Your Guru the Dream – Step Four

Your life is more than a day. It is more than a year. It includes a thousand hopes, countless pleasures, and pains beyond memory. Your life is not even your own, but a vast wonderful weaving of many others into your being. Even the animals and landscapes, the houses you have loved or feared are intricately a part of you. So, shall a painting capture you, or words, or a photograph tell all that you are? No. Only your dreams can display the mystery of your years, and the many things your life has brought forth. (Quoted from Dreams and Dreaming by Tony Crisp)

At the end of Step Three you were asked to try writing out a summary of what you learned from looking at Barry’s dream. To help you understand what this means, here is an example. This example is not given as a suggestion of what the ‘correct’ response is. Each of us will arrive at different insights. The person whose dream it is can be the only one to say whether what is arrived at expands their awareness of themselves, and helps transform their life. That expanded awareness and transformed life is, in the end, the only test for effective dream understanding. A dream understanding that does not transform in some way, means there is still more to discover about the dream.

Barry’s dream opens with him on a road. This suggests he is taking, or is about to take a direction that links with his past pain as a child in hospital. One could say that something is emerging in his experience that confronts him with the residues of that past time in the hospital. But latter parts of the dream, namely the scene of relationship with his wife, particularly say that what he faces from the past influences his present relationship.

The scene of the precipice shows this direction or emerging influence as something that can have very serious psychological implications. The dream, in showing Barry falling to his death after ineffectively calling to his wife for help, spells out this possibility. It says that Barry faces the possibility of marital break-up, and personal dramatic change. The death literally says his present way of life might end, may die, and pass away.

If we open the scene where Barry is calling for help, this describes a very painful and maybe even frightening situation in which Barry feels, rightly or wrongly, that he is alone, that his wife is not bonded to him emotionally in any way that would help him in facing his feelings of loss and abandonment.

Having practised this particular approach to dreams, and we will look at others as we proceed, use it on some of your own important dreams. Do not be in a hurry to arrive at the final summary. Perhaps there is no final summary. New insights can arise from reading the summary once you have produced it.

We could have taken a wonderfully uplifting dream to look at instead of Barry’s serious dream of warning. However, if you are dealing with nightmares, or difficult dreams, the uplifting dream would have been no help in meeting your own situation. We are looking at the most serious right away, and seeing how we can find healing change, help or strength.

There is an important issue here though. If you, along with the many others using this master course of dreams, were together with me, and we looked at the question of what would be the best outcome for Barry, there would be various and divergent answers. Therefore it might be better to ask the question of what may be possible in the situation, rather than what ought to be done.

Like yourself if you were in that situation, Barry was faced by:

  • What he wanted – to stay in his marriage.
  • What his situation was – the meeting with internal and external factors that stressed him and the relationship.
  • What potential Barry and the situation had – enormous variety of choices.
  • What Barry could actually bring about in fact – the actual outcome he arrived at. Namely a separation from his wife, and a gradual meeting with the inner traumas that created his feelings of conflict and abandonment.

At any point in Barry’s journey toward healing, a different choice made would have led him to a different conclusion. This is an enormously important fact in dealing with dreams.

When we meet a dream, we are not meeting a concrete prediction. We are not meeting a concrete situation. What we are meeting is an often amazingly perceptive statement of what our present situation is, what likely outcomes are, and sometimes possible changes that can be made. In the dream we are possibly dealing with infinite potential. But we are also dealing with what our personal qualities are, and what we can make real of that potential.

So our next step is to play with the dream, to wrestle with it, explore it, and perhaps discover what its infinite potential is, and what we can manifest of that potential.

Carrying the dream forward

So, try imagining yourself in the dream and continue it as a fantasy or daydream. Alter the dream in any way that satisfies you. Experiment with it, play with it, until you find a fuller sense of self-expression or satisfaction.

It is very important to note whether any anger or hostility is in the dream but not fully expressed. If so, let yourself imagine a full expression of the anger. It may be that as this is practised more anger is openly expressed in subsequent dreams. This is healthy, allowing such feelings to be vented and redirected into satisfying ways, individually and socially. Remember that in this place of dream and imagination, you are hurting no one. It is a safe place to allow any feeling or fantasy. Remember that you are not aiming emotions at anyone, simply venting them if they are there to vent.

In imaginatively exploring your dream do not ignore any feelings of resistance, pleasure or anxiety. Satisfaction occurs only as you learn to acknowledge and integrate resistances and anxieties into what you express. This is a very important step. It gradually changes those of your habits that trap you in lack of satisfaction, poor creativity or inability to resolve problems.

Remember that the aim of this step is to explore the dream, to walk into it so to speak, and play with changes you can make that would make the dream more satisfying. In making these changes you might meet with resistance. In other words the images of the dream, the scene you are imagining, your feelings, might be difficult to handle or spontaneously move somewhere else. These are important points because they show what stops you from changing your external life. So take your time to meet these resistances.

In the next step we will look more fully at this method.

See Your Guru the Dream – Step Five

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