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Mind Watching and Dreams

Because of the many nature films shown on television we are used to the idea of mature and intelligent adults spending days or years watching the behaviour of animals such as hyenas or chimpanzees. In her book In The Shadow Of Man, Jane Von Lawick Goodall explains how, by watching chimpanzees and taking note of her observations, radical new insight into the behaviour of chimpanzees arose. She didn’t think beforehand what she expected to find, but simply observed and put together the information that arose. For instance on several occasions she saw the chimpanzees kill another animal and eat its flesh. The knowledge that chimpanzees were meat eaters was entirely new.

In a similar way, by observing dreams and laying bare the emotions and associated ideas and memories we have with the dream imagery, we gradually define our personality, its strengths and weaknesses, we discover new abilities and we grow beyond our old problems, and that in a depth we had never managed previously. I have called this mind watching, but it covers every aspect of human nature, not simply the intellect or thinking.

This mind watching through observation of our dreams first presents information about our personal experiences and memories and how they influenced our growth and influence present responses. Gradually the information arising from such watching leads beyond ones personal self. It shows in many cases how our unique self has arisen from, and has indissoluble links with our forebears, with our culture, with the past as a whole, and with the cosmos itself. It leads from oneself to the edge of the known, and perhaps helps us take a few steps beyond that edge into the unknown, to create new understanding.

This mind watching gradually reveals to us the many aspects of the mind’s working, and with such insight may come the growing ability to use these facets of ourselves. Not only may we discover great vistas of personal memory, but also the roots of our creativity, the subtle senses of our emotions and unconscious, and the treasures of experience we have gathered.

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