Dreams – Teachers from the Unconscious
Dreams – teachers from the unconscious.
“An unexamined dream is like an unopened letter from God.” –Talmud
Dreams erupt from an unconscious area of our psyche that is described as an enormous field of energy, much larger than the conscious mind, which houses the repressed, ignored or unknown aspects of our personality. Our modern minds, obsessed with reason and facts, have dismissed our inner world of dreams and imagination as frivolous, childish or primitive. We are unaware of the extent to which our dreams influence our outer lives.
Carl Gustav Jung (1865-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded the field of analytical psychology and, along with Sigmund Freud, was responsible for popularising the idea that a person’s interior life merited dedicated and continuous exploration. Freud, who started as Jung’s mentor, generally viewed the unconscious mind as a container for repressed desires. Jung however, came to see the unconscious psyche as a more spiritual and fluid place, an ocean that could be explored for healing and growth.
Jung’s work on himself and his patients convinced him that life had a spiritual purpose beyond material goals. Our main task, he believed, was to discover and fulfil our deep, innate potential. This was a lifetime journey, a process he termed individuation. Dreams and imagination are natural psychic phenomenon that can guide us with this process.
Dreaming has perplexed, fascinated and mystified people throughout history. In the Christian Bible, King Nebuchadnezzar, Joseph and the three wise men are well-known examples of ancestors who took their dreams very seriously. Jungian analyst and Episcopal priest, John Sanford, coined the phrase with the title of his book, God’s Forgotten Language, referring to the increasingly neglected inner world of images and symbols.
Today, those dissatisfied with faith-based doctrine and who are seeking a more direct experience of God, are turning back to their dreams and inner-life dynamics. Dreams help us stay in balance, giving hints as to what is going on in our inner worlds.
Jung suggested certain techniques to assist us in understanding dream messages. There are no quick “dream dictionary” answers as each dream consists of images that can be said to be a visual representation of our psychological state. Dreams, being like a foreign language, take time and effort to understand, but provide a healing tool, conveying wisdom from the unconscious to consciousness like small doses of medicine.
(By Jennifer Thord-Gray)
● For Jungian dream work guidance, contact Jennifer Thord-Gray, a complementary health practitioner in Howick on 0826428886 or email firstname.lastname@example.org