Friday, July 12, 2013

Dreams and their meaning


 Do you ever dream and wonder about the meaning of your dreams?
 I've had vivid dreams all my life and sometimes I wonder about their meaning.  In the past I noticed that some dreams revealed something. Occasionally, dreams inspire me to write a poem or a story.
  Our minds are crammed with thoughts, emotions and situations that we tend to brush aside.   Then our dreams may dredge them up from the deep waters of our unconscious.
  I just started reading a book called “Memories, Dreams, Reflections” by Carl Gustav Jung. It is an autobiography he wrote when he was eighty-three years old.  Carl Jung was always torn between science and the humanities and reading his anecdotes, insights, and personal experiences is like having a conversation with a good friend. On the first page he writes:
 "Myth is more individual and expresses life more precisely than does science. Science works with concepts of averages which are far too general to do justice to the subjective variety of an individual life.
 Thus it is that I have now undertaken, in my eighty-third year, to tell my personal myth. I can only make direct statements, only 'tell stories'. Whether or not the stories are true is not the problem. The only question is whether what I tell is my fable, my truth."
   I will write more about this book once I finish it.
  A few days ago I had a very vivid nightmare. A guest pointed out there was a squirrel hidden in my house. I looked up and I saw her. She stared down at me from a shelf, close to the ceiling, her eyes filled with sorrow and desperation. She was starving and thirsty.
  I felt compelled to rescue her, but I knew that if I approached her she would bite me. If, on the other hand, I didn't do anything, I’d endure the pain of knowing that she was suffering up there. It was heartbreaking. I could feel her pain in my own body.
  For a moment I was mad at her. What was a squirrel doing in that prison when she could be out in the woods, climbing trees and eating whatever she wanted? Yet there was no point in being mad at her in that futile situation.
   I wrestled with this dilemma: not helping her meant feeling her suffering in my own body, but rescuing her implied that I would most likely be attacked by her. I was caught up in a snare.  It was terrifying and sad.
   When I finally decided I would call a vet for advice I woke up, but the emotions attached to this dream were intense. Even after waking up I couldn't shake them off.
 What about you? Do you dream at night? Do you ever try to figure out the meaning of your dreams?
Share your experience.


30 comments:

  1. I should be having that squirrel dream because I was mad at a squirrel yesterday. I had just filled the bird feeders and a squirrel was trying to get at them. I shouted at it and he climbed further up the tree. From there he disappeared into thin air.

    I do have vivid dreams but I usually don't try to put a meaning to them.

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    1. It's good that you caught her on time then.

      I don't try to put a meaning to them. The meaning is there. It emerges in a spontaneous way if we pay attention to them.

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  2. I love dreams but I have never tried to figure out their meaning - mainly because I believe dreams are abtsract visions that our brains engage in while we are asleep :)

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    1. If you love dreams, write them down. You will make interesting discoveries.
      Not every dream is meaningful, but some are.

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  3. I constantly have vivid dreams. As an archetypal critic, I am a Jung fan. I don't buy all of his theories, but there is much to be said about the connection between dreams and reality. There are patterns that human beings seem to follow in life, no matter how far in the past we search. As an aside, I often dream in color.

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    1. I dream in color too but I occasionally have a dream in black-and-white.
      Do you ever write about your dreams?
      I shared this dream because I thought it transcends personal boundaries to merge with the collective unconscious in some way. Or I should say that there is something universal about it.

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  4. I've always had dreams, but they aren't as "cinematic" now as they were when I was younger. Or maybe I simply don't remember them afterward as well now as I did then. Some of the dreams I had as a child and into my twenties were so vivid, I can still visualize images from them.

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    1. How interesting, Susan.
      Your blog post yesterday was awesome.

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  5. I have a lot of dreams, some make sense, while the others are abstract, you can even call them ridiculous.

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    1. Yes, Rachna. The same happens to me.

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  6. I've got that book Julia, it's brilliant. I dream a lot. Sometimes about scary things, it's our subconscious mind, sorting stuff out and filing it away. I hope you have a good squirrel dream soon, where he comes and does a twirl, in his new clothes, then skips off into the woods:))

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    1. Thank you for your sweet comment, Susan.
      Yes, I think Jung's contribution to psychiatry was invaluable.

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  7. Dreams have, I suppose, whatever meaning you give them. My favorite quote about dreams (can't recall who said it)is: "The interpretation of a dream is another dream." I love that. It seems so true to me, and so poetic.

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    1. Yes, I agree. It is an insightful quote. In fact, it can be many dreams... I have dozens of interpretations on my own dream.

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  8. I always have angsty dreams! Endless running through strange corridors, driving in a car I can't control nor drive as I can't drive in real life!!, unable to throw people out when it's closing time at work...! Only once did I dream of Daniel Craig! LOL!! But seriously - I think my dreams reflect my emotional well being more than anything really! Take care
    x

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    1. How intriguing, Old Kitty. I hope you will start having beautiful dreams soon. Take care.

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  9. My dreams are always beyond comprehension.Normally, I cannot accomplish whatever it is I am trying to do.

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    1. Richard: based on the comments people are making, this kind of dream is one that most people have. I have those too. And I've had them many times.
      One dream that is recurrent is with planes. I used to be chased by planes and sometimes a plane falls on my backyard. It is very disturbing.

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  10. Hi Julia,

    "Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?" American writer Philip K. Dick.

    Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, I dreamt I was leaving a comment on your post and then I woke up. Seriously,I'm not going to try and analyse your dream. Just wondering if the squirrel may have been a representation of some emotive angle in your life.

    I dreamt I had my blog taken over by a Jack Russell dog. The dream became reality :)

    Hope you had a peaceful weekend, Julia.

    In kindness and dreams,

    Gary

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    1. You dreamt you were leaving a comment on my blog. What a beautiful dream...
      Jack Russell dog is doing a fabulous job.
      Happy dreams, Gary!

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  11. I dream a lot. I tend not to dwell on them a lot, because often, my dreams are less than pleasant.

    I use more than a few of them as fodder to my stories, though. :-)

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  12. Hi Julia - thankfully I rarely dream .. especially when the dream would need dwelling on - as your squirrel ..

    Unsettling ... I'm quite glad when I've forgotten ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Really? It's nice to have beautiful dreams, though. I try to fill my mind with peaceful thoughts before falling asleep to increase the chances of having a nice dream.

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  13. Good post, Julia. WAY back when I was in HS, I think we were doing a unit in psychology (Freud and Jung, if I remember correctly) and I remember the teacher asked us to keep a dream notebook to train us to remember our dreams by jotting down some keywords when we woke to trigger our memory. Apparently, the exercise trained me well, because after that exercise I remember my dreams quite vividly. Sometimes, fragments work their way into my writing or spark an idea... so I'm very pleased about that long ago assignment. : )

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    1. What a fascinating assignment, Kimberly.

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  14. Julia, I think it’s wonderful that your dreams occasionally reveal something or inspire you to write a poem or story. When I took psychology classes in college (not my major but interesting), I was fascinated by Carl Jung’s work. I’d like to read that book.

    What a vivid nightmare you had (and remarkable how you knew it was a female squirrel in your dream)! That was quite a frightening and sad dilemma and you came up with a good solution in your dream.

    I’ve been an active dreamer since childhood. Sometimes dreams will inspire me to write or start a new project, sometimes they just seem silly but fun, and sometimes I can do things in my dreams I cannot do in real life (for example, I am a terrible swimmer but in my dreams, I swim easily; I cannot play any musical instruments but in my dreams, I can play piano very well). I often wonder about the meaning of my dreams and try to figure them out if I can.

    I’ve also had precognitive dreams, dreams that actually depicted events that later transpired. This only happened a few times and primarily when I was young. Here’s the most vivid example: You may recall that in my Mother’s Day post, I wrote about how my siblings and I were sent to a Catholic orphanage when my mother was hospitalized. As a child, I saw that place in dreams before I ever went there. I was 12 when the event happened. I had not seen or read anything about orphanages. I was familiar with nuns because we attended parochial school, but that was about it.

    I had those recurring dreams, that I actually considered nightmares because they had an ominous feeling to them, over the course of a couple of years. It was always the same. I didn’t know the place was an orphanage; I didn’t know what it was but it frightened me. In those dreams, I was in a huge, old, drafty building with other children I didn’t know. The place was surrounded by lots of open land and no other buildings in sight. Inside, there were nuns, and there was a basement room with toys in one corner and the children were not allowed to play with those toys (that’s actually the way it was because the nuns kept good dolls and toys for display when visitors came, and the children only played with the broken toys). Against the walls of that large basement room were rows and rows of drawers, and every child had a drawer.

    I never knew what that recurring dream meant until my mother was hospitalized and social workers drove us to a huge, old building in a rural township we had never been to and was miles from where we lived. My heart sank when I saw the place. It was exactly the way I had seen it in dreams, right up to the open lands surrounded the isolated old building, the toys that the children were not allowed to play with, and the rows of drawers against the wall, one drawer to a child. And, of course, there were nuns. I still find that orphanage dream incredible. I’ve had a few other dreams over the years where I’ve seen events that would later happen, just personal stuff, but nothing else on the level of that orphanage dream I had as a child.

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    1. Jersey, I LOVE LOVE your detailed comments.
      I am flabbergasted to read this because I ALSO had dreams that were "precognitive" as you call them. I find this fascinating, and very intriguing.
      It's good that you have those dreams in which you can do things that you can't do in real life like playing instruments. I've been having too many nightmares lately. Now I am trying to focus peaceful thoughts before I fall asleep to increase the odds of having nice dreams...
      (Regarding the squirrel,it could have been a male squirrel. I'm not really sure).

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    2. Thanks, Julia! I seem to think and write in details lol! Fascinating that you also have precognitive dreams. It is so intriguing. The whole topic of dreams is very interesting to me, and I’m so glad you posted about it.

      Along with more peaceful thoughts, I’d like to suggest a cup of herbal tea like chamomile before bed. I have a cup of chamomile tea almost every night. Happy dreaming!

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    3. Thanks, Jersey. That is a great idea. I will try the chamomile tea.
      I think you and I would have a lot to talk about if we met in person. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts with me here.

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I appreciate each and every comment. Thank you.