Over the years, my ability to recall dreams has improved. I will also get a sense of when a dream is just a dream, when it is filtering out stuff that's happened in my life the past couple of days, or when there is a message in the dream for me. I've also had at least one out-of-body experience and two lucid dreams.
I've never really cared for dream dictionaries for dream interpretation. They may help sometimes, but usually I feel that they are off the mark for me. I've also felt that there are more to dreams, something spiritual about them, but have never found anything that mirrors my feelings about dreams.
I borrowed the book Conscious Dreaming, written by Robert Moss, from a friend. I have to say that I have mixed feelings about the book.
On one hand, there are a lot of nifty ideas in the book that interested me. If I were to describe what the basic idea of conscious dreaming is, it is like a lucid dream, but instead of trying to control and change the dream, you interact with it and the characters in the dream.
On the other hand, Moss' writing feels very scattered and disconnected at times, mentioning other dream ideas, but never strengthening them to the idea of conscious dreaming. He does not go into enough detail on bringing about conscious dreaming and makes it sound as if it is very easy to do. I can't even have a lucid dream at will and even then, it can be difficult to stay in a lucid dream at first once you realize you are dreaming.