Dream Symbols of Life Experience
|“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.”Carl JungWhat is a dream? Humans have speculated on this question for thousands of years, and still there is no definitive answer. We all have dreams, even if we don’t remember them. Life on this plane demands that we dream. It is through dreaming that we sculpt and make valid our experience in this dimension.Our mind uses symbols as building blocks of consciousness and awareness. A group of symbols form a thought; a group of thoughts form an idea; a group of ideas coalesce into an image; a group of images form an opinion; a group of opinions form a belief; a group of beliefs form our philosophies. Symbols may be closed or open depending on how we interpret them through our life experiences.
Shocks or traumas create our closed symbols. Those symbols and experiences that we fear are pushed out of our consciousness and we close the door on them. Closed symbols prevent us from perceiving reality in its truth, causing us to form a skewed, unbalanced, pretense reality. A fearful monster that threatens our survival in some way resides behind each closed symbol. It takes a great deal of energy to keep the symbols of that monster locked out. We can release this energy and ultimately transform our belief systems and philosophies by opening the door to the symbols, but to do so results in a major death/change experience. Are we ready for this? Know that whenever we are confronted by a closed symbol, we are being given the opportunity to learn, grow and change.
Almost everyone has had a nightmare at some time or other that scared them to death, and awoke wondering what that was about and hoping it would not reoccur. What does such a dream really tell us? The frightening nightmare reveals one of those monsters that we locked out of our consciousness. The dream is telling us to wake up, to acknowledge and confront that fear. A nightmare almost always has an important message to convey to us. If we can look at our nightmare as a teacher rather than just a horrible experience that we push as far away as possible from our consciousness, it can be a major positive force in helping us open up our closed symbols and clear up the conflicts in our life.
“I turned to face the ultimate demon, the demon of demons, the holder of life and death and dared to look upon its face. It was my face. I am he. I am the face of immortality and death.” – – Michael Hendy
Open symbols are in the light. Whenever we are able to open up a closed symbol and conquer its monster, we experience a great energy surge. We feel much lighter with an expanded awareness of self. Our life now takes on a beauty, power and joy that we didn’t know was possible as we gain clarity about our personal and sacred dreams and perceive our extended contribution to the collective dream and the dream of Grandmother Earth.
A message dream conveys information that we need to assist us in managing our current social, emotional or physical life. It is a teaching dream in which we are given specific instructions from someone. Sometimes a message dream will come in the form of a disembodied voice with no visual input. We may perceive this as a voice from our own higher self, or an angel, guide, or teacher. I call these “auditory dreams.”
I (Lyn) have had many auditory dreams, voices giving me instructions when I am in that hypnogogic place between sleeping and waking. I never know who is speaking, but when I tune into the message, I find that it is most apropos to my life at that point. For example, some years ago I received a message in an auditory dream to start taking the herb Burdock. I woke up totally amazed, as at that time I didn’t even know what Burdock was. Looking it up, I found that Burdock is one of those amazing herbs that cleanses the liver and circulatory system, among other things. I have been taking Burdock ever since with excellent results. Whoever spoke to me, I thank you!
The problem-solving dream offers us a new way to look at a situation in our life, frequently helping us solve a specific problem. It is usually a response to our thinking or worrying about a difficult situation in our life a day or so prior to the dream. When we tune in to the problem-solving dream, we need to allow ourselves the opportunity to look at the metaphors of the dream symbols to determine what it is trying to tell us. Let’s look at some examples of healing symbols:
1. You dream of a car out of control, fuel tank low or empty, house broken into, pain or wounding, breathlessness or drowning. Possible Meaning: Warning of a general physical disorder that needs healing. Note: a car is often symbolic of the physical body, as is a house.
2. You dream of heat images or insects. Possible Meaning: Inflammation, infection.
3. You dream of water images, weight on your chest. Possible Meaning: Heart-related problems.
4. You dream of extreme cold, obstructed pipes, broken pipes. Possible Meaning: Impaired circulation, blockages, blood vessels constricted.
Tibetan Buddhists call these “dreams of clarity.” They go beyond everyday situations and concerns into a space of “the divine.” We awaken from these dreams with a feeling of awe and unreality, knowing that something special and mystical has transpired.
The more we focus on the spiritual aspects of our waking life, the more it is likely that we will have a mystical, visionary or spiritual dream. The Tibetan dream yoga tradition, as well as other Eastern practices, encourages daily meditation and other self-awareness rituals to help us clear our mind so that we may be open to receiving spiritual dreams during sleep.
These dreams can be categorized in several ways (Stanley Krippner and Andre de Carbalho, Exotic Dreams):
1. Numinous dreams – having “numen”, or divine power.
2. Transpersonal dreams – going beyond personal concerns into those of all humanity.
3. Transcendent dreams – making contact with higher or divine knowledge.
4. Spiritual dreams – relating to the spirit or ultimate human values.
These are dreams that repeat themselves, often over and over, with little variation in their story or theme. They are strong wake up calls screaming to us, “Urgent! Pay attention!” Recurring dreams can be positive, as in an archetypal visionary dream. They are more often nightmares, however, depicting a conflict that is unresolved in our life.
A lucid dream is one in which the dreamer is aware of dreaming while the dream is occurring. Once you as the dreamer realize that you are conscious and aware within the dream, you can then influence the outcome of the dream according to your desire. These dreams occur spontaneously in some people. They can also be brought about through training and practice. The Senoi people of Malaysia, for example, are trained from childhood to become lucid dreamers. They utilize their lucid dreams in dealing with individual, family and community issues. Most shamanic paths include teachings in lucid dreaming, as it is essential to take charge of our lives and accept responsibility for our actions. The lucid dream will assist us greatly in this process.
For example, I once had a dream in which I was driving my car on a mountain road and the car ran off the cliff into thin air. I was falling, and was petrified. Suddenly I remembered that I had experienced this situation several times in the past, and I didn’t die. Why? I must have dreamed it! All at once I realized that I was dreaming it again, and that I could control this dream. With intent, in my power, I turned the car around and instructed it to return to the mountain road that I might continue on my journey. It worked! I awoke realizing that I have the ability to take my personal power in the waking dream as well as the sleeping dream: I can choose to always be at cause rather than at effect.
Dream is a piece of creation
Yearning of life for itself
Capsule of purpose and poise
With soft, translucent walls
That dissolve into void,
Releasing its germ into genesis brew.
Each dream renews truth
Through its measure of expression.
I know within self myriad dreams
Drawn from core of One
To merge with matrix of All.
Invoking ambrosia from Source,
I tend dream seeds in my womb
Harbor their hope in my heart
Shape their truth in my soul
Commiting their essence to Faith.