The Vision of Dreams

Dreams reveal to us things we are ususally blind to

That we have a word such as unconscious in our vocabulary means we acknowledge there are things we cannot ‘see’ about our own existence, about our own body, and about our own mind, intentions and feelings. Many writers on psychology have suggested that the part we know about our own brain/mind is about one tenth its possible size, and we use about one tenth or less of our potential.

In trying to understand this we may come to see that most of our own existence and mind is outside the boundary of our everyday knowing. This has always been realised in most ancient cultures, and many strange and refined techniques were developed to take awareness beyond the boundary of its normal knowing into the land of the ‘unknown’. In this century many people have attempted the same thing using mind expanding drugs or techniques of meditation or altered states of consciousness. See: altered states of consciousness; esp in dreams; the definitions of dreaming under Freud; out of body experience; yoga and dreams.

This difficulty in crossing the boundary of knowing into the unknown is a sort of general blindness most of us suffer. Considering that dreams portray a very different view of life in which this boundary often does not exist, we can say that dreams are a leap beyond our blindness into full supersensual life. In our dreams we can often see the meaning of life experiences we are failing to understand in waking; we can look ahead into what our attitudes and temperament are creating in our life; we can look deep into the workings of our body, and in general extend our senses and awareness beyond any known limits. See: Cayce, Edgar; collective unconscious; wife; dead husband and cannot find husband under family and relationships; hallucinations.

Many modern physicists, working with the information arising in experiments with quantum theory, tell us that our view of the world is based upon our blindness, and is very limited, and through its limitation, unreal. Yet this view we take to be the REAL universe.

The physicist Bohm defines this problem by saying that there are two orders in our experience of the world around us. There is the “explicate” order and the “implicate” order of the physical universe. He defines the explicate order as the impressions of the world gained via our senses and the interpretations the brain places on these impressions. These impressions and the brain’s interpretations – based on millions of years of evolutionary experience and input – lead to a view that we each have separate minds in isolated bodies. The implicate order is the universe as it is when we move beyond the limitations of the senses and the brain’s evolutionary programs. Then we begin to see the universe as a single indivisible whole, and ourselves as intricately part of that whole.

Bohm says that “if we don’t see this it’s because we are blinding ourselves to it.” He goes on to say that “If we don’t establish these absolute boundaries between minds, then it’s possible they could unite as one mind.”

An example of this seeing beyond our conditioned blindness is given in this man’s description of something he ‘saw’ when he moved beyond his usual boundaries:-

I saw an influence in action pressing human society into ever greater super-organisms. These organisms either evolve into functioning new forms, or fail and break down. And by organisms I mean huge groups of people working toward similar goals, such as we find in political or religious groups, or even in nations or social groups. The human body is a super-organism for instance, and combines the workings of billions of cells. What I had failed to see previously is that human beings, despite their felt isolation and individual identity, are actually moved by similar forces as cause cells to gain a common identity in a body.

I saw a push toward a new level of complexity and size which is integrating and using is technology. This new super organism within human society is digesting technology or interiorising it as an integral part of its new organisation and size. This is similar to the way the body has integrated certain things into its own cells, or uses exterior bacteria to help digest food.

The jump to a vastly greater size is enabled by the technology the super-organism incorporates. So if we take human beings as the cells in the body of this huge super-organism, they constitute the living soft tissue, but the nervous system are being formed of the computer driven information and control highways emerging at the moment. And if we are not blind, we will recognise that the equipment we have created is part of our greater body now. Still more though, we must recognise that the huge organism we are incorporated into is more than we are ourselves, just as the body is greater than the cell. If we can see this then we may also recognise that as a human being we may be driven by urges arising in us that are not from our own isolated mind – because our mind is not isolated. Overall our direction arises in large measure from the drives pushing the super organism, and the direction of society is created by the direction of the super-organism.

But how does that help us? What can we do about our blindness?

It helps to understand what dreams can do, so here are some examples.

  • An expression of what is happening in the physical body. Some doctors consider dreams to show signs of illness long before they are evident in other ways. Women frequently know they are pregnant very early on through sleep awareness in a dream. See: body; body dreams; Kasatkin_Vasily; consciousness-mind body split.

  • A link between the sleeping mind and what is occurring externally. For instance, a person may be falling out of bed and dream of flying or falling.

  • A way of balancing the physiological and psychological activities in us. When a person is deprived of dreaming in experiments, a breakdown in mind and body quickly occurs. This type of dreaming can often be a safety valve releasing tension and emotion not dealt with in waking life. See: compensation theory; self-regulation dreams and fantasy; science and dreams.

  • An enormously original source of insight and information. Dreams tap our memory, our experience, and scan information held in our unconscious to form new insights from old experience. Dreams often present to us summaries or details of experience we have been unable to access consciously. Sometimes this is as early as life in the womb. See: creativity and problem solving in dreams.

  • A means of compensating for failure or deprivation in everyday life, and as a means of expressing the otherwise unacknowledged aspects of oneself. Such dreams are a move toward wholeness. See: compensation theory.

  • Dreams often stand in place of actual experience. So through dreams we may experiment with new experience or practice things we have not yet done externally. For instance many young women dream in detail of giving birth. This function of what might be called ‘imagination’ is tremendously undervalued, but is a foundation upon which human survival is built. See: imagination and dreaming.

  • An means of exercise for the psyche or soul. Just as the body will become sick if not moved and stressed, so the mind and emotions need stimulus and exercise. Dreams fulfil this need.

  • An expression of human supersenses. Humans have an unconscious ability to read body language – so they can assess other humans very quickly. Humans have an unimaginable ability to absorb information, not simply from books, but from everyday events. With it they constantly arrive at new insights and realisations. Humans frequently correctly predict the future – not out of a bizarre ability, but from the information gathered about the present. All these abilities and more show in our dreams. See: esp in dreams.

  • A means of solving problems, or formulating creative ideas, both in our personal life, and also in relationships and work. Many people have produced highly creative work directly from dreams.

  • A presentation in symbols of past traumatic experience. If met this can lead to deep psychological healing. Such dreams are therefore an attempt on the part of our spontaneous inner processes to bring about healing change. See: abreaction; compensation theory; nightmares.

  • In the widest sense nearly all dreams act as a process of growth or a move toward maturing. Some dreams are very obviously presenting internal forces or dimensions of experience that might lead the conscious personality toward a greater balance and inclusiveness. See: individuation.

  • A way of reaching beyond the known world of experience and presenting intimations from the unknown. Many people have dreams in which ESP, out of the body experiences, and knowledge transcending time and space occur. This type of dream may indicate a link between the present person and people who had lived in the distant past; or between the dreamer and all existing life. Some of these dreams present powerful insights into how the transitory human personality may arise out of an eternal consciousness. They thus deal with the spiritual aspects of human nature.

Some examples can be see at Inspiring Stories; Life Changes; Breaking through to the Psychic and Spiritual; My Life in Death; Acting in Your Dreams:


-Brooke 2011-04-07 6:00:01

I have breast cancer and will be undergoing a mastectemoy – i had a vivid dream about a baby elephant being dragged from a hole in the earth by its trunk and mamed by a lioness- it was wounded in the chest and I asked my husband ‘can’t you do something?” and he said, “no, it is too late” Can you help me interpret this?

    -Tony Crisp 2011-04-14 11:49:11

    Brooke – An elephant cannot feed itself until it is big enough, then it reaches out with its trunk as it gains independence.

    So obviously your dream used the image of a baby elephant for some reason. Although it may be too late to avoid the mastectomy, there is still things you need to do for your own well being.

    First in dreams nothing can die, so the baby elephant can be saved by standing up for it. You can do this by chasing the lion off, or calling in a huge mother elephant to do it for you. The reason for this is that our inner mind works with images, and by manipulating them you change the way you feel. So imaging a different ending can do that.

    I believe from my own experience and from suffering a stroke, that having a different centre of self is a wonderful thing to have. For instance many of us are raised to believe that our body is us. That if a part of us is damaged we are damaged. I know that is not true because when my brain was damaged by a stroke and I couldn’t walk or speak, I could see clearly that I still existed untouched, but that my brain was an organ that enabled me to move and act through our body, and the damage to my brain made that difficult. I saw that just as I had developed the ability to speak in infancy I could do it again. The body is a changing thing.

    If you say to yourself, “I am tired. I am hungry. I am depressed. I am happy,” you are describing the changing conditions of your body and your mind. But if you say – “I am” – you are describing the fundamental part of you that experiences the changes. The ‘I AM’ is there all the time isn’t it, behind all changes? But it is as slippery as an eel to catch hold of. That is why many people use meditation to try to catch it.

    This – I AM – survives sleep. It survives the shifting world of your sensory impressions, your thoughts and emotions. It is the ever present awareness behind the experience of your life. It doesn’t change with the tides and calamities of events. This is the rock upon which we can build our house, your dwelling place.

    So all I wanted to say is that despite having a mastectomy, you are still whole, and do not build your identity on what you do not have.


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