Pregnancy of the Dream

Pregnancy of the Dreambeach from Lookout

Land, sand, beach, sky, mountains, sea, plant life – each and all pregnant with life, pulsing with possibilities.

Like our dream –  also pregnant with potential and possibility -

Our psyche, or soul, or source, or inner beat, that deep rich soil within, provides the compost. 

Like poetry or a painting or a piece of writing or a sunset or sunrise or the sound of the waves or the trill of a bird that speaks to the soul, we feel the pull, the tug, some visceral reaction to a dream.  We pause when a dream or an image presents itself, whether in paradox or more clearly. Our psyche is penetrated, some passage is opened, a page is left opened for further study. There is purpose, though dimly seen.

Most often, the dream presents a puzzle to us, or to me in any event. But, with patience, putting those pieces of the puzzle into their rightful place, sometimes incorrectly, even misplacing the pieces of the borders, and seeing the pattern finally emerge, not necessarily to completion, is uplifting. 

Laying out the pieces of the puzzle requires preparation; the table needs to be clear. For my night-life some planning helps. Before I ‘turn in’ for the night, I ensure that my small torch is clipped to my dream journal. I often look at previous dreams to see if I can discern a thread – or give some sort of title to a previous dream. I ask my unconscious to provide a dream, knowing that this can’t be predicted.

I know that decoding my dreams takes practice and that the more attention I give to them, the more will be yielded. 

The dream is your guide, helpful in showing possible paths

own photo of Plettenberg Bay, Southern Cape.

Other in the Dream

Other in the Dream

yinyangWho is that ‘other‘ in the dream who I do not remotely know? That person is so opposite to me in every way. Or, I do know this person.  Sometimes I know this place, or I do not know it. It is so obscure, sometimes obstructive. What can I possibly discern from this? What will be my orientation to it in my waking life? Is it offering me anything? 

Well, yes, it does offer itself to you, like a gift, although it does want something in return, namely your overt attention. It does not want to be spurned. It provides the dreamer with a golden opportunity to look further, go deeper, go over and over it, again and again, especially if it is extremely puzzling.

 Carl Jung’s quote :

‘The more one-sided his conscious attitude is, and the further it deviates from the optimum, the greater the possibility that vivid dreams with a strongly contrasted but purposive content will appear as an expression of the self-regulation of the psyche’.

All those characters, events and place in the dream are only facets of the one dreamer.

I’ve stressed in previous posts, hopefully sufficiently enough, the importance of letting the dream cook and steam as in an oven, not rushing to turn it off to halt its cooking. Not rushing to interpret it, although as previously said, sometimes the meaning is very clear.

Many times my dreams are ordinary, and that’s ok. At least I feel that the channels are open and, if I wake, I write them down. It may be a sentence or two, even a few paragraphs or fairly lengthy. But it is for me a way of observing my inner world, checking it in my outer world – I want to know that unknown other, apart from me, though a part.

The dream is your guide, wanting your observation as you get to know the other within -

 thanks to google images for the graphic

Nature of the Dream

Nature of the Dreamdream images (1)

‘Dreams are impartial, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche, outside the control of the will. They are pure nature; they show us the unvarnished, natural truth, and are therefore fitted, as nothing else is, to give us back an attitude that accords with our basic human nature when our consciousness has strayed too far from its foundations and run into an impasse’. see ref below.

Now, I feel I have taken on far too huge a task to bring across the value of the dream in approximately 300-350 words for each letter of the alphabet. Honestly, if I’ve said anything at all, it would represent the tip of my fingernail to my whole body. I can only encourage you to pay attention to your dreams, a very real and natural expression of your unconscious and the collective unconscious, that strata common to us all.

Dreams are hard nuts to crack. Those that give us cause for pause and or wake us up in the middle of the night because of the strangeness of it, are the ones to be attended to. Each dream and its associations are unique to the dreamer and in this are nuggets to be found. It shows possibilities, potentials, both negative and positive, and it is not necessary to find an answer. 

Don’t neglect your dreams. Not for nothing do we dream. Each dream or series of dreams offers a new point of view, a compensation for our usual conscious way of looking at things. It is not surprising that it is alien. Each offers a way of self-reflection. Each problem personified in a dream can be outgrown.

Sometimes it seems we are going nowhere in the dream. Our deepest self does know, but of this we often have no notion

 CG Jung “On the Nature of Dreams” CW 8 The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche. pg.532

Mystery of the Dream

Mystery of the Dream

done on 13 Aug 2013 with left hand

done on 13 Aug 2013 with left hand

The dream like all mysteries takes time to demystify. Who is that who I see in the mirror - when I look?

The mud of it, thick, impenetrable, murky, mistaken. How can this possibly relate to me personally, and collectively.

The dream can serve as metaphor as we meander, faithfully holding the dream with care and reverence, until it yields its message. Autumn and winter precede spring and the dream oftentimes seems to follow a similar pattern, at least to me. It lies low, deep in the rich soil, germinating, and I am unsure it will ever flower.

For many the dream is a muse. Some well known ones:-

Robert Louis Stevenson, author of ‘Treasure Island & Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde’, inter alia, wrote that he got many of his best stories from his dreams.

Guisppe Tartini wrote his masterpiece for the violin, The Devil’s Sonata, after hearing it performed in a dream.

19th century chemist Dimitri Mendelev fell asleep while chamber music was being played in the next room. He understood in a dream that the basic chemical elements are all related to each other in a manner similar to the themes and phrases in music.

Albert Einstein as a young man, dreamed that he was sledding down a steep mountainside, going faster and faster, approaching the speed of light, which caused the stars in his dream to change their appearance. Meditating upon that dream, Einstein eventually worked out his extraordinary scientific achievement, the principle of relativity.

Your dreams too can be such a provident source. It means exercising that inner muscle, tensing, flexing, releasing, tensing again to see what the mirror reveals. The metaphor of matrix comes to mind. Dreams can be re-membered no matter from how long ago. The more we work on our dreams the more our own myth becomes apparent.

own graphic

Language of the Dream

Language of the Dream

candleimages (1)

The language of the dream is foreign and hard to decipher. This is not surprising – learning any lesser known language takes time, frustration and much patience. 

But surprisingly, the dream is tailor made for you. It’s a candle in the dark as it lights the way through the labyrinth. One’s inner eye adjusts to the shadows cast, all the while as the unknown other in the dream becomes more familiar. That unknown other is you, the dreamer.

The language of the dream is the language of the arts i.e. metaphor, myth, symbols, images, allegory – all seems vague and strange to us in the beginning. Its language is often indirect but not always; at times it is obvious what it is portraying.

Landscapes are often part of the scene. Some may present as desert-like, dry, life-less with no horizon in sight. Others – green and peaceful.  Mountains climbed, rivers crossed, valleys descended. Some landscapes show bridges to be crossed, or a fork in the road, driving a car in the dark, no lights, or being a passenger. A colour may stand out. Or all is dark and dank, sometimes bright and light. Invariably they reflect the inner life of the dreamer and it is up to us to figure it out.

Because the dream may seem irrational, it is necessary to approach our dream in the light of day in a non-linear way. Lost in this landscape? Why lack of direction? What longing is being expressed? What loss? Why lavatory dreams? What are we needing to expel? What lie have we been telling ourselves? What love is being expressed?

We have limited awareness of ourselves, the ‘me’ the ‘I’, the ‘thou’. If we listen, we hear more of who we are.

Talmud: An unexamined dream is like an unopened letter.

The lotus emerges from the mud and awakens in its longing for the light.

lotusimagesThe dream is a candle light, leading you out of the labyrinth -

Thanks to google images for graphics.

Keys of the Dream

Keys of the Dream

keysimages (1)

It’s one thing to reach for the key

key in lock

and, through trial and error finding the only one that fits.

It’s another thing to put that unique key into the lock -

- and yet another to turn the key -

- and then yet another, of opening the door -

and perhaps the most daring of the lot is to step inside, and enter.

Your dream is key to what’s going underneath -

Truly, like the original explorer who wants to know more, is reminded of the Oracle of Delphi – Know Thyself. These words are often attributed to Socrates who did in fact say them: “I am not yet able, as the Delphic Inscription has it, to know myself; so it seems to me ridiculous, when I do not know that, to investigate irrelevant things”. Socrates publicly acknowledged his lack of self-knowledge and thus made his audience aware of their own.

C.G. Jung: He who looks outside dreams, who looks inside, awakes.

Bhagavad Gita: Wake up! Be thyself!

Ramayana: Enquiry into the truth of the Self is knowledge.

The keys to self-knowledge are in the dream. There will be knots to be untied – patiently, and not rushed – before the metaphorical kite can be extended and flown. But what a reward to see it take to the skies and clouds – reaching upwards, at long last – into the night sky and it’s depths – and to return it back to our hands.

kiteimages (2)

With thanks to google images for graphics.

Journey of the Dream

Journey of the Dream

dream imageWhere do we go when we close our eyes and shut out the external world? 

This journey into the self is often times into uncharted and unfamiliar land or waters. Yet, like the traveller who sets off on an expedition and who has maps, with the moon and stars to assist on his travels here, below, above, not knowing what awaits, so we too can set off with a map – a different kind, namely our own inner guide as map.

Entering into the dream and working on the unknown facets of ourselves (for all those characters and place in a dream are representative of ourselves in some way) is a hero’s journey for those who wish to be fully themselves, no longer presenting a fake face to themselves and the world.

Our lives are represented in the dream world when we are given cause for pause. We wonder whether to go this way, that way. There may necessary dangers when making that next step. It may show to not be too hasty, stay awhile at this crossroad before going anywhere, don’t make assumptions, reflect more, go further back, further forward, don’t rush, pay attention, have faith -

And hold with care until it unfolds. Keep a journal of your dreams. It’s a way of being present with yourself, jotting down whatever comes to mind, knowing that your writings, your journalling, has the potential to lead you to deeper levels of awareness.

It will take us out of our comfort zones when we heed the call knowing that there are always risks in undertaking journeys. We need to prepare in order to return ..

Who knows, maybe we’ll find jewels along the way, even if it takes forever to crack the shells surrounding it. Perhaps that diamond or pearl will slowly itself reveal as the layers are exposed. Joy maybe ..

 Thanks to google images for above graphic.

Image in the Dream

    Image in the Dream

butterfly

Einstein: Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere*

An image that presents itself in a dream to you may not have the same meaning that I would ascribe to it were I to have a similar image, e.g. dreaming of lilies. For you it may mean flowers on a coffin, or remembering fields of lilies, or loss or just your favourite flower. I’m reminded of the tears that fell from Eve’s eyes as she and Adam left the Garden of Eden and, where her tears fell, lilies sprang up – and of course Lilith, the serpent in disguise who returned from her exile in the depths of the Red Sea and offered Eve the apple.

The dream image is usually specific to the dreamer and their particular cultural and social circumstances, although the collective unconscious is ever present. There is no ‘one size fits all’ meaning of an image. If there were a simple formula this would fix the dream and would render it lifeless. It invites you to use your imagination! The impulse to making an immediate interpretation is to be resisted.

Nevertheless, there is some universality in dream images. Many of us dream of being unprepared for an exam, being naked in public, driving over a cliff, being in the sea facing a wave that is about to engulf us, being chased, an intruder, losing teeth or our identity documents and wallets, opening or closing a gate, a bridge, fishing. These sorts of images are helpful in that they speak to our inner lives.

Insight gained from working with the dream, no matter how irrational, helps develop an integration between our inner and outer lives. By accepting the invitation from our dreams and working with our interior world, we develop an intimacy with the unknown, and known, parts of the self and thus we are led towards our individuality.

The dream is on your side, waiting in the wings, wanting to intrude, wanting your individual expression of your inner other.

Einstein quote from brainy quotes; thumbnail google images

Home of the Dream

   Home of the Dream

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Does the dream have a home? Does it venture out, to return?

Its’ home is from the deepest layer of our being, the collective unconscious (distinct from the personal unconscious) which, if utilised in an authentic manner, can provide a corrective view to the dreamer – as for example, the blind spot mentioned in an earlier post –  but also more, much more. And, it sometimes seems as if Hermes the necessary trickster, is abroad, above and below.

The unconscious is not inactive. Like our conscious mind, governed largely by our ego, the unconscious, inter alia‘…is ceaselessly engaged in grouping and regrouping its contents’.* This indicates that there is purpose and aim in the workings of the unconscious.

These unconscious workings, brought to the fore in significant part by working on our dreams, is given light in the struggle. Being responsible towards our dreamwork – for work it is – adds life and depth, a broader more encompassing perspective, fullness, harmony and meaning to our lives. From its dwelling place, it offers, as a gift, a way of communication between our conscious, visible and physical lives, with that of our psyche – or soul, or spirit, or that invisible aspect of ourselves. From its’ dwelling place of the unconscious and collective unconscious, it needs to be held lovingly, carefully, tending to it, hearing its prompt to us to live in greater awareness, harmony and consciousness in our inner and outer homes. Like ourselves, the dream has many mansions that invite exploration.

And even if the dream is dreadful there is holiness in the hell  – and healing - somewhere – 

We’re sometimes at the helm in the dream, often times not, and sometimes we cannot see the horizon, but when we hold the dream with care, the hidden messages will reveal the heart of it – and guide us home -

*CG Jung Vol 7

The dream is your friend and guide, waiting in the wings,  – always searching for its home -

Gold in the Dream

Gold in the Dream

light
Becoming familiar with one’s dream world is akin to finding gold.  What could be finer than being one’s own authentic person, more in tune with our god given nature, able, stronger, to withstand what life throws at us, tossed and turned like flotsam on stormy seas. We can feel a sense of growth within, from the time and effort we put into it to become more conscious, adding a ray of light onto the darkness, gradual it may be.

The dream is a gift, following its evolutionary impulse towards growth. Like our gardens, the more we give them our care and attention, so will our garden yield its fruits, and the more the dream will yield its gems. Like mother’s milk, the more the infant feeds at the breast, the more milk is  produced. So too with our dreams, those night time visitors, looking for the gap in the garden to plant the seeds so we grow towards wholeness and psychological health.

I am always grateful when a dream presents itself even if I have no clue what it means, even if it is banal or grim and gross in the extreme. Even a nightmare is a gift -  through willing and conscious re-entry into that dream in the light of day to get to its genesis even if it takes forever, is a gift for the message it brings. It’s quite something to step in the gap between night and day and ask for the key …

Dreams offer us a glimpse of the ground of our being, of our unresolved conflicts not only with ourselves but collectively too. It points out, sometimes not so gently, the repair work that needs to be done. 

The dream is always on your side, in guise, as guide, waiting in the wings, wanting to yield its gems in the garden.

Fertility, Faith, in the Dream

Fertility, Faith in the Dream
JungMarie-Louise von Franz says in her book ‘The Way of the Dream’ that ‘…the unconscious part of our psyche is portrayed in our dreams, and by recalling our dreams, our conscious mind has the opportunity to view (the) contents of the unconscious mind’.

We can view the dream in the light of day and try to ascertain what the unconscious is saying to us that needs to be brought to consciousness, even if frustrating and fragmentaryAgain, at the risk of repetition, it is necessary to bring an attitude to it other than the one we usually use.

Through the dream, we venture down into the depths to consciously reclaim some of the fertile ground of the unconscious, that enormous and abundant well waiting to be mined. The knots and fear that have kept us bound are already being loosened, more so as we travel upwards again, into consciousness.

Faith in the dream is not easily come by. This is hardly surprising, since having faith in one’s dreams means having faith in one’s self – and trusting that process. Faith is hard won, and for me, it is always a struggle and sometimes seems hopeless. Becoming true to one’s own fragile self is a hard task, or ask -

Whether or not we believe we dream or remember them, we have them. They are as essential as fresh air, a healthy diet, sleep and exercise. They’re also an excellent indicator of our psychological health or otherwise and give us the opportunity of paying attention to what  it is trying to impart – for our psychological health.

 Many of us have fertile dreams where slumbering ideas are brought forth and flower in the light of day. We can make that foray into the unconscious and its fertility.

The dream is on your side, faithfully waiting in the wings, sensing the fear of going down, though fair at all times -

Exploration of the Dream

                                                Exploration of the Dream

swimmer

A dream seldom tells us what we already know. It is there to point us in a direction that is  unknown, that is helpful to us. It indicates to us what we need to know.

The dream often stirs up emotions, overwhelming and distressing, which are not to be dismissed.  This provides vital clues to the meaning of the dream and it is important to note these when writing down the dream or committing it to memory. This makes it more concrete, and brings it up, so to speak. In the writing or sketching or contemplating, other bits and pieces are recalled and retrieved. No matter how exotic or elusive or enigmatic it seems, other elements emerge.

 Does the emotional content of the dream relate to our everyday life, perhaps a portrayal of an unresolved conflict albeit in disguised form? Have we lost our keys in the dream? What loss are we experiencing in real-life?

Dreams are meant to shake us up and the content of them invites us to explore them. With effort, the enduring essence of ourselves can be found even if it feels ephemeral and unreal. The echo is somehow there. I’ve been shot at in a dream; perhaps some part of me needed to die. Many times my dreams are double-dutch to me for days and weeks, months and years – really I’m not exaggerating. I look back on dreams from 10, 20 years ago and I see something not seen before. But, with patience and trust and exercising that inner muscle, I start to trace a thread, and a pattern emerges. The more I exercise it, the more energy is found.

The dream is your friend, not your enemy. It waits in the wings, wanting expression of your inner being  -

Thanks to google images for above graphic

Dialogue with the Dream

Dialogue with the Dream

earth wind fire water

‘The two fundamental points in dealing with dreams are these: first, the dream should be treated as fact, about which one must make no previous assumption except that it somehow makes sense; and second, the dream is a specific expression of the unconscious’. C.G. Jung (Man and his Symbols).

 To approach the depth of the dream requires dialogue with it in order to discover its underlying dynamic. Dialogue would be done in the light of day but by putting aside one’s egoic way of looking at things. It means having a conversation with one’s self and any images presented. Questioning what appears to be a dissonance between how one perceives one’s self in real life and the data in the dream is not straightforward. It requires a descent towards its depths, bringing an attitude of unknowing towards it, quite different to our usual linear and logical one.

 Often, we’re in a dilemma in the dream and our defences are down. The dream is of course a direct expression of the unconscious. One can ponder, what is this dream saying to me? In what way can I relate my present situation to it? If I were to give this dream a title, what would I call it? Who are those others in the dream and in what way are they representative of me, in both their positive and negative qualities? Why this unknown landscape?

Yes, we can feel hugely disadvantaged when looking at the dream in the light of day because of the difficulty of decoding it. We play detective to try to decipher. Like a diver into the depths of the sea discovering the unknown all around, so too can we descend into deep waters.

The dream as daimon, sometimes daemon, as guide, waiting in the wings, wanting your dialogue -

 Thanks to google image for graphic above

Challenge of the Dream

CHALLENGE of the Dreamdreamimages (12)

In conversation with my sister a while back, long distance, she related a dream she’d had that morning which had left her weepy. We agreed it was a challenging dream, cryptic in its characterisation, yet the connections to her psyche were clear.

 Curiosity towards the dream is good as long as it not idle intellectual curiosity. Curiosity implies a creative attitude, allowing an opening where things previously looked choked or blocked. This challenging dream requires a commitment from her to apply herself to it, in order for the connections between her conscious and unconscious life to become clearer.

If the dream gives cause for pause it is assuredly portraying something. Again, we have to be careful of our blind spots, that we do not bark up the wrong tree or down a depleted river. It needs to be held, nurtured, even though it may be weeks and months before its meaning becomes clearer. It’s our cross to bear that we become conscious of the conflict.

C.G. Jung:The dream shows the inner truth and reality of the patient as it really is, not as I conjecture it to be, and not as he would like it to be, but as it is’

 Even if the dream seems barely worth any consideration, make a note. Don’t be certain of its meaning. Let it cook in the psyche, allowing it its alchemy. Let it change, dissolve, transmute, while it simmers and steams and be conscious of the changes of its complexities. Each clue is like a crystal and has value even though it be darkly hinted at. We have the capacity -

Can we uncover that which has been covered? And be compassionate towards whatever is revealed?

The dream is your friend, waiting in the wings, wanting to be made conscious -

And a Blessed Pesach and Easter to all.

 Thanks to Google image for above image

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