How I Interpret Dreams – Revised For Use of Modern Technology
This article covers some of the new ways I am recording my dreams and some of the methodology I use to do the actual dream interpretation and analysis.
Mechanics of Recording.
I have recently changed my method of recording dreams after adopting new technology – it just took a while for me to connect the dots.
When I discovered my new i-phone had the ability not only to record, but that the dictation mode also types out the recording – I started to record my dreams directly into the i-phone or i-pad-mini. Then to make it incredibly easy, using i-cloud, the typed out dream document on my i-phone was instantly and automatically transferred to my Apple Computer. If you don’t have an Apple Computer, you can e-mail yourself a copy of the notes and copy and paste it into your PC.
Very important caveat – edit the notes immediately – the recorders mangle some of the words – perhaps because I am lying in bed and not enunciating properly in this position. If I wait until the next day to edit, there are words and phrases that I have no idea of what I was trying to say. But, if done immediately after recording the dream – the recall rate is in the high 90 percentile range. This is how I record dreams now – it is much more efficient because most of the typing has been eliminated. Plus, you can record more thoughts as they flash into your mind versus writing.
But no matter the method – pencil and paper vs. recording, first the dream has to be captured – dreams tend to be elusive and difficult to remember if they do come to mind upon waking. They really have to be recorded as soon as you wake up. Most people will forget a dream shortly after waking – or they might remember a few segments but most of the detail will be gone. Dreams dissipate rapidly – if you don’t do this – the detail will become clouded the longer you wait. So, if you want ‘to learn to interpret your dreams’, you must discipline yourself and commit to recording them immediately upon waking.
Keeping your i-phone or a pen and paper by your bed and a light (light not required with electronic methods, they provide their own) handy for when you awake during the middle of the night. Sometimes, I just take detailed notes quickly upon waking and then go to where I normally record the dreams and put the dream together and interpret it. Trying to record complete thought might allow other memories to escape back into a repressed state.
Whether recording by hand or electronically, I try to capture flashes of memory as they come into consciousness. While you are recording and concentrating on the dream material – a lot of other dream material and associations appear in fragments – it is good to try to capture as many as you can – much of this is fragmented because it is information from the subconscious memory that the conscious seems to be attempting to keep in a repressed mode – censorship. The other day I started out recording one dream and ended up with two more dreams pretty much intact and several other fragments by continuously writing the other fragments as they appeared.
Sometimes I am hit with a storm of fragments and it is better if I just jot or record the notes as quickly as possible and as I assimilate them later more detail and feelings are accessed when I think through each fragment individually. If these fragments are not captured quickly they will disappear – sometimes a flash will occur and I finish completing the thought I am on – and that flash that seemed unforgettable because of it’s terrific insight is gone – vanished- sometimes it will come back, sometimes not. There is no ‘right way’ here – you just have to make the best decision on what to capture as quick as you can.
To give another example of what I am talking about, January a year ago I woke up with a couple of dreams on my mind. I started writing them down and jotting dream fragments in the margins. When I started piecing everything together I had 9 separate dreams. When I started working with fragments, more memory of the specific dream would be recalled. Two of the dreams were almost identical with a few different details – but replaying the same plot.
I do not really use a strict set of rules when interpreting my dreams. I started dream work over about 40 years ago when I entered into group therapy. The psychiatrist made use of dreams and since I was not particularly adept at expressing my emotions, we made use of my ability to articulate what was going on inside my head through my dreams.
There are some fundamentals of dream interpretation such as 1) often the different characters in the dream represent various aspects of the dreamer. Therefore, examine each dream personality as if it is yourself. This is not a strict rule, just one possibility to consider when analyzing your dreams. And 2) try to match the feeling or emotions to what is currently going on in your life. For instance, recently I have had dreams where I am driving a car and it starts going too fast and I have no control over the acceleration or my feet cannot reach the brakes. Since my life is spinning out of control in reality – my dreams express this lack of control. Basically when doing your own dream interpretation – reflect on the various events in the dream and try to sense metaphorically what that might mean in the current struggles you are facing. Your dreams are about you and what is going on in your life!
I have many other rules I use for dream interpretation and examples which are included in the dream interpretations on the website www.learntointerpretyourdreams (dot) com . Also, within the last couple of years, I have read several excellent books, two are by Donald Kalsched, 1) Trauma and the Soul and 2) The Inner World of Trauma. These books are somewhat advanced and there are many beginning level books recommended on the Amazon Bookstore on this site. (Prices are same as Amazon’s) As a result of reading Dr. Kalsched’s work, I tend to make use of the terminology he makes use of. There are more than a few schools of psychological thinking and most of them seem to have selected different terminology to express similar ideas which tends to be kind of confusing. However, I will attempt to explain the terminology when I make use of it in my interpretations.
One term Donald Kalsched uses is the self-care system. The self-care system describes a component of the subconscious which main intent is to protect the dreamer (trauma victim) at all costs. The struggle between the positive and negative (the light and the dark) plays out in our dreams. However, the dark is not evil per se, it is a regressive force that retreats to soothing behaviors to protect the dreamer (trauma victim) from re-experiencing the pain caused by the original traumatic event or experience i.e. a childhood. The positive side is that force that always is looking for a way to improve life – to get ahead, to connect with people or seek spiritual experiences – something that makes us feel alive. But the positive side requires risk of being hurt again and the negative side has plenty of soothing behaviors to compensate for reality – ergo, the constant struggle within the mind and in our dreams. Kalsched refers to the negative side as the diabolic and I, also, use the words interchangeably.
Basically, the self-care system has a certain power here that it does not wish to relinquish. Part of the subconscious wants to protect the dreamer from the trauma the dreamer incurred earlier in life. Since the trauma was extremely painful, part of the subconscious does not want to have the dreamer re-experience this level of pain. The use of alcohol and drugs is an often used substitute for living a real life. A fantasy world is another method, combine the two and who needs reality – that is until having to survive messes up the plan.
However, another part or dimension of the subconscious realizes that to grow – the dreamer must face this issue on a conscious level because the blocking is causing the dreamer to live a stunted, less joyful life. Many people have this constant struggling going on within the subconscious. The negative side or portion that wishes to ‘not’ face reality wants to keep the painful material hidden. Often this will manifest itself in waking life as addictions and other numbing or pain killing behaviors. But there is a positive side of the subconscious that wants us to grow and live a more joyful life. This constant struggle within the subconscious is the source of many of our dreams.
If you follow your dreams over a period of time often you will find a pattern related to an issue that you struggle with in life. Some people have recurring dreams where they dream the identical dream over and over. However, when more thoroughly examined many dreamers use the same or related plots over and over, but the scenery and characters vary. I believe that this cycle will continue ad infinitum until conscious action is taken by the dreamer to address a specific issue the subconscious is struggling with. So, look for patterns in your dreams and then try to match the dream pattern to a similar pattern or repetitive function in your life which might fit.
It appears to me when you are accessing a part of the brain where repressed information is stored, the contiguous storage areas are accessed also – and it brings up closely related material – all from the recent dream activity. It triggers or stirs up the memories or related material – like the symbolic meaning will sometimes become suddenly clear. Since the dream material is closely related it must be stored in the proximity to where the dream memory is stored – this must be some kind of temporary staging area – extremely short term memory – as if you are in a file cabinet and material around a file is surrounded by other associated files only when the file cabinet is open. The act of thinking about that memory pulls material which surrounds it into consciousness – but usually just in a flash.
Once I have the dream recorded and edited – often I can go back for quite a while and re-experience the dream as if it were an event that actually occurred – it is that clear in memory. The closer to the actual time you had the dream, the more detailed are the memories and feelings you experience while dreaming. Capturing the emotional experience is very important – it will help in identifying similar dreams where the characters and story might be completely different.
If you have a dream that “jolts” you awake, record the dream immediately – there is probably a big issue behind this type of psychic force. You think you can never forget it when the dream is powerful enough to wake you up – that you can record it in the morning – however, there is a good chance you will not recall the dream – you will recall waking up – perhaps a fragment – but the main content will be gone. Such an important matter will try to be concealed by the self-care system of the unconscious – the bigger the issue the more the unconscious will want to hold its sacred the coping mechanism. (Like Golem’s ring in “Lord of the Rings” – ‘my precious’)
Most dreams mirror what is currently going on in your life. So, try to match up things that are occurring in your life that seem to correlate with the dream activity. The action in the dream will seem confusing at first, but try to match the feelings you are having (fear, anger, joy, laughter, anger, trapped, falling, being lost, being unprepared or claustrophobic feelings). Then try to match the feeling or actions in the dream to those in your current situation or earlier experiences you may have had in your life, especially childhood. The coping methods we used to survive or to make our lives bearable at the time of the original trauma tend to repeat themselves long after any original trauma has passed. In the addictive process, repeating the coping behavior starts to lose its original calming effect – so more and more of the coping activity is applied to relieve current stress and the underlying pain or void caused from the original traumatic event. As the requirement for the coping substance or behavior becomes greater the person starts to lose control of their life – coping and soothing becomes the main goal – alcoholism, drug addiction, more exciting and dangerous sex, overeating become obsessions. Our psyche is aware of this self-destructive behavior and will try to warn us in dreams that we are not on the right path. But, often the substances themselves are interfering with any ability to transmit this to consciousness.
There are apparently two sides or opposing forces within the subconscious according to both Freud and Jung which are in conflict. Both sides are included in what Donald Kalsched refers to as the ‘self-care’ system includes both a negative or seemingly destructive element – and, a positive side, which seeks to grow and be connected with life. It seems that updates or resolutions to this internal war are sent to the conscious level through dreams – to let us know – ‘Houston, there’s a problem” – the diabolic or negative side wants to hold onto the coping mechanism (drugs, alcohol, etc.) – it does this for the survival of the individual – the diabolic knows that this type of behavior (numbing out) is what helped the individual get through the pain in the past – and it feels that giving it up is going to expose the individual to too much pain and hurt from the original trauma. This diabolic portion of the unconscious concludes that this addiction worked in the past – I am familiar with it and I can’t stop because I may not survive without it. This is why addictions are so hard to break – part of the mind/soul fears annihilation if the trauma (ogre) were to return – so the coping mechanism is essential for its being or survival. (See Giant Eye Ball dream _ PTSD II)
If you are going through an addictive or self-defeating process, or already have – your subconscious is struggling – which is the source of much struggling in dreams. (Coping choice or drug of choice) (Symbolic vs. diabolic) Symbolic, essentially means a putting together of thought and ideas and diabolic is a tearing apart of a coherent structure.
Now, for the ‘positive side’. This side wants to feel things – the “spirit”. It is not uncommon for many to have had their spirit broken early in life. This spirit part of us retreats to the recesses and repressed corners of the subconscious world awaiting a chance to return and live a fuller life.
For more detail on this theory go to the Book Store and purchase – The Inner World of Trauma by David Kalsched and The Fantasy Bond by Robert Firestone.
To stir up dream material in your brain, reading books like the ones above should stir things up and reading the dreams on this site and others which penetrate down into the depths of the psyche should generate material for a dreamer if they keep up the work consistently. I would guess that if someone is serious about learning to interpret their dreams, that it would take about two years of fairly intense study and work to achieve an adequate degree of sufficiency.
Generating Memorable Dreams
Many people do not remember their dreams or the have dreams that make absolutely no sense. What I would recommend here would be to read psychoanalytic books that cover the subject of dreams. There are many recommended in the Amazon Affiliate Bookstore on this website. Also, reading the dreams of other can stir up the same type activity.
As far as lucid dreaming is concerned, I have my doubts about this process. It seems to go against the stream of the subconscious. The subconscious appears to manipulate or advise the conscious. I feel like the natural process is a one-way street. Its purpose is to help us adapt to the world the way we recognize it to be on a subconscious level – picking up on all the things we missed consciously or maybe did not want to acknowledge. (See ‘Why Do We Dream’) If the conscious could control itself well enough to manipulate the subconscious why would we have this subconscious in the first place? If the conscious is that strong it should be able to achieve whatever it wants on its own – and bypass the subconscious completely. I feel that millions of years of evolution developed the duality of the conscious/subconscious for a specific reason and going against its course would be unnatural.
I have been aware that I was in a dream when dreaming. However, to be able to control this to a desired outcome, I am not so sure. But, on the other hand, if dream interpretation is a catalyst, maybe it is possible to preempt the subconscious process altogether. But, then again, so few people can remember and interpret their dreams in a traditional manner – I think it would be extremely rare for someone from the general population to be able to develop this capacity on a practical level. It is like paranormal telepathy, it appears that there is enough proof that such anomalies exist – however, to tell the average person that they too can learn how to predict the future is a bit socially irresponsible, albeit profitable.
Therefore, I am not so sure the average person can think their way into a dream and manipulate the subconscious. The subconscious is the creator or the impetus of the dream – it is pushing certain material out to the dreamer for some type of resolution. This river flows in one direction – you cannot reverse the course with will power. Or, at least I don’t think you can?
Maybe some people can be lucid dreamers and change the outcomes or become more expedient with their psychic resolutions – I have never been able to control a dream once I am in it or influence it before I experience it. But a lot of people say you cannot have psychic dreams and I think I have had a couple, but not often enough or significant enough to draw any type of conclusions – perhaps they were just coincidences – this is one of those, “ Who knows?” areas. Therefore, I personally would never say that ‘lucid’ dreaming cannot happen, it just has never happened with me and it does seem to go against everything I know and have experienced and admittedly, I am a rather small statistical population.
Then again, you must take into consideration that half of the professionals engaged in psychology do not believe that dreams in and of themselves mean anything – that they are just random thoughts that the brain has while clearing the garbage and other superfluous information out at night.
To Peter Pan: Ok, this is the story.
Dream Interpretation – How I Learned How to Interpret Dreams
I have been interpreting my dreams for over 40 years. I originally learned the value of dreams and how to interpret them when I was in group therapy conducted by a psychiatrist/psychoanalyst in the early 1970’s.
At the time, I had extreme difficulties expressing my thoughts and emotions, in fact for the first six months of therapy I hardly spoke. Suddenly, I was struck with an avalanche of dream material which was a new personal experience. I did not have a clue as to their meaning, but when I bought them up in therapy, I was shocked that the analyst could tell exactly what was going on in my life and mind – my dreams had betrayed much of what I had intended to keep hidden because I did to want to be associated with these qualities in my conscious life. However, it was grappling with these unsavory characteristics that would free me from some of the impasses that caused me to become stagnant in my development toward maturity and eventually individuation.
Since my cover was blown, I proceeded to explore where this cornucopia of unconscious material would take me. After dropping out of college, I got it together enough to finish college, obtain an MBA and worked somewhat successfully as a computer salesman for 25 years. I put my first ex-wife through law school, and my daughter from that marriage has a master degree from USC and my son a law degree for Oregon University. My son now works for a bankruptcy judge on Wall Street. However, then disaster struck for me.
The industry I was in was decimated by the business consolidations which took place starting in the 1990’s through the first part of the 21st century. I survived three corporate takeovers, but finally became a target to eliminate basically because I knew too much about certain flaws of a product and had been asking too many questions, and therefore was fired. Simultaneously, my brief second marriage unexpectedly fell apart after having two more children, and mentally I broke down. Upon reentering therapy thirty years later, another flood of dream activity sprang forward, however, this time the dreams were much more intense and tended to be epic dreams (very long dreams).
However, this time the couple of therapists I had knew very little about dreams. Behaviorists seemed to have dominated the therapeutic world for a bit causing dream work to be dropped from the curriculum at many schools of psychology. But, both therapists were intrigued by the dream work, so I in a way enlightened them as to the dynamics of this process and they were both open to exploring this path in my recovery.
I was aware that dreams were connected and that several of them together would give a clearer picture of the dreamer’s situation. One of the therapists suggested that I write a book just using a few of the dreams. I decided to create a website to present my dreams and interpretations to see what the interest level would be in my dream work. I have been getting a consistent 400 to 500 visitors a day to the website for over a year, using a rather small database of potential prospects which proved to me a certain percentage of the population is interested in the topic.
Most people tend to look at one dream, and want to know its specific meaning. I knew that looking at several dreams focused on the same theme tended to give a clearer picture. But, then I began to wonder how big was this forest and what was its real purpose in life?
I wrote an article “Why Do We Dream?” based on my thoughts and knowledge I had acquired over the years. A revised version is in the first chapter of this book. The article was fairy popular, so I decided to investigate where current scientific discoveries and research had taken dreams since I had begun my dream work 40 years before.
Neuroscience has made huge strides forward in this area, enough to cause somewhat of a reversal and renewed interest in dreams as a valid subject of concern. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) was considered a big step forward in the 1950’s, but scientific research in the area seemed to stagnate for the next 30 to 40 years. However, with the advent of MRI’s (spell it out) and other methods of studying brain activity has opened the doors once again to increased knowledge of both the sleep and dream components of life. Additionally, some amazing research projects from MIT and the University of Chicago has provided proof that dream assist in the learning process of birds and mice.
Reviewing some of this material, I came to realize that the neurological make-up of the brain shed light onto the purpose and meaning of dreams. Therefore, a major focus of this work will be on the physiological component of understand dreams. Physiological components such as the brain’s structure with a right and left hemisphere, the central and peripheral nervous systems, the evolutionary development of the brain and the commonality of the human brain with that of other mammals. Certain patterns become visible when these various components are viewed together which shed more light on the total forest.
For more information on why dream analysis was not held in high regard due to the faulty research of a Harvard Neuroscientist – see this Neuroscience vs Psychoanalysis http://bit.ly/2i3byiX New Neuroscience Research Validates Earlier Psychoanalytic Theories
Copy and paste link into your URL http://bit.ly/2i3byiX I could not get the link to work last night.
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Copy Write @ Very Cool Dreams Company September 10, 2011
Copy Write @ Very Cool Dreams Company September 9, 2014