Until I discovered dreamwork, no books or scriptures, no religious beliefs or sacrifices or regular church attendance, none of my ego’s hard work or good behavior, no well-intentioned thoughts or knowledge or cleverness, no psychological expert or religious authority—nothing in my life had any lasting transforming or healing power for me. But this dream from the Self did.
As the source of our irresistible compulsion to grow into our true selves and express our unique creativity, the Self is an ongoing, never-ending process. I see it as the psychological equivalent to the physical exchange of energy and information constantly occurring at the quantum level between the molecules of our bodies and between us and our environments.
“What should I do?” I asked my husband. “I feel like this is a test about choosing between courage and cowardice. Or is it between my noble self and my selfish self?” We were talking about a relationship issue that had been brought to my attention by a timely and bizarre synchronicity.
When I quit teaching and began writing over 25 years ago, this habit persisted. By then my reading, studying and writing were focused on Jungian psychology and understanding my dreams. But as I persisted in this inner work, something changed.
My birthday dream depicts one reward of accepting my masculine side. My Easter dream says this work is not over. The presence of an audience suggests that my other inner characters are interested in my soul-making drama. It could also refer to an outer audience which is watching and helping. Both interpretations feel right to me.
Our highest purpose is to grow more conscious and accepting of the benevolent otherness within and without so that we might live in love instead of fear. We can’t will ourselves to love or manufacture consciousness with mental effort alone.
Last week’s visit from Elaine Mansfield was fun and productive. We talked, walked, ate, laughed, and wrote a proposal for a workshop on loss and grief. And an especially wonderful thing happened.
After my last post about the six-step method I use to work with dreams, Amy wrote with a question, “The thing I struggle most with when helping others are steps 5 and 6. I can help people substitute meaning language in place of symbols, but it seems there is a kind of leap for many people when trying to apply this to everyday experience. Many people struggle to recognise the truth even when laid out before them. Do you have any advice here?”
This June I’ll be presenting the Friday night keynote speech for the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD) in Virginia Beach. As I was reviewing my archives for ideas, I ran across this post from five years ago. Although I won’t be addressing this in my speech, (titled “Dream Theatres of the Soul”), I’m prompted to share it here again, both as a reminder for those who already work with their dreams, and as a useful aid for those who don’t but want to.
Some years ago, a very successful and talented friend of mine began to experience a crisis of meaning. As he became more receptive to his inner life he found himself drawn to Jungian psychology and dreamwork. One night he had the following dream.