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Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

miceThe more literary kind of story has a habit of fluffing its conclusion, of building you up through a series of struggles, pointing to one final decisive conflict, but just as one is hopeful of a whizz-bang ending, it veers off the mark and cuts to the credits without having resolved anything at all. Critics do effusive somersaults over the subtlety of this sort of thing and provide a multitude of their own subjective interpretations based on impenetrable literary theory as espoused by someone you’ve never heard of. As for the rest of us, we can only trust the whole thing was not a deceit, that the author simply didn’t know how to finish things other than by saying it was all a dream, so he trails off instead, fades away like a ghost.

In similar vein I swear I did not dream of mice last week. I saw them, heard them, chased them, tried in vain to trap them. But I’ve not seen one since, nor been disturbed by one in the night. My house is now bristling with traps, baited with all manner of treats – currently pieces of KitKat stuck in tasty splodges of peanut butter. Yum!

Nothing. No bites. No dead mice.

I’ve been round the outside of the house looking for any means of mousy ingress – tiny holes in the corners of walls and where the drains poke out. I have applied cement here, there and everywhere, just to be sure. I know they’ve definitely been around and where they’ve lingered longest because there’s an eye watering smell of ammonia coming from behind the cupboards in the conservatory. For weeks we thought it was a pair of my son’s trainers, and grumbled for them to be stored elsewhere. But the more savvy visitors tell us this pungent signature scent is actually mouse-wee. The cupboards are fitted and it will take a week to dismantle them, remove them, check for ingress, clean up, put back. Understandably I’m resisting the trial, hoping instead the mice have gone and the smell will fade if we keep the windows open.

No firm conclusion, you see? We trail off into the literary never-land. No bang, no snap of the trap and a clear indication of the saga’s end. It goes on until memory fades, hopefully along with the smell, and some other slice of life takes centre stage. So for now the mice have become ghosts to manifest at every creak or sigh in the night, but without actually materialising in tangible reality at all. Only their smell remains.

I hope.

Goodnight all.

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snowyIt’s been a curiously unsettling week. Twice my commute home was disrupted by serious accidents and motorway closures, turning a thirty five minute journey into an hour and a half marathon, where the normal free flow of things was choked off at every turn, blocked, impeded, restricted, stymied. On the last of these occasions, having finally made it home, exhausted, I left the car on the driveway and set off across the village on foot to get my hair cut, but the ginnel I normally use was blocked, the path being dug up, the way impeded, restricted,… the alternative, a long detour.

I returned home and did not move from the house again until I had slept long and deep.

And in my sleep I dreamed of road closures, of blockage, of the wreckage of trains and vehicles piled high into monuments of destruction. Thus in its own way the universe reflects my inner feelings, feelings of being stymied at every turn, at my lack of progress in terms of psychological and emotional development, my confusion – one path after another blocked, the wreckage of false hope and dreams piled high

The ego will make way at all costs, even if it ends up going only in circles.

And yes I’ve begun dreaming again, unbidden, and  vividly. I used to remember my dreams most nights and write them down in the mornings. It was a Jungian thing, interesting in the early days of my initiation into the way of the soul, but I was too much in earnest in my search for meaning, and those dreams, so lovingly recorded, remain to this day enigmatically opaque. Then for a long time I have not recalled any dreams at all – except suddenly this week I am dreaming vast landscapes, and vivid encounters with archetypal characters. Nor am I making any effort to recall them, yet they remain burned into memory, their feeling tones equally vivid and not a little disturbing.

Then there are the coincidences, trivial things yet astonishing in their persistence and their infuriating meaninglessness: I saw a dog on Instagram, a cute little fox terrier, and though I have never desired to keep a dog in my life, I was suddenly taken by the desire to keep one like that, and I would call him Snowy. Then within the hour I was watching a snippet from a banal TV game show, and the question was: what was the name of Tin Tin’s dog? Answer of course: Snowy.

Such things are only a coincidence if they happen once, but when they cluster they speak to me of other things, of something shifting, a curtain opening, the normal laws of time and space blurring at the edges. I am turning in of a night now expecting to dream next a mystical revelation. Except, I know from past experience this is not how it works. Stability will return, the old ways will open up again, the old grooves. I am left thinking I miss my turn each time, that I fail to grasp the symbolic significance of a motorway closure or even of a cute little dog called Snowy.

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philosophersWhat do we really know for sure? When it comes to defining the nature of reality there’s actually very little we can be sure of at all. I can even view my surroundings right now, and my presence in them as a dream, indeed I might as well for it’s impossible to prove things are otherwise. Even when I suffer I might be dreaming my suffering, and in the presence of others, I might be dreaming their presence. And the facts of the world, the laws by which it is governed may simply be the facts as I have invented them in the dream of the world, from the rising and the setting of the sun, to the swirl of atoms. As for the laws of physics not yet discovered, perhaps I merely invent them as I go along.

We learn from dreaming how malleable facts can be. The preposterous becomes true, not merely because we allow ourselves to believe it is so, but because the entire dream paradigm endorses it as such and so it becomes, at least within the bounding conditions of the dream, a verifiable fact. Often I will dream I have dreamed a dream before and only on waking realise the deceit, that I have not dreamed it before, that it was only a fact of the dream and only upon attaining an external perspective, by waking, do I realise the dream’s false nature.

Similarly in order to realise our false perceptions of the waking world, we must gain an external perspective, for only then might we know it for the illusion it either is, or is not. You might think this is impossible, that we are too firmly embedded in life in order to see our life in the third person. However, by a process of contemplation we can loosen our grip and achieve a somewhat abstract focus upon the world, sufficient to realise the only thing we can be certain of is the fact of our consciousness.

We are conscious.

There,… it’s a start.

And having realised it, there is a stage further we can go, already implied by the realisation, and this involves the realisation we are conscious of our consciousness, that we are self aware, and self reflective, and then it is only one more step to the realisation we can observe our thoughts as we think them, that we can become aware of ourselves thinking, that we are not in fact our thoughts, that another presence altogether is responsible for that sense of self awareness.

And this is who we really are.

This is a pivotal realisation for a human being, one that marks a separation of the true self, this sense of self awareness, from the thinking or the false self.

That we are not our thoughts.

Thinking does not reveal the underlying truth of anything. On those occasions when the mind approaches an axiomatic truth, it is noted how sophistication falls away, that insight is achieved
more by observation without judgement, and in stillness. In such moments truth is revealed as plain as a key, and truth is what lies behind the door it spontaneously unlocks, and is felt in the feeling tones of the experience.

In this way we come to realise there can be more truth in the fall of light upon a pebble than in the liturgy of all religions, and in the whole of poetry; it depends how you view it and where your heart is at the time. At all other times it’s just a pebble. Purple prose will not convey its essence, for the longer a name and the more adjectives and metaphor we deploy in its description, the less resemblance it bears to any truth we might have felt. Nor does the truth bear with it any sense of urgency. It does not hurry us along to some imagined goal. It does not speak of time running out. It does not measure or judge, but possess instead a spaciousness and a love in which to rest, unquestioning in the peacefulness of true insight.

Anything else is just the noise of the world.

So, what do we know for sure? Not much. But then we don’t need to know much to be certain of the single most important thing in the world. Indeed for that we don’t need to know anything at all.

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mending clock 5I was walking along a corridor in a familiar office block, thinking to myself: what if I found some money on the floor? How would I reunite it with its owner? If I put up a note to say I had found ten pounds, anyone could come to me and say it was theirs, that they had lost ten pounds, and how would I know they were telling the truth? So I thought I could write a note instead saying I had found some money, without saying how much, and leave it to others to tell me what they thought they had lost. But this wouldn’t work either. Would anyone know exactly how much they had lost? And if they said they had lost fifteen pounds, would it be reasonable for me to say the ten pounds I had found was not at least some part of what they had lost? How would I best write that note?

This conundrum of hypothetically lost money and the note announcing it was a thing I pondered for no reason. I had not found any money. I had not lost any money. My mind had simply begun to ruminate on the problem spontaneously. There was nothing strange in this; I often ponder spurious things for no reason. I’m sure I’m not alone in doing so. And the punchline? Well, it was then I came to a notice pinned on the wall, and it said: Money found, please contact,…

To the rational mind, it was a coincidence, or I had perhaps seen the notice before, but registered its presence only subliminally, in other words without actually being conscious of seeing it. The latter explanation is more tenuous, but I admit it is plausible. To my own mind though, there is another explanation and has to do with the mysterious nature of time. It also requires a less rational approach and that we allow for the possibility we can sometimes be influenced by events that have yet to happen, that my pondering on the question of lost money was prompted by the as yet future sighting of the notice announcing lost money.

My anecdote hardly qualifies as evidence of déjà vu. All such occurrences are, by their nature, anecdotal and therefore inadmissible in the court of the scientistic pedant. And yes, I could have made my story up – I am a writer of stories after all. I suggest you have no choice then but to be sceptical, unless something similar has happened to you, for only then are the non-peer-reviewed anecdotes of time anomalies of any interest. And I bet most of you reading this have experienced something odd about time and the occasionally back to front sequencing of events.

It’s happened to me before. I find the dream a good place for encountering the influence of events that have yet to happen. I once dreamed repeatedly of a time – twenty past seven – then woke groggily from a deep sleep to hear my wife telling me I was going to be late, that it was already twenty past seven.

It doesn’t happen a lot – just now and then. I mean, I’m not a freak or anything. Moreover, you don’t have to believe in any of this. I’m not claiming a penetrating scientific insight, now will I be attempting an explanation. But if it’s happened to you, you may find such musings of interest.

For a time, between the world wars, the question of time anomalies, time slips and dream precognition were pondered openly and in all seriousness by intellectuals, by artists, writers, poets, and the general pre-soap opera public, all of them inspired by publication of a book called Experiment in Time, by J W Dunne (1927). Post war however, it was a fascination the popular world quickly grew out of. I don’t know what happened, but dreams, precognition, time anomalies and such were suddenly embarrassing topics of conversation to be having at parties. Instead we became ensnared in the theories of Freud, at least in so far as they pertained to advertising and trivial want, and we became docile consumers thereafter, with never questioning thought in our heads as regards the nature of time and reality. But the question has not gone away. And the anecdotes continue to mount. Can our thoughts be influenced by a future event? Can we visit the future in our heads before it happens?

I come back to Dunne and his book “Experiment with Time”. In it Dunne writes about time anomalies, and a kind of low level dream precognition. Then he presents a theory which attempts an explanation but which reads like a textbook exercise in geometry. I was always good at geometry, but try as I might Dunne’s lecture on it doesn’t make sense at all. Only the anecdotes stick. Thus Dunne manages to be both visionary and annoying at the same time.

Priestly (JB) writes of Dunne along similar lines in “Man and time” (1964), in which he too explores the time-haunted world, while wisely avoiding too much theorising and geometrical diagrams. Priestly had plenty of his own time-slip anecdotes, plus an archive of anecdotes sent to him by the public. Priestly is more content to rest in the philosophy and the mystery, that these things happen, and we don’t know how or why, only that it opens a door into the unknown through which many things become possible. We are wise I think, to follow his example.

But the critic will argue it’s absurd to claim we can see the future, because by seeing it we might then take steps to avoid it. But if we’ve seen it, how can we possibly avoid it? This attempt at paradox is rather a feeble one, however, presupposing as it does a single linear line in time. It does not allow for the idea of multiple lines, of the possibility that what we see of the future is only one possible version of it. We take our permission for such speculation from the Many Worlds interpretation of Quantum Mechanics and by so doing also usher in a semi-scientific basis for our idle postulations, but without actually explaining anything. Quantum Mechanics is endlessly useful for us dreamers in this respect. We can use it to prove anything.

This is where the way becomes strange and all explanations equally valid. If these slips in time are real, and I have no choice but to accept they are, it points to something perhaps, to a future evolution of consciousness where the actual nature of time is revealed and becomes useful to us. Or it may be there’s just something a little frayed around the edges of the consciousness we posses, that it is only an imperfection that allows sporadic glimpses of a place outside of time, beyond the curtain so to speak, a place we do not belong and can never explain within the limited paradigm of which we are a part and spend our entire lives.

But if we are trapped for the most part, in a purely linear flow of time, while being capable of more, we must ask ourselves what purpose does it serve, this self imposed imprisonment, this pedestrian view? And what nightmares would it unleash, were we ever to break free and see the universe as it really is?

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writer pasternakWhen the compulsion to write borders on the pathological, there comes a danger in valuing the time to write so much we resent anything that threatens to steal the writing time away. To sit, to think, fingers poised over the key-board, waiting on the favours of one’s muse, coaxing out the shape of our thoughts – this is the finest, the most intimate of things for the writer. But in every day life there’s always a list of other things that needs sorting out as well – instead of writing.

I have a tile missing from the roof of my house and the rain is seeping in; the toilet is taking an age to refill after flushing because of a leaky diaphragm on the siphon mechanism; the kitchen floor is creaking because of the way the know-it-all numptys fitted it, and all the handles are falling off the cupboard doors for the same reason; condensation levels within my house are causing an unsightly mildew problem on external walls, so the background is filled with the roar of dehumidifiers, and I am assailed daily by cars breaking down.

These are the distractions that spring to mind without much thinking. Many others would be revealed upon deeper reflection, but I’m not going there for now. All I want to do is sit and think, fingers poised. I want to write and when I want to write, I wish the real world would go away, because there are times when the real world is pale by comparison with the imaginary realms. The problems it presents, though on occasion deeply upsetting – even life-changing – are for the most part laughably trivial – just inordinately time-consuming. But I can only conclude that since they are among our most constant companions, such trivia must in some way be a vital part of our lives. And I am reminded there is nothing in nature that is superfluous.

Fortunately the writer, like the dreamer, has resort to metaphor and symbolism. Yes, even a leaky roof can be read symbolically, also my makeshift remedial actions consisting of buckets in the attic, ditto my failed attempts to get any tradesmen to turn up to put the tile back on the roof. Then I remind myself the roof’s been leaking since I moved in, fifteen years ago, and probably for decades before that. Until it brings the ceilings down, it’s out of sight and mostly out of mind. Now this,… this is metaphorically interesting and its translation yields the following insights: you can’t rely on others to fix your problems. Ultimately you will always have to do it yourself. Also, in the background of life there is always stuff going on we’re unaware of, and it pays to be wary of disturbing stones in case of what should crawl out from underneath.

The creaking of the kitchen floor is harder to read. I could extend the metaphor to include the astronomical cost of the thing and the slipshod service I received in return, but cynicism is never fruitful, since it tends only to root us more in the mire of an ordinary reality. It’s more interesting if I include the idea of a kitchen as the source of nourishment – and more so if I loosen the terms to include forms of nourishment beyond the physical. Something creaky about the place I obtain my nourishment? Hmm,… now we’re getting somewhere. This makes sense, though all to often I hide from the truth of it.

Problems with the toilet are more obvious. No, really. They suggest an issue with the means of disposing of that which I no longer need. Toilets feature in my dreams a lot, too. I wish it were otherwise. Were I able to choose, I would dream of orbiting on the ISS with Sandra Bullock, but what I get is toilets. So, there’s a lot of useless stuff I need to flush away. Well, I’m working on it.

Mildewy walls? Too much moisture condensing on cold externals? Hmm,… even drunk I’d find it hard to wrestle any metaphysical meaning from that one, but let’s try shifting our view a bit: corruption lurking in the hidden places, places that lack a decent airing? Now that angle is much more promising. It makes sense not to go poking about looking for problems, yes, but at some point hidden issues can spill over and become unhealthy, so it’s as well to be aware of them, then we’re not taken by surprise. Beware that lassiez faire attitude over the roof, Michael?

Cars feature large at the moment. There are five cars in my household: wife, two kids, two cars of my own, five, and problems with all of them. Metaphorical analysis: Car – a means of conveyance, of making way, and all grown unreliable – no, not true. The cars registered in my own name are trustworthy, but what sometimes falters is my trust in them due to issues of personal confidence, so I blow up minor faults into life-stopping disasters. Yes, this is a potentially lucrative field. I have the means of travel, but am less confident of the road than I once was. Conversely, in the days when my means of conveyance was patently less reliable, I possessed a disproportionate confidence and journeyed all over the place, though mostly with my eyes closed. Now I have opened my eyes a little and possess the means to go much further, paradoxically, I travel less. Yes,… this is worth thinking about.

I could go on:

Dealing with stuff can be exhausting. We resent the problems thrown at us. How can we be expected to write when the dishwasher needs emptying, the washing basket is overflowing and the clothes line is broken? Well, maybe we should just get over ourselves and think of it this way: if we’d no problems to solve, there’d be nothing to write about. Don’t think too literally here; nobody else cares about our actual problems – they have enough of their own – so don’t go whining on about how difficult your life is. We must exterminate the “poor me” at every opportunity. Problems, difficulties create within us an energy of reaction, and we can either direct it in negative, self-destructive directions, or positive, creative ones.

When we begin to think metaphorically, symbolically, even magically, we climb outside of the physical life and view it as if from a mountain-top. It doesn’t make our problems go away, but we discover there are insights to be had from them. Oh, I admit some of them sound absurd, but others undoubtedly ring true. Like reading an oracle, or the fall of the runes, when it comes to symbols, the unconscious mind will always guide us to those stories that are personally meaningful. And it’s by means of those stories the writer discerns the shape of things beyond the three dimensions of ordinary reality.

But then again we must exercise moderation and take care in how far we go with this kind of thinking or things can backfire. As a friend of mine once said – and referring back to that missing tile on my roof – in some parts of the world it is by no means a complement to be told one is leaking somewhere.

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southport pier

To become conscious of one’s self is in part to journey along a path towards the realisation of one’s absolute invisibility. More than this it is also to realise everyone we meet along the way is invisible as well.

No one can ever truly know another person. No one else can ever know what we feel, or think. All we can know of each other is what we express through the inadequate means of the physical body, through what we say, what we write, how we move. But how good are we at expressing ourselves? How good are we at interpreting expression? In a sense, we are all prisoners, isolated, and tapping on the walls of our being, that others might know of our presence. But for all of our efforts, the greater part of our selves, the vital part, remains invisible.

So, when we meet others in physical reality we always do so on terms that are mutually delusional. I think I know you, and you think you know me, but we are only projecting our own prejudice and predispositions onto one another, so seeing in each other instead murky reflections of our own shadows, which are by turns attractive and repulsive. As relationships develop with our more favoured companions we might feel justified in saying we come to know them well, but again it’s only their habitual modes of expression we are familiar with. We will never know what they are thinking or feeling, nor they us.

It’s a necessary revelation, this realisation of one’s invisibility, also a good starting point, the assumption what we say, or what we’re hearing could be easily misinterpreted even to the inverse of what is actually intended. It should make us more cautious, more searching, more conscious of our selves and the effects we might be having on others. It might also make us more forgiving.

There are two sides to reality. There is what we perceive and express in the physical world, and then there’s what we feel or imagine in the inner world, the world of the psyche. We each of us sit at the boundary of an inner and an outer world, and neither reality can be excluded from any true description of the totality of human experience.

But the senses have the effect of drawing us out towards embracing more and more of physical reality, until we identify with it completely. We dismiss the inner world, the world of imagination and dreams, as meaningless, indeed as being “unreal”, since it is not “physical”. Thus we close off the door to inner reality, imprison ourselves in the physical and we suffer accordingly, because the physical world can never fulfil a need for completion that is entirely psychological in origin. Mankind’s suffering in the physical world knows no bounds and is increasingly suggestive of our eventual annihilation. Worse, there are many physical scientists today who express the belief consciousness itself is an illusion, that although we might cherish the sense of our own being, in fact we do not exist at all, and never have. How can we not despair? Not only are we trapped in the prison of our minds and invisible to others, we are led to believe there is no one out there either, not even our selves.

But we do exist. We are invisible, yes, but we still have a profound effect on the physical world. Everything that was ever built, or made began as an idea, and ideas are born already fully formed as insights in the inner world. In order to give birth to them we must express them into physical reality through drawing or writing or construction. But without the idea occurring in the first place, nothing would be built or drawn or written down, and the world would be entirely as nature made before mankind ever came along and began to shape it. And ideas are the stuff of minds, the stuff of that realm we would dismiss as unreal.

The danger for all of us then is the same as it has always been. It is to forget we are invisible and to believe the form we express in physical reality is the sum total of who we really are, similarly that all forms are more real than the ideas from which they were born, that happiness can come only in the endless pursuit of material form, that the solution to all our problems can only come from the discovery of yet one more “thing” in physical reality, and that thing will have a form and a name ready made.

It wont.

Cultivating an awareness of the inner world is important if we want to live a better life, and see a better society, one that more closely reflects our potential in positive ways. The realisation we are all invisible is a useful milestone. But we do not need to withdraw from life into monkish caves in order to ponder its implications, only realise it is the quality of our ideas that determines the richness or otherwise of life. The best of us is realised as ideas that rise from the deeper layers of the psyche, the worst from the regurgitated scum of a shallower kind of thinking, a thinking that expresses itself as an habitual will to power. But I think we’re starting to know that side of our selves a little better now. I think we are all becoming more conscious of our selves.

Only when we realise how invisible we are do we begin to see each other, and the world more clearly.

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Vogeler - DreamsAs we age we undergo a process of emotional development. Obviously we do not possess the same outlook in our middle years as we did when we were children, but what is it that drives us to change? Is it merely that we come to inhabit a progressively older body? Is it the experience of life itself that changes us, or is it that are we subject to influences from the unconscious mind that would have us seek those experiences out as a medium for change?

Life can provide any number of varied environments enabling us to grow in all manner of positive directions, but it can just as easily arrest our development if experience of life is at odds with our aspirations. So where does the aspiration, the imperative, the drive come from? Abusive relationships, personal misfortune, global upheaval, even financial ruin, all present challenges to health and well being, subverting a life’s path and running it onto the rocks. Yet in spite of misfortune some people suffer no injury beyond the initial trauma, while others are maimed for life. To avoid lasting scars appears to require an agile frame of mind and a deep intuitive sense of one’s abiding value in the face of all rational evidence to the contrary. Where does such strength, such resilience come from?

With bad experiences, what usually happens is we push the memories out of range of our emotional radar and get on with things as best we can. We are all good at this, at removing from conscious awareness those things that are most painful to us, and anyway we cannot always react to hurt in the way we would like, and in which our instincts are urging us – like punching the other guy on the nose. In the course of life, there is a lot we simply have to swallow, but the unconscious never forgets a slight. It remembers everything.

It even knows what I was doing at half past three on Wednesday afternoon, December 28th 1978. I can no longer consciously recall this moment of course – it is lost to my every day awareness but well documented cases of spontaneous and total recall suggest the memory of this moment still exists, somewhere, and if, during that moment, I was experiencing an emotional upset that was never healed, my unconscious will offer it back. And it will keep offering it back, until I deal with it.

It does this through the dreaming process, using a symbolic language in which the objects, the people, the situations we encounter in the dream world are emotionally charged in ways reflective of our life experience, including the things we’d rather not acknowledge. And the dream is saying, here, look, take this back this and then we can move on. But if we have fallen foul of a culture that devalues the dreaming process, if we never take notice of our dreams, the process of “dealing with it” can be a problem. And stuff mounts up. Some of us incubate hidden, forgotten traumas, combine them, allow them to breed, then hatch them into inexplicable and stupendously debilitating neuroses. At such times as these it seems our unconscious is overrun with demons out to do us harm. We might feel that to go poking around in there is the very last thing we should be doing, but paying attention to our dreams helps defuse things. It puts the unconscious mind in a better mood for dealing with us, if it realises we are receptive.

We all dream, every night, though some people dispute this, claiming never to have dreamed at all. But the thing with dreams is they play out in a part of the mind that bypasses the way we normally acquire memory. If we want to remember our dreams we have to make a conscious effort to do so. We have to remind ourselves, when we lay down to sleep, we would like to remember our dreams. Then, on waking, in the first seconds of awareness, we have a fleeting opportunity to drink the dream down whole, sufficient at least to recall it well enough to record it later on. But even then we must make haste, or the memory will fade to nothing like an imperfectly processed photograph. Reading my dream journal now, accounts of many dreams I had years ago are like reading the fantasies of a complete stranger.

So we have our dream. What now? Well, the best we can do is sit down and ponder upon it. What might it be showing us? What emotions does it provoke? It does not matter if we cannot understand the dream. It seems to be the conversation with the unconscious that’s the important thing. If we fail in the first dreams, to understand what it’s showing us, it will try other ways of illustrating the same thing, until we finally get it.

We can forget those dream dictionaries. What they fail to point out is that the dream is a personal thing and that, for example, a rabbit in my dream might mean something entirely different in yours. You can forget also asking advice from others because they may react to your symbols differently. Thus, slowly, respectfully, and with an attitude of genuine enquiry, we approach the unconscious, preferably on bended knee.

I worry about self-help dream techniques that sound more assertive, like a battering down of a door into unconsciousness in order to plunder its contents, in an effort to turn us into mega-star celebrities with millions in the bank, and perfect teeth. The lesson of a century of psychoanalysis tells us we are only a small part of who we think we are, that we are not entirely in charge. We can be part of the solution to the mystery of our lives, which involves being a good listener and a willing partner in the adventure, or we can remain for ever a part of the problem.

I suppose the bottom line is we do not need to be ill to take an interest in our personal development, in the rounding out and the maturation of our soul. True there are grown men and women as emotionally well developed as four year olds, or for that matter wildebeest, and for whom all talk of the dreaming process will sound ridiculous. But for those who seek meaning beyond the normal watering and rutting of the species, the dream is nature’s own gift to aid us on the path to a greater self awareness.

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