What I Have Seen In Dreams
1 – The living laboratory of dreams 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 – 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, or fail to realise you have created it all.
2 - 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 and so on. Because dreams play out this position of consciousness amidst a multitude of influences, they are an excellent guide to the life skill of ‘driving’ oneself.
3 – 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.
Your emotions and feelings about yourself are like a keyboard that is played upon by people and events. If you are praised or rewarded your self confidence and therefore performance will usually be enhanced. That is fine except it means you will usually depend upon the world to create your moods and your sense of your 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.
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. While Ed felt angry and held the idea he had been wrongly accused, he was tormented and trapped – imprisoned in his own ideas 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.
4 – If I lived without ever remembering my dreams I would have a one dimensional life devoid of the possibility of extraordinary riches of experience. Dreaming, daydreaming, imagination and fantasy, so extend your range of experience, that you double or treble your experiential life span. I see this ability of the mind to play with experience or information, to rearrange it and try it in different guises and formats, as fundamental to the enlarged creativity and functioning of the human mind.
Of course, these two great principles – the gaining of experience other than through our senses from the external world; and the ability to play with information and creatively experience it in different formats, or practice new responses to old situations – are not limited rigidly to dreams. Whatever it is that creates dreams however, does appear to be the very fount of our ability to transcend the one dimensional time track of our physical life. Instead of Tuesday following Monday; and Wednesday coming after Tuesday, mechanically on and on, we have the ability on Wednesday of lifting up into the other dimension of mind and looking back at Monday. We may even imagine how we might have lived Monday differently. We can harvest information and glean new experience from it by replaying Monday over and over, if we wish. When Friday comes we are then armed with a wealth of experience, that Monday by itself never gave us, with which to enrich the day.
5 – Seeing an overall view of dreams has gradually led me from a goal oriented view of life and human beings, to one that can be called Repertoire. By this I mean that often we are led to believe that if we achieve a certain position or place we will find satisfaction – this is goal orientation which influences large numbers of us. Dreams suggest that there is no goal, but rather a fuller meeting with all the facets of oneself. One person may live largely in an experience of their genital drive; another in their emotions; someone else through their religious feelings; another in their anxieties, mind, etc. The discovery of these different aspects of oneself leads to enormous flexibility and satisfaction. Each time another ‘room’ of ones being is opened to access, your repertoire is increased, and another area of pleasure and creativity emerges.
6 – In our times a sense of the spiritual, although now a word much used, is actually atrophied. As individuals, few of us have a real sense of link with a connected whole. Lots of people meditate on ideas of the spiritual, or have an emotional response to a symbol of the whole, but few find this a function of their own being, such as their eyes are a function of their sense of an external world. Dreams show how human beings create a concept of a whole external to themselves.
The study of such imagery suggests however, that humans have a long history of disconnection from their own wholeness. To understand this one needs to consider the idea of humans prior to self consciousness – a humanoid animal still moved by deeply instinctive drives. As self consciousness emerged, with its possibility of personal will, such human beings may have felt themselves like a beast which had woken up. It was difficult, because they still had their instinct pouring through them. A shock or pain may have occurred due to becoming aware instead of being lost in unconscious and instinctive urges. History, especially that of religion, with its manipulation of sexuality and aggression, suggests there was a break with the instincts. There was a denial of the instincts. This occurred because human beings developed a society and religious beliefs which began to treat the instincts as paranoia, as an illness or disease. If you were like a beast then you were less than human. This is a part of our psychological history.
Prior to this development of personal and social influence or will, the human animal had always had a guiding light, a very present help in every situation of stress – instinctive prompting. With the suppression of instinctual guidance – the inner god who gave advice – we had to erect something else because the human beings felt devoid without their instincts. They felt devoid without their internal guidance. So we erected God. We erected religion instead. It was to serve the place of the voice of instinct which had always guided human beings in the past. We split it off from the individual human being and made it a social function. Now society would dictate the direction of the individual.
The external symbol of human instincts – god, the gods – became a means to manipulate individuals. The ability to manipulate – to ‘guide’ humans now their personal guidance was suppressed – led to a new form of human society, the human termite hill, with its hierarchy, and suppressants – i.e. kings, priests, armed guards, police, soldiery, etc.
Having seen something of this in human dreams, I feel individuals can only become self responsible if they understand these ancient processes which make them still liable to ‘guidance’. The recovery of ones own instinctive nature, allied now to rational consciousness, becomes the stimulus to a new type of human experience.
7 – Again and again dreams circle around a representation of what Jung calls The Self (See Core Experience). Such dreams develop the image of only one process, one being, one life in all the universe. Although we experience a three dimensional world in which there appears to be a passage of time, the concept of the self suggests that we are also creatures of a timeless experience beyond time and space. The strange anomalies which erupt into human life, and which appear to have little or nothing to do with time, and space and human limitation, are signs of this timeless self occasionally making its presence felt in our ‘normal’ world.
Out of this we have the apparently inexplicable phenomena seen in some dreams and in general life of telepathy, miraculous healing, knowledge of the future’ insight into people and things without the aid of the physical senses, telekinesis, flight of consciousness, etc.