In other words, dreams show us all that is psychologically real, but not conscious. Jung maintained that by rejecting our repressed unconscious self, we become destructive by projecting it onto others. This is referred to as our "shadow."
It is not necessary to be an expert on dreams to make good use of them. If we pay attention, dreams will assist us in recognizing, owning and accepting these unattractive aspects of ourselves. This is how we become whole. We will be less likely to project our "shadow" on to others. Dreams also help us uncover our gifts, talents and abilities. By becoming more aware, we become architects of a richer life. We can discover our interconnections to others, our community and larger society and use these energies toward service. So, how can we use our dream life in useful and practical ways? Here are some tips to help find meaning in your dreams:
Most importantly, be open to them. Paying attention to dreams is like welcoming a friend. Once welcomed, dreams become clearer, more detailed and frequent. Record your dreams in a dream journal that is by your bed. Sudden movements or starting your early morning routine can make them quickly disappear.
Write in the present tense. Date and title each dream and look for themes over time. Imagine being the character or characters in the dream. Why are they doing what they are doing? Ask what is the reason that this dream came to me? What is this dream asking of me? What part or parts of me is this dream showing? What feelings did I get? All can lead to valuable insights. Look at each dream symbol as potentially a part of your self. Your own associations with each person place or thing can give valuable insight into your own dynamics as well as a commentary of situations.
Realize that dreams have multiple meanings. Each dream depicts elements of our personality and interior life. Could something in the dream such as a car or house be an analogy for the body? What creative or spiritual potential of you might the dream be about? Is it showing you some dimensions of yourself that you do not know about?
Join or start a dream circle. I have found that in groups where participants are in a trusting environment and can freely share insights of associations of dream symbols, powerful and often transforming insights can take place.
In these uncertain times, we have a tremendous need for visionary leadership and a recognition of our shared humanity. The use of dreams can alert us to the bigger picture and what really matters. With many of us facing difficult changes and complex decisions in this slippery economy and fragile world, we need to make more use of our whole minds and selves. We all can draw on sources of wisdom that may have been neglected.
We all dream and we all have the ability to use and develop our intuition. There is always a transmitter (our unconscious) sending out signals or information from within. It is worth paying attention to. Our minds have deep reservoirs of information, wealth and guidance just waiting to be tapped. All we need to do is pay attention to the symbols, sensations and images that come into our awareness.
If we are open to all our experiences, awake and asleep, our creative impulses will be stimulated and we can open otherwise closed attitudes, beliefs and opinions. The impact on our lives, decisions and others can be profound.
Published, August 1st, 2011