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Wednesday, January 27, 2010: Dream Symbols

            Every now and then we have dreams that seem more vivid and significant than usual. These are the dreams worth exploring for their symbolic meanings.  I’ve recently written about Beth’s dream [click here].  You can also click [here] and [here] to see earlier entries on the basics of dream interpretation.

        If you run into trouble pulling apart a dream symbol, you may want to try programming future dreams before you drift off to sleep.  Programming can be as simple as, “Help me understand {this symbol} more clearly,” or “When I awake, I will have a clearer understanding of {this},” “My dreams will reveal what lies beneath the symbol of {this},” etc.

      The whole idea of ‘sleeping on it’ works because we present a challenge to the subconscious and then let go, allowing the subconscious to search for appropriate symbols which can get past conscious resistance. How long it takes to get an answer may be dependent on the level of inner resistance. If several nights pass without a clear answer, try rewording the request; try nibbling at the edges (“Let me work in the dreamstate to remove any and all resistance to my seeing the truth”)

            Be prepared to program multiple nights before getting a dream that helps define an earlier symbol. A new dream may present the same symbol with a slight variation. Sometimes a dream shows a completely different dream symbol that brings to mind a connection to the first dream.  Recording dreams in a dream diary may help you recognize broad patterns of actions being repeated over time.

              People you know can show up in your dream for several reasons. Every now and then one may see a relative or friend who stands out in the dream, creating a lucid dream moment (when you know  you are dreaming). In these cases, the person seems more real than other dream elements, almost flattening the rest of the dreamscape into a two-dimensional backdrop. Fully conscious you are dreaming, you may even ask yourself why this person has come to you in the dreamstate. 

            It is possible for people to connect with each other in the dreamstate, whether the visitor is currently alive or not.  There are certainly lots of stories about loved ones who have passed away but appear in dreams of family or friends to give comfort or advice. One awakes from these dreams feeling deeply touched by feelings of love, peace, gratefulness and quiet amazement.

            People from your present may appear in dreams if there is need for you to acknowledge an emotional connection or response. Say your ex-husband appears in a dream (you can replace ex-husband with non-friendly co-worker, family member or friend). Do the actions within the dreamstate signify a resolving or a persistence of old tensions between you and your ex? If you have extended good will and it seems reasonable that your actions may have been accepted by the ex with some semblance of his or her own good will, then the dream may signal an internal agreement. When you run into the ex in a future engagement, you may notice a lessening of tension. To remain somewhat skeptical, this may be due to your own feelings and your own defenses shifting because you believe the ex has extended good will. Still, it is a positive step forward in mending a damaged or dysfunctional relationship.

         If there is a persistence of tension in the everyday life and in the dreamstate, it is possible to work within dreams to change some of these dynamics. I suggest doing this for your own good, so you can get on with living a new life. Program to resolve the differences or the tensions between you and your ex within the dream state, and stay open to the messages sent back through symbols.  Watch your own actions and continue to focus on giving good will, regardless of the response. Or picture surrounding the person with divine love, knowing that when he or she is ready, love will begin melting away defenses.

            Remember that no relationship exists without an emotional connection. The person you are in a relationship (the way you react) and the lessons you learn are an inescapable part of your history and your psyche. Each relationship you have brings out slightly different elements of your character; you share hopes, dreams and frustrations differently with each relationship you enter.

           If I have a dream with my ex- (and I do from time to time) I have several areas to analyze. I know certain areas of common interest drew T. and me together and made the relationship work in the early days.  I would never ever go back into that relationship (because of the areas that didn’t work), and I am very happily married now to R., a marvelous man. I can tell myself that I’m basically the same person and my current marriage works because I’m interacting with a better partner, but I’m also aware my current husband brings out and relates to a different part of my nature.  R. and I share different goals, different interests; I fit my personal priorities into a different set of couple priorities. If I’m being honest, I sometimes miss the positive areas of interest that I shared with my first husband (ideas or activities that hold no interest for my second husband).

             I obviously don’t miss the struggles with my first husband. Some of these were due to his problems with long-term relationships (he’s gone through two wives since).  There were plenty of negative feelings about how the children or I had been treated by T. (feelings that had to be worked through and resolved when I became a single parent).

       During that post-divorce healing process, I became aware of underlying emotions in my own personality that came into play during my first marriage and that allowed me to slowly slide into a dysfunctional relationship. Some of these inner issues may never be activated when I’m in a functional, happy relationship. I’m not convinced these don’t still lay hidden deep in my psyche, but the desire to please others and make sure everyone is happy is no longer taken advantage of, is not manipulated for the exclusive benefit of one partner. 

            When I see my ex in a dream, I now know to start looking at dreams or interests that I may not be expressing as fully in my current life, or I look to those elements of my innermost nature that may be reactivating because of challenges facing me in today’s world. I don’t jump to the conclusion that T. is reaching out to me in the dreamstate, but rather my mind is using him as a symbol of some emotional pattern connected to the old marriage relationship.

            If that provides no answers, I look next to the time period of my life that I shared with my ex. I had different friends, a different lifestyle, different goals and obligations. How does that relate to where I am now? A person in dreams can simply be a stand-in symbol for a certain time and place, for old hopes and dreams. Maybe a part of yourself found fulfillment or purpose in an activity you have since abandoned.

             Experiment. Experiment. Keep your mind open. Symbols are rich in their message. The search to understand dreams is not New-Age hocus-pocus (unless you’re relying strictly on dream dictionaries), but can become a deep psychological search to understand your subconscious.

Posted on Wednesday, January 27, 2010 at 07:23AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | CommentsPost a Comment

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