From Betty Bethards The Dream Book, which is a book I like very much for the introductory first section, although I no longer use the dream dictionary part of it for reasons you can see below...

"Dreams begin to awaken us to the fact that we are spiritual or interdimensional beings, in the third dimension, or time-space, but not of it...

A dream helps us realize that we are here only temporarily on the stage of waking reality.  What we call life is really a school.  There are many schools or levels of consciousness in the universe, and earth is one of the most important.  During our sojourn here we are learning more about the true nature of our beings.  We are learning that we are infinite creative or love energy, and that all our hurts, disappointments and disillusions come from a failure to recognize this truth of who and what we are.

The name of the game is growth.  In all our experiences we either go through or grow through them.  If we just go through them, then we will repeat them again and again until we learn the lesson behind the appearances.  If we grow through them, we are free to move on to the next step in the learning process...

The most curious thing about dreams, perhaps, is they speak to us in symbols.  These may seem strange, but once we understand the meaning they are much clearer than our usual way of attempting to communicate with ourselves and others.

Why, you may ask, do I have to go through all the symbology in dreams?  Wouldn't it be easier just to get the straight message?  Communication among people is difficult at best.  So many things are open to misinterpretation because of blocks and perceptual filters.  

My guidance has said that dreams are given symbolically because once you know your own symbols you cannot mistake the message.  You will know instantly what is being given to you and you will understand it totally.  Actually symbols are like shorthand and are much easier to interpret than verbal conversation.

Working with dream symbols might be compared to playing the piano.  When you first begin you are certain that this has to be the most awkward and complicated thing you have ever undertaken.  But after a routine of regular practice, your new skill becomes a natural, flowing easy part of your life.  Or, take the computer industry.  If you do not understand computer language, it all seems foreign and difficult.  If you hear someone speaking a language different from your own, it is the old 'It's all Greek to me' feeling.  If you speak, read and write Greek, however, it is another story.

So think of working with dream symbols as just learning another language.  They are a higher, more accurate, more integrative level, that enables you to become aware of self as an interdimensional being...

Remember that you are always your best interpreter.  You are the final word on the meaning of a symbol for you.  Do not be so gullible that you eagerly accept another's interpretation.  This is giving away power and neglecting the refinement and trust of your own inner resources."

For more on this subject, listen to SYMBOLS - Episode 5 of Experiment with the Idea.