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DreamWork ~ Thoughts to Share
I recently posted this image to my web site and thought to complete the "loop" by also posting it here. The original image came more as a vision, not the usual way I start drawings, all the more important to honor having arrived in such an auspicious manner. I only have a chance to work on it when "paid" work is done, but I think it feels complete. The original working title had been "A visitor from (the land of) uncertainty" and more recently I have settled on "All is askew, except for you." It isn't really an either/or notion, but more of a both/and... construct, that is best with imaginary realms, as they never sit neatly as the waking mind might want. I am including the first sketch and the "final" version. Note that the final version now includes the skewed frame of the original as "it insisted" on being included. I know, such funny language, but the process is more non-rational than easily explainable. I am quite comfortable with this, though it is likely to cause some discomfort with others. Talk among yourselves, carry on....
Member of International Association for the Study of Dreams
Question about identity in Dreams: Nov. 5, 2011
Listening at the door of the dreaming mind: Jan. 10, 2012
Our mind "dreams" continuously with bursts of notable activity at intervals in the night, only a few of which we notice. Like ignorant children listening at the door to adults talking, we gather little from the conversation, declaring it so much foreign language babble.
Listening at the door again:: Jan. 17, 2012
To continue. There as many functions and types of dreams as there are people and commentaries, so any characterization, by me or others, is comparable to the parable of the blind men and the elephant, each only perceiving a small point of view, but fervently arguing it to be the truth. Recent research into the levels of norepinephrine during REM sleep suggest that as the stress hormone (one of it's functions) is decreased during REM, it allows more "relaxed" review of charged content, so as to consolidate and integrate, providing hope to PTSD individuals. Again, only one of many aspects of dreams (remember the blind men) and we are encouraged to adopt the attitude of "this/and" rather than "either/or" leaving the 'and' as an open end for further thought. What else might be going on....
The "wheel" rolls on:: Jun. 14, 2012
To continue. The wheel rolls on, as daily life unfolds, yet the parade within steps to a different drummer. With a profound reverence for the spiritual gifts and wisdom that can find their way into my mind, I offer the caveat and question. How to weigh the significance of "this dream element," how to make sense of the more quixotic and curious. I trust the premise that "all dreams come in the service of wholeness" first phrased by ancient visionaries, made a central tenet by Carl Jung, and more recently promoted by many within the dream community, Jeremy Taylor, Montague Ullman, et.al. But I hestitate to imagine that they are all of equally profound weight. Why, because we are also offered the knowledge that some dreams and visions are compensatory, some confirming, some future casting, others sifting the days debris. The waking ego mind that then turns these over in the daylight of thought, tends to settle on "one" of these choices, little suspecting that ego function moves to protect itself, (and us) from troubling knowledge and deflating thoughts, and has difficulty contemplating the more rigorous premise that the inner mind is best recognized for "this and... both and... something else yet to be discovered." Is it compensatory?, is it confirming?, is it profound and destined to reverberate for decades, or is it the necessary "grocery list of today," important in the moment but not to be put in the same category as "Big Dreams."
Oh, the questions of a puzzled mind: Aug. 21, 2012
The wonder and persistence of place: Sep. 26, 2012
|Four part drama... pause... then coda: Oct. 1, 2012
There is something remarkable about the continuity of dreams, across a night or across long separated intervals. The dream in question awoke me with a startled alarm as it came to a "crashing" scene that could be referenced as the "finale." The dream had a setting (beginning), unfolding (middle), crisis, and a conclusion (ending). I awoke alarmed about the final scene, and pondered the entire dream, sifting it gently for content and understanding. The puzzle is always confounded by the waking egos attempts to "shoehorn" the dream in the context of recent events, while the dream has no such restrictions. It can point to any aspect, past, present, future, or alternate life stream sometimes simultaneously. Poor "little mind" trying to make much sense of such contextually rich dramas.
In this particular case, I remained awake for 15-20 min. then sank once again below the threshold of everyday consciousness, whereupon the dream picked up, and provided a "coda," with a markedly different tone. All of the same context and characters were present, but here the tone was markedly different, upbeat, humorous and playful. Oh the marvelous architect of dreams, to create the initial dream such that I am awakened in a condition of alarm, fully surprised by what has arrived at my doorstep, then return with a coda fully scripted to allow the "viewer" to leave the theatre of the mind, challenged but not pummeled.
This isn't without precedence, as others have spoken of their dreams having continuity across a night. Even more remarkable is a sequence of dreams that are strung across a series of nights. These can be separated by "mere" days, or months and years. This suggests a much "larger" agenda than a "mere sifting of the days contents."
Like chapters is a larger volume, these linked dreams, can build and develop, much like a fine novel. Each can be digested as it arrives and turned in the light of day, to marvel and confound. But more importantly is the contemplation of the series. This is similar to the suggestion to see the multiple dreams of a night as different facets of a larger gem. Each can be markedly different in it's context, content, characters, as separate elements, but, a working assumption can be investigated. These are all appearing on a given night, and can be speculative assumed to be about a shared core. Sometimes this produces marvelous results, in that one dream will illuminate another. They can have the qualtiy of a actors workshop where a theme is given and each author is asked to write a small piece on the theme. Context, characters, tone and complexity can all be different, yet a thoughtful pondering will bring to light, the common theme.
The fact that these are fairly common dream experience, yet are dazzling in their wonder and catch us by surprise, is extremely humbling and challenging. I am left with the respect for the author, wishing to be invited to the stage party and meet the "illustrious one," who provides such marvels, day in, day out, across years of growing and learning.
|Companions on our journey: Oct. 2, 2012
Depth psychology offers many deep and engaging ways of looking at the many faceted jewel of the little self. Shadow, anima/animus, are key landmarks on this interior journey, but closer to our side rides a variety of companions who we may not acknowledge to ourself, but are more easily seen by those who are close to us.
These are the complexes. Did you imagine, "little self, waking ego" to be of a different substance than a complex. Not really, "little self, waking ego" is one of the complexes, differentiated only by our attachment to it and our identification with it as to "who we are." Yet, wait a moment, one of disquiet and disruption, usually during an emotional tussle with our partner, and who seems to take center stage??? An alternate self that is very much alive and charged with energy, but of a different coloration, with shades and hues we tend to disown in quieter moments, and do not want to talk about, for fear of stirring it to life again?? These complexes are constant traveling companions, aspects of "shadow," every ready to move to center stage when called forth to defend the realm.
Complexes are a collection of acquired attitudes, emotions, self-perceptions, and perceptions of others. The "grandest" of these is "waking ego," with whom we quickly identify, but who among us have not heard feedback from others that we are acting in some less flattering way. "You are frightening, when you are angry," or, "You are using self-devaluing comments in broad sweeps," "which does not fit the general person that I know you to be."
There are many variations on this, but each is characterized by an emotional charge, different sets of attitudes and ideas about self, ways of acting and body language. To imagine that the waking ego self is stable and persistent is an illusion. Perhaps a helpful one, particularly in the first half of life, but in the second and "third half" of life it becomes less tenable as anything solid.
I am reminded of throwing spinning tops as a child, something that is little known today, but serves in this moment as a useful visual analogy. When the top is thrown, it spins at a fierce rate, and is relatived stable and holds position. It can wander, first being in one area of our imaginary "vend" diagram with many overlapping circles, then shifting to another adjacent circle of influence, which shares some of the characteristics of the first, but has a different center and flavor.
As the "top" energy decays, or outside influences intrude, the "top" wanders and gyrates, moving from perceived center to another. In each moment, from the "top's" point of view, this is "who I am," and it acts as if no other point of reference is even present. These complexes can be very intrusive and dominating, like an unruly senior actor who has always played for the center of the stage, they are reluctant to leave, and rightfully don't take well to challenges to their hold of the psychic energy. They usually have been with us since early in our life, adaptive strategies of emotional posture and defense, that artfully and curiously protect the threatened "little self," but have an eerie way of holding the foreground once granted.
Being willing to acknowledge their presence, recognize them in the reflective mirror of contemplation, requires humility and patience. We are challenged by the comments of others, to know these companions on our journey.
|Dreams and "Reality": May 5, 2013
An individual on a separate forum, posted a short dream fragment that included the actions in the dream (pushing the 'on' button on a re-connected TV) having an apparent immediate effect on waking reality upon awakening (the TV turned on remotely in another room as observed by another person), leaving the dreamer more than a little puzzled. I reponded...
We, collectively, tend to draw sharp lines between subjective world and objective world, and... for the most part this works fairly well, a comfortable illusion. It's broadly adaptive and roughly corresponds to general experience. Except, when it doesn't. Your story is a wonderful example, I appreciate your willingness to share and prompt this conversation. Jung and Wolfgang Pauli had a long and productive conversation on these issues, agreeing towards the end of their lives, that the research and discussion will have to continue into future generations, as each reached out from their primary domain to embrace the understanding of the other. They proposed that "it" is a continuous, seamless, field, "two sides of the same coin." Normal conceptual thinking and casual observation doesn't conform to this but more thoughtful encounters make this a more accurate perception.
I had the funny memory of growing up in a household in which my father had the uncanny capacity to "heal" mechanical devices, motors, toasters, etc. by almost a hands-on approach. The wonderful contrast was my mother who had the inverse capacity, the ability to make the toaster spark and quit by proximity alone, ala Wolfgang Pauli and his "famous" Pauli effect. Much like RB's comment, I have always included an approach that is cautious about "speaking ill" of computers or printers too loudly, and like my father, often make something work, with my "magic finger," much to the puzzlement of others.
Dreaming is that "interior" venue we all visit, which is inherently transpersonal in nature, and allows remote knowledge, prescient perception, and physical manifestations such as you experienced. The increased presence of emotional valence of these interior perceptions tends to correspond to the likeliness of "external" manifestations (again, like your description), such as remote knowledge of a tragedy via dreams (ala war trauma, accidents, etc.) knowledge of rapture (remote knowledge of a joyous birth via dreams) and poltegeist phenomena classically associated with the emotional intensity of adolescence.
If this were to happen to me, I would be compelled to "push my 'on' button," in my life, and "wake up" and pay attention to the effect I generate in the field around me when I deliberately try to "re-connect" the elements that were set aside. The capacity seems to be in close contact with my "immature feminine" "sleeping" self and is witnessed by my more mature feminine aspect. If I keep in mind that the elements of my dreaming are first best understood as subjective aspects of self, not the objective people I pin them to, how do I characterize my "wife" who both pushes aside my connections, and recognizes when I re-connect them. Wonderful fun. Since it doesn't sit easily with our "normal" perceptions, most people dismiss these encounters or don't notice, as there is no easy explanation in our current language. But, if it happens to me, and I notice and take some action to honor the manifestation, it tends to increase the likelihood of a return visit, baring in mind that it is inherently non-linear, non-rational, non-predictable, but still, just as likely, particularly when I open the door for "it's" return.
Now, where is that "on" switch, I need to wake up.
|Dreams and Change: May 5, 2013
I had a series of dreams last night that I found remarkable, both for their content and the potential implications of their "meaning." The area of question that is prompted is the mapping of content to (1)objective world, (2)subjective world and (3)interior brain process.
(Dream Fragment #1) "I look up outside with a companion to notice two very large trees swaying intensely in the wind, leaning over precariously, particularly aggravated by some overly large kids toys strewn in the branches left their by one of my daughters. I decide I may have to climb up and remove some of them to lessen the burden, only to watch as the trees finally crash down onto the house, partially crushing a section. I find this alarming, in the dream. While examining the damage, I watch as a rolling earthquake moves through the ground, rippling the ground in front of me and further crashing parts of the already damaged house. I quickly move to inspect the damage and note that my neighbors house has some damage, but they are unhurt. We are all grateful, still stunned by the enormity of the event."
First, objectively upon waking, I noted the time and day, and did not find any immediate correlation to weather, or earthquakes, but thought to stay alert to the potential, if this was a forewarning of some kind?? After a suitable interval, I fell back asleep and then had a dream (Dream Fragment #2) "of sorting, beginning repair, tossing out of less useful objects, saving others and noting some would be useful later. Some re-structuring would be necessary, but the disaster also made the process of re-building some parts in a different way possible, which I found productive as an assortment of people assisted me in the process and I directed them. This was fairly upbeat in tone, constructive would be a useful adjective."
As the day moved on, no weather, no earthquakes, so the most immediate aspect of (1)objective check-ins are addressed. I am savvy enough to know that dreams are non-temporal, so this could just as easily portend a yet to happen, "objective" event, time would tell.
So, second check-in, how does this relate to the perceived (2)subjective experience. Owning all of the elements, as "mine" I find some correlations, but "waking ego" is tricky stuff, lightening fast and prone to deflecting, so a three(3) day reflection interval is often useful, as well as a periodic re-visit farther down the road, to see what fits, after the reactivity of "waking ego" has had time to assimilate the revelations. Since this "just" happened, I will have to await some settling of the content and time to better assess subjective connections.
Which brings me to a "third premise," always watchful for the "this and..." aspect of depth psychology which assumes multiple determinants can be all operative, while keeping the door open for yet additional understandings. "Waking ego" is quick to prematurely close the discussion, in case some uncomfortable "truth' slip through, so keep the "door cracked open."
What is this (3)third understanding. Our current understanding of brain physiology includes the knowledge of it's "plastic" nature. Learn something "new," and new connections, literally, are made in the physical structure, pathways strengthened. Move on in our life and old "paths" lose their strength, fade, and in some cases, get recruited by nearby areas for entirely new functions. This is a remarkable capacity allowing recovery from injury, and acquiring entirely new data sets as we march through our years. Sometimes we need wholesale upheaval and alteration, rather than piece by piece tinkering.
So, back to the content of the dream. Imagery of strong elemental forces, such as fierce winds, storms, earthquakes, etc. are of a "low occurrence value" in the continuum of dream content, meaning that if we watch a bunch of dreams, these kind of elements don't occur very often, and when they do, they are often observed during times of transition and turmoil.
Since there wasn't any, as of yet, (1)objective phenomenological correlate, and the (2)subjective check-in so far has only generated a few sparks, the (3)third premise comes into play. Imagine for the moment that a given dream can simultaneously represent all three of these streams and yet others (4,5,...). So, I am the observer of the brain, as it prunes and re-arranges a large section of territory, as part of the normal process of growth and development. From the "dream ego's" point of view, which is the only immediate perspective that I have available, sections are crashing down, whole branches are coming down, burdened by left over stuff, and taking out adjacent sections with it. Then rippling changes move through, as a second pass, further altering the landscape, but inevitably bringing about new growth, pruning, and re-purposing of sections. I experience the dream as a visual/emotive narrative, but what if it wasn't necessarily directed to my attention, but just a chronicle of activity which I happened to able to retrieve as a "dream," sitting by the door, listening in the conversation, only partially understood, if at all.
Dreams are remarkable, and seen to be multi-variant in their purpose, content, level of meaningfulness, all going on in the night, and only occasionally referenced as a "dream," that I actually remember. If I take notice, do "something," like this Blog chronicle, then the likeliness that I will be assisted or informed by the "Self" are increased, at least that is my experience, and the recommendation of Jung and Marie Louise vonFranz. So much for this meander...
Now, what might be a (4)fourth, (5)fifth, and (...)other premise. Experience has taught be to ask the question, listen for an answer, as voices drift into my attention as I sit beside the door...
|Reflections and Memory: July 12, 2013
I had a series of memory flashes recently, triggered by a poignant song that was playing along while I was otherwise focused. It pulled me into a vortex of feelings and reflections, about a person from an earlier part of my life. She was pivotal in my early relationship development, and having thought of her on previous occasions, I was struck with the lingering feeling intensity this time around. Why this time, why now? Feelings are useful clues to the interior of our lives and one of many ways that the unconscious "flags" elements in the "exterior" world that have meaningful connections to what is going on inside. It is a form of projection. Generally, the unconscious does not have direct access to immediate verbal expression, unless "leaked" through slips of the tongue. More commonly it makes itself known though dreams, fantasy, and all too commonly as events in the "exterior" world that spark strong emotional responses, often unexpectedly, such as movies, passages in a book, something someone says, and this event, etc. Here was a person from deep past (5 decades?) making an insistent visit in the present. This provokes the reminder that, for the unconscious, timelessness is the temporal framework, and it is waking consciousness that tries to keep timelines current.
So, what could be provoking this tumult of memory. The best understanding that I would offer myself, is that this memory of a more innocent time, with a genuinely sincere and kind young feminine image was needed to compensate for a "lop-sided" aspect of my current thinking/feeling self. For the unconscious mind the "key" element is "feeling," so, the intensity of the emotional connection, during that time past, and the importance this person played in formulating my inner relationship with love of another, is a tribute to them and a strong statement of how these emotional events serve as "templates" for later use by the dreaming mind.
I had multiple "other" relationships in the subsequent years, but they don't pop to mind as fervently as this person does, which makes it all the more curious that she pops forward now.
So, what do I do about this?? First allow that other thoughts and feelings are just as likely to be just as relevant, and to watch for them as the days unfold. Waking mind tends to want to say "this is it," in part as an ego-defensive, pre-emptive response. Take some action to recognize the content that is seeking recognition. Writing this blog is one example, actually writing to the person in question is also part of the process, as part of "taking some action" (ala Marie Louise von Franz admonition to her Depth Psychology students in response to dreams). I make no assumptions that this is exclusively "my" process, as this is the claim holding attitude of "little self." Is something happening in "that person's" life that nudges it way into my awareness. While this question is immediately "transpersonal" in it's nature, I always need to keep an open-ness of mind that I do not "know" the extent of mind. The dreams I have every night are sure reminders of this aspect, and a lifetime of drawings that "just appear" from beneath my hand, cause me to be cautious of any "claim" to ownership.
Does this "actual" person need to hear all of my inner dialogue, no, not really, that is self-indulgent at best, but a friendly contact is certainly warranted. I trust my intuition, as it has been a faithful companion and guide along a long and winding path. I tend to be better off, if I follow it's gentle nudging. If I ignore it's soft voice, "stuff happens," as they say. That which is not attended to from within, tends to manifest as "accident, or incident, symptom, or sychronicity" to paraphrase Carl Jung. If I have given this event it's proper attention, I can expect some form of affirmation in dream or fantasy. If I am "off" then a good thump on the head can be expected.
Watching the fantasies and associated feelings are just as important as DreamWork.
Just as I wrote that last sentence... the same song came on the stream I enjoy.
Perhaps I am going in the correct direction?? Careful there Paul, hubris provokes the trickster everytime. ;>)
Useful are, Invented Dreams: Sep 26, 2013
Off I go, to search for the source of that spring....
|So Here is the Puzzle: Feb 23, 2015 ~ (I know, it has been awhile)
I have had multiple times in my life, in which a dream has been continuous over several days, or in a series of dreams in a single night. These always intrigue me, but more recently, one particular night series caused a flutter of thought.
I awoke near dawn, in the midst of a particular drama, sat up briefly to drink some water, then settled back down for the expected last cycle of sleep-dream before actually getting up. Hovering in a hypnogogic state pondering the dream just witnessed I could sense it's intent to continue. I slipped under sleeps undertow, only to awake 90 min. later to a coherent continuation of the prior dream, as in another chapter of a larger saga.
Curious, what was I witness to?, what might this suggest about the nature of the underlying mind??? If I now hover in the transitional state of near awake, an active fantasy can be witnessed. A careful balancing act of remaining unmoving, quiet, yet not tumbling back down sleeps dark corridor. What a puzzle, the drama is quietly going on, now, just below the surface, of full consciousness, unhindered by me, as if once again, I am that wide eyed child, hovering by the door, listening to the adult conversations, sensing their intelligent coherence, while only vaguely understanding any of the actual content. This conversation may, or may not, be vaguely related to me. In fact, my adult 'self' in this moment, is highly suspicious of any assumptions about the nature of the origin of dreams and who may or may not be the audience, or even the suggestion that there is an objective audience. Yes, quite often, my dreams are profoundly instructive, as if a portion of the stream is made to address me, if I might be listening?? At other times, the agenda seems unknowable despite the most vigorous scrutiny and reflection. It is as if, there is a vastly larger MIND, which is involved in inner dialogue, (with itself?? parts of itself??) which may then appear as a dream. Sometimes, the dream seems to be a reflection upons "it's" own process which I can, or not, make any better sense of, with my witness being a brief aside.
The point that is more relevant, to this particular discussion, is that the continuant nature of a series of dreams, in one night, or nights, makes it seem to be apparent, that there is a continuity of consciousness, within that part that dreams. We are fortunate to note that we awake each day, having the general sense of continuity of our personality and it's story, our individual life, from day to day. What is suggested by this particular dream reflection, is that the same continuity is very much in evidence, as noted in the fragmented glimpses I get, in serial dreams and hypnogogic, active imagination. "It" has agenda, continuity, development, as a "life" and perhaps, a world of "others," or a world, vast in scope.
Carl Jung, famously noted this in his ongoing "active imagination" sessions, as chronicled in "Memories, Dreams and Reflections." In this remarkable book, there is the introduction to him, of characters, who have agenda, separate thoughts, things that need be communicated. The point that he makes is that the witness (himself) need keep a distance (stay by the doorway) and not disappear into the fantasy (troublesome word here), but interact with the characters, as they appear, ask questions, and note that they provide a dialogue, of which he (Jung) is not always well prepared to receive. They can say things he finds profoundly distressing.
How is it that I (or Jung, or anyone else) can be surprised, and alarmed, by content, if for any moment I pretend to imagine that I have some authorship of the flow of content. It can rude, intrusive, dismissive, of my petty scope, and needs, pursuing a much wider field, and occasionally dragging me along, if I insist that I want to learn and grow.
Sometimes, I have repeated dreamed of "places" in which a dream takes place. These are not necessarily places I have ever been to (to my knowledge) but I awake with a sense of familiarity, as in, "I have been there before, some of the buildings or settings, seem familiar," once again provoking that sense of continuity. I have had the persistent appearance of a character, across time, of which I can not in waking consciousness, deliberately, specify, as to being anyone known, or even composited of known, but there they are again, with a continuity to their personalities, and having an agenda of their own.
"Author, author," I call out in the darkness, "show thy self, explain this convoluted dance!!"
Making the Case for Multiple Aspects of self in Dreams.: Jul 16, 2015 ~