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Posts Tagged ‘unconscious’

Dream Interpretation

Posted by Amanda Gray on July 18, 2011

The interpretation of dreams leads to the understanding of the activities of the unconscious mind.  That’s the line that Jesus took, and, in fact, made that line the whole basis of A Course in Miracles.  Because, whether you know it or not, Jesus was a Freudian.  The whole thought system of the ego in the Course is directly based on the work of Freud.

~ Ken Wapnick, from A Course in Miracles, The Movie

When I dream at night, all the characters are fragments of my own fractured mind.  When I wake up, I, unknowingly, continue to dream, and the people I encounter in my so-called ‘real’ life are also mere fragments of my fractured mind.  There are no ‘others’ out there.  There is no ‘world’ out there.  It’s all in ME.  Every place, thing, and person I encounter are all pieces of ME.  Generally, we lend very little importance to our dreams at night, unless we use them to learn about the activities of our unconscious. Just as well, there is little importance to the dream of the ‘real’ world, except for what it teaches us about the self we seek to separate and hide deep in the fractured mind.

Just as dream symbols in a dream can be interpreted to discover the activities of the unconscious mind, so can the symbols of our ‘real’ life.  For example, I’ve had an ongoing issue with acne around my mouth and on my chin.  Over many years, I’ve tried several methods of curing the problem, but nothing has worked.  In January, I linked it to a dairy allergy and quit eating all dairy products.  The problem subsided for a short time, but returned and persists still.  If I look at the problem as a symbol, I recognize:

  1. Mouth = speaking, singing, sharing ideas and inspiration, communicating with others, being heard, accepting nourishment.
  2. Skin = boundary of the body, separation from others and from the world, touch, feeling, intimacy.
  3. Dairy = nourishment, pleasure, mother’s milk – acceptance of nurturance, caring and love from my mom, from others, and, ultimately, from God.

If I have believed that I’m unworthy of love, or that I need to be heard, but no one is listening, then suffering will be created from those negative, unconscious thoughts.  Suffering arrived as acne around my mouth.  It’s right up front on my face, can’t be ignored, and I’ve been super embarrassed and self-conscious about it.  My embarrassment has inclined me to keep my mouth shut, so I don’t draw attention.  Therefore, the number one goal of the ego, to maintain separation and block communication, has been successful.

The good news, is that once unconscious beliefs are brought to the ‘light’ – accepted consciously – they lose all their power.  Now I can give myself a choice.  I can continue to believe in crap, and suffer, or I can simply stop believing, and be free.  As I become one with all the parts of myself, accepting and connecting to others and the world without judgement; and as I open my mouth to communicate freely, and joyfully with trust, the ego weakens and must, eventually, disappear all-together.  And suffering (the acne) must disappear too.  This is what I believe, and so it must be, and it is.

For more on dream interpretation, check out these articles:

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The Dreaming Riddle

Posted by Amanda Gray on May 26, 2011

Dream:

I’m in a gigantic bakery kitchen.  Thin slabs of chocolate roulade (thin cake baked in a flat pan, often used to roll with filling) are cooling on the work tables.  I approach one slab of roulade, thinking it was one I baked for myself earlier.  I cut a square chunk, but as I lift it to my lips for a bite, a man approaches me from behind, “No, no, no!”  He tells me that the other baker, Candace, baked that slab.  I see Candace, dressed in a white cooks uniform, across the room with her back to me.  I’m sorry for my mistake and I express to him that I hope I haven’t ruined her yield.

Enlightened teachers rarely talk about dreams, except to say that we need to wake up from the one we dream when we think we’re awake.  Personally, since my night-time dreams have been such a robust part of my daily experience, I’ve frequently used them to gain insight into the activity of my unconscious mind.

When I was a child, I imagined two black, cartoon ants that had an old film projector and a white screen on a stand.  One ant would ask, “What film are we going to show tonight?” and the other would turn on the projector, “How about this one.”  On the screen, I’d see the grainy countdown appear: 3, 2, 1, and, poof, I’d be asleep.

I’ve always loved to dream.  My dreams are rich, colourful, and entertaining.  I usually dream when I’m close to consciousness in the morning, so with very little effort, I can remember many vivid details.  When I started to make a concerted study of my dreams, around the year 2000, I would consider every storyline, character, and location.  I poured through dream interpretation dictionaries to understand every symbol and nuance.  It was extremely time-consuming, but it was also fun, a lot like solving a riddle.

I don’t know how my theory stacks up with the great dream philosophers of our time: Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, etc., but I divide my dreams into two kinds.  One kind is indicative of the ego keeping itself active and entertained.  These are often busy dreams, with lots of characters, locations and plot lines.  They’re difficult to interpret because there are many symbols, but rarely ones that really ‘jump out’.  The other kind of dream is short, sometimes simply one image, like a photograph.  It’s vivid and remembered easily, because, I think, it’s important to remember.  I’ve decided, through my experience with them over the years, that those are the images spirit is using to communicate with me.  It’s an elegant form of communication, and much like an ‘instantaneous download’ of knowledge.  I’ll find that one image will have many subtle, but meaningful, details.  I’ve also learned to pay attention to anything white.  A symbol in white, particularly if it’s a neon bright white, is always, for me, an important message from spirit.

The shadow elements of a dream, such as night scenes or dark basements, tell me that there’s something I’m trying to hide from my conscious mind.  The split of the unconscious from the conscious mind segregates experiences or traumas that we don’t want to acknowledge.  In my experience, dream shadows rarely give up crucial information, they’re really only helpful to know there’s still something to root out of hiding.  If my greater intention is unity, any smaller intention to hide in dark corners must, eventually, be brought to the light of consciousness.

I recommend two dream books that have been invaluable to me over the years.  My, hands down, favourite is:

Cloud Nine

My second favourite is:

Little Giant Encyclopedia: Dream Symbols

When selecting a dream book, ensure that it doesn’t offer nonsense of future predictions, such as, “dreaming of an itchy right hand means the dreamer will receive money”.  I’ve heard that some people have dreams that effectively predict the future, but, even then, I doubt they would get much value from those future symbol books.  Although I had an occasional prophetic dream in my early life, it was often only discovered after the event played out and was always so inconsequential, I stopped paying attention to them, and they went away.  To me, dreams are far more relevant as insight into myself, the symbols as placeholders for deep-seated belief systems and patterns of thought.

Dream dictionaries are like regular dictionaries, organized in alphabetical order.  To use one, I simply look up the words that best describe the dream image.  For example, for the dream I described at the top of this post, I would look up: bakery, room, kitchen, table, clean, cook, food, sweets, black, square, man, back, woman, and white.  The descriptions in the dream book are merely starting points.  After reading them, I would then consider which interpretations resonated the most for me, and then think further about how the symbols fit specifically into my life experience.

Without referring to my dream books, I knew what my bakery dream was about.  In 1991-92, after a year of cooking school, hosted at Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper, Alberta, I continued working over the summer in the pastry department.  One day, I arrived for my evening shift and had two tasks on my work list: mix and bake chocolate Devils Food cakes and ‘Etruscan Torte’ cakes.  I had made both of these cakes before and felt confident in my skills.  I started with the Devils Food cakes.  I assembled the ingredients, mixed the batter in the giant Hobart mixer, and filled the cake rings.  I don’t remember if I was particularly distracted that day, or what I was worried about, but I put the cakes into the oven and totally forgot about them.  When I finally remembered, they were cremated beyond repair.  I was thoroughly disgusted and furious with myself as I cut black chunks of charcoal from the baking rings and disposed of all ten cakes in the garbage.  Since I’d already started work on the Etruscan Tortes, I despondently continued with that.  I cut vanilla roulade to fit inside the cake rings for the top and bottom layers, and filled the middle with a gelatine-meringue mixture.  I thought they were to bake for 45 minutes and I put them into the oven….  Well, if you’ve done any baking, you may already have recognized my mistake.  Gelatine isn’t baked, it’s refrigerated.  In 45 minutes, I asked my sous chef how I should test for doneness.  He corrected me, but it was already too late.  The gelatine mixture had melted and leaked out of the cake rings onto the pans in a big slushy mess.  Ten more cakes, ruined!  I was horrified and devastated.  How could I be such a complete loser?  Within a few weeks of the incident, I concocted a number of excuses, and quit the job.

My dream pointed to this entire scenario in a few symbols.  By incorporating the character of Candace, a co-worker from a current job, it also links the past with the present.  It tells me that I made a past mistake that I never truly forgave myself for, and that I’m still holding onto guilty fears that I could make work mistakes again.  Through the dream, I discovered a limitation that has been affecting my experience, and I can now surrender it – forgive myself.

Although, I also understand why teachers of enlightenment wouldn’t recommend dream analysis.  The mind loves to examine itself, and as long as I’m rooting around in its house of mirrors, I won’t make the essential decision to abandon all mind games – lock, stock and barrel.  Yes, perhaps I have delayed myself extraneously, and thus, I’ve given up dreaming riddles, for the most part.  If I have a dream that I remember, fine, and if there’s some symbolism that jumps out at me, fine, and if an interpretation reveals itself without effort, that’s fine too.

Dreams are a fantastic mystery.  A form of riddle that may never be completely solved, but we can look, and ask, and wonder.

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