Dreams and Metaphors

Dreams and Metaphors

For those of you already working with Dr. Mikel you may have had her ask you about your dreams. In this newsletter, I would like to explain a bit about what I have learned and experienced with dream analysis. My master’s degree was focused in Transpersonal Psychology which is reflected loosely in my synopsis. As my experience and education are reflected in this writing it is also subjective in regards to my belief system. So take what is of value for yourself and leave that which in not congruent with your belief system. I do believe there is a universal experience of yearning for wholeness and we are designed to experience and unfold into that perfection. My own dream work has transformed my life and I love to share what has helped me with others!

The famous psychologist Carl Jung’s theory is that the personality is always growing and the Soul in its entirety is made up of the conscious self and the unconscious. The unconscious are those parts of us yet to be developed and integrated into the personality. As a child we come whole but not necessarily conscious. The child’s job is to build through experience an ego from which to interpret and function within the world. Many things shape this. With good parenting or luck or personality we keep our soul’s light intact and are encouraged to open up and discover our nature and gifts. On the other hand intentionally or not often many parts of the child’s souls expression do not get nurtured ane are often discouraged. Defenses are created by the ego to protect us from getting hurt based on those experience from the past.

Jung said in the adult life the opportunity for us to become conscious and claim back or integrate parts of our soul that were messed up, lost or never developed is the path of individuation. Individuation is the integration of the unconscious into the conscious personalitywhich allows one the capacity to know their true nature … that reflection of the Holy Spirit, Christ consciousness, wholeness, unity, etc… Man’s search for that connection to Spirit is found within himself. The work to experience that is dependent on that experience of unconditional self love that one must have to claim the shadow and realize individuation.

Those conscious and unconscious aspects of the self were what Carl Jung called the archetypes. Archetypes are symbols of the human nature common to all cultures and peoples. He saw these symbols represented in myths, stories, art, cultural ceremonies and rituals. These powerful symbols of human nature were what he saw expressed in dreams and became the foundation for his dream interpretation. He found in his analysis process with patients that the dream images contained these universal symbols and that the meanings and challenges they represented were themes of common psychological development. The unconscious contained the shadow elements or archetypal challenges in the person that he or she rejected. When they were emotionally caught up in a conflict or situation it was often because there was a part of their nature that they had yet to understand or integrate. They would project this rejection onto people and situations most often in a negative way or judgment, not realizing that what there was to learn was really something about their own nature they had not yet claimed.

For example it’s easier to give than to receive. Sometimes I give too much! In analysis if one explores where and why that is a sensitive area one might find out that there were only positive messages given to the child for being a “big girl” and helping out. Maybe neediness was an inconvenience, irritated those around her so she was scolded when she expressed needs. Going back to why that interpretation was made allows for some compassion then around being needy. Integration involves awareness of the rejected parts but also some healing from the past to bring that aspect more fully into realization within the conscious personality. The shift happens when one acknowledges where they are needy, how that is healthy and a very human experience; perhaps grieve for missing the care they needed as a child. This shift could allow one to receive care as well as have better boundaries in how they give their time and energy away. There is a feeling of wholeness within both.

My dream analysis has been an amazing process. The dreams repeatedly would bring information to me that seemed to open up more of who I wanted to be in the world. Overcoming fears and insecurities…. the dreams would repeatedly help bring light to some misperception from my past. I was repeatedly amazed that what I would interpret as a scary or a “bad” dream was really a dramatic symbol representing my ability to see more of who I was with compassion and understanding. Self acceptance and self regard, unconditional love for myself began and continues to be a foundation of emotional and spiritual wellbeing from which I go out into my life… The repeated authority from which the dreams have given me information and guidance has transformed my life and has become a validation to me that there is a God, Higher Power or Healing Power of Nature from which we come and are a part of… calling us into wholeness.

Even without interpreting dreams, they are a sign of our soul’s yearning for wholeness. The work with others in using dreams taps into this inner world and power in such a dramatic way. Just asking about the dream connects the patient to their inner world, inner authority and spiritual nature. Even without interpretation. Adding some skilled work with the dream, that conscious dialog can be opened and facilitated. Once a person has contact with their soul through this process there is an empowerment for that person to face those hidden shadows, which include their gifts, that lie dormant. Work with the unconscious teaches us we are creating our reality through our thoughts and unconscious projections. To change our life we must change our projections and that requires work with the unconscious. When I did this it gave me the life and emotional freedom I always wanted and never had, especially from my anxieties and fears. I have worked hard for every good day I’ve had and the difficult ones are still now opportunity for more meaning to surface!

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