Whenever I mention I’m writing a book on dreams, people always tell me about a dream they’ve had. Then they almost invariably add, ‘But I don’t know what it means.’
The only way we value dreams in mainstream Western culture is as a psychological resource – if we can’t analyse them, we don’t know what to do with them. But interpreting dreams in this psychological way is problematic.
I’m not saying we can’t interpret dreams at all. Sometimes we will wake up thinking, ‘I know what that dream was about,’ and when that happens, we will almost certainly be right. But if the meaning doesn’t jump out at you, any interpretation can be misguided.
The interpretative approach also inhibits us from talking about dreams. We worry our dream might be saying something about us we can’t see, but someone else will spot straight away.
But the biggest problem with the psychological approach is that it keeps us centred in the dayworld, rather than allowing us to fully enter the house of dreams.
Creative dreaming is about letting go of all links between dreaming and waking life, and treating them as different kinds of experience for the self. Tessa, in last week’s comments, told us she dreamt about nine black cats brooding huge beautiful black-cat eggs. What an amazing experience! We don’t have to ask what it means, any more than we would ask what it meant if she had told us she had pancakes for breakfast.
We can hear each other’s dream experiences exactly as we would hear the stories of waking life, and value them in the same way, for their interest and colour, their emotion and energy. For the imaginative experience they spark in us, vicariously.
If you want to remember more of your dreams, start talking about them. Make them part of your normal life, not in a piecemeal, conditional way, only keeping the ones you think you can understand and dismissing the rest as ‘meaningless.’
I’ve put some pointers about creative dream-sharing on the ‘Tips’ page today. You could start by sharing a dream with us here. Notice how different it feels to be telling and listening to dreams when no-one is trying to understand what they mean.
Next week, we’ll be on safari in your dreamworld, and guest blogger Scotti Cohn will be telling us about ‘the wolf dream.’