Postures Movement and Body Language

Even in everyday life, the way we hold and position our body, the inclination of chest and head, the movement of hands, are a means of communication. The apparently intuitive information in some dreams, when investigated, can be traced to an unconscious insight into the language of the living body. We all have this ability to understand body language, but it seems to be something that is inherited from our ancient forebears, perhaps developed to an intense degree as a survival need prior to the growth of verbal language. It therefore remains a largely unconscious ability. In our dreams, however, it is a major factor in how the dream is structured.

If you cannot find a satisfying description below, imagine yourself making the movement or posture in the dream to see if you can define what the feeling quality is, or what you are expressing non verbally. It can often be of value to make the movement or take up the posture physically instead of in imagination. By comparing the movement/posture with another one, it can help to clarify its quality. See: body postures.

Example: ‘Marilyn was experiencing emotional pain connected with her impending divorce. She had dreamt of seeing a dinosaur standing in her path, devouring all who approached it. We explored it by having Marilyn find a body posture and movements that for her expressed the feeling of the dinosaur. In doing so Marilyn did not sense anger or aggression as she expected, but she did feel like a predator that always had to TAKE to gain her own needs. This feeling immediately reminded her of her family life as a child. She remembered when she was sent shopping as a very young child of three or four, as well as buying what she had been asked, she purchased some sweets for herself. When she arrived home she was treated as if she had done a terrible thing, and that was where she began to feel like a predator. It seemed to her as if her own needs were always gained at the expense of someone else.

With this awareness, she could now see that the dinosaur standing in her path clearly related to her present situation. Bargaining to gain a realistic share of the house and property jointly owned by her husband and herself, felt to her as if she were gaining her needs at his expense, like a predator. That made her feel so awful, she was almost ready to allow her husband to take all, leaving her without house or money to start again. Her awareness of where the feelings arose from, and the unrealistic part they played in her life, allowed her to relate to the situation with less pain and more wisdom.’ From Mind and Movement, Tony Crisp, Daniel.

crawl If you are an adult, crawling can suggest feelings of caution, feeling your way, or regression to a more childlike state. It might also be because you feel there is no room to “stand up” – or that you feel vulnerable.

carrying See: carry.

jump Jumping to: Daring; taking a risk; sometimes connected with flying. It can also connect with a change.

Jumping to avoid: Feeling of threat; anxiety; evasion tactics.

Jumping off: Getting out of a situation, or changing your situation. Children do this as a form or daring to see if they can face their fear.

Jumping down: This depends on the feelings attached to the action. If you are jumping down to something slightly lower, this may relate to something that needs a small effort to reach or get to, something that you want to do or achieve, but causes a slight hesitation and a change or slight risk, such as when you approach someone and feel anxious, or are starting a new job. If you jump from a high place and there is anxiety attached, then it suggests you are taking a risk, or are uncertain of an outcome in regard to something you are doing or facing. It is therefore helpful to ask yourself what you are doing that leads to feelings of anxiety, or what changes you are making that you are uncertain about.

Jumping over: There is a suggestion here of making an effort to avoid something or to overcome an obstacle. Or is there a feeling in the dream of wanting to reach someone or something?

Jumping at dreamer: Unexpected; irritations.

Idioms: One jump ahead; the high jump; jump at; running jump at yourself; jumping down ones throat; jumping off place; jump out of ones skin; jump the gun; jump the queue; jump to it; jump on the bandwagon; jump to conclusion.

kneel Humility; acknowledgement of dependence or co-operation; sense of awe; defeat.

prone Relaxation; letting go of activity; introversion; sex. Or: Retreat from the world; feeling injured; afraid to stand up for oneself; non involvement; negative introversion; weakness; death.

Idioms: Lie low; lie at ones door; lie in wait; take it lying down. See: squatting down and standing below.

rising Usually suggests an improvement of some sort – a change from inactivity to activity or engagement.

run/running Exuberance; flowing life energy; strong and easy motivation. One can run to or run away, so it is important in some dreams to define which one it is. Also it is important to define if you are running to get somewhere, to reach a goal, or simply running as an expression of exuberance, or to get fit.

Running away: Avoiding something; trying to get away from something, ones own emotions or sexuality for instance; not meeting problems in a way that will resolve them; anxiety about what you are running from; feelings of guilt.

Running to: Trying to reach a goal; energetic attempt to reach a goal; anxiety; responsibility and self-giving; sometimes running toward danger.

Running with great pleasure: The unhindered flow of your innate self; an expression of the person you can be if the blockages and hesitations are dropped away.

Running without knowing why: Uncertainty; lack of clarity about what you are feeling or expressing – where you are going to or from.

As if made of lead: Held back by ones own hesitations. See: paralysis under body.

Example: ‘There followed a nightmare of running along streets, round corners, knowing I was being followed and trying to get away. Then I met a friend who was also running away. She took me down a narrow street full of down and outs and prostitutes.’ Pauline B.

Idioms: Run for ones money; run of the house; out of the running; on the run; run along; run down; run for it; run out of steam; run out on someone; run up against; run wild. See: chased; second example in emotion and mood; nightmares; processing dreams question 7. See also: lucidity.

sit Ones situation at time of dream; status, depending where one is sitting; being relaxed; inactive waiting.

Sitting up: Becoming more involved.

Idioms: Sit back; sit for; sit in on something; sit on; sit out; sit something out; sit tight; sit at someone’s feet; sit in judgement; sitting target; sit on the fence.

squatting down and standing The down expresses: Sleep; rest; withdrawal; non involvement. Idioms: Feel down; down and out; do someone down; down at heel; down hearted; down with. See: prone above.

The standing position: Your involvement in the exterior world of change, opposites, and needs that require expenditure of effort; being involved or active in the world or with others; your ‘standing’ in society; what one ‘stands’ for; being active; confrontation; co-operation with others.

If you are standing on something like a ledge or a plank, this represents the things that give you support. For instance you might the confident about dealing with individuals, but anxious when dealing with a group. The feelings or attitudes underlying the confidence or insecurity are represented by what you are standing on in your dream.

Idioms: Know where one stands; left standing; make a stand against; stand alone; stand aside; stand by; stand corrected; stand down; stand firm; stand in someone’s way; stand up for; stand up to; stand ones ground; stand on ceremony or dignity.

turn A change; making a new decision.

walk Motivation and confidence. Where you are walking is what you are meeting in life, or where you are going or exploring. It also involves personal effort in trying to get somewhere. It can be about changing your relationship with things, or a period of experience you are passing through.

Walking up a lane: As above, but may be memory lane.

Idioms: Walk over somebody; walk away with; walk off with; walk on air; walk tall; walk the streets; walk out on; walk out with.

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved