"All I want to do is dream..." (song by the Everly Brothers). But what can you do with these dreams that float about in your mind at night? They are intriguing; most people have found themselves curious about a particular dream experience they have had. Maybe a flying dream, or a falling dream, or nightmares. What about those reoccurring dreams? Do they mean something? This blog will give you a basic introduction on how one could start a practice of remembering dreams and why one would want to work on unravelling the mystery of your dreams. The following is one way to begin playing with dreams; it is a place to start...
There has been much fascinating research done on the role that dreams play in our lives, and for our brain development, including learning and memory. The ancient cultures all had a practice of studying their dreams; the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Native Americans, etc. In dreams amazing things happen to us and we are capable of awesome feats. To think; all of these stories are coming from your imagination! So, do they mean anything? Is it just the effect of your midnight snack that has created these bizarre stories that play out in the night behind closed eyes? Or, is it a message from your wiser self? The answer is, yes to both; sometimes it's the snack and sometimes it's the wiser self.
Dreams are said to come from the unconscious mind. That is the opposite of your conscious mind. It's the part of you that is aware of all sorts of things that your conscious mind has filtered out. It knows lots of stuff your conscious mind hasn't a clue about. Your conscious mind is too busy thinking about whether you locked your door, or if it will rain tomorrow. As my dream-guru, Dr. Carl G. Jung wrote, "Consciousness can keep only a few images in full clarity at one time, and even this clarity fluctuates. The unconscious, however, has taken note of them and such subliminal sense perceptions play a significant part in our everyday lives. Without realizing it, they influence the way in which we react to both events and people."
So how does the unconscious relay information to us, if it's always unconscious? You guest it, through our dreams. When you have a dream that has emotional weight ( positive or negative ) for you, or is reoccurring, or simply arouses your curious nature, chances are it's worth exploring. These dreams are thought to be a form of connection with our true selves, or our psyche. The real you; not the side of you who shows up at the board meeting, or the book club. These nightly visions of wonder are speaking to you in a symbolic language and through metaphors. Your unconscious is very literal and loves a good fairy tale.
Looking at dreams through the lenses of myth and symbolic meaning is the key to forging a relationship with your dreams. Dr. Jung had a process he prescribed called "amplification". It involves making a personal association with your dream symbols and metaphors. Let's say you have a scene from a dream, or an image; ask yourself "What does this remind me of in my life?" " How does this make me feel, or think"? "What happened because of something else that happened?" Then explore the language of your dream. Do you have any play on words, or puns? Chocolate in a dream might be about the sweetness of life, the moon might be translated as the light in the darkness; meaning, the understanding coming out of confusion. Ann Faraday a British psychologist gave the example of a tidal wave in a dream having to do with a person's title, as in privileged. Record all ideas you have around a particular image from your dream. Brainstorm and personalize on your images before consulting any dream books. Dream books come in handy when you want to know about numerological meanings (a #1can mean a new beginning), and cultural/historical meanings. The final stage is exploring how these interpretations apply to your current predicament.
A person who is connecting to their dreams is connecting to their psyche. Here is the chance to listen to your inner workings and get closer to your emotional world. Regular dream work will enhance your understanding of yourself, your relationships with others and the world around you. It can lead to healing, deeper knowing, and growth.
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"Dreams can provide insight into the concrete problem of making sense of ourselves." Dream Researchers Morewedge & Norton.
"The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends." C.G.Jung