There is a strange and wonderful world in which your most secret wishes can be fully lived. In this world the things you fear take on physical form and do battle with you – yet remain ultimately harmless unless you believe them to be real. It is a world in which magic is everyday occurrence, for you can experience death and yet live on. Here the possibilities of your future are an open door for you to explore. You have many lifetimes in this domain, and are capable of living each one with vigour. Here too, with a thought or desire, you can create a living environment in which you move and play – to act out love, anger, success or failure until you grasp their essence and master them. See Dreams are Like a Computer Game
This living laboratory enables thoughts and emotions to take on their own physical reality as people, objects or places outside of you. Meeting them you live in a universe, a community of beings with which you have an ongoing relationship. Yet it is an apparently exterior world that is but a reflection of your own inner life. Because of this, if you are wise, you may discover in it the sources of your own obstacles in life, and transform them into opportunities. The magical variety of the things met in this world reveal your own impressive creativity. For you are the Grand Creator of all that exists in this special universe of experience. Yet – and here is the jewel of this – you are not imprisoned by all you have made in this world, whether noble or evil, cherished or feared. Not trapped that is, unless you choose to be.
Dreams Express The Full Spectrum Of Human Experience
It is of course the world of your sleep and dreams. A world which encompasses the total range of human experience from the egoless void of dreamless sleep, to the sharply felt pangs of personal fear and identity.
Although dreams and sleep have always fascinated human beings, it is only toward the middle of this century that real scientific breakthroughs were made in understanding them. More recently still, with the development of greatly increased sensitivity in scientific measuring of the brain and cells, dreams have been shown to be an essential part of our learning and creative process. Also, the tremendous area of experiment undertaken by individuals in the Human Growth Movement, not only defined non clinical ways of exploring dreams, but also showed them to be a wealth of information and creative experience. Freud described dreams as being more than the supernatural events or random imagery previously supposed. But his presentation left them as expressions of unconscious repression and symbolism. Today dreams are seen to represent the whole spectrum of human experience.
Dream Consciousness Transforms Your Life
If you drive a car you cannot afford to lack skill. Your life and other people’s life depend on it. However, even if you do not drive a car you are nevertheless the driver or operator of one of the most complex vehicles ever created. It is a vehicle with many functions. It can be one of the most destructive or creative implements, and so needs enormous skill to understand and handle well. The vehicle is your own body and mind.
The essential you – the naked, decision making, responsive spark of consciousness – stands in the middle of myriad flows of energy and influence. Everything from internal urges to eat, mate, be angry, to external influences such as social pressure, music or opportunity, call you to decide or respond. To respond or decide in ways which actually satisfy you takes great skill – the lack of which leads to internal tensions, ill health, frustration, social rejection or lack of recognition, depression and so on.
Because dreams portray the various aspects of your life as external objects, and play out your relationship with them as the dream drama, they are excellent maps to guide decision making. See Drama
The following dream, told by Mo, is an example of this.
She says, “I gave birth to a little girl – Charlotte. I had mixed feelings about this. There was both uncertainty and excitement. I had a strong desire to tell someone about the birth, so telephoned my friend in Australia. She listened to my excitement in silence. I felt uneasy at this, then she said to me “I’ve lost Luke” (her son). He had died a week before. Then I woke with muddled feelings.”
On considering her dream Mo felt the baby didn’t have any obvious connection with a male figure. It was beautiful, healthy and sure of being loved and cherished by Mo. When asked who or what she had lost and mourned for she immediately felt strong emotions because she had ended a ten year long relationship with a male friend and lover. It was then clear the dream depicted what was happening in regard to this. Her love life and sexuality – the baby – were alive and born anew, even without her ex-lover. But her pleasure in this was dulled because a part of herself – the female friend – was still mourning the death of the relationship. This lessened her enjoyment and excitement about the new things emerging in her life. Nevertheless, having such a clear picture of herself helped her steer a more decisive course through her feelings of loss toward her sense of new birth. See A Woman’s Creative Power
Mo arrived at her understanding of the dream by taking each figure or part of the dream and looking at what feelings, memories or information it held for her. Her new baby was obviously an expression of her pleasure and sense of well being.
The friend depicted a sense of loss. When she asked herself where pleasure and a sense of loss could be found in her life, the dream was clear. Therefore, asking yourself straightforward questions about your dream will uncover much of its information.
Not Imprisoned By All The World You Made
We are all born victims of circumstance. But we need not remain a victim.
Your natural response to your environment is to be influenced by it. A disturbing event would stimulate you to feel fear, a calming event to feel pleasure. Your moods are usually influenced by what happens to you. So being in prison would be more depressing than being free. Being rejected would cause more pain than being admired or loved.
Our emotions and feelings about ourselves are like a keyboard that is played upon by people and events. If we are praised or rewarded our self confidence and therefore performance will usually be enhanced. That is fine except it means we will usually depend upon the world to create our moods and our sense of our own value. This makes us victims. We may not be dependent on a drug, but on praise, success, being admired or wanted. Without them we may experience the lows the drug user does on withdrawal. See Avoid Being Victims
As a human being though, you have an extraordinary possibility. This dream of Ed’s explains it.
I was in a prison with several others – all in one cell. It felt as if I had been in the prison for years. I was standing near the bars angry and shouting about the injustice of my incarceration.
As I stood raging I suddenly realised that all my anger was having no affect on the world. I was the only one suffering it. I saw that the peace and freedom I wanted from release I could have now by letting go of my anger. I would then be in peace, and would be free of my own negative emotions. I forgave my judges and gaolers, and a change came over me. In the following years I learnt to drop the other ideas and emotions I tortured myself with. I was filled with joy until my bliss filled the cell. In this way all had a changed relationship. In a strange way I was now utterly free.
The greatest prison of all, the greatest of torturers, is our own emotions and our concepts or ideas – our thoughts. While Ed felt angry and held the idea he had been wrongly accused, he was tormented and trapped – imprisoned in his own thoughts and emotions. To have received a public apology and released would have changed his feelings, but he would still have remained a passive victim of events. Instead he found in his dream the greatest freedom of all – a blissful freedom – the release from his mind and emotions.
Almost every dream you have shows you what world of experience you are creating out of your memories, your habitual attitudes, your fears and hopes. Because of this, each dream can be another step toward blissful freedom. The following dream shows clearly how Emma is imprisoned in difficult feelings.
I’ve had this dream for years. I’m trapped in a long passageway or corridor. I can’t get out. I’m feeling my way along the wall – there is a small light at the end of the tunnel, I can’t get to it. I’m very frightened. I wake up before I get to the end. Then I feel afraid to go back to sleep.
Emma cannot escape by struggling. Her trap is one of the emotions and mind. No matter what helped her create the trap, she can be free by standing out of the particular web of ideas and feelings which weave together to create her trap.
You can gather from each dream how you weave a view of the world which creates either suffering or pleasure. See Secrets of Power Dreaming
Dream Mystery Explored
It can be summed up as remembering the dream; recording of dream; listing of symbols; and association of ideas. It was also seen that symbols must be understood in their right context, or can even be understood because of that context; which is rather like arriving at the meaning of an unknown word because of the way it is used in a sentence. Several other things are mentioned or hinted at while the dreams were being analysed. Some of these are so important or helpful, that they will now be further explained. See - Techniques for Exploring your Dreams
Main Phases of The Dream
If we look at the structure of the next dream, we see that it can be split into four phases. But not all dreams are as easily broken into the different parts. Some dreams cannot be segmented in this way, while others have far less phases. The next dream is an example of the latter.
‘I had gone to Sheila’s and Uncle Frank’s house at Spearing Road. They had promised I could have a room there, but I found all the rooms occupied and people were sleeping on the floor instead of in beds. Seeing there was no room I turned away and the next thing I knew I was in a train; it had rather luxurious blue leather seats but again was almost full. It contained, as far as I could see, all ladies, and I explained to them that I had been promised sleeping accommodation. Even while I was explaining this and expecting to occupy a length of three seats, I could see they had as much right there as I, and I took the single seat offered still protesting that we were promised sleeping room.
This dream can only be broken into two, or at the most, three parts. That is, the house, the train and possibly, accepting the seat. If this is set out we have a clearer idea what the dream is about.
The House – Searching for living space in a childhood setting. Found ‘no room’ – What have I been looking for in childhood attitudes? Was the ‘promise’ of childhood unfulfilled?
The Train – Exorbitant expectations, annoyance at the fact that these high expectations cannot be fulfilled. This in a setting of getting somewhere – train. Have my expectations in getting somewhere not been as great as hoped for?
The Single Seat – Grudging acceptance of practical offer. Can I see anything of this in real life?
The whole idea of using this method is to take the general events, implications and settings of a dream, and use these as a reference for asking oneself questions.
The Dream Sequence
One of the things that is often overlooked in dreams is what we might call the ‘because’ factor. This factor is fairly noticeable when once pointed out, but difficult to see until much dream interpretation has been done. The because factor also applies in our everyday life, and can be seen when we say, ‘I was waiting for a bus and began to talk to a stranger who was also waiting. Our conversation became so interesting, that after a few minutes we went and sat in a restaurant, letting the bus go, because we had so much in common. Before he went he gave me his card because he wanted me to contact him again. I could see from what we had spoken about, that he was thinking of offering me a job in his firm. But I never followed it up because I didn’t think I could fill the post.’
If we look into this, we see that important events occur, directions followed, decisions taken, all because. The word ‘because’ in fact hides all our background, our feelings, our predisposing urges and thoughts. The word ‘disposition’ can in fact be used to sum up what lurks behind the because factor. A little thought will show that history is made up of this ‘disposition’, acting through the because factor.
I hope this doesn’t sound mysterious or complicated. This is such an important thing to understand. Our whole life, the events and outcome of it, rest upon it. Our life is what it is because of what we are – our disposition. We take an offer or reject it because of this. We succeed or fail in life because of the same factor – ourselves. ‘The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in the stars/But in ourselves, that we be underlings.’ When understood, we can see that every move we make in life is conditioned by subtle feelings of fear or pleasure, pride or love. At every decision we are directed by intangible hopes, despairs, conflicts and ideals. So, dreams also, arise out of the because factor.
Two dreams illustrate this. ‘I was waiting for a visitor. Suddenly the man I had been expecting came round to the back window and peeped in. I didn’t see him clearly, but took an immediate aversion to him and refused to let him in.’
Here we see that something ‘waited’ for by the dreamer, when it actually arrives, is not admitted due to feelings of aversion. It is not admitted because of aversion.
A clearer example is this. ‘I was surrounded by a thick wall of briars, beyond which were wild animals. I was trapped and couldn’t get out. I wondered what to do. Suddenly I noticed a hole in the ground. I looked in and saw it was a tunnel. I was just about to explore it as a way of escape, when I saw a dirty animal-like man looking up at me. I drew back from the tunnel in disgust and woke up’.
Here we see that the dreamer is trapped by his own tangle of problems, and destructive instinctive urges. A possible way out is shown in the tunnel of unconscious exploration (i.e. discovering one’s hidden contents), but the dreamer, on looking within, sees an undeveloped and repulsive part of himself which disgusts him. It is because of this disgust that he cannot get out through the tunnel. The whole dream revolves around that point. It is also because of this inability to explore further due to disgust, that the dream ends. The dream is showing that it is the feelings of disgust that are keeping him trapped in his unpromising situation. In real life, he is stuck in the middle of painful experiences because of his own feelings of disgust about a part of his nature. Thus, the because factor in dreams is very important, and is the central point in numerous dreams.
If we fail to understand an individual dream, light can often be thrown upon its meaning by looking at the dreams that precede and follow it. In this way one sees that the symbols are used in a gradually evolving manner. A dream series of evolving symbols is also one of the most striking proofs that dreams are not mere nonsense. The dreams that follow were all dreamt within about a month.
(1) ‘Visit to M. Very nice house, high on the cliffs overlooking the sea. M. and others their usual welcoming selves. Met other pleasant friendly people, but we had to go down the hill to meet them and then some of them pointed out another way up the hill to another beautiful view, and came along to show us the way, which M. actually knew, but didn’t want to spoil their pleasure in showing me. A few of those in M.’s house were not quite as nice as I had believed from M.’s description, but I liked them anyway.
Here we start off with a house overlooking the sea – a state of looking over one’s hidden contents, one’s unconscious. Or we might – say the dreamer is ‘overlooking’ certain things about herself. These things she has overlooked begin to become known in the people, parts of herself, that were not quite as nice as she had believed.
(2) ‘Met uncle George. Then he and I and a few relatives and friends went on to a small boat and began a journey. I didn’t know where we were going but others did, and it was such a new and pleasant experience for me that I didn’t bother to ask. As it grew dusk a strange but pleasant and friendly woman, who was obviously familiar with the boat, came and closed the curtains and put the light on, so that we could be comfortable during the night.’
Just previous to dream number one, the dreamer had begun, with the help of a friend who knew a little about interpretation, to analyse her own dreams. So we see that from ‘overlooking’ the sea she has quickly gone on a sea voyage. The dream sums up her situation wonderfully, ‘I didn’t know where we were going, but – others did.’ She didn’t at the time realise where the interpretations and dreams would lead her. Also, the sea is now much closer, and night is coming. That is, darkness and the unconscious are already making themselves felt, for the night sea journey is a classical dream of the exploration of one’s unconscious contents, as with Jonah and the whale. See archetype of the night sea journey
(3) ‘Found myself in a place where I could go swimming every morning.’
Already she is beginning to enter the water, or her inner life.
(4) ‘Went into a church with someone who pointed out that I was facing the wrong way. I turned round and saw a bigger and lighter altar at the other end.’
Having begun to contact her inner life via swimming, immersing in it, she sees that her attitude to religion or her own
(5) ‘I was involved in a revolution. Everything around was collapsing, but I don’t remember being frightened.’
All her old ideas are being either revolutionised, or are collapsing.
(6) ‘I found myself being led in a particular direction by friendly pleasant people, who yet knew that on arrival I was to be executed. I had an immature woman of about twenty-five with me, and the same fate awaited her. I took her hand and tried to convey love and courage and to protect her from all her fears by behaving in a light-hearted manner.
As her old ideas collapse, her old self is to die. Also the immature twenty-five year-old part that still lives on in her is to die.
(7) ‘I found myself entering a tunnel where I encountered a rather frightening little animal, but we passed each other as he went out and I went in. Then I met a larger animal with the same results. Later I met a third, a real monster, rather like a 60ft caterpillar with a lion’s head and fore feet. I did not like the encounter as I continued to walk on the left side of the tunnel, into ever deepening darkness, and he passed me on the way out. Somehow I felt that Doctor (a friend and adviser) would not have been in the least afraid, and I borrowed his courage, and woke about half-way along this monster.’
Having been ready to die to her old way of life, she can begin the descent into her unconscious contents in earnest. The two frightening animals are two fears that came up and out. The third one is too big a fear to completely pass by at this time; and its shape shows its possible sexual nature.
Here, in just seven dreams, with very inadequate comments, can be seen how the symbols evolve as the dreamer discovers her real inner nature. The ‘overlooked’ sea becomes travelled upon. The coming darkness on the boat develops into the ‘deepening darkness’ of the tunnel; while each dream shows a development on the inward journey the dreamer was undertaking. Such a series need not be about the inward journey, however, but about commercial undertakings, health, ambitions, or even answers to intellectual queries.
These seven dreams were taken from about twice that many, dreamed during the period. The selection being based on how one can understand past dreams by seeing them in context with others occurring. The important point being that one might dream of looking at the sea for years, but never enter it. Then, with a change of ‘disposition’, a series of swimming and diving dreams take place. In interpreting our dreams in this way, we have to watch for similar symbols in changed conditions. The sea and darkness are obvious in the series. Also the crowd of people leading her, representative of her own desires to understand herself. The interpretation is arrived at by analysing the situations the dreamer finds herself in, and how the symbols change. Thus a seed seen in one dream, and a plant just growing in another suggest growth and development. A person scorned in one dream, and loved in another, would be a change of attitude and relationship.
These three methods, the Main Phase – the Because Factor, and the Series method, all help us to see the underlying meaning of the dream through looking at the dream as a whole. Particular symbols are not worked on in the same way as in the associated ideas method. It is the relationships the dream suggests that arouse questions. In turn, these questions themselves clarify the dream for us, and help us analyse our experience to see if the dream explains or explores it. As we advance in ability to deal with our dreams, these various methods are called upon and used as required. See - Techniques for Exploring your Dreams