Your Guru the Dream – Step Two

If this is the first time you have started recording your dreams, don’t hassle them. Don’t rush full tilt at them by trying to ‘interpret’ them. They come from a different country than that of your waking mind. They speak a different language. They have strange powers, and point to landscapes and visions that ask wonderful things of you.

So some of what I write may seem wild. This may be because dreams arise and are experienced by a level of your mind or awareness that very few people have any concept or experience of – usually called the unconscious. Life dreamt in its creatures millions of years before even humankind awoke and developed self awareness or language. So to understand dreams we need to leave our thinking minds behind and go into our feelings and reactions – a much older level of awareness.

So at first, just get to know them. In recording them write them out as fully as you can. Do not skimp on words. Describe what you felt in the dream, what it reminds you of. If your dreams escape you easily, use a small hand held tape recorder to speak them into as you begin to wake. Transcribe the dream later – if possible into a computer file – your dream journal. I find it useful to use a voice recognition program to speak them onto the computer.

It is useful to have some sort of filing system for each dream, so if you have them on disk you can find those with similar themes or characters. Of course, characters such a s Dad, Mum, sister, brother, Jim or Sylvie your friends, are easy to find. But themes may be a bit more difficult. So if the theme of the dream was about relationship, loss and death, you could put in brackets (r* lo* d*). Later, as you build up a collection of dreams you could easily find all dreams dealing with relationship or loss, by searching for r* or lo*.

If you used a program such as dtSearch to do this, you could instantly see how many times a theme occurred in your dreams, and find each entry.

Becoming friends with your dreams – Themes

Thinking about the themes in your dreams is a way of slowly coming closer to your dreams, and of course, to yourself. For a practise run, lets look at the following dream. It is fairly clear cut. So define what you think the main themes are before you read the comments after the dream.

Feeling tired – exhausted – just lying drained of energy. I am conscious of people talking, saying I was ill. I thought I was just tired. Then asked what the matter was. I was told it was my heart, ‘dry and hard like a boiled egg’ they said. Found I couldn’t talk. Tried to write, wanted Alan to know that I loved him, but the pen kept drying up. Finger and feet began to get cold. An icy coldness slowly spread all over my body. A liquid warmth was then all around me. I thought I was haemorrhaging. A needle was stuck in my left arm and my chest was being cut open – it didn’t hurt. There was a lot of activity. They said I had gone. I was trying desperately to let them know I was still there. Then I was in a bag and sliding off a table. The bag was tied above my head. Then from the confined darkness I was free. There was a brilliant light all around. I could still see the sack with a body still in it far behind me. I was incredibly happy and full of energy. Trish L.

Well, what do you make of the dream? What is suggested by Trish’s hard-boiled heart? What does it imply that Trish is ‘gone’ but still there?

There are several themes here that are worth noting. The first is the theme of tiredness. Then there is the theme surrounding her heart and the inability to express her feelings. Perhaps we can contain those two by saying it is about ‘emotional dryness’ or coldness. Then there is the theme of death/life, neatly packaged together. And something that we might miss is that overall an enormous change is going on. Trish changes from feeling exhausted and dying, to being ‘incredibly happy and full of energy’.

This gentle relationship with your dream is so important, let’s look at another dream just for practice. It is a dream told to me while I was the dream therapist with London Broadcasting Company.

I grew up in Barbados and lived with my mother in a shack. While I was there I started having a dream that I have had occasionally ever since. In the dream I was getting married and was at home dressing for the marriage, looking in a brown, peeling old mirror. The dream always ends here. Pam.

This dream is not quite as obvious as the previous one. I use it because it will help you see how dreams use certain means to depict a theme or attitude. Don’t get confused by details. Ask yourself what Pam is doing, what are the overall actions or situations?

Well, Pam is thinking/feeling things about marriage. So that is one of the themes. When Pam told me the dream I asked her if she had ever got married. She said no. So that is a further clue.

Sometimes it is helpful to consider how the word ‘I’ is used. For instance Pam says ‘I was getting married’. The ‘I’ word is used to denote something we connect with strongly. If I take some examples from other dreams, we have, ‘I could hardly breathe’ – ‘I was in a room with my brother’ – ‘I was really terrified’.

What Pam says apart from the marriage is, ‘I was …… looking in a brown peeling old mirror.’

What might be missed here can be grasped if you think of the dream as a piece of drama, like a television film. What Pam is enacting is looking at herself with thoughts of marriage. What sort of image does she have of herself? It is of a country girl who can only afford a peeling brown old mirror. So the theme here is self-image. It is about how Pam may be seeing or judging herself.

Looking at them in this way, take some time with your own dreams. Even this simple step can be very revealing, especially when used with a series of your dreams. Often great insights arise from this alone.

Dreams cannot be defined under any one heading. Like human beings, they are enormously varied in what they express. Just as you cannot say the human mind is simply a system of memory, you cannot say dreams are just the reflection of experienced events. Your mind can also solve problems, predict the outcome of what you do, play with possibilities through imagination. You can create new ideas out of old memories, or replay disturbing events in order to find ways of meeting them constructively. Being the mental phenomena they are, dreams deal with all of these issues and more. (Quote from Dream Dictionary)

See Your Guru the Dream – Step Three

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