The act of something or someone disappearing in dreams

In dreams there is often an image of a person or an object disappearing. This can be in reference to your fears and anxiety about certain people or things disappearing or dying in your waking life or aspects of yourself or your life that you have ignored and that may be disappearing. The images may actually be trying to bring your attention to what you are not seeing in the world around you or in yourself. Nightmares are often the penultimate attention-getter in ones dreams if what you are not seeing threatens your well-being.

A form of disappearing in ones dreams is the act of “fading” and may be symbolic of a loss of energy being felt but not being attended to adequately. One’s drive or motivation may be fading or disappearing altogether. This symbolism has shown up in the dreams of some people during the Covid-19 lock down.

The phenomenon of disappearance also shows up in the waking world and I bring it up here so as to bring your attention to it. As an educator and psychologist I knew that it was important to keep certain points of view such as behavior rules present and conscious to the students. This is why teachers occasionally go over class rules beyond their initial presentation, why the students often participate in the process of creating the rules, and why they are often posted on the classroom wall. However, it has been shown that if a posted set of rules stays fixed they disappear from the student’s consciousness. This is why some teachers know to periodically move the rules posters and bring the student’s attention to it.

We of course don’t always see what is right in front of us. In fact we probably miss most of what is out there however, the unconscious mind will often pick up on what we are not attending to and it’s from the unconscious mind that our dreams are generated.

 When it comes to visual recognition the brain needs among other things context for the object to be recognized that is how an object resembles previous objects and whether recognition is important enough for the brain to devote energy to the process. Attention slips or is never engaged if the object doesn’t demand enough attention. Also if the object is embedded with too many other objects e.g., your kitchen tools drawer, the brain needs to work harder and the risk for missing certain objects even the one being looked for increases. Also if there is no context for an object that is if there is nothing for the brain to compare it with i.e., something that is so alien to experience it may not be seen by the brain and therefor does not exist to that individual or collectively to any number of individuals.

In short, there are probably many things in our visual experience that we do not see that are functionally invisible or that have disappeared from sight but that are actually there.

Though this may heighten one’s sense of the mysterious it can also actually affect the choices we make and how some of those choices may seem irrational (rational output depends on rational input). If something is truly not visible to us our decisions can be adversely affected. Advertisers and politicians use this fact to emphasize what they want people to see so that their decision-making regarding the object or concept or person is directed along a pathway of the advertiser’s or politician’s choosing versus that of the person being manipulated.

A good technique for making activities and events disappear is to continuously bombard the populace with outrageous visual and cognitive stimuli so that they become overwhelmed and cannot focus properly, this is what the current federal government administration in the United States is doing. In this way they can hide in plain sight the questionable activities they use to manipulate people to their advantage. To overcome this one needs to be aware of what is behind the curtain in this fantasy land of OZ in order to see what is really there. But be careful the Wizard doesn’t want you to pay any attention to the man behind the curtain for if you do the whole fantasy will collapse and the Wizard will lose his power.

We need to pay attention to our dreams and to what we are not seeing in the current crises, ignore the redirection and deliberate Tweeted misdirection of the political “wizards” and focus on what they’re are actually doing behind the curtain. What do “they” want you to focus on i.e., what do they agree you should focus on for that agreement or direction is a ruse and only meant to obfuscate. We need to pay closer attention to what’s actually out there in both our dream and our waking realities. Our very lives depend on it.

The nightmare within the collective psyche

It is said that nightmares in our dreams come to us as a means of gaining our attention to things that we are paying little or no attention to but that threaten our well-being. However, because all dreams negative or otherwise come in service of our health and well-being our nightmares are actually there to help us.

I believe that this is also true on a collective or societal level and that to some degree our everyday lives are lived as a dream and symbolically represent what is happening within the collective psyche of a culture.

As a culture we have ignored the effects that our willful ignorance has had on our lives individual, societal, and political. We deny what we don’t want to think about and gloss over the negatives so as to focus on the positives. In short, we have learned to be ostriches and hide our heads in the sand. To do this we deny our short comings, ignore the political complexities of modern life and shoot for as much immediate gratification as possible even if that gratification is just a sustaining of our pride and need to be right about our position and points of view.

But the collective has its own psyche that when overstressed by not being dealt with adequately will break free of its suppression and create crises of nightmare conditions that demand that we pay attention and do something to correct the problems. This is what nightmares in our dreams are doing and it is what the triplet crises of the Corona Virus, #metoo, and #blacklivesmatter nightmare is doing as well.

The people we vote for and the issues we ignore or refuse to deal with adequately because we think they are too complex or because we just don’t want to be bothered so we leave it up to the person who promises us to handle it regardless of whether they know how to or not has in many cases helped to produce the current nightmare. Also, our refusal to take a hard look at our biases, prejudices, and beliefs and how they serve or don’t serve us have also combined to create the perfect storm that has resulted in the nightmare we are all experiencing.

For many the answer is to continue to deny the problems, ignore any complicity and/or to be indifferent to the issues because that’s easier. In fact, those who are most complicit are those who attack anything or anyone who tries to make them face their complicity.

But the shadow side or dark side of our collective personality will not be suppressed forever and if it is it will eventually wreak havoc upon the body politic much as it would the body/mind of the individual. Empires have dissolved because its leaders and citizenry have ignored its ills. As a culture we as Americans have much to be proud of, but our continued suppression of our darker aspects will be our downfall as it has for all those empires and societies before us.

Our salvation is to be found in how we deal with and not hide from our darker aspects. It is time to vote intelligently for that which supports healing and unity amongst our disparate parts and not that which divides. It is time to confront the beliefs that enable the hurting and demeaning of others and not give them power. It is time to face the facts of what we have done and are continuing to do to our society and our environment. It is time for America to wake up and grow up.

What’s exciting, however is that there is a glimmer of hope still left and Leonard Cohen summed it up for me in his song, “Democracy is coming to the USA”

“It’s coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It’s here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst
It’s here the family’s broken
And it’s here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the USA”

No inherent meaning?

 

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Not too long ago I had someone pooh-pooh the idea of there being any inherent meaning to dreams.

What I asked him was, “What evidence do you have that there is inherent meaning in anything?”

He then proceeded to give me the meanings for things and I asked after each one of his assigned meanings, who gave that meaning to the object, or event? “Someone did, an expert, everybody agrees that’s what it means!” He exclaimed in frustration. I then went on to point out how many times in history the meaning of something that was created by an expert, or accepted by the collective turned out to be wrong. I also talked about how something can have several meanings depending on one’s point-of-view, cultural view, values, and experience. “Do you not have thoughts that you commit to words that you have given meaning to and then you put them out into the environment and leave it up to the listener to interpret? Are the words really independent of the speaker, or of the listener? If something can have so many meanings, what is the inherent meaning?”

What I was trying to get at was that there is (prepare yourself) no inherent meaning.

You and I are meaning machines. We are constantly giving meaning to everything we see and every event that we experience. And these meanings are uniquely personal, uniquely ours. Seen this way, the discourse between individuals can be a discovery process, a learning–an expansion toward enlightenment.

This is why I constantly caution the dreamer to follow his own meaning for the persons, places and things in their dream and to use the analysis of an outside interpreter as only a guide.

The meanings of events, things and people in our dreams are no different than they are in our waking lives. Yes, when we are awake the story-line seems to flow more smoothly and follows some kind of logic, but the dream story-line also follows its own logic and the discontinuity that often forms the story-line in a dream seems to be a function of the REM eye movement.

Now you might say that some dream events can be quite bizarre such as flying, or fighting dragons, but so what? Most of us don’t spend much time noticing the bizarreness of ordinary life because we have a built-in bias, a predetermined explanation that deletes anything that doesn’t fit the accepted cognitive paradigm (personal or collective) i.e. it doesn’t even register into consciousness.

In the dream state, that filter is shut down and what is not noticed consciously is released from the subconscious (no, I’m not saying that there are dragons that you’re not noticing, at least not real ones). If these unnoticed events are not brought to consciousness through the process of dream analysis they will be dumped, deleted, trashed. Dream analysis is nothing more than doing to the things of life that we normally do when conscious, only we are doing it with the unconscious material picked up while awake and exposed through the dream.

In our waking lives people and events are often mirrors to ourselves in that they reflect the image we project. If we project fear, then we see fearful things in the mirror of the world. In short, when we hide the essence of who we are, then we can only see the image that we project reflected in the world.

The Top 5 Recurring Dreams and how to work with recurring themes and images

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Have you ever had dream images, or even dreams that seem to recur again and again, sometimes several times a month, or over a several month period? There are even some folks who have shared a dream that has shown up for years.

What’s that about?

On one level we all have them, usually more than you think, for example look at these

Top five recurring themes in dreams: (Taken from Morpheus Speaks: The Encyclopedia of Dream Interpreting)

  1. Being chased–what are you chasing after, what is threatening you, or what are you avoiding?
  2. Death, yours or others–dealing with the emotions surrounding death, of a loved one or your own. It is also a symbol for endings.
  3. Trapped-unable to change something in your life, or to live up to full potential.
  4. Naked in public–Being vulnerable to something, or having yourself exposed e.g. the mask or clothing you’ve put on in order to present your self in a certain way to the public being stripped from you: someone seeing through your façade.
  5. Flying–Freedom, escape, or independence and autonomy from something.

However, on another level we have all experienced recurring dreams that are more specific to us personally.

Typically dreams present images that have special meaning for the dreamer such as special places, or people that evoke certain feelings, memories, themes, and concepts. They recur because they are speaking through the ways you typically respond to both your internal and external worlds. Dreams also use the best image available that communicates what it is trying to communicate. In other words, it’s the “best fit” that can make the point i.e. if there were a better image, or dream that would best serve the dreamer’s health and well being, the dreaming mind would have used it. This stuck quality of a repetitive dream suggests that something is really important for the dreamer to attend to and that it is basically the same as it was the last time the dream was experienced.

Sometimes these dreams are revealing a “life-task” such as something unfulfilled, or unexpressed, in the dreamer at least during the time period of the dream repetitions.

Occasionally, some recurring dreams come as nightmares that might point to particular unresolved psycho-spiritual dramas, or traumas that need attention for the sake of the dreamer’s well-being and development. Sometimes a recurring dream is “speaking” to some repressed and as yet unresolved memory, or issue.

In short, there may be a tendency for recurring dreams, especially those with nightmare qualities, to be focusing on deep life issues. If the task is identified and dealt with satisfactorily in the waking world, the dream almost always disappears, or significantly changes unless of course it comes up some time later because some later task is along the same lines as the original.

In contrast, there are recurring dreams that affirm that the dreamer is on the right track with regard to some aspect of his, or her, life and that the dream continues until he/she acknowledges this. This is especially true if the dreamer continues to act and make changes in the direction of their development out of some hesitation or doubt that they are doing the right thing. Again, when the task is clearly identified and dealt with appropriately, the recurrent dream disappears.

So how does one discover the underlying task to be worked on?

Below is one way to process such a dream: You might want to use the following process outline to help document information gained from a recurrent dream. *

 

  • Identify the elements/images of the dream.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • Identify what each of the images and elements mean to you. What do each stand for? Sometimes this can be found in your description of the image (include feelings, judgments, and ideas about the images). Name these images succinctly based on their essence e.g. Dark Demon, Screaming Mother, Crazy Professor, or Dying Self.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • What is the overall feeling in the dream (physically and emotionally)?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • When looking at the activity in the dream identify any “because” factors i.e. as an example, you can’t open a certain door “because.” Sometimes the “because” can give you clues to the emotional ‘stuckness’, if any, or task definition.______________________________________________________________________________
  • _________________________________________________________
  • What, or who, are these elements usually associated with? For example: Does this dream show up under certain waking world situations such as stressful times in general, or prior to a certain kind of activity (sports activity, standing before an audience, visiting your mother)? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  • What is your role in the dream and/or what is being asked of you?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

  • When did these dreams first come visiting?

______________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________________________

 

  • Try taking on the role of each of the elements e.g. what would be your response as the door (in this example) to not being opened? Ask questions of the door e.g. are you an aging door? Is your lock broken? Etc. This is done better with a friend or two. This is so that you can get as much information about the object(s)/images as possible.

 

  • In your imagination bring one of the recurring images (usually the most prominent image–the one that essentially summarizes the essence of the dream e.g. Dark Demon, Screaming Mother, Dead Brother) into your consciousness and ask it why it is visiting you? Listen for the response. You might also ask what it needs and listen to its response.

 

Having someone help you to answer these questions and to serve as a scribe to record your responses can be very useful.

All of this can give you specific information related to the recurring theme, or themes and help you to identify the meaning of the images and perhaps the task(s) at hand that may require waking world resolution.

In the Archipelago of Dreams Robert comes from the nightmare of his world and enters the nightmare of a Spirit world gone mad. His nightmares repeat themselves over and over and will continue to do so unless he can find the courage to face them down. But how does one deal with such frightful creatures? The Dream Healer knows that it is in the wounded image of the Dark Lords themselves that a healing presents its self.

 

* A number of processes are presented in the book The Dragon’s Treasure (see the link to the right of this blog).

 

 

 

 

The Zodiac: Is Astrology real or unreal?

 

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As an undergrad I remember studying the research of Jean Piaget who observed children of all ages and came up with a comprehensive theory of cognitive and physical development in children. Though his conclusions were a little too rigid he did show the value of systematic observation.

The careful observations of Jung and Freud lead to a whole new way of looking at the psychology of human beings, therapeutic techniques and the interpretation of our often-enigmatic dreams. Though many of Freud’s ideas have not held up under close scrutiny and some of the claims of Jung have not been verifiable their scientific technique for exploring the human psyche has been very useful to the fields of psychotherapy and analytical psychology.

In grad school we learned a systematic technique for looking at classrooms and individuals to ascertain the etiology of problematic behaviors that could then be remediated through the development of a behavioral intervention strategy.

To a great degree the technique of careful, systematic observation leads to many interesting theories that can then be tested in the laboratory or in the field of the everyday.

So it should be no surprise that a field that’s been discredited by the scientific community in general may have had its ancient roots in observational strategy. Astrology was said to have begun somewhere in and around the 2nd millennium BCE (Before the Common Era) and practiced as a means of determining not only ones personality, but also their future and that all of this was determined by the location of the stars at the person’s birth.

So how did they come up with this? Well, probably through systematic observation. However, the belief that stars affect ones future has no scientific support though it has been researched from a number of different angles. Interestingly personality traits based on the time of year one was born has proven to have some validity. One can actually be influenced by the time of year they were born. This is especially true for whether we tend to be introverted or extroverted in nature. Large groups have been studied and found to have common personality traits within a certain birth time e.g. seasonal effects do seem to affect personality depending on when born. For example, people born between December and March seem to show high creativity and show up at a higher level in those who have been deemed celebrities *.

According to Psychology Today there have been a number of studies done that show possible connections between the time of year someone is born and certain personality traits and even to some small but statistically significant degree of certain metal health issues such as Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorders **.

Jung though most likely not a believer in Astrology per se would probably agree that all the aspects and meaning given to the various symbols of the Zodiac are projections from the Psyche of humankind and therefor would have meaning regarding that Psyche. Jung also believed that we are lead by psychological motives, many unconscious but when the Astrologers reigned no one knew of psychology so they projected this idea onto the stars and their positions in time.

So there may be some partial and limited validity to the Zodiac and at least the seasonal aspects of that system on personality traits. Like other discoveries through systematic observation interesting correlations can present themselves, but frequently people carry them a little too far based on their cognitive biases.

Some people who have interests in the Zodiac will dream of certain signs and images of the Zodiac. These images are likely symbolic of certain aspects of the dreamer’s personality being revealed to them or certain wishes or desires for the waking world that are being projected into the dream. Though no connection has been found between the Zodiac and future events there seems to be an apparent connection experienced by many people, I believe this to be more on the order of an expectation effect, conscious or unconscious.

So what about the Moon and its effect? Seems as though no study supports any psychological connection though there is a little evidence that in the pre-light bulb era women’s menstrual cycle may have been affected by the full moon as well as the prevalence of male or female births depending on when the full moon presented itself. This possible connection doesn’t seem a factor any more, at least in developed countries, but during the eras when this connection was thought to be true it might have had some validity ***.

____________

*Deluca, GC, Disanto, G, et al. Seasonal Distribution of Psychiatric Births in England, PLOS One, 2012.

Adel, MM, et al. Favored Zodiac for Celebrity Babies, Journal of Social Sciences, 2014.

**Hayden, B.Y. (2011) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-decision-tree/201107/science-confirms-astrology

***http://hormonehoroscope.com/2014/08/hormone-horoscope-does-the-moon-affect-your-menstrual-cycle/

Peace of mind in a time where there isn’t any

heart_meditation_self_compassion_639_480_s_c1.jpgDreams of avoidance, running away from or running after; dreams of loved ones who have passed– grandma, grandpa, mom and dad, sister or brother, or best friend; dreams of when we were younger; dreams of flying, of being trapped, or alone in an empty town looking for a place of respite.

In a time of high stress and confusion they’re all dreams of searching for solace, comfort, support, and relief. They’re all dreams looking for peace of mind where there doesn’t seem to be any. For many their dreams include prayers to Jesus, God, or in the bringing of loved ones back again into their lives.

Many of us spend parts of our waking days reading the statistics of those who are infected and those who have died in our area, in our state, our country, and our world. But the numbers don’t seem to help nor do the empty promises of our leaders some of whom just seem to be mostly interested in themselves and how they look.

We sit alone with our frustrations, our anger, fears and grief for those we love and for the loss of security, morality, peace of mind, and in many cases the loss of livelihood. All is a cry for help in a time of great unknowns.

For many there is a natural attempt to hide from the pain and fear of it all or to rage at it or to understand it, but we can’t get away from it or understand it and raging only increases the sense of despair. We  can’t even get away from it in our sleep. We cannot evade our suffering for it is a part of us nor can we evade the suffering of others for in what is happening, we are all in this together and we know it. Blaming won’t fill the void nor will avoiding the fear and anxiety.

So, what to do?

Many have tried Zoom get-togethers, gardening, running, long walks, puzzles, video games and binge-watching old favorites on the nostalgia channels, the list is endless, but it hasn’t filled the need for the peace of mind we seek.

So, where does someone find peace of mind and solace when there doesn’t seem to be any?

Some who have written me have found it in the giving of grace, understanding and comfort to others– the leaving of cut flowers or a favorite meal on someone’s doorstep, calling a lonely shut-in, shopping for someone who cannot get out as easily, and calling to find out if they are in need. Though we are physically distancing it doesn’t mean we cannot grow closer to each other through our active caring for one another.

From my understanding of the human condition we need to acknowledge each others suffering as well as our own and not hide from it and that in doing so it will help to open the door and let the light shine into the shadows of our lives right now.

In short, many who have written me are finding the peace of mind, comfort and solace they need is in the giving of it to others. Go figure, when we give away what we don’t have to others we seem to get it back. Perhaps this a lesson we needed to learn during this time of separation, partisanship, and distancing especially in a country that prided itself in its unity by declaring to the world that its states and its people were “United” and that EVERYONE counted. Perhaps we need to act as though EVERYONE counts and in so doing get that we count. Many seem to be saying that to care and be cared for instead of making one another wrong may bring the peace of mind we crave.

Children too are experiencing a lot of emotion and stress during the pandemic

Below is an example of the type of dream sharing people have been doing on one of my sharing sites along with my response:

Dream: My 5 year told me that she dreamt the Corona virus was frozen, and people could go out again. She told me her dream about 3 times.

Dream Interpretation and Exploration: She may be experiencing the stress of not being able to do what she would normally be doing. She may be trying to deal emotionally and psychologically with what is happening. Talking about her fears and reassuring her that many people are working real hard to end what is happening and make it safe for people again will help her through this.

 

This got me to thinking that many children may be experiencing a great deal of stress right now and I thought I’d throw out a few ideas on how one might deal with them.

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As a former school psychologist I thought it might also be helpful to share some ideas on how one might interact with children during this time of high stress and uncertainty. I hope that it will be useful.

Children too have had their lives disrupted by things that they can’t really understand. Many know something is wrong and may be feeling quite vulnerable and anxious. This can come out in their dreams, play activity and in acting out behavior as well as a change in sleeping behavior.

Children are also masters at mirroring what they pick up from their parents what with mom or dad being their number one source for modeling behavior.

Allowing them to talk about how they might be feeling (see feeling pictures above and below) and how you as parent will work very hard to keep them cared for is very important right now. Let them have the feelings they’re having by not adding such things as, “You don’t have to feel that way.” Just accept whatever they say. Often children will give you the adult what they think you want to hear so you don’t want to show any preference for what they tell you.

If they want information about what is going on go ahead and give it to them however, you need not go into great detail for that might only add to their fear, confusion, and stress. Note also that most young children don’t know why they feel the way they do so questions about “why?” should probably be kept to a minimum for this can shut them down.

Sometimes giving a child old enough to draw pictures of people (typically starting around age 4 to 5 and on up through 8,9,10 for purposes of using them as a communications tool) crayons and paper and asking them to draw someone or to draw a family can help ferret out feelings with questions of, “Who is that?” “What are they doing?” “How are they feeling right now?”

Primarily they need assurance and lots of patience and love. Maintaining their routines as much as possible will help to reinforce a sense of normalcy and thus safety (routine is most important to a child’s sense of safety and security).

There are many on-line sites with suggestions for helping children maintain a sense of normalcy. One of the techniques one of my daughters with a 3 year old has used is the following:

If you have access to FaceTime, Zoom or some other computer interactive app, setting up virtual playdates with “besties” can help bring a sense of normalcy and thus security to their routine (this particularly effective with older elementary school kids and with teens as well.

However, it should be noted that with toddlers their attention span for Zoom-dates is short especially if they feel forced to interact. Sometimes they just like to do a project side by side (the projects don’t have to be that same project but just a craft-like project, though some folks have achieved some success with a similar project like building with Legos. Toddlers are still at the stage of parallel play so just letting the zoom run while they are playing and after the initial hello might be enough. Creep up on the Zoom play by starting out with 10 min, then 15 and 20 if you’re being successful (this approach works for so many things). Once a week is preferable and in this way your child can look forward to something special.

After a time toddlers might begin resisting because what they really want is the contact (“nearbyness” or proximity) provided by the other child that’s why I suggested the parallel play together on either FaceTime or Zoom. Though we all believe in not forcing a child to interact is the best way to go, encouraging them to engage on some level and not turning inward or becoming a loner is always something to consider and experiment with. You of course know when your child is done with whatever you’ve done.

Getting outside into the fresh air with the proper protections probably also needs to happen on a daily basis weather permitting.

Sharing observations you’ve had with your own kids with frie3nds who also have kids can be cathartic and sometimes reveal some suggestions that others have tried that have worked. This is a time when parents can increase the tools that they have in their parenting kit bag (after all these little critters don’t come with operating instructions so we sort of have to make it up as we go).

Some parents have also recommended the Daniel Tiger animated series on PBS television as a means of teaching and reinforcing emotions and sharing.

In addition Pediatricians have been reminding parents that even during the pandemic they should be bringing their children in for regular visits and to receive their regular scheduled vaccinations.

I hope this helps and good luck,

Bob

 

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Dreams in the time of the pandemic lockdown

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Are you having more dreams or at least remembering more than usual during these long and stressful days of the pandemic lockdown?

Many people are reporting not only increased dreaming but more emotionally laden dreams, anxiety dreams, scary dreams. Their dreams are more intense and vivid as well.

These dreams are what some psychologists are calling “quorandreams” or quarantine dreams and can reflect vividly what you’re experiencing during the day and are part of the mind’s system for dealing with high anxiety (especially in the waking state suppression of it) and in some cases trauma. Given that most of life is so far out of the normal right now it is indeed like a trauma.

So, what is happening?

Typically, our dreams tend to be metaphorical reenactments of our daily lives and/or our responses to these events. In times of high stress our dreams can become more vivid, intense and emotionally laden. We seem to get more of them because for many of us we are sleeping longer than usual and not being awakened by that infernal alarm clock right in the middle of a dream causing us to lose the dream upon awakening.

Because dreams often reflect our emotional state many folks are experiencing metaphorical symbols related to ones emotions such as tornadoes, floods, tsunamis/tidal waves, and drownings. If they are in quarantine or lockdown they may also be experiencing dreams of being trapped, caged, or tied up. Some may experience being attacked or threatened in a dream or of being in a car or airplane that is out of control. Overcoming an attack in some way can represent ones desire to take back control as is any dream theme of taking back personal responsibility for what is happening in life e.g., driving a car in a dream versus being a passenger in it.

Some people dream of running to the bathroom or searching for a bathroom which can be symbolic of the need to get rid of unwanted negativity. Some dream of falling or the fear of falling. Others dream of killings that often reflect the desire for something to end.

So, what can you do about these anxiety, fear, and stress related dreams? For starters realize that you are not alone in this in that many, many people are experiencing these kinds of dreams right now as well as increased stress and anxiety. Sometimes the mere act of writing them down can be immensely cathartic/calming and the act of writing/journaling itself can provide a sense of increased personal control.

I would also suggest that you may want to wind down before going to bed, shut off the TV, the cell phone, and computer. Also if you have a place where you have some privacy light a candle, find a quiet space within you (mine is in a Redwood Forest along the California coast recreated in my mind as the default quiet space within my meditation) and meditate allowing whatever comes to mind to just pass on through without engaging it. In other words just be with whatever comes up for you without resisting or judging or entertaining it. Just keep coming back to whatever non thinking space you have chosen to enter. Don’t let your thoughts carry you off and if you do come back to the quiet space. Though you can meditate as long as you want I personally do a 20 to 30 minute meditation ending with a deep breath taken in to the count of 4 and a deep breath blown out to the count of four done three times (this can be done both at the beginning and at the end as a means of centering and cleansing the body of any residual stress).

Hang in there folks, as my grandmother used to say, “This too will end!” In the meantime listen to your dreams, get plenty of sleep, and stay safe.

On becoming real

 

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Pinocchio standing guard over my dream journal.

My most important lesson in life I learned from Pinocchio

In this time of seeming unreality I was reminded of the story of Pinocchio where a wooden puppet dreamed of becoming a real boy. The Blue Fairy promises him that if he is good and his heart is true and honest he will become a real boy. Of course he suffers all the wrong turns in his journey toward realness and many characters and circumstances try to steal parts of his soul along the way. He becomes lost, abused and alone at times but eventually he finds his way home by taking the ultimate risk to his life to protect his mentor and creator, the loveable old toy maker Geppetto, by being willing to sacrifice himself for love.

The story is a mirror of the path we are all on as we grow toward wholeness and self-actualization. I believe that at our core our hearts are true and that we can only experience this when we are willing to let go of our ego selves, to sacrifice our self-centeredness by the giving of our heart and mind to something other than our self and when we are willing to open to love.

Pinocchio is an allegorical tale of the Heroes Journey that we are all on, a journey toward reality and wholeness, awareness and redemption where we struggle, die to our old self, and are then resurrected anew. Nearly every story worth its salt has a hero, or heroine, striving for something of great value e.g. life, justice, a golden fleece, freedom, transformation, and/or redemption. Each is tried in the crucible of what life has to throw at them and all are convinced that to attain the goal will bring them wholeness and make them real.

We are all on Pinocchio’s Journey, all trying to find the gold of our core being. As we set out we look into all the nooks and crannies of life, down all its dark alleys, or pray to all its gods and Blue Fairies hoping that somewhere out there are the answers to becoming real. But with some luck and perseverance we can learn that the answer to becoming real has always been within us– that reality is a function of what’s in our hearts and not what is in some temple. Life can steal the parts of our self that we have given up to others so that we can feel safe, but Life cannot steal our heart for it is immutable.

The real you lies at your core being and is available to you when you give up your need for ego survival. This is the lesson of Pinocchio.

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For another story on becoming real see the following: https://thebookofdreamsblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/12/an-example-of-the-power-of-intentionality/

 

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