
Robert Moss, 69, known as the dream teacher, has spent a lifetime making it his mission to help millions of people answer this very question.
“A dream is a wake-up call to open your inner eyes and go within," said Moss, who has written 24 books. His “active dreaming” techniques are practiced at popular seminars all over the world.
His in-depth workshops are in high demand and he has taught at some of the most prestigious wellness retreats across America from the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York, to Esalen in Big Sur, California.
“Dreams are forever coaching us on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. If we catch those messages, we can make better choices. That’s how it begins,” Moss said in an interview on ABC News.
In his latest book, “Sidewalk Oracles, Playing With Signs, Symbols, and Synchronicity in Everyday Life,” he teaches us how to recognize the dream-like symbols around you and pay attention to synchronicity in our everyday life.
“As you go down the street, play the game of assuming that the first unlikely, unexpected thing that comes up in your field of perception is going to be something like a dream symbol or a sign for you,” he explained.
Once we have identified the signs, we can interpret the deeper meaning of events to receive and answer to our most burning questions.
“Dreams always tell us more than we already know. They might be big. It might be small things. But dreams are always taking us beyond the information and assumptions the ordinary world has if available to us,” said Moss.
Moss also spoke about four common dreams and what they mean: flying, reoccurring anxiety dreams about work, nightmares and dreaming about people in your past.
If You Dream You Are Flying
“It might mean you’re flying above your ordinary circumstances. You have a certain freedom available to you and a certain perspective; the ability to look at life issues from aerial perspective like an eagle,” explained Moss. “It could be about the fact that in dreams, we actually travel beyond the body and the brain and we have these experiences. That’s what a lot of people have thought historically."
If You Are Having a Reoccurring Anxiety Dream About Work
“This dream is maybe holding up a magic mirage to my situation. And if I really cannot resolve the situation, and the dream is holding up the mirage again and again, maybe I need to get out of that job and do something else,” Moss said.
“Alternatively, when I look at the details of the dream, I might find clues inside the dream, how to handle things better in that work situation,” Moss added.
“Scary dreams are like a friend who’s trying to get through to you, and you’re not picking up the phone, you’re not responding to texts, not responding to emails, so eventually they come around through your door and they bang on your door and they throw road brick through your window. Sometimes it’s like that because you’re not listening to something. And sometimes it’s because that scary dream will take you back to an episode in childhood that you haven’t dealt with yet. Often you find that this dates back to some childhood experience that needs to be addressed and healed and to be cured. And huge healing can come through that,” Moss said.
“What I say to people who are having scary dreams or nightmares, if you can find the courage and the right time to go back in that dream and try to deal with the issue inside the dream, let the action unfold and try to deal with the monster,” he explained.
Dreaming About People in Your Past
“In a general sense, we’re linked to everybody who’s been closed to us,” explained Moss.
“It’s also possible when you think you’re dreaming about an old acquaintance, you’re dreaming about someone you don’t know very well that’s going to resemble that person. Maybe the next person who turns up will remind you of that boyfriend, in appearance, character or in terms of the situation or development,” he said.
Want to get started interpreting your dreams and use the clues for your everyday life? Here are 5 tips.
1. Trust Your Feelings
“Do you feel good, bad? Does it feel urgent? Does it feel personal? Your first feelings in the dream and directly after are really important. It will give you a clue of whether it is literal or more symbolic. If it is strong guidance, take action,” said Moss.
2. Run a Reality Check
“Say to yourself, how does this dream relate to my life?” explained Moss.
“If I’m running away, where do I do that in the rest of my life? I’m superwoman: where can I claim that power and be superwoman in some way in my everyday circumstances," he said.
3. Future Clues
“Ask yourself, could any of this play out in some way in the future? If you like the feeling when you meet your dream lover, this could be a sign you will find him,” he explained.
“Recognize survival dreams. My life was saved by a car crash dream three times.” Moss said.
4. Play the 'What Part of Me?' Game
“You might recognize characters from your dream that symbolize pieces of you. What part of me is the dominant type?” said Moss.
“The meaning of a dream is actually inside the dream experience itself. We remember bits and pieces, fragments. But if you can get yourself inside the dream, you might be able to understand it better. You might be able to resolve a mystery,” he said.
5. Take Action
“Write yourself a one liner from the dream. If you are turning it into a bumper sticker what would it say? Or follow up on a funny word. Maybe its creative action. You see red in your dream so go out and buy a red shirt and wear it and see how your choice to wear red changes your life that day,” explained Moss.