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Friday September 24, 2004: Dream symbols

(Apologies up front for the length of today's entry)  

          How often can we dream without using symbols? Is it even possible? For most people, it's the symbolic elements that keep our dream memories separate from our everyday memories (real gorillas don't chase us around the office with everyone else looking on). When dreams become too lifelike, it can be hard to separate events later -- did I discuss that issue last week with you or did the entire conversation take place in the dream state?  

         Compared to lifelike dreams, heavily symbolic dreams can seem bizarre and confusing. I've watched people turn to dream symbol dictionaries to understand a strange dream, but I suggest avoiding this option.  Generalized dictionaries may work for generalized, socially-repressed issues (and these issues change over time), but you really need to establish a better connection with your own subconscious and with the regulating or censor mechanism which protects conscious awareness from socially unacceptable thoughts.
          Dreams begin on the astral level, which deals with emotions and feelings.  (I say 'begin' because while most people spend all their dream time within this astral level, it is possible to alter your awareness within the dream-state and project into higher states of consciousness.) If most people's dreams remain on the astral level, it's probably because they've never considered other options.
           Suppose on the other hand, you decide to use dreams for problem solving or discovery. Don't be surprised if you experience dream recognition in stages when working on especially problematic areas: you may begin by being unaware of dreaming at all; then remember you were dreaming but be unable to recall any detail; advance to experiencing highly symbolized, disturbing dreams or nightmares; and eventually find yourself evolving toward dreams which mirror everyday life.
            No matter how much programming you do to find answers in the dream-state, remember that you still have to get past the censor mechanism.  This censor mechanism should not be seen as a negative or domineering guard, but as a well-meaning, ill-informed relative; it was set up early in life and may have trouble adjusting to an adult's willingness to confront the uncomfortable.  Learn to work with the censor if you want to release its control.

           Back in my early years of study with an organized spiritual group, I was beginning to get cocky about my detached and balanced (mystical) attitude. I'm embarrassed about it now, but there was a phase when I was definitely getting too big for my britches.  I had this brilliant idea that I would program my dreams to confront whatever truth I had not faced before.  Brother, I was convinced I could face anything.  In the middle of the night, a giant spider descended on my bed -- giant, meaning three feet in body width, with legs as thick as my arm and probably extending another five feet off the spider's body.
           Needless to say, I bolted out bed and flipped on the light, scared out of my wits. As light filled the room, I quickly realized I'd been dreaming. Still, before I could climb back in bed I felt compelled to search the bed sheets. This urge to verify the lack of spider came despite my own grumblings: "Of course there isn't a spider, stupid. You would have seen its legs sticking out from under the covers; you would have noticed a huge lump under the covers." Oddly, I could not reassure myself without carefully checking every layer of sheets and blankets, presumably because of that element of truth the spider represented.       
            The next morning I was chagrinned, though still stubborn enough to continue with my programming.  This time I programmed to work on the elements that kept me from facing this hidden truth. Almost a week later, I awoke because of another spider descending from above; this time the spider was the size of a silver dollar.  Again I bolted out of bed, turned on the lights and thoroughly searched my bed sheets, all the while complaining about this asinine reaction to what I knew to be a dream (that darn truth element again).
           It might have been two weeks after this incident that I had the final spider dream. This time I dreamt a tiny little spider was racing across my pillow.  A careful search revealed nothing.  I was aware that the spider represented something I was afraid to face, and that, over time, I had adjusted to the idea so it no longer was as frightening. Perhaps it seems odd that I never discovered what the confrontational issue had been; I suspect the issue might have been worked into regular dreams without setting off internal alarms.
       For a brief while, spiders actually became my favorite dream symbol. Any time I programmed my dreams to understand a difficult situation or relationship, if I awoke with this strange reality of spiders, I knew I'd come face-to-face with a truth I was not accepting.  Recognizing and accepting the symbol seemed to reduce the amount of distortion used the next time by my censoring mechanism. In fact, with practice, acknowledging a spider dream began allowing instant recognition of exactly the information I needed. I would focus behind the symbol and by-pass the censor mechanism.  I think I actually encouraged the symbol to be used, as a clue to my awakened self.  In this way, I learned to create my own dream dictionary, codes that allowed inner truths to communicate more directly with me.
         I've grown comfortable with symbols, and have learned it's hard to remain in any dream state for long without encountering some form of symbol.  Even in the most lucid dreams, when reality appears little different from awakened reality, there will be elements of symbols worked into the background.  There are good reasons for this.
          If you're working with deeper parts of your consciousness, meaning emotional issues that you've repressed, then symbols allow these issues to come forward without threatening your socially-oriented censoring mechanism.  The symbols will become more abstract or removed from awakened reality depending on the degree of repression.  (It's much easier to face a charging wild animal and kill it with your bare hands, than deal with pent-up hostilities towards an authority figure).
         Focusing on the emotional context of the symbols makes it easier to look at your everyday life and figure out where a similar situation might exist. Obviously in your outer life your threat may not result in actual death. What should be important are the emotions of being attacked, or of having one's personal life threatened, or of personal loss   Acknowledging inner feelings, regardless of whether you can change your outer circumstances, still moves us out of the victim of circumstances role and allow us to reclaim our life.  With insight, we have choices: to restructure our outer reality, change long-standing emotional attitudes, or support our own inner needs as we endure the trials of our current situation.
         Unless you are in a lucid dream-state, which we'll discuss later, it's wise to assume that even people you recognize in your dreams may in fact represent someone entirely different.  Look to the emotional relationships and interactions within the dream rather than to whether you talked to Aunt Gertrude in Helen's kitchen.
        Check out all symbols, including environmental and structural settings, and evaluate your history of emotional connections.  For you, a kitchen may represent nurturing and someone helping sustain your existence.  For someone else it may represent the drudgery involved in taking care of everyone else's needs. We naturally tend to focus on the action taking place, while other information remains coded in the background. Keep track and acknowledge that part of your inner self is trying to give you a message about the condition of your physical, emotional, or spiritual life.  
Side-note: obviously this does not apply to dreams caused by strange food combinations, drug induced stupors, or background noise which gets incorporated into the dream to avoid waking the sleeper.  Remove these dreams from analysis if you suspect connections to events immediately preceding sleep.
            In trying to create a dialogue with your subconscious or supraconscious, accept that no matter how strange dream symbols may appear, the message being sent comes from an authentic reality within you.  An overly-protective censor mechanism will block not only our lower nature or negative emotions, but also information coming from higher intuitive or inspirational sources. If you respect and work with that mechanism, the censor will relax and allow more information past. 

           I'll look at messages sent from higher sources tomorrow...

Posted on Friday, September 24, 2004 at 05:26AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments1 Comment | References1 Reference

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  • Response
    If the above photo is real and the remnants of what was once a growing baby at 10 weeks, then there is absolute proof of what is being done to innocent life. NO EXCUSE for anyone to commit such an atrocity against the unborn. Even worse, when the DemonSpawnObam- man enacts ...

Reader Comments (1)

Great idea, thanks for this tip!
August 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulian-Trautmann

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