Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Meaning of Dreams

There are two questions that people often ask me, lots of times, back to back. Knowing my penchant for dream conversation they'll tell me about a dream they had. If they didn't already preface their account with, "I had the weirdest dream..." then it's likely they'll finish their report with, "Isn't that weird?" followed closely by "What does it mean?"

This phenomenon always makes me smile to myself. Here's how I usually respond:

When you learn to understand the language of image and the imaginal logic of the dreaming mind, then it doesn't seem weird in the same sense. It's like visiting a culture/country very different from your own where language you consider very difficult to learn is spoken. At first it's alien and weird; a few years there and it's normal. Same thing in dreamland; spend enough conscious time there and you catch on.

What does it mean? This one really cracks me up. It's like what does love mean? What's beauty? There are so many levels, so many possibilities, so much to play with in each dream. I find I live my way into understanding the dream. Sometimes I intuit some meaning right away; even before I record it, but I know that's not necessarily all the dream has to offer me. It either comes back into my mind at some revelatory moment or I go digging years later and it reveals another layer. Dreams are treasure maps; the treasure is your own whole, healed, joyous Self.

Add to that what Jung and most teacher's I've worked with emphasize, the dreamer is the only authority on the meaning of the dream, and you might see why I find the question amusing.

I can be of help to a person who is trying to understand a dream; dream teacher is a calling I love to practice. It's like giving someone a fish to eat or a fishing pole and teaching them how to fish. I do consider myself a decent dream guide, but with the ultimate respect I've learned for the relationship of each dreamer to their dreams, the only simple answer to the question is "I don't know; you do."

1 comment:

  1. You know what's interesting, is that sometimes, I do question, what does that dream mean? Your answer of only you know what it could possibly mean makes the most sense because you are the one making all of your own decisions and analysis of what the dream could be.