The Dream Symbol and Moving Forward
Why Do Dreams Present Symbols?
We can never know what is unconscious because we are simply unaware of it. But we can start to pick up ideas about it.
Our soul communicates to us via symbols because their meanings are subtle and ephemeral enough to avoid a flooding from the unconscious. Since the psyche, or our higher self is self-regulating and always aims for healing and growth, it hands over our natural narrative through the dream to show us what we are actually doing.
Symbols help us to branch out into associations. They are multi-layered and allow us to descend deeper into the Self as we are ready. Our ego will generally receive messages from our soul to alter our perception in a way which will enable us to chew on content gradually and safely.
How Can I Get A Clearer Picture Of My Inner-Self?
Before you leave your dream journal on your bedside table, it is helpful to write down something which occurred to you that day that was focal to you or which kept playing on your mind. You can learn about what is important to your psyche or soul this way.
I have often been surprised that my soul does not care about many things my ego brings to the forefront.
This can help you discard aspects of yourself which are not conducive to psychological health. Often the energy we expend on what we think is beneficial proves to be quite a waste of time. We have to become accustomed to throwing out useless aspects of ourselves after we process them so that symbolically speaking, our house does not lose functionality. I explain the psyche as a house because in dreams that’s what it usually represents.
Crowding ourselves with attitudes, thoughts and feelings which are not helping us evolve is like hoarding sentimental clutter from our past because we are afraid of letting go to process. This hinders access to rooms and hallways and in the unconscious world it is analogous to choking entelechy. It is like wearing a tight elastic band around a part of our body and constricting blood flow.
Ignoring our ingrained ways is like a deciduous tree grappling with all its dying leaves. We stop making room for the new nodes in the spring and start to feel heavy and suffocated. This can manifest into our tangible lives through accidents or symptoms.
For example, if you are heading the wrong way in life, or in other words, if your ego drive is contrary to your inner striving, a dream about backing into another car or driving a car into a foggy street hampering visibility, may emerge. If these unconscious facts are ignored it is not uncommon for them to manifest in the ego world. It is possible to have an actual car accident or feel unusually oppressed or hazy on a foggy day.
This happens in our ego world because we have failed to attend to the alarm bells in our unconscious one. This is how cosmic energy works and the unconscious will keep digging elbows into you until you wake up. That is why Jung always said whatever you don’t resolve in your unconscious will play out as fate.
Why Are Symbols In The Dream So Confusing?
It is important to understand that there are general meanings for symbols which should be taken into consideration. For example, a fire can describe energy and passion rising from within. A burning house can indicate a life-changing transformation. But it is imperative to understand that the symbol’s unique meaning will derive more from your feeling states and associations.
For example, if your toddler recently burnt her hand while trying to touch the flame in the fireplace, the meaning of fire will take a very different turn. We see that particularly in fairy tales, a fireplace often points to the nurturing feminine attitude of the caregiver because it provides comfort and warmth in the kitchen or heart of the house.
So it is worth taking into account how you felt during the dream and what it reminded you of before you consult a more general symbol interpretation.
How Can Dreams Show Two Sides Of The Same Coin?
Since dreams don’t adhere to rational thinking and mould themselves upon irrational intuitive states, it is often the case that they will carry an ambivalence or two or more meanings of the same idea. So the fire dream will show what the reality is, that is, that the child may have been emotionally hurt when attempting to make a positive attachment with a caregiver, but since the general meaning of a fire is transformative, there may be in potentiality, the development of a secure and receptive relationship.
What If I Misinterpret The Dream?
The psyche continues to offer insight into the reality of the one who experiences the dream. So if a misinterpretation occurs, subsequent dreams will work to poke at your perception so that a more honed understanding eventually takes shape. The dream, even though at times seemingly repetitive, will introduce a different element so that this can be reflected upon in your waking life.
Why Are Some Dreams Repetitive?
Dreams will repeat themselves because you need to make a connection with them on a conscious level. It is your soul’s way of insisting that you make meaning so some headway can be made. It is only through this active and conscious ‘working through’ that the mist in the psyche can start to lift.
Sadly and interestingly, Jung noticed that the dreams of mental hospital patients who did not recover played the incessant cycle of disintegration or barren dreams after a set of growth dreams. The inability to respond to the symbol of the dream generates this natural but futile pattern of dreaming in all of us.
If there is no one listening to the soul we cannot evolve as a human being or as a humanity.
Why Do Some Dreams Simply Relay What Happened In The Ego World?
In the case of severe trauma the dream can play out the drama of the ego world without any surreal variations. This happens because the psyche has not had the chance to absorb the horror of what has happened. These sorts of dreams are asking you to work through the trauma while you are awake.
For example, you may need to talk through the events with someone you love and trust because as well as providing a reference point it can feel supportive and reassuring. It is beneficial for you to keep a journal to record the times difficult triggers disturb your natural feeling state. Even though this may feel more painful than enduring the suffering from traumata, it is encouraging to understand you have placed the psyche in a healthier and more strengthened position and it will be less likely that the scales will tip.
You need to be very patient with yourself while meeting this process because it needs to be very slow and can feel quite overwhelming but in the long run it will bring much solace.
Talking to someone and creatively expressing yourself is like crying and dislodges emotional blockage. It eventually engages your feeling and emotional functions needed to start nurturing yourself enough to dissolve symptoms and to initiate a restorative process.
If you are experiencing an emotional ‘shut-down’, it is important to re-establish a relationship with yourself and if possible, with someone else because this bonding provides attachment and warmth which alleviates pressure in the internal and exterior areas of your life.
Over time the dream will change to become more dream or fantasy-like which reveals that the painful aspects of events are softening because you have started to assimilate them. This new element in the dream will offer insight and give you something to work with to push the suffering through.
The wider and deeper view of your situation will change the way you feel about what happened to you. You will find that learning why certain things in life have happened and how we have been controlled by the unconscious motivations of others will be enough to launch an upwards movement. This realization in itself can give comfort and enough self-care to continue the journey to wholeness.
This also helps us become aware of how unconscious we ourselves are. We can start to hold close to us the fact that we trying our best. It is only at this point that we can begin to realize we have a choice and have the power to act. We can begin to hope and imagine how our future can change.
What Can I Do if I Can’t Remember The Dream Or If It’s Too Painful To Confront Right Now?
Sometimes it’s helpful just to wait and over time one may start to remember the dream or feel comfortable enough to face it. It is also possible to ask for the dreams of the people who live with you.
In a close social unit a person will often dream of the psyche of another person they live with and dreams can offer insight that way. For example, a partner or a child can dream of something that you are needing to know in order to evolve.
This will happen even if the person experiencing the dream has no conscious awareness of what you are going through. This can be useful for you if you don’t feel ready to confront your unconscious life directly. It can act as a buffer until you are ready to work with your own material. This is possible because people who live together will intuitively pick up the unconscious signals of another. This is clairvoyant in the sense that we can detect what is out of our sensory space in a similar way we get a sense something is wrong with someone even though they smile or tell us they are okay. Even if we don’t register this consciously, the inner part of ourselves has a way of letting this information penetrate.
It is a good idea to consult the dream even if you feel you are not progressing because it sometimes highlights an improvement or some type of ‘coming together’ or unity in the psyche which you are not consciously feeling yet. This is a great source of relief and encourages you to continue working towards a healthier and more fulfilled version of your real Self.