by Jonson Miller
Dreams are bizarre. There’s no way around it. Because of this, they’re inherently interesting. Dreams can teach us about the nature of consciousness, reveal to us personal and universal truths through symbolic language, and enable us to make lasting changes in our own lives. I have experienced all of these through my own dreams.
At various stages of my life, I have used my dreams to understand the unconscious forces shaping my behavior, feelings, and attitudes. But I didn’t do this by studying one of the many dream dictionaries that are available. Dream dictionaries encourage us to interpret individual dreams in isolation and, furthermore, to interpret each individual image within each dream. But there is too much noise in our dreams for this approach to provide valuable interpretations on a consistent basis. Nor have I gained the most from my dreams by trying, in the psychoanalytical manner, to interpret all of my dreams as either expressions of unconscious desires or as universal archetypes. What allowed me to create change in my life was 1) recognizing personal patterns of images and themes in my dreams, 2) recognizing the patterns in my waking life that they represent, and then 3) working to change those waking-life patterns. My dreams changed then as well, confirming the changes I made in my waking life.
Images, people, and themes repeat themselves in our dreams over a period of time. For example, a particular cluster of individuals or types of people (uniformed authorities, monsters, laborers, etc.) tend to appear in our dreams and our dreams tend to occur in a particular cluster of places (an old family home, forests, institutions, etc.). It is these recurring elements that we need to note and then interpret. These patterns may sometimes be literal recurring dreams, which occur in an identical or nearly identical way each time, but usually they are not. The repeating elements of our dreams tend to occur in a variety of combinations and contexts to produce unique dreams each night. Consequently, we must patiently record our dreams over a period of time to reveal the patterns. These elements recur because of ongoing behaviors and stimuli within our waking lives and our unconscious minds. Our dream patterns point us to those stimuli, enabling us to recognize them. Having recognized them, if they are unhelpful behaviors or attitudes, we can then adopt new, more skillful behaviors and attitudes.
We may dream of certain elements simply because we frequently experience those elements in our waking lives. On the other hand, I was surprised to find how few of the commonplace elements of my waking life appear in my dreams. Many recurring elements of our dreams may not draw from our immediate waking lives. Some of my dream elements are from my childhood or other long-past events. Other elements are seemingly inexplicable. Regardless of their origins, take note of the patterns and where they come from in your experiences.
Having recognized dream patterns, we can then recognize the waking-life patterns they point to. The relationship between the two isn’t always or even often obvious. For example, as a teenager, I frequently dreamt of hostile, fanged animals. The obvious expression of fear and anxiety didn’t make sense to me, since, at the time, I believed myself to be rather happy and content. The pattern in my dreams prompted me to look for fear and anxiety in my waking life. The more I looked, the more of it I found.
Dream patterns drawn from the commonplace things of your waking life can be particularly difficult to interpret, because those elements may not be literal references. Our dreams must draw on something to build themselves; they often use the commonplace. But our dreams may use those commonplace elements to represent something else, something we are unaware of. So we must patiently reflect on our dream patterns and cultivate self-awareness to recognize the waking-life patterns revealed in our dreams.
Simply recognizing an unhelpful attitude or behavior may be enough to stop that pattern and replace it with something more skillful. But often that is not enough. I have generally had to work to replace those unhelpful patterns. Consider the example with the hostile animals I gave above. Recognizing the dream pattern was important, but I had to do more. I had to actively look for those moments of fear and anxiety in my waking life. When I identified those moments, I acknowledged them, recognized that they resulted from defense mechanisms or an ingrained pattern that no longer served me, and then I let the feelings go. After a few months of this, the moments of anxiety became fewer and fewer. As the anxiety disappeared, so did the dreams.
Identify and interpret your dream patterns. Reflect on how those patterns are playing out in your waking life. Be aware of the actual moments in the day when those patterns are operating. When you are conscious of those moments, you can control how you respond. Dissolving those unhelpful patterns requires active self-awareness and repetition. As you work to dissolve those patterns, look for confirmation of your efforts in your changing dream patterns.
I do not entirely dismiss the value of individual dreams. I occasionally experience individual dreams with profound meaning. These dreams, ones Carl Jung called “big dreams,” are packed with mythological elements and, therefore, stand out from the normal patterns in my dreams. Those big dreams generally occur at times of major change in my life. Those dreams, however, are rare and precious. We can, however, best recognize them when we learn to sift through, on the one hand, the meaningless noise and, on the other, the very meaningful long-term patterns of our dreams. But the greatest benefit from our dreams comes from the persistent and long-term study of those dream patterns that enable us to dissolve unhelpful waking-life patterns and replace them with more skillful ways of living.
About the Author
Jonson Miller is the author of Dream Patterns. He has practiced dream interpretation for over 25 years. He is a member of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. He teaches history at Drexel University and lives in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, USA. https://jonsonmiller.wordpress.com
How do YOU interpret dreams? Where do you begin?
I woke in the wee hours from a troubling one and it was so vivid and horrifying I could not get back to sleep until I figured out its meaning. I just knew it meant something important. But what?
As a hypnotist, and as an intuitive reader, I know the subconscious brain controls our dreams and the conscious brain rules most of our actions during the awake cycle. So when there is something you or I feel in our gut (meaning we know it intuitively, emotionally, or in our subconscious brain) and we IGNORE that gut-feeling because our conscious mind wants to rationalize everything – sometimes to the point of denying what we feel – once we fall asleep the subconscious brain can send us dreams to MAKE OUR BRAIN look at whatever important intuitive reality we have been dismissing.
In my “nightmare,” a set of parents had dumped their unattractive baby on me. There was nothing physically wrong with the child and I love children in general but this time I did not have time or the desire to babysit as I had other extremely important things to do. Yet because the kid was abandoned in my care I felt highly obligated to provide for it – while feeling annoyed and harshly judged by the parents when they came back.
After the dream, I could not get back to sleep; not until I pulled out a book called “The Dreamer’s Dictionary” by Lady Stern Robinson and Tom Gorbett. There I read if a dream baby is displeasing in any way you should “look out for treachery in someone you are inclined to trust.”
Immediately I knew what my dream was about. The “baby” is a basically very nice person in my life who has a serious lack of drive and inability to pay his/her own way in life and who often has the effect of looking like a human barnacle, clinging to others for sustenance. That person can seem so caring, thoughtful and easy to talk to; it’s easy to let my guard down around him/her. I tend to want to rescue that person – to my own financial detriment.
Once I realized my dream was a warning not to get too close or involved, the return to sleep came easily. I realized that my feelings and obligations toward the baby were the exact emotions I had been feeling toward that highly dependent adult “friend” and that’s all my subconscious mind wanted my conscious brain to admit for peace to return to me.
In life, we get in trouble when we allow our mind to mentally “argue” with what we “feel” intuitively. And vice versa. We might rationalize: “Yeah, this person does cost me too much money every time we hang out but I feel lonely sometimes and that ridiculously needy person is always available to talk to me.”
Or … “Yes. I know this person was really mean to me and broke my valuables. Yet he is just having a really bad day.” (Denying how destructive someone’s behavior really is.)
If that kind of rationalizing continues, where our intuitive brain and cognitive brains are not listening to each other, we begin to feel out of balance and/or confused.
Dreams are important because they keep our two minds synchronized and working harmoniously together. Without them, we would be living with chaos. Dreams enable us to make better choices so life can feel more productive and happy.
As Langston Hughes said: “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.”
About the author
SunTiger writes from Seattle Washington. Her website is SunTigerMOJO.com.
“Quite often dreams bring important messages of warning, of support, and of wisdom for finding a better way to live. So that is why I encourage everyone I know to pay close attention to their dreams. “
By Amitt Parikh
Every night we go to sleep and witness many dreams. We almost spend our one-third life in sleeping. Whether you are able to remember your dreams or not, everybody dreams and it’s a fact.
I have been conscious of my dreams since past few years and wondered their complex stories and how they would perfectly reflect my state of beliefs, desires, fears, and aspirations working as a perfect mirror of my waking consciousness.
Lately I began to see them more closely and many a times, became conscious of dreaming inside the dreams and altered the output of the dream or course of the dream. Sometimes, I rewind and experience the altered sequence. Often I would analyze dreams while dreaming.
Once I got up from a very complex dream and woke up. I was amazed at a sudden thought of my mind working as a projector, projecting such a complex script as a dream sequence involving so many characters, huge landscapes, twists and turns like that of a movie story and weaving everything together as one coherent dream sequence without any ‘editing’ or ‘revisions’ needed!
One day, I was hearing an audio recording of Deepak Chopra’s interview who views this whole thing with little different perception and immediately it struck me. I used to think of my mind projecting this story, but I did not see my mind as ‘me’. So now I have me myself, in my dream as not only the character which is ‘me’ in the dream but all other characters, the plot, the locations… everything as ‘me’!
So if you are witnessing a dream of you playing volleyball on a beach with your friends, then essentially you are the ‘you’ who is playing along with ‘yourself’ as your friends, you as the sea, you as the sand of the beach, you as the net, you as the ball as well you are the sounds you hear, you are the sunlight you see, you are ALL THAT IS in that dream including the OBSERVER observing and experiencing that dream!
The REALITY as we know is no different than a DREAM, only it is a waking state dream. I am my physical body, I am my mind, I am the PC on which I am reading this, I am the article, I am the reader and I am the writer and I am the one who is observing and understanding this and saying ‘hmm’!
Think of what happens when you ‘wake up’. You suddenly realize all that happened in dreams was only an illusion and so it never actually happened. What if we ‘wake up’ again from our so-called waking consciousness just to find that this reality is also an illusion? And nothing actually happened?
As we know the ‘I’ in our dreams never existed, it was just a projection of ‘myself’ (which is ‘higher self’ for the ‘I’ within the dream state). So isn’t this ‘I’ of waking state also an illusion – a projection? Is this ‘I’ also our limited perception of the omnipresent One Higher Self?
Well it seems dreams do tell us a lot about ‘reality’ if we analyze them more deeply.
© Amitt Parikh, all rights reserved.
Amitt Parikh is the author of Conversations with The Mysterious One. He is a mystic and a professional trainer conducting revolutionary Self Development Courses, seminars and workshops for Everyday Evolutionary Living and Your Spiritual Revolution. He is the Executive Editor of Your Spiritual Revolution eMagazine and the Founder of Spiritual Science & Research Foundation, India.
By Ariadne Green
The meaning of life is contained in every single expression of life. It is present in the infinity of forms and phenomena that exist in all of creation.
On June 25th, the night before the news of Michael Jackson’s death broke, I had a dream in which I was exploring the house of a deceased artist, someone famous. It was a large house, a mansion, with wood floors that stretched out before me. I marveled at the grandeur of the mansion as I moved through the foyer and from room to room. The house was empty of furniture but the walls were decorated with petroglyph and pictograph figures, remnants of an ancient Native American tribe. As I traveled past the kitchen into the back of the house, I came upon a room constructed entirely of glass. It was a starkly modern artist’s studio and inside was the incomplete work, a sculpture of the artist. The artist had died before having finished his life’s work.
Within a few hours after hearing the tragic news of Michael Jackson’s death, I realized my dream was a precognitive dream experience that not only foretold Michael’s dance from this world to the next but also revealed hidden elements about Neverland and Michael’s ancient soul. I caught a Larry King CNN special later that week that toured the interior of the Neverland mansion and immediately recognized the house in my dream held a great deal of similarities. Neverland Ranch, near Los Olivos, California, was originally the home of the Chumash Indians whose magnificent pictographs and petroglyphs documented their mythology and culture. The dream unveiled something about the Native American spirit that was housed at Neverland, a legacy linked to Michael’s own spirit and ancient soul.
I was only one of hundreds fans who have reported dreams of Michael Jackson. Forum after forum, and a multitude of ‘tweets’ on Twitter reveal Michael Jackson lives-on in the dreams of his fans. From Michael moon walking in heaven, to performing on stage right next to Michael, the dreams shed a great deal of light on the superstar’s influence on the psyche of his fans and on the collective consciousness of humanity as a whole.
Not many of the dreams reported would be classified precognitive. In fact, the majority merely revisited memories or represented the unconscious yearnings of “crush-prone” fans wanting to experience an intimate moment with their pop idol. Some dreams mentioned Michael’s influence on the dreamer’s personality while others quelled some of the grief at his passing.
By examining some of the dreams from Michael’s fans we learn a great deal about the nature and function of dreams. How some dreams reconcile loss while others mention something about the dreamer’s personality, identifications and persona.
Still other dreams open a window into the timeless ‘twilight zone’ of precognitive experiences and the invisible ties that connect us all spiritually.
Two Souls Uniting: Dreams revealing a spiritual connection and soul bond
Night dreams demonstrate that we are connected soul-to-soul and spirit-to-spirit.
Through his music and humanitarianism, Michael Jackson touched the lives of many near and far, most of whom he never met. However, his soul had even deeper connections, bonds with those he knew lifetimes before and whom in this life he communed with through psychic and spiritual channels.
A dreamer shared a dream she had several years ago of Michael summoning her to Neverland. He took her hand and they rode the Ferris wheel. When she awoke, she felt exhilarated, an emotional quality beyond the scope of an ordinary dream produced by a dreamer’s mythic and creative imagination. It was pure bliss. She just knew she had been touched by Michael’s soul. It appears that Michael’s spirit and soul was there to guide her, comfort her and lift her heart and spirits during a difficult time in her life.
A Visit and a Kiss: Dreams reconciling loss and fulfilling wishes
Many fans mentioned they grieved because they never had the opportunity to meet Michael Jackson or see him perform in person. To reconcile her feelings of loss, a dreamer dreamt that Michael entered the kitchen of her home and sat at the table next to her. He reached out. They embraced and kissed. The kitchen in a dream represents the heart, where love-filled interactions nurture us and the experience becomes food for human spirit. The embrace fulfilled the dreamer’s greatest desire-to feel special enough to be kissed by Michael Jackson. This dream is an example of how the subconscious creative imagination creates a dream experience to fulfill a deep wish.
Devil or Angel: Michael Jackson as a celebrity archetype
Some dream characters, especially celebrities like Michael Jackson, represent archetypes, powerful forces within the subconscious that mirror pieces of our own personalities. They may mention our hidden talents, humanitarianism, goodness or even the darker side of our personality. Bringing home this point, one fan put it, “I feel like Michael took a part of me with him when he passed.”
Like gods and goddesses, we raise celebrities above ourselves and imbue them with supernatural powers and qualities we wish to emulate or even those we reject and detest. While one dreamer saw Michael as a prince holding a dance competition for a group of young children and teaching them dance steps, another dreamt Michael Jackson on stage dressed in a red suit, hat and gloves to match and with a devilish grin on his face. Which characterization of Michael Jackson is most accurate holds little weight in the subconscious of a dreamer who merely needs to gain insight into the light and dark aspects (archetypes) he or she also carries within.
The Writing on the Wall: Dreams that tell the real story
Some individuals are angels on earth invisibly serving the consciousness of others even at a distance. Many times dreamers are unaware of how active a role they play as healers during the dream state until a dream makes it crystal clear – they are greater than they think they are.
A week before, Michael’s death, one dreamer visited Michael in a ransacked room with no windows. Empty prescription bottles and the cap of a syringe on the nightstand spelled out that Michael was in big trouble. The only remnants of his true spirit were a few pieces of jewelry, turquoise bracelets and rings, meaningful elements baring similarity to the pictographs in my own dream and again remarking on a Native American connection. The dream ended with the dreamer crying out, “Michael! This place is a wreck. What is going on?” In response, all the dreamer could see were Michael’s teeth chattering out of fear. The dreamer saw the writing on the wall.
The quote used as the preface to this article is a tribute to Michael’s wisdom and his more mystical ponderings. Through his words we are summoned to seek the meaning of life in the “infinity of forms and phenomena of creation”. Our night dreams offer the kind of meaning Michael was referring to. Michael undoubtedly valued his dreams as evidenced by an early home video in which he asks his son, Prince Michael, “Did you have a dream last night?”
About the author:
Ariadne Green is a dream and soul mate expert and author of Ariadne’s Book of Dreams, Warner Books 2001 and Divine Complement: The Spiritual Terrain of Soulmate Relationships. Her web sites are http://www.dreamthread.com and http://www.ariadnegreen.com