Originally published, Oceanside Star, January 27, 2011
According to Carl Jung, “The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the psyche.”
Dreams are one way in which the Self or soul sends unconscious material to our awareness. They symbolically show you previously unknown qualities that need enhancing or down-playing. Dreams offer helpful and often profound insights about how you are dealing with current situations. Their purpose is personal growth and balance. So, how do we better connect with our dreams?
First, a dream, like any unconscious material, is approached with an attitude of curiosity versus wanting to find answers. James Hillman, author of The Soul’s Code stated, “A dream tells you where you are, not what to do.”
A key factor in remembering dreams is the desire to remember them. Upon waking lie still, keep your eyes closed and remember where you just were. As images and ideas are recalled write down as much as you can without any editing or judgment. Even if all you recall is a single image, feeling, or theme, write it down. These dream fragments are still rich with meaning.
Most dream work begins with making associations to the dream characters and objects. Give descriptive words or qualities for people, settings and objects in the dream. Are there any memories connected to these dream items? Try to capture its essence in one or two words, such as ‘young rebel’ or ‘wide-open field.’
At the same time, recall any feelings connected to the dream? How do the dreaming you and the waking you feel about the dream’s events?
Actions in the dreams such as running, cutting, and deciding can spark further associations. For example, cutting may lead to cutting through, cutting out, shearing, trimming, dividing.
Another interesting approach is making comparisons to the dream material. What was an object in the dream like? ‘It’s like when …’ or ‘It’s as if ….’ This playful language works well with images.
Say the dream aloud. Listen for puns, metaphors, and statements that provoke a reaction or emotion from you. Try to summarize the dream in one sentence, then in one word. Title the dream.
Now try to relate the theme of the dream to current ‘up-for-you’ situations such as making a specific decision or conflict with someone. Remember, the Ego is rarely pleased with unconscious material. Challenge your Ego by asking, ‘What aspect of my self which is difficult to see or admit does my soul want me to know about?’
Sometimes as you work with dreams, feelings and meaningful insights may spontaneously occur. At other times, nothing seemingly profound occurs. Remember, regardless of whether you ‘got’ your dream or not, you have spent quality time with your soul