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

50 Comments on Other in the Dream

  1. Hi Susan – looking at Genevie’s comment above … I am lucky I don’t have that experience … yet the dreams will come when the time is right … that openness will prevail .. cheers Hilary

    • Hi Hilary, and thank you. Dreams come and we pay attention when we feel we must. Even though sometimes the time is not right ..

  2. Very interesting post Susan, there are some dreams which I can never forget, especially after the loss of my son – he came alive in my dream and I am holding him close to me in the church, and closing my eyes I am lost in prayers; and suddenly I find my son lost in a huge church, I run out of the church, leaving my daughter with another person in search of my son.. only to come back feeling sad.. I was very upset with this dream and I am unable to forget till date… I keep recalling and even made a blog post because it was so clear….I am so glad to connect with you here and learning so much about dreams… I am also learning to accept every dream without analysing too much. Thanks for sharing..

    • Thanks for saying about your dream Genevive. Sadness, bewilderment, loss and longing are often expressed in a dream. You are right not to overanalyse it. Your loss is real. It will take time for the dream to unfold..

  3. I do look at previous dreams, too, Susan, for a pattern or a thread.

    I can best reply to this post with an allegory (or would it be a koan): My former neighbor was adopted by a big tuxedo cat, Bootsie. She had never had a cat before. She had a partially finished puzzle laid out on a glass table. Noticing that Bootsie was sitting under the table, intrigued, she managed to slide a white cloth under the puzzle and wrap the cloth around it.

    She was in the other room blowing her hair dry when she heard the crash. Bootsie had jumped onto the table and pulled the whole thing to the floor. There he sat, gazing at his work and looking, well, puzzled.

  4. Maybe it’s because it is late and I have not yet eaten dinner, but I don’t understand Jung’s meaning of one-sided: is that an unaware, narrow-minded thing, or does he mean that going deeper and focusing on the dream is one-sided.

    I’ll probably figure it out the instant I step away from the computer, Susan. Thanks.

    • Thanks Samantha for coming by – yes, many of us are one-sided or fixed in our attitudes disallowing any room for expansion or opening up of our thinking and feeling. So we stay – fixed and one-sided.

      No, he does not mean that going deeper into the dream is one-sided. It is many sided and this is part of the richness of the dream. Hope this clarifies! I reckon you would have figured it the instant you stepped away from the computer!

  5. I did remember my dream this morning! It involved an acquaintance throwing an early Xmas party and we had to select items like ornaments from the table. I picked an item and realized it was an ice skate. But I can barely skate, so wanted to return it.. Growing up in Hawaii, few opportunities to ice skate, although I could have learned to roller blade, eventually.
    Maui Jungalow

    • Thanks for coming by Courtney! A dream worthwhile pondering on.. Please don’t feel that you must relate a dream in order to comment, as that is not the purpose of this thread! Nevertheless, thank you for sharing this – you give us a good example of the strangeness of the dream: Christmas not at the right time, an ornament that you didn’t want and couldn’t really use; something you wanted to return; skating on thin ice comes to mind, metaphorically…

  6. I’m really loving how you’re writing about the dreaming space. It is such a ripe field from which we can pick and choose so many aspects of our destiny. Very inspiring.

    • Thank you Stephanie. A ripe field indeed. I hadn’t thought of us picking and choosing, rather more along the lines of the dream picks and chooses us to pass on its message..

    • Thank you Sharon. In many ways we are strangers to ourselves. The others in your dreams represent you in some way. Only you would know …

  7. I often have people in my dreams who I don’t know. Sometimes I wish I knew them in real life. Often, they’re really handsome men. 🙂

  8. I look forward to your dream posts. I feel my dreams are validated by the issues you write about. Since I’ve slept so much, since I’ve been ill, I have a since of accomplishment because my dreams have offered so many stories.

    • Marsha, thank you, how lovely to have stories in your dreams that give you a sense of accomplishment. May it be that they play a part in restoring you to good lasting health.

  9. It is interesting that the meaning of our dreams should be obvious but at times are obscure. Daily life definitely throws many options at us for interpretation. I am enjoying my education. Thanks for the interesting and informative post.

    • Our dreams are sometimes obvious Gwynn, much of the time obscure. There’s no ‘should’ about them at all! You’re right re life and its varying responses and reactions from us ..
      Thank you so much for your comment – so appreciated!

  10. “…that unknown other, apart from me, though a part.”

    That line really resonates with me. I think people have many different facets, perhaps more than we realize, but the dream knows. I’m always fascinated with how complete strangers, in dreams, are like old friends. I’m realizing now, that they always have been. 🙂

  11. Susan, your A to Z Blogs feel to me that I am being enriched by a “Human Growth Hormone” injection.
    I like the way you approach your presentation using the idea of unity of opposites, as the yin/yang idea is symbolically unified in one circle. You nicely apply this to the nature and on our dependence on dreams. All of this is shared with everybody on the internet, a contemporary tool that we address in our Outside world.
    I would like to cite an article here that makes us think about your Blog and it is written by a Post Jungian author.
    Paragraph heading: “Archetypes in the cloud” “Perhaps it is from the inner world of myth and archetype that we will find the wisdom to live and thrive in this new environment. Each archetype has its gold —its power and its gift to connect us with the deepest aspirations for our soul, and each one has its shadow—its immature manifestation that tricks us with false promises (of safety, of power, of love, of spiritual connection) and leads us further into isolation”
    This citation is of the article written by Steven Vedro, June 2012, Noetic Now Journal, Institute of Noetic Sciences.

    • Thank you Joseph very much! Coming to grips with the opposites within is the central thought of Jung’s analytical psychology and in depth psychologists past and present. The opposites reside with each and every one of us, each mostly at extreme poles to the exclusion of the other.

      Thank you for the Steven Vedro quotation on archetypes, such a significant part of our world. I don’t know of him though will follow up on the citation you’ve provided. Maybe others will too. The gold has its shadow, how could it not.

  12. This is a great series on dreams, Susan. I’m hoping you get to ‘undreamers’–those nights we don’t have any dreams. Maybe for months. What the heck is with that?

    • Thanks Jacqui. I have long spells of no dreaming and then all in a rush. Mmmm, I’ll look into undreaming, or nondreaming … watch this space.

  13. Thank you, Susan, for taking us a little bit deeper into how to orientate to our other in our dreams. I am enjoying the series.

    Pat Garcia

  14. I often dream of places I lived and played as a kid but they are so different. Sometimes better, other times dark and gloomy. Maybe I still have issues surpressed and don’t realize it.

    Stephen Tremp
    A to Z Cohost
    O is for Out Of Body Experience

  15. Facets of the one dreamer, yes. There is more than one facet to us, and the dream takes us to those different parts perhaps because they need exploration outside the conscious mind. Lovely post, Susan.

  16. In my dreams I seem to know everyone, yet upon waking they are strangers to me. Perhaps they exist in a different life in a different place. I wonder.

  17. I awoke this morning, quite serious about remembering my dream so it could be added to today’s comment. Again it is elusive! Apparently, that is not my purpose in commenting on your posts. OBVIOUSLY!


    • They can be every elusive indeed Beth. I am not looking for a dream from you for you to add to the comments so if there is a misunderstanding I apologise!

  18. That’s a very interesting point: “All those characters, events and place in the dream are only facets of the one dreamer”. It makes sense though, since our subconscious creates our dreams, by extension anything in that dream is a part of our subconscious, down to the very last detail.

    I heard that every face we see in dreams, even if they are just in the background, are faces that we have seen in real life and remembered, even if we aren’t aware of it.

    I followed the link you mentioned to me by the way, and her method is simple but makes a lot of sense. I’m going to give it a try next time I remember anything of my dream when I wake up.

    • Thanks Celine. The unconscious (distinct from the subconscious) is rich, and contains our personal and collective unconscious. Most of the people that appear in my dream are known to me, though often ‘strangers’ appear.

      Re the link – the first point is the most important.

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

    Not dissimilar to waking life. Everything outside us is coloured by our attitude, offering itself to the imagination for reflection, dialogue and learning, as to how we hold anyone or anything in the heart. Can’t help mentioning that the theme of reflection underlies my novels.

    • Thanks Ashen – this is important to remember that our interaction with life, the world, is coloured by our attitude. Attitude is All! Reflection is so powerful …

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