Interpretation of Dreams – Influence of

Although mind and body may be a total unity, and the separation in language merely a convenience, despite its unity our being has a number of interacting systems within the unity. The action of the heart on the other systems is obvious, and the influence of emotions on the organs is also becoming obvious. What is not so well established is the importance of the feedback occurring when we gain insight into our own functioning through understanding a dream.

Although our being is already a self regulating system, the ability to turn consciousness inwards to make clear aspects of unconscious function, appears to increase the efficiency of self regulation. This is shown in the first example where David’s long standing neck pain goes through insight into its cause. In this way we might be seen as a conscious organism which not only reprograms mental patterns or habits, but to some extent can renovate or change body efficiency as well. See: Techniques for Working your Dreamsanalysis of dreams; Introduction; processing dreams; interpreting dreams

Example: ‘A small snake about a foot long had dropped down my shirt neck. I could feel it on the left side of my neck. Fearing it was poisonous and might bite me I moved very slowly. At one point I put my head on the ground, hoping the snake would wish to crawl away. It did not. Then I was near an elephant I loved, and hoped it would remove the snake. It did not. Even as I slept I felt the snake was an expression of the attitude of not sharing myself with anybody except family.’ David T.

For months prior to the above dream David had experienced a great deal of neck pain. After discussing the dream with his wife, and realising much of his thinking and feeling was in-turned, the pain disappeared. So the snake was both ‘poisoner’ and ‘healer’ representing the power of David’s negative and introverted emotions and thoughts on his body. This may be why snakes are used as a symbol of the medical profession.

Once you understand a dream its images can be seen as a clear expression of personal information. For instance a woman dreamt she was standing alone on a plateau and she could see two worlds hanging in the sky. In talking about the dream she said her husband had died and she had met another man. This new man was very different to herself and her past husband. The world he lived in was new to her and she was cautious. This helped her to see she had the choice between two worlds, and her dream was simply illustrating her situation – she was alone, on a plateau facing choices.

From this point of view dreams are not strange or coded. They are not trying to hide information, but express it in much the same way we use imagery in our everyday speech. In the above example ‘worlds’ is the imagery used. But it might also be ‘that was a close shave’ – ‘barking up the wrong tree’ – ‘got the sack’ – etc.

Dreams also use other things that we take for granted as everyday parts of our mental life. Word play and puns for example, and the drama we understand so easily in films and plays, but say we are mystified by in our dreams. Such dream statements as ‘I was in a dark and lonely house’ – ‘The dark water moved slowly between the stones’ – ‘It was a beautiful bright sunny day and I was in a children’s playground’ are immediately understandable as expressions of mood. See Plot of the Dream Context/Theme

What may confuse us in looking at dreams, especially our own, is these factors are used all at once, and all put into imagery. Even so, if we look at them as if they were all a sort of mime, where speech may occur, but the main message is expressed by dramatic mood, substitution of an image for words, word play and puns in image form, then we can begin to grasp what the dream is communicating.

A very simplified way of understanding your dreams is to disregard the imagery. Look at what feelings are involved and see if you can recognise the glimmers of such feelings in everyday life. If you can, then go back to the dream. Consider what the drama portrays, and see what comment it makes on the everyday events the feelings are connected with. See: analysis of dreams; language and dreams; interpretation of dreams – influence of; processing dreams.

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