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“Sometimes dreams alter the course of an entire life.”
Being interested in and understanding our dreams is vital to our well-being. Your night time dreams are like a momentary snapshot or ‘selfie’ of your life, if you know how to understand and follow them. In Process Oriented Psychology/Therapy, I support you to unfold and follow your dreams rather than interpret them with prescribed symbols. You actually know more about what your dreams mean than anyone else if you know how to access and process the information.
“We need dreams and the Dreaming to observe the everyday world. All I know for sure is that dreams are the pictures of states wanting to turn into processes. Dreams are maps of the beginning of an otherwise unchartered trip into the unknown. They are pictures of the unknown.” Dr. Arnold Mindell.
How to work with your dreams
“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes”
Process Oriented Psychology believes that the dreams we have at night, daydreams and dreaming processes while we are awake contain deeper meaning than we realize.
Dr Arnold Mindell, the founder of Process Oriented Psychology say’s that night dreams are mirrored through our unconscious behaviour and “dreamlike behaviour” such as slips of the tongue, relationship arguments, irrational images or sounds that catch our attention during the day.
“The dreambody begins with a subtle feeling or sentient experience, which manifests in the body in terms of symptoms and uncontrolled movements, in dreams, world events and in synchronicities.” Dr Arnold Mindell gives an example of an individual who had a dream about a hammer, and while telling the dream taps his foot on the floor. In following the tapping of the foot, one follows the dreaming process, just as one might follow an aspect of the night-time dream. In allowing the movement of the foot to guide one, one enters through a “dream door” into another reality or altered experience, in which the meaning of the tapping foot is accessed for the individual through a process of amplification and unfolding of the initial signal.
In entering the dreaming field, one drops one’s usual viewpoint in order to get the meaning brought by the dreambody. In integrating this message into everyday consensus reality, one can begin to change one’s relationship to oneself, to others, and to the world, enlivening an awareness process that enriches life.” Dr. Ingrid Rose.
“Dreams are answers to questions we haven’t yet figured out how to ask.”
How to understand your Dreams
- Pick one dream to work on at a time. Access the atmosphere and feeling of the dream and write it down and talk about it with a dream counsellor or friend. Is there anything unusual or makes you feel uncomfortable? This is the more unknown path, which if followed, can bring you surprising information or messages.
- Work with your dream as if it is happening in the here and now. Watch and listen for “what doesn’t appear to go along with the conscious content.” By following dreamlike flickers and fragments of experience we enter the dreaming of our underlying process.
- Don’t take your dreams literally. Your dream content appears in coded messages. For example if you dream of death, this can mean transformation, not that you or someone will die. If you have a nightmare when something is chasing you, you are also the chaser as well as the chased. Learning to pick up the power and determination of the chaser changes your experience of the dream. or you dream of your boss at work ignoring you and that upsets you. When you unfold the dream, it is inviting you to manifest your inner boss more and not to ignore your inner signals about your ‘boss-like” nature.
- Pick a part of your dream that is most unknown or not understood, or has the most energy for you or that disturbs you the most.
- Dream the dream on, now from where your dream finished. What might happen next?
When you tell a dream, often you see you are ‘in the dream’ as you tell it. ‘Be in the dream’ with awareness and follow your process.
If you dialogue with a figure in the dream, you can use different techniques as a method to work with that figure.
- If eg. you start moving your hands when you talk about your dream, use movement to understand what it is trying to tell you. eg. Someone I was doing dream therapy with, dreamed of dogs. She said she couldn’t understand it because she didn’t really like dogs. “What were they doing,”I asked?
She said they were running round and round, barking. She felt scared but started moving her hands in a circle when describing the dogs running round. We followed that and she made the movement bigger. She made large circular movements with her arms and started saying,
“Round and round and round we go. Where we end up, nobody know’s.” I asked her what that meant to her and how it connected with her dream. She looked surprised and replied, “I am a very organised, structured person. I always like a schedule and to know what I am doing. But the dream is telling me to listen more to my instincts and to be more spontaneous.” I encouraged her to allow her nature to become more like the dogs. She became more animated and started laughing. “I was scared but now I realize they have so much fun. They run around and bark and don’t care what people think of them. I need to have more time off and have fun. I think I would be much happier.”
“The path of heart makes you feel strong and happy about your life because it follows your dreams, your dreaming body, your mythical task.” Dr. Arnold Mindell
Other articles on Dreams on my website include;
Lucid Dreaming. Found under Counselling tab at top of page or http://www.sydneyprocesscounselling.com.au/counselling/lucid-dreams-awake-dreaming/
Psychology, Dreams, The Red Book and Jung under Counselling or http://www.sydneyprocesscounselling.com.au/counselling/psychology-jung-dreams/
Understanding and Working with Dreams under Counselling