Working with Dreams
“The dream is a little hidden door in the innermost and most secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego- consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends.”…..C.G. Jung.
It is my experience that dreams are compensatory in essence – part of a homeostatic rebalancing of the psyche that can get lopsided by our outer ego self. To me the greatest mistake on waking is to continue to identify with the “I” in the dream and the emotions it has experienced; instead step back and embrace the whole dream as an allegory of yourself.
Dreams reveal what is going on in our unconscious mind, the unconscious depths of ourselves. It seems that our unconscious side acts like a child in its relationship to our outer consciousness, as if it is frightened of the ego, the great controller and repressor. So it only gives us seemingly obscure imagery, and allegory about truths unacceptable to our outer self. Like characters in a Shakespeare play the various parts of ourselves are portrayed on an inner stage of the imagination, and this portrayal can brings us raw, bold and humorous truths about ourselves. To attend to our dreams is therefore to gain self knowledge, which for the bold, can lead to greater enrichment and harmony in our lives.
C.G. Jung felt strongly that the dream belonged to the dreamer, not to the analyst, and should be treated as such by first understanding as much as possible about the content of the dream and the dreamer’s personal associations with it. To understand the meaning of the dream was “not so much a technique that can be learned and applied according to the rules as it is a dialectical exchange between two personalities.” (Man and His Symbols 1968, p45).
Jung maintained that when we seek to understand the symbolism in the dream of a client we need to recognise it is not about interpreting the meaning according to our pet theories. We need to recognise we are “up against the wholeness of the symbol-producing individual.” (1968, p82). So we need to engage the wholeness of that person, which of course, includes ‘the Self’.