Crack the Code of Your Dreams – Taking Notes That Will Reveal the Heart of Your Dream“The basic function of dreams is to express the unconscious.”
—ROBERT A. JOHNSON
So you receive your dream, you have written it down as you experienced it without interpreting it. You have noted your feelings in your dream—
- About the place you are in
- Your feeling response to other dream characters,
- To a situation,
- To yourself.
Feelings like agitation, pride, peace, annoyance, anger, judgmentalism, hesitation, surprise, distrust, delight, innocence, court room mentality, wrong/right thinking, blame, sadness, grief, humility, despair, Love, righteousness, worthlessness, calm, controlling, humorous, playful, confused, trusting, arrogance…As much as possible be able to say exactly what you felt as you go along.
" Part of us lives in our conscious mind, and our complementary quality lives hidden in the unconscious…They may appear to be enemies– yet they are in reality in the process of making a synthesis." —ROBERT A. JOHNSON
The dream is made up of male characters and female characters and some characters that seem to go back and forth in their sex.
If you look at your dream characters as each being an aspect of yourself, you will see these relative characteristics playing out in the shadows or openly, in your life.
We all carry these characteristics. It is important to mention here that shadow does not mean anything negative. A shadow character is simply a part of us that has been pushed underground and in doing so can make mischief in our everyday life, not because it is bad but because it is not acknowledged. Most of these shadow lives contain a huge amount of potential that our lives need to fully manifest their purpose. It is often wounds or childhood circumstances that drive aspects of ourselves underground. An early misconception formed that we have taken on.
Our dreams are comprised of many aspects:
- Males tend to portray the thinking analytical rational deciding mind
- Females tend to portray emotions and understanding, a feeling logic, a sensing of the whole.
- There are often certain figures in our dreams who stand out and feel very whole and full of guidance-these are our soul guides coming forward to offer guidance and counsel. Jung referred to these as the anima and
- Symbols will appear like a circle or a mandala or a square, an animal
- Numbers will appear in dreams and these also have significance. As well as the ages or the number of years ago you were in the place in the dream. These are the clues left in the landscape to uncover that will begin to put together the picture of the dream.
ASSOCIATIONS provide the foundation for understanding a dream. Associations spring out of our unconscious in response to dream images.
Take each scene and notice the place they have occurred and any associations you might have with that place. For example: a town you grew up in, an old house, something from the past, or a new place, someplace you have never been before. If it is in an old house that you formerly occupied the dream maybe coming for you to recover something or show you something that is still operating from that time or a new appreciation for something difficult from the past. Writing down your associations with the houses and cities you are in can further embellish your knowledge of your feeling state and let you see what you might be still carrying from the past. Perhaps it is a mythical kind of place or barely descriptive at all. But you still will have feelings about where you are and these will fill out your associations. Take nothing for granted.
Archetypal dreams often take you to ancient or extraordinary places—bigger or smaller than life…talking animals, royalty, heroic figures…You can research the source of these figures and symbols that come—the Internet is a great research tool for this, rather than a dream dictionary that will give you one set meaning.
In the same way notice the people, are they familiar to you, are they couples, what are they like? Do not censor how you feel about them, write down what their characters evoke. EVEN IF IT IS EMBARRASSING.
Don’t daisy chain your associations by turning your associations into a story and don’t allow your associations to take you away from the dream itself because not all associations will be true in their importance to the dream. Keep them as distinct entities in themselves. Just write them down in a list. You are looking for one that comes that will ‘click’ the dream more into place. One that carries energy in it.
Allow the images that may have presented themselves in the dream to fully drop in. Is it an animal or a symbol? What does it bring up in you, is it a part of your waking life in any way or have you seen it before, do you have any history with the image… Begin to make associative meanings to the images. Again the Internet can be a great resource for this. For example you could receive the image of a circle or a rock or a bee or a shape.
I once had a dream image that came that was simply a large boulder that was sitting on the trunk of my car. When I looked at it what came immediately to me was that I was carrying something large and heavy from the past that I couldn’t see directly in front of me. This dream image led to a big revelation in my life.
In this way write down any associations you might have to the image, or anything it reminds you of and again how it makes you feel. Do not go to the dream dictionary that says that such and such means this or that. This will dilute the power of the image that often carries much of the meaning of the dream like an acorn carrying the totality of the tree within it.
In the end when you read your list of associations you will find the one that brings a little surge of energy with it-that is often the one that ‘clicks’. When I am working with people they often say, I don’t know why I am thinking of this now, but I remember such and such event…”
After you have looked at the initial scenes and their locations, you are ready to look at the DYNAMICS.
In working with the dynamics of a dream you make a connection between what is happening inside of you in real time– your inner dynamics – with what is happening and playing out in the dream story. Ask yourself the question—if I translated the actions of the dream into my inner world, does any aspect of this feel familiar? For example – if two people in your dream are having an argument, is there an argument going on inside of you, by way of a conflict you have within your self, something you have not been able to resolve? These are examples of the inner workings or process of becoming a whole person. The dreams present the stages along the way, adventures or obstacles, beliefs, surprises, key people or qualities that you value or dislike. Dreams describe our inner world, which internally deliver our outer experiences, via relationships, jobs, careers, etc.
And it is on the inner level that you can change things. Often the most life- altering thing that can happen in your life is for you to recognize and name a dynamic you have been living. This naming is the turn-around event.
Robert Johnson writes that the single most important thing to realize is that all of our dream characters represent an aspect or something going on within us. And that dreams about ‘others’ are not excuses for blaming other persons or making proof as a case against them.
In noting the dynamics of your dream, ask yourself the question what you have in common with the other dream characters or how you are different. Ask your self what the dream characters have in common with one another that are unlike you. Try to use neutral language in describing these characteristics. Even if you have to initially pretend, find the virtues these folks employ. For example, if the character in your dream seems very boastful to you, find a positive value in him—for instance that that he is not afraid of saying who he is or what he is good at. In this way you can begin to see what may be underground in your own life. We often make people into the bad guy because they are bringing out a way we feel secretly ashamed of in ourselves. So we develop a little moral arrogance to hide it and create distance from it.
When there are exaggerated positions or arguments in the dreams look at the beliefs and attitudes and values you hold that are being contradicted or threatened in the dream.
When a surprise shows up in a dream it is usually an indication of a limited belief we are holding. For example one of the most common surprises is when someone shows generosity or love in a dream situation that our own character might not expect – the whole matrix of always expecting the worst… that is a world many people live in to shield themselves from disappointment that they have experienced somewhere along the way that was crushing.
In some of our dreams we are simply a witnessing presence watching the dream play out in front of us like watching a drama. In these dreams you will see all sides of your character and how it is alive in your life.
In some of our dreams we discover things that disturb us down to our core. For this reason I think it is valuable to be able to work with someone whom you trust to explore these kinds of dreams. Often dreams bring up subjects that we cannot easily share with our family and friends. It is for these dreams I strongly recommend working with someone skilled in this arena. Not because they are dangerous but because they can uncover strong emotions or things we did not know, or things we may not be able to find a perspective on that will be healing That is when the steadying light and presence of someone devoted to your healing will make the difference. And healing is the point of our dreams.
At this point we are looking for the central most important message of the dream—why it came to you.
- What is the dream advising you to do or to embody?
- How would my life change if I embraced it?
- Write it down.
- Feel the energy of it.
Evaluate your interpretations by:
- Choosing the dream that shows you something you did not know
- Avoid the interpretations that inflate your ego or are self-congratulatory
- Avoid interpretations that shift responsibility away from you
- Learn to live with your dreams—over a long time—let them evolve with you—you can only know what you know right now. But along the road you may find things about your dream you were unable to know when you had it, thus they evolve with you.
RITUALS OR HOMEWORK
For most people it is important to physically take an action that will anchor the message of the dream into everyday waking life by creating an act to consciously honor their dream.
This is an arena that indigenous cultures have employed carefully and consistently and we of the super-mind culture have often pooh-poohed as unnecessary. But it is done because it works. It acknowledges the message you have received with a sense of reverence. It says by your action that you have received the guidance and wish to act on it. In some primitive cultures they will take the message or medicine of the dream with the help of their shaman and they will ‘drive’ it into a rock or a physical object from nature. Then this object will become a piece on their altar or a place in the garden where they can look upon it, and remember it. An object becomes a thing of power by the energy we empower it with to help us make the change we wish to bring into being.
Perhaps it is as aspect of our selves we would like to let go of. We can use an object we find to hold that aspect and then cast it into the sea where we ask nature to take it where it needs to go. This can be a very powerful experience. Because it empowers us to change and not feel like we are permanent victims of life experiences. And because it takes us out of our heads where we mostly live in our modern culture and where we have become so unfortunately lost.
I heard of a man who worked with his dream by writing a letter to a part of him that was revealed in a dream. He posted it and mailed it and upon receiving it was able to take full responsibility for a part in his life and an issue that his dream had unfolded.
It can be as simple as a very intention-filled walk in nature, a phone call you have been meaning to make, a connection you have been putting off.
As with all things use your common sense. Let it be a creative act and allow yourself to be available to what will come as a result of it.
Stay tuned...more on dreams is coming!