Dreams have been described as “cards from the unconscious”; they are a communication from the wise and unconscious part of us that is inhibited and censored by our conscious mind. Dreams can tell us what we really want, but we are afraid to admit it, and they tell us about our relationships, career, and life direction. Dreams reveal our destiny and our authentic self and reveal our true purpose and life path.
In psychospiritual psychotherapy, we explore dream images and messages to gain insight, understanding, and enrichment of our lives. Through group sharing, role play, conscious dreaming, ‘holding’ symbols, and ‘continuing’ our dreams at vital points, we can recognize and accept the wisdom, guidance, and help that is offered to us through Dreams.
Why are dreams so important?
Ancient Vedic wisdom points out that we live our lives in a cycle of three states or conditions. They are awake, dreaming, and sound asleep. Throughout human life we find ourselves in one of these three conditions.
Interestingly, contemporary human beings are mostly asleep in their waking lives and awake or attentive to their dream lives. We wake up and spend time with anyone who hears us recounting our dreams from the night before, because many times we find it more interesting than what we call “normal” life.
And there is a reason for this. With the decline, in the outer world, of the sacred, the realms of mythology, ritual, and symbol, the ceremonies of perception and guidance have now been internalized. When you are asleep, your guard is down, habitual inhibitors are relaxed. So that is the moment when the unconscious rises and makes itself heard.
There is another reason for our interest in dreams; we have become compulsively visual people. Of the five senses, sight is the one that stands out the most in modern society. We receive, experience, and evaluate other people and the world around us primarily through visual impressions. The other senses are also important, but they are assembled around the central visual image.
We have become beings who crave visual distraction: television, videos, in our pockets, in our homes and in the workplace, in our cars, magazines, pictures of food on packaging, photographs, cinematography, images abound. Spectacular 3D visuals. So is it any wonder we’ve started to experience the world as if it were some kind of Blu-ray video presentation: spectacular, over-stimulating, sense-numbing, emotionally and visually invasive? In comparison, the world can seem unspectacular and pedestrian.
However, the dream world knows no limitations like those of waking life. They are really wild. We fly, perform tremendous feats, and defy the constraints of time, place, and normal inhibitions. Dreams seduce us with fantasies of pleasure; we can meet people to whom we feel supernaturally close, perceive light and clarity beyond the vividness of waking life, and perform actions and deeds for which we may feel guilty or ashamed.
What is the value of hearing what your dreams have to say?
People have dreams and ignore them when they can save their lives. Or at least inform or guide their lives. People who habitually read their horoscope or ask a wise friend or relative for advice may routinely dismiss their dreams. However, the dreams they ignore possess the same wisdom they seek.
Dreams offer us a world of symbols and orientation that brings us into an intimate relationship with our dark side, that part of our psyche that we have disowned.
By learning ways to understand our dreams, we gain access to a wealth of deep unconscious wisdom that leads us to inner integrity and personal integration.
What about dream dictionaries? Are they not enough to guide us towards a valid interpretation that we can make on our own?
Dream dictionaries have their place. But much better than consulting a book that tells you what your dream means is discovering it for yourself. In that way, you are already connecting with the deeper wisdom that is yours. Dream dictionaries tend to be overly simplistic, a kind of building block method, and by definition they don’t have much to say about the dynamics, sequence, interrelationship of symbols, and the deeper layers of personal meaning in their stories. dreams
What are the methods you advise for working with dreams?
There are many methods of dreams, from analytical interpretation to Gestalt, from Jungian to waking dream, archetypal and transpersonal approaches, symbol immersion, re-entry, etc. For me, the most important aspect of listening to our dreams is essentially practical and refers to time constraints. Most of us have so little time to work on our dreams and yet we dream every night and most of our dreams have something unique to tell us. So I think the crucial point is how to work with dreams effectively and quickly enough that it is feasible for us to keep track of where our dreams direct our attention, or to stay in relation to what Arny Mindell would call “the body. of the dream “. the aspect of our psyche that offers us dreams.
That is why I have devised a simple, effective and fast way to work with the dreams that I teach in my workshops. At the same time, if a workshop participant has already adopted a dreamwork method, I honor that, because it seems to me that each of the various methods has something to offer.
So is it really about having a relationship with the life of your dreams?
By engaging with your dreams, you can develop a dialogue with the unconscious mind, request specific guidance, and access deep wells of wisdom. Which brings us back to the starting point: the three states of wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep. The sacred syllable OM, or AUM, is the sound of the universe and is the direct experience of transcendence, manifested as an inner glow.
Breaking down AUM, the A is the waking state of consciousness, the M is the transcendent state of consciousness, and the mediating or transitional sound in between is the U, which is the dream consciousness. So dreams mediate between our waking self and our transcendent self.
The mythologist Joseph Campbell tells the story of a conversation he had with Jung. Jung was hiking in Africa with some friends when they met a group of indigenous people. The unfamiliarity led to a stalemate in which each group seemed to be evaluating what potential threat there might be. They had no way of communicating with each other. As each group relaxed and felt good with the other, a primitive basic communication emerged and according to Jung, the sound he heard was OM … OM … OM.
I think this is a good metaphor for our relationship with the dream world. At first they are threatening because they are unfamiliar. So as we develop a relationship with them, we feel an underlying unity in them and also in our relationship with them. They are really a part of us, a kind of secret and lost part that we can re-possess and finally possess, which makes us richer in the life of our soul.
In the life of our soul instead of in the life of our ego?
Every dream is a challenge to our sense of separateness, to our ego-centered self. The dream encourages us to bridge the gap, open communication, and resolve differences between different parts of ourselves. The result is an experience of inner unity that we radiate outward in our waking life.