The different way men and women express emotions especially as manifested in their dreams.

 

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As I’ve been preparing to do a presentation to some of the men of the church on the meaning and usefulness of dreams I’ve been focusing on both masculine and feminine experience as they manifest in dreams. Earlier this week I spent some time looking at the differences in gender regarding the experience of emotional events as they are expressed.

Both genders seem to lose their “voice” at a young age. Boys are just as emotional as girls but their expression of it is altered by society over time. What voice am I talking about? Girls lose their masculine voice while the boys learn to moderate their feminine.

Research has shown that a boy’s emotional aspect is often different from a girls. Often the extreme sensitivity that boys feel when younger has been suppressed and demeaned. This can leave a boy feeling as though there’s something wrong with them i.e. broken. This can happen with a girl as well and it leaves them feeling insufficient. In truth we are all born somewhat alike with the primary differences being in how we express that likeness or in how we learn not to from the society we live in.

In a Psychology Today article (Sep 9, 2011) it’s claimed that men dream of other men or men in general more often than women e.g. 67% of characters in a man’s dream are men as opposed to 48% of characters in a woman’s dream being women. Men’s dreams are frequently about aggressive encounters with other men who are typically strangers while women tend to dream of women whom they know or are familiar with.

The article also points out that these different trajectories and content patterns are both biological and socially affected.

In the emotional arena Paul Hudson in June of 2015 as reported by the Elite Daily suggested that men may very well be more emotional (read as sensitive) than females in general. However, the study showed that men just hide these emotions better i.e. men have been taught (usually by society and culture regardless of upbringing) to keep their emotions to themselves. Men are often taught to be ashamed of their emotions and one learns quickly that as a man you can lose acceptance and respect by sharing your emotions.

So how do these differences manifest themselves in men’s and women’s dreams? In an article written by Gabrielle Gresge in Sept of 2017 as reported by Brit+Co a study discovered to no one’s surprise that the top dream topics were sex and intimacy, feeling paralyzed, chased, some future event or about a cheating partner. This is consistent with the nearly 4000 dream stories sent to me for interpretation over the years.

When gender is considered women (35%) reported dreaming of relatives who had died with men showing much less of this. In the area of cheating women treat these dreams as symbolizing the need for some tough decisions where as many as 39% of men take the dream more literally in that they think that they may have feelings for someone else. In my experience with people who have these dreams women experience their male relationship cheating in dreams when they themselves are feeling disconnected as though the romance seemed to have left the relationship.

Another somewhat significant finding suggests that women tend to look for meaning in their dreams at about twice the frequency that men do.

Women in a man’s dream often speak to a man’s lost gentler and more patient or caring side while men in a women’s dream can help bring back certain aspects of their hidden and suppressed masculine nature such as assertiveness and decisiveness.

In this way our dreams come to us as arbiters of our health and well-being. They often bring back aspects of our lost selves and our so-called lost voice so that we can function more healthily and authentically.

None of us are all one way or the other and to act as though that were true limits the expression of the soul.

 

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The synthesis or “marriage” of the different aspects within each of us is known as the Sacred Marriage.

It’s been said that men have difficulty dealing with and expressing their emotions and that women for the most part operate on a much more emotional plane. One of the biggest complaints women have in their relationships with men is how the man won’t talk– translated as he won’t share himself emotionally.

This condition can be extrapolated to the whole society as well. In a patriarchal society, a society where everyone is measured by success and productivity, bottled up emotion becomes the norm.

Women in the western cultures are slowly moving toward parity and that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that the feminine aspect is being treated equally. This is because when women gain parity in a patriarchal society they are only gaining equality at the level of the masculinized culture of productivity and success i.e. they become more like the men in terms of their soul expression.

The cost is a continued loss of the feminine aspects for both genders. This creates an imbalance of too much yang and too little yin that causes psychic wounds with little ability to heal them i.e. it’s the feminine yin that heals.

The other day I heard a conversation amongst a number of men as to why there are fewer men attending church, “It’s because the language of the church is too feminine. Too many words deal with love, compassion and caring. This just doesn’t relate to me.” Said one of the men. The rest of the conversation seemed to be centered around the need to masculinize the church language so that religion would become more relevant to the men.

I was appalled by this conversation. Church is the one place where the feminine aspect can be expressed and acted upon and they want to transform it into something more masculine. More masculine? Have we forgotten the Inquisition? What about witch burnings, holy wars, tar and feathering, obedience of the wife to the husband, a woman’s place is in the home, shaming, second-class citizens, chattel and Scarlet Letters? Is this what we want to return to? I would suggest that most rational, spiritual, and God centered people would say NO.

How about men learning to be more introspective and honor the less dominant aspects of their nature? How about men learning to bring greater psychological balance to their every day consciousness? How about women being women and striving to add compassion, full expression and creative intuition to the mix instead of suppressing this so that they can compete?

We all swim together in a cultural sea that seems to see material happiness as the only goal. This is a limited perception of what life is about, of what our true abilities are and more often than not leads to unhappiness.

We sell ourselves short. We have incredible potential when we are in balance with both our natures– the masculine and the feminine. But we have to have a vision greater than the everyday myopia of the current culture.

As a people all over the world we have suppressed, distorted, denied, hidden, and forbidden parts of our nature. This has led to a universal neuroses e.g. easily prone to anxiety attacks, hysteria (OMG there’s measles, Ebola, avian and swine flu, etc., etc.) phobias, depression, and a distorted way of looking at the world (note how much money we spend on diets, fashion, Botox, products for looking good, entertainment).

The definition of a neurosis is: “poor ability to adapt to one’s environment, an inability to change one’s life patterns, and the inability to develop a richer, more complex, more satisfying personality.”*

We have this idealized image, some say fantasy, of ourselves developed over time and with the help of our parents and society. All too often this image is a pretense meant to protect the individual and society from what it fears e.g. being out of control.

But most of the time it doesn’t reconcile with reality, of who we really are and this brings about individual and mass insecurity and no matter what we do to try to feel safe, nothing really works. So most of our human activities are centered around feeling safe e.g. military and paramilitary (police, guards, DEA, ATF, TSA, homeland security, oh yes and walls and guns, etc.). Budgets for all this so-called security make up the vast majority of our expenditures.

In our sometime embrace of the extremes of human behavior we demean our humanity and lose our souls. The real threat to security reveals itself when we reject the center where we move our divergent aspects together and bring balance to our rigid positions and in this rejection stray toward the opposite extremes.

What gets lost is love and the ability to live up to into our real potential. All this because we refuse to acknowledge and integrate our conflicting natures.

*Boeree, C. George “A Bio-Social Theory of Neurosis”, (2002).

Chasing after self-worth is like a dog chasing its tail

 

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I had a dream the other night that seemed to be pointing to my oft feelings of low self-worth. In the dream I was both chasing and being chased and never getting to my goal.

Why is it so important to see my own worth, my own value, my own strengths? If something needs doing and I know intuitively that I can contribute and am dedicated to act on that intuition does it make any difference if I think I’ve got little or nothing to offer?

It seems to me that low self-worth is only important if I use it as an excuse to not contribute or to not act. Knowing at some level that I know something that can on occasion help others ought to be enough. Knowing that there’s something within me that can contribute if I let it seems to be more important than whether I feel good about it or about myself. I realize that it steals some part of my sense of aliveness but so what? If what I’m being enlivens another it might be enough. The satisfaction of having given from myself outside myself ought to be enough.

I’m tired of chasing self-worth. Sometimes I catch it but have never been able to hold onto it for very long. It’s not something I’ve ever been able to keep probably because I don’t ever think it’s real. Trying to attach certain talents to a sense of self-worth also seems a waste of time. I can see my talents or at least what I think are talents in the moment and I’m freely willing to give them away if necessary. What determines what’s necessary seems to be something deep inside, something other than my ego-self, i.e. that part of me that craves self-worth.

It is this deeper me that I’ve learned to trust. Whether that makes me a talented person of some worth seems irrelevant. Chasing it doesn’t seem to change my overall estimation of self so why bother? I know when I have something to give and can only hope that when given it is useful. Trying to get acknowledgment for the giving of something useful is also futile for my ego won’t accept it anyway, it’s primed only to reject. It’s an interesting creature this ego-self in that it longs to be accepted and yet rejects it when it comes around. It’s kind of like a self-involved and petty dictator.

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By Mark Lynch

Because I’ve learned that others need to know that their gifts to others or me have been received, welcomed, and made useful in order to feel complete I’ll acknowledge them. However, as you can guess in my case a gift of “Good work, Bob” or “you did a great job” will be acknowledged outwardly but almost never believed or if momentarily believed not held onto. The Bob Ego-self doesn’t believe it’s of much or any value. However, the “Deeper-Bob” knows otherwise so this is what I try to operate out of. When I operate out of Deeper-Bob incredible things can and do happen.

When I stop chasing my own metaphorical tail life becomes much less stressful.

 

A cultural myth of redemption found in a popular fantasy story

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From the 100th anniversary edition

Realized or not or intentional or not authors project themselves into their stories. Successful stories depend on good writing but they also draw on archetypal aspects that at an unconscious level resonate with most human beings.

Earlier someone shared part of a dream that included the image of the Tin Man from the Wonderful Wizard of OZ (1900). This got me to thinking about the other characters and aspects of L.Frank Baum’s story and who or what they might represent symbolically. However, my projected meanings are in no way intended to convey the meanings that Baum had for them these are just possible meanings that one might entertain should they show up in their dreams.

 Tinman: a Tin Man may be someone with no heart but deep down a heart as big as it gets. It can represent someone acting without compassion or being unsympathetic, or be someone unforgiving or unkind. When oiled e.g. given some kind, caring attention he/she becomes less rigid and stuck in their position. Do you know someone like this?

Cowardly lion: a person who acts tough but misses a golden opportunity out of fear. Are you feeling inadequate? Do you need to face your fears? Are you or someone you know wearing the mask of the tough guy thus keeping people at bay? Often this is the definition for someone who bullies. Are you limiting yourself by adhering to an inner dialog that has you feeling less-than?

Scarecrow: someone who looks scary but is using it as a cover-up so as to protect a vulnerable interior. Do you think of your self as being inferior? Is your exterior not matching your interior? Has your self-presentation been tattered?

Wicked witch: the negative feminine, in this case her insensitivity, and lack of focus except inwardly thus creating self-involvement, and being socially rejecting thus separating herself from others. She is the witch of the west and symbolic of darkness and endings that which needed to be faced in order to bring back the light and a new beginning.

Consider also that a witch can represent ones mother and the magical effect she has on you i.e. she is both nurturer and punisher.

Wizard: your inner wisdom and hidden power. This wizard also played the role of the trickster and was symbolically he who helps us to transcend our conditioning e.g. our learned behaviors, the behaviors and attitudes that limit us in life.

Glinda the good witch: she is the antithesis of the wicked witch, a goddess figure and the divine mother symbolizing feminine power, nurturing, and the coming of age for a young girl on the cusp of becoming a woman. She is the witch of the south that is symbolic of new beginnings, vulnerability and emotions.

Note that each of these characters is representative of Dorothy herself. Feeling unloved, unimportant, disconnected from her real power, with low self-esteem, lost and feeling as though she doesn’t belong, she dreams of a place where she can regain her self by returning home to herself. All aspects of her show up in the dream so as to help her heal and come back to her core being.

The psycho-emotional healing in most stories seems to center around the need to bring resolution to separateness and to unify the disparate aspects of the story i.e. to bring things back into balance. When we get out of balance catastrophic things can happen to help us find our way back home. This goes for societies and countries as well.

This I think is the function of our nightmares (individual or collective), which surly were depicted in Dorothy’s feverish dream i.e. to shake us up a little so as to point out the wrong road we’re on and head us toward the better road, the yellow brick road of hopefulness that leads to a place of healing and personal growth i.e. the green city of OZ while along the way we reconnect and make friends with the rejected parts of ourselves. The monster in the nightmare is not the hero save that they point to the fact that something isn’t working in the individual or societal psyche. As with Dorothy it’s only when we face our nightmarish bully that we can find our way home.

Don’t believe in the Cosmic Mind, or God, or goddess? It’s okay, they don’t believe in you either.

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Belief: Wikipedia defines it as “… a mental representation of an attitude positively oriented towards the likelihood of something being true”. It doesn’t require empirical evidence that something is true. In general they are just personal attitudes and not necessarily reality. Each of us create our own reality i.e. our own attitudes and judgments about what we see or experience. These may or may not correspond to what is actually true. Mostly we don’t bother to look too closely at whether there’s any real truth, in other words, when it comes to belief most humans aren’t very introspective. Most of us walk around thinking that we know what the world is about.

But don’t believe everything you think.

And that should be the default mantra of every thinking being, “Don’t believe everything you think”. Mostly what we think we believe is delusional or better yet illusional i.e. our beliefs are deceptive and misleading. What we see depends on our motivation and that usually involves dealing with fear– fear of the unknown, fear of being out of control, fear of loss, fear of being wrong, fear of being vulnerable, fear of dying, fear of nonexistence, fear of pain, fear of being unworthy, fear of being unloved, fear of commitment, fear of not surviving, fear of meaninglessness, fear of not being important in short, we are all looking for that which will help us handle our fears.

So what can one do to remove the barriers to just being with our fears, no I’m not saying to our becoming or embracing those fears I’m suggesting having them and looking at them honestly? Life is generally fearsome which is why we create beliefs in the first place i.e. to help us deal with them and that can be good but then we act as though what we created was real. What would happen if we just laid ourselves open to what’s actually there without our guard up (no I’m not suggesting we put ourselves into real danger)?

If we were to put our beliefs aside what might we see? If we could really just be in the moment, what might be there? If we could be aware of our fears what might we learn from them? Might we learn how we’ve been letting them determine the direction of our lives? Might we learn that these fears and our reactions to them have over time boxed us up and left us smaller than we actually are? As a reaction to fear we often use our beliefs as a way of limiting risk, what market people call risk aversion, but too much of this leads to a contracted life.

So why did I title this piece, “Don’t believe in the Cosmic Mind, or God, or goddess? It’s okay, they don’t believe in you either”?

The so-called belief in a Cosmic Mind, or God or goddess as an illusion for purposes of self-protection is like a crutch. They are just constructs to help with day-to-day fears. But do they exist? They may exist as representations of our spiritual aspect in that they speak to parts of our being– the deeper aspects to who and what we are and as such don’t require that we believe in them in order for them to exist. They just are or it just is and exist outside our rational brain. And it’s the rational brain as a construct of our egos that the spiritual doesn’t believe in for it is just an illusion. But some may argue that it’s all illusion, but whose illusion? Ah there’s the rub.