The Wind in my life part 2

 

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“Floating to the surface of an impenetrable water a pulsating mandala whose rings appear and disappear when a disembodied voice exclaims, “Where’s the wind?” and is the last thing I hear before I wake up.”

Excerpt from April 8, 2019 posting from The Book of Dreams Blog

 

Yesterday I wrote down a poem generated by a dream the night before and titled it, “The wind in my life.”

Now normally I think of the wind in a dream as symbolizing ones soul, life source or energy but it also reflects the changes in one’s life and it was these changes that floated to the surface and demanded my attention.

But change has always been attached to people so that every change event came with a person or persons introducing it or acting as the co-navigator(s) for the ship of my life.

It’s not too far off course then to think of the people in my life as the souls of the winds of my dreams. It’s people who for whatever reason have blown me in directions I didn’t know I wanted but perhaps needed to go.

In looking back across my life I see moments where people entered my life at precisely the right time to help steer me into a new direction. As I wrote in yesterday’s poem, “…I don’t know where I’m going!” So it’s a good thing these navigators keep showing up or I’d be foundering in some uncharted sea or held fast on some unseen shoal.

How these souls find me when I most need them is a curiosity. It’s as though we are somehow attached at some as yet unseen level. I wonder if our souls communicate with each other though we aren’t always open to their message or willing to let go of the illusion of thinking we know something and allow ourselves to follow one who does?

In the poem I curse the winds that never stay put like a pulsating mandala whose circles of completion and new beginnings forever seem to appear and disappear but it may be the wisdom of these symbols of the psyche to forever be changing for the change is the pulse of the universe within itself continually individuating and transforming the separate into the whole. 

Because I really don’t know where I’m going I will sometimes curse the wind and the curse itself will become part of the whole for which I search and the pulsating mandala that is my life will sometimes float to the surface of a dream and add light to the journey.

The wind in my life

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Floating to the surface of an impenetrable water a pulsating mandala whose rings appear and disappear when a disembodied voice exclaims, “Where’s the wind?” and is the last thing I hear before I wake up.

This was another night’s dream that stayed with me as I awoke but this night’s dream brought with it one of those rare delights, a poem that I share with you now.

 

 

 

It was so very long ago,

just yesterday I think

We set sail and followed the wind

Into this very dark and unknown sea

with only a promise fore and aft.

Born in opposition

An incomplete whole

A compromised mandala

Searching for a self

Here not there

A there in potential only

and forever becoming.

Like the wind Psyche’s rings won’t stay put

With the rhythm of the heart

They rise and fall

Rise and fall with every beat

Never solidly there.

Like an on-shore beacon

Of a home not seen

For oh so long.

A Guide-on that gives light

To the there

We set out to find.

Arrived!

No?

Not here?

Maybe there?

And we tack into the wind once again

And run once more toward home

Are we lost?

“Where’s that damn chart?” I say

“What chart?” You say.

“The one you were following.” I say

“There’s never been a chart

I was following you.” You say.

“But I don’t know where I’m going!” I say.

And we tack back out to search for that

damnable wind that will never stay put.

The Warrior in me

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This post is a continuation of my exploration into the masculine and feminine psyches.

A comment from a reader the other day to my query about how I might work with other men in developing their inner awareness through the work with dreams nudged me into taking another look at the mythopoeic work of Robert Bly and reminded me of his book Iron John and the concept of the warrior and wild man who was at the center of the men’s movement back in the 90’s. At the time of his heyday I was still resisting aspects of the male in me that I deemed negative and unwanted but I found myself attending his workshops anyway. Something in me at that time said that I needed to explore a little more of what I was resisting but I had not done that much justice until this most recent communiqué.

I believe that in every man exists an aspect of the warrior. It’s something that every one of us have to deal with in our jobs, our neighborhoods and with other people usually but not exclusively in the form of other men. Many of us have worked on our own aggressiveness so as to moderate it or in some cases to suppress it. As boys it’s what our mothers worked the hardest on to civilize. Some of us had to be worked on more than others. Eventually Robby became a “Good Boy” and relatively civilized. Relatively being the operative word and the warrior became pacified.

The warrior in me came to the fore while in the Marine Corps and especially when I found myself in a combat zone in Vietnam. But I can also say without any internal conflict that we did not belong over there doing what we were doing. I thought that then and think that now. Not that I didn’t think that hurting others was wrong but those thoughts were just abstractions to me at the time and could be easily dismissed. It wasn’t until confronted with the realities of death, grief, self-preservation, camaraderie, and hardship that I was able to see that this was all wrong that we had no right to be involved in the Vietnamese civil war or to kill those who had different ideas than we had. Also while on the ground I began to see that we were not welcome by the everyday people. There also seemed to be an organized resistance underground where the women who did our laundry on the base during the day were directing rocket fire onto us at night. Over time I began to feel as though I was the jackboot Nazi invader.

Was I not a patriot? Yes I was, but I was also becoming a more conscious patriot and I had lost my America Love it or Leave it mentality after a few short months in country. I began to think we had all been lied to. Over time I became more and more suspicious of our politicians and leaders and that eventually grew into a general distrust of government.

Defending my country against communism wasn’t part of my patriotism either because that too was a little too abstract and as it turned out it was wrong because it was a fabrication for going to war in 1965 as much as WMDs were for invading Iraq in 2003.

When I came home I was yelled at, accused of having killed babies, and spat at on one occasion. I observed some protests where our troops were booed and weekly statistics about American deaths were applauded. But I understood where they were coming from so I tried to help people separate the war from the warrior, the politician from the pawn, and the generals from the fodder.

We lost that war because it was all too abstract to those not actually engaged in it and neither the politicians nor most of the people had their heart in it.

After the war I worked hard at putting the awakened warrior to rest.

Today my thinking is along the lines that 1) War should be the very last recourse and only as a defense. 2) That evil should never be met with evil. 3) That aggressive domination of any kind is of the negative male attribute and needs to moderated. 4) That the people of any nation have the right to form their own version of the perfect union and to do so without intervening force. And 5) If you find that all other choices are gone and war is the only choice left then engage in it like you mean it as with everything without heart their can be no win and people’s lives are given for nothing.

After my war I came to the conclusion that if young men were to say no to war the generals and politicians would be hard pressed to start any. To that end I began to do presentations to 8th grade classrooms in Santa Clara Valley that were decidedly anti military and anti-war in theme. These were matched with representatives from the military recruitment offices so as to bring some reality to their romanticized version of the military. Anecdotally these seemed to have some effect.

After having watched people in Vietnam literally starving while pulling up weeds in the rice paddies and having heard some of the stories about how joining the Marines was the only way to escape poverty and hunger for some of the guys I also came to the conclusion that undealt with hunger contributed to mankind’s aggressiveness and so I eventually joined an organization dedicated to ending hunger and became the chairman of the Santa Clara County program presenting and recruiting donations from Palo Alto to Gilroy and then into San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin and Monterey counties.

I also discovered that I had some intuitive skill in listening to the grief and fears of other Marines in my squadron and this awareness helped me to move toward a career in psychology.

I resist the warrior less these days because having discovered that I can never fully outrun him I have over time learned and am still learning to work with the warrior and to enlist his power for good when it is needed.

In short, my experiences in Vietnam literally set the stage for the rest of my life. It opened my eyes and brought purpose to my life. As part of my journey I do not regret the experience because it’s clear to me now that this path is the one that God wanted me on.

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.

Listen to the Sophia her wisdom will save you

 

 

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Sophia–The divine feminine or the female aspect of God. If God is a wholeness then he is not just masculine in nature. If we wish to be whole ourselves then we also need to embrace our opposites.

I’ve been visited by the image of the Sophia again. What do I mean by that? There is an aspect of compassion and caring and nurturing in all of us male or female that reflects a deeper wisdom than is expressed by the every day ego-self of fear, greed, anger, aggression, self-interest, and hatred. This wisdom comes from that part of our psychology that some call the Sophia, the feminine aspect in us all. Sophia is the feminine counterpart to a patriarchal God. It’s the expression of love not only for ourselves and a limited number of people around us but for our neighbors near and far here or in another part of the world.

Sophia is that part of us that urges unification and wholeness and is the mother of and to us all. She has shown up in my life in the form of my mother and grandmothers, my wife, daughters and granddaughters. She has shown up in my dreams to help lead me toward a new way of being and is showing up everywhere in the #MeToo movement and in politics as politicians and political operatives.

What they all have in common is the desire to stand up to the bullying of the overly aggressive masculine aspect that all too often thinks only in the binary language of win or lose, dominate or be dominated, control or be controlled, and deal-closers and patsies. The Sophia aspects also encourage the desire for inclusiveness and the integration of all voices and ideas. In a rabidly divided world the power of the Sophia is sorely needed for without her we will surely fall into another abyss of our own making. The abyss of which I speak is the dark night of our soul a soul that cannot be salvaged or enlivened through the building of walls or by demeaning others. These are the actions of fearful people consumed by their small and frightened minds. Actions within a context of fear cannot build new ideas or new ways of being because fear separates and doesn’t unite it isolates us from others and also from our deeper more meaningful selves.

Fear causes us to crawl back into our box and causes all our creative energy to be used toward self-protection. But the energy used to build the walls of our box to keep that which we fear at bay eventually becomes less than the creative energy to grow and be free of the box’s limits and that’s when the Sophia comes into our lives to show us the way to a greater and more balanced way of being.

Listen to all her forms because they are urging us into a new world a new world in how we think of ourselves and how we can be with each other. It’s a world that transcends the traditional world of us/them or we/they and is so much more powerful and richer than the world we’ve created thus far.

To hold tight to the traditional world is death let it go and live what we were intended to live.

Dreams are emotional in nature

 

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The Artist’s Dream by John Fitzgerald (1857) 

Okay, time to get a little ‘academic’ here, yes I know that I’m about to lose half my audience with that word, but read on for I’m about to talk about the ‘emotional’ side of dreams and dream recall.

According to Rosenberg (1998) emotions can be thought of on both state and trait levels that is on the ‘state’ level emotions are temporary and frequently related to what’s happening in and around a moment or period of time whereas at the trait level we’re talking about individual differences such as with mood tendencies i.e. how one generally reacts to emotional stimuli.

Our dreams are generally emotional in nature and interact with emotional oscillations in our waking state and both state and trait emotions affect our dream content and narratives. This is why I encourage those who send their dreams to me for analysis to include the emotional content of the dream as well as what is happening in their waking world circumstances.

Interestingly those people who’s typical response to emotional material is to repress it or deny its existence or that it has any effect on them are those that have trouble recalling their dreams. This may be due to the fact that the personality tendency to repress during wakefulness shows up in their ability to recall e.g. some part of the overall psyche of the individual inhibits the recall because of its emotional content (Kai & Yu, 2013). These so-called repressors also tend to disavow negative social experiences and negative emotions in general.

Research done by Wegner, Wenzlaff, and Kozak (2004) also suggested that thoughts suppressed prior to sleeping and dreaming would tend to show up in one’s dreams. This idea that suppressed material relegated to the unconscious would revisited us in our dreams has been a theme in many of my writings on the subject over the years. Kohler and Prinzleves (2007) also suggested that “dream memories that elicit more unpleasant feelings and stronger skin conductance responses (as one might find in a lie detector test) are more likely to be forgotten.” This might explain why some can’t recall their dreams especially when they have a high emotional content.”

Though emotional repression tends to protect from immediate emotional disturbance, research shows that those with a repressive or denial coping style tend to have higher anxiety traits than those who don’t i.e. than those who tend to deal more directly with their emotions (Weinberger et al, 1979).

My experience in the interpretation of people’s dreams has shown across the thousands of dreams that I have worked with that females tend to share more of the emotional content of a dream as well as their waking life emotional content that may affect their dreams. This gender difference has been generally supported by studies that show that women tend to share dreams more often than men (see Schredl & Shwainski, 2010 overview) and have a higher dream recall than men. Women tend to recall and share nightmare material more than men as well. This of course would be consistent with the general tendency of people exhibiting the feminine orientation toward the social-emotional versus the masculine attribute of being action oriented. These gender differences might also explain why most of the dream groups I’ve been associated with as a participant or tangentially as an observer or researcher have been overwhelmingly female.

Dream recall can also be affected by one’s attitude to dreams i.e. the willingness to express one’s dreams affects recall (Schredl et al, 2013).

None of this of course suggests a direct relationship to why people in general tend not recall their dreams. I think that most of us could increase our dream recall with greater focus, attention, and interest in the usefulness of our dreams to problem solving, self-understanding, and self-development. But that’s a subject for a later day.

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