At The Ravine – “You have to do it yourself”
1/26/2015 Date of Dream 1050
Introduction of Individuation Dream
This dream depicts the Individuation concept which was developed by Carl Jung. Individuation is a process in which an individual differentiates from others having their own personal beliefs and opinions – and a personal direction in their life essentially, becoming the true self.
Leading Meeting – Meeting Cancelled
I’m at the house I grew up in and there’s going to be a meeting there of some social club. Apparently, they all owned boats – some boating group and they’re older people and I’m younger at the time. I knew nothing about the group and what they did but they expected me to lead the meeting for their club.
I’m getting dressed and I’m having trouble figuring out what to wear. I had two pairs of pants, one pair were short pants and others are long. They were a brownish color and a plaid shirt, but the belt was pink. I thought the pink belt was strange, however, the clothes seemed to match okay. And, that’s what was there to wear, didn’t seem to have a choice. So, I go along with it, but something feels out of sorts – I do not feel comfortable dressed like that. Then I’m having trouble holding my pants up for some reason even with the belt – everything kept falling down and I’m trying to hold them up while I’m getting ready for the meeting. I had some notes on how to conduct the meeting. I was baffled with the whole event.
I don’t really want to lead this meeting but I feel like I have to, I am under some pressure or obligation to do so. It is getting closer and closer to the meeting time and I don’t feel ready, I feel very unprepared.
Then I go outside and I am in a place, like a churchyard style setting, like at an AA meeting where people are gathered around prior to the meeting – small little groups talking amongst themselves. I do not mix in.
Then it’s time for the meeting so I go back in the door, and I’m back in the living room of my house. The meeting is going to be held downstairs in our recreation room. And it’s about up a flight of 10 stairs down in a split-level house – the biggest break was between the living room and the recreation room.
My grandfather, who is in the state he was when he was 84 years old and had cataracts, was at the top of the stairs as I was approaching the stairway. I was holding a bunch of papers and had a glass in my hand. Then all of a sudden I can see he’s going to fall down the stairs and I cannot grab him. I’m thinking I would just have to drop my glass and spill everything on the papers and I hesitate for a second and he falls. The fall is like he’s falling off a cliff with all his arms and legs outstretched not like you would tumble down stairs – it is a long fall to the bottom (Wile E Coyote style – infamous for his long falls to the bottom of canyons). Because of my grandfather’s fall, the meeting has to be postponed and I’m wondering at that time “Why don’t these people who belong to the club lead the meeting?”.
At the Ravine
Then it is time to pick up the chairs and clean up the meeting room. Currently, we had to put everything in order the way it was prior to the meeting set up. But then the scene switches to a remote desert canyon setting. Somewhat of a mountainous area with large dirt hills and we have to walk way back around some ravine to the building to put the chairs and other stuff away.
Then the cast changes and everyone is young, and we are sitting around the top of this ravine. Suddenly, I noticed the ravine is very steep and goes down hundreds of feet. You would die if you fell. I become a bit frightened and decide to move out of my position and get back up on the road. As I go to lift myself, pushing up with my hands behind me, the earth starts to crumble and give way. As I put more weight on it gets worse. It is a precarious situation and I freeze up for a bit.
I asked for help from the guys around, but they say I have to do it myself. And, at first, I feel like I can’t. I feel like they should have been willing to help, but then I know what they mean – that to make my way in life I have to figure it out by myself. But I start to move my arms to push myself up. At first, I feel like I’m moving in air, there’s no traction and I am not moving toward the top to safety. My arms are peddling away but I’m not going anywhere. I feel it is not working, but suddenly without feeling any transition I begin to move up into a safe position and suddenly I am safe. I was kind of surprised I made it because I never felt I had control – I just moved out of harm’s way, and I did it through my own actions.
Then everyone is moving towards the gate in a high chain-link fence. We had to lock up the place after putting everything away. Outside the gate, I run into my brother, and apparently, we had driven separately. This place is out in nowhere and there is a railroad track in front of us – everything is surrounded by these barren dirt hills and the roads are in between the hills. The roads cannot be seen from our position, but I know where I parked my car along the side of a road, but my brother seems to be unsure of where his car is parked. (Which is the exact opposite of the way it had been in real-life) Until now, I am becoming in control of my life.
Psychoanalytic Dream Interpretation – Jungian Individuation
Resolving difficulties about childhood with alcoholism.
‘There is someone in my head, but it’s not me – the ‘false-self’
I have to lead the meeting that I know nothing about, the boating social club. Perhaps this has to do with having to live a good part of my life disassociated, with a major disconnect between my spirit from my mind and body. Without my natural life force being present due to trauma in childhood – even though I appeared functional making over a hundred thousand per year at times in the late ‘1980’s and ‘1990’s, I was not really connected to the work I did or the people I associated with.
I felt stuck in my sales job of 25 years for various reasons just like I was stuck with having to lead the meeting for the social club in the dream which I knew nothing about nor was I interested in what they were doing.
This, also, I believe metaphorically syncs with the wardrobe mismatch. I was not match up to the role I was trying to act out in life. It doesn’t fit right and it ends up tripping me up in life. And with the pink belt, I suspect something is wrong, but just go along with it because it goes with the ill fitted pants.
I go outside the house and it’s in an AA meeting type setting at a church which is an all too familiar setting. I have been to thousands of AA type meetings over the last 34 years. This represents the fact that I grew emotionally and experientially after I left home. I ran away from home when I was 27 and moved to California. I became sober and basically lived my life for 25 years trying to fit into a society where I did not feel like I really fit in.
It is time for the meeting and I reenter the doorway from the churchyard and I enter back into the family living room where I grew up. I went back to Maryland when I had my breakdown about 10 years ago, represented metaphorically by going back into the living room – my act had really “fallen” apart – “major depression”.
I am my grandfather in this part of the dream – my grandfather falls – and I had a major fall in life -a setback. The meeting had to be canceled – my life was put on hold for several years after the breakdown. The other connection is that I held onto the papers and glass and hesitated as my grandfather fell – I could not let go of things. I held onto the anger, rage and fear over my wife’s affair and the exploitation at work. Therefore, I fell. I could not forgive and wanted revenge which blocks my way on moving forward in my life.
This is my maternal grandfather who lived with us growing up – My grandmother had MS and was in a nursing home from the time I was five or six.
I always attributed my ability to sell as coming from my grandfather’s example. My grandfather would talk to anybody, anywhere and make friendly casual conversation at any time. He used to take my brother and myself to baseball games in the late 1950s and early 1960s to watch the Washington Senators play at Griffith Stadium. (Times gone by) My grandfather would start conversations with the guy at the ticket booth selling the tickets, the guy who took the tickets, the guy who sold the souvenirs, and the guy at the concession stand. He was a rather simple person. He had been a union printer for the Washington Post – but pretty much at ease with himself. You could tell he felt like he fit in with society – I never felt like that, I never felt like I fit in. But I learned how to mimic his behavior so it appeared like I fit in. I never had any deep talks with my grandfather about what was really going on in life. I don’t think he existed at that level, but he was a “good” man. In the 15 to 16 years, my grandmother was in the nursing home he went to visit her every day.
My grandfather’s fall represented the end of my sales career which I kind of owed to my ability to mimic him. This ended the meeting which ended the “false-self” stage of my life.
Then the dream becomes like the end of an AA meeting where we put away all the chairs and clean up the facility which we used for the meeting.
But the location changes to a remote location or desolate area where life is a bit more arduous. It is a long walk back to the building where the chairs are stored. We had passed a ravine on the way to stack the chairs. And, then we were suddenly around the ravine sitting down around the ‘edge’ and now everyone was suddenly young.
Sitting on the edge of the ravine represents risk. The risk of changing my life and doing something I think there is a need for and can be accomplished. Creating my website on dreams using psychoanalytic techniques has never been done before and when I explain it to most people they think it has a snowball’s chance in hell on top of being ludicrous, to begin with.
Suddenly, I realize the danger in the dream and I ‘freeze up’ with fear that one could fail at life again – falling to their death. I realize I have to move, but I froze and expected help from the guys around me. But, I am told that I have to do it myself. This is the part of my subconscious that knows that I have to take the responsibility and risk to take action. I will have to suffer the consequences if I fail.
Jungian Individuation Process
I have to get myself out of the dangerous position. I have to make it myself and get myself onto solid ground. For years, I thought someone had to help me or tell me the secret or the instructions. I was looking for someone to perhaps coach me through life because no one ever had. Someone to give me instructions on how to be a success or succeed or what to do with my life. And only now have I come to realize that this connection with life has to come from within. And, to come from within one has to be in contact with their spirit or their natural or true motivating force in life which is the ‘individuation’ process.
Normally, one’s parents are supposed to give some guidance here. But due to chronic alcoholism with my father, no such message or information was ever forthcoming.
My brother was a year and a half older and always gave me guidance and helped me get out of some of the financial situations I got into. But we are very dissimilar when it came to lifestyles. He always picked the safe and less adventurous path –I was always drawn to something that would make me feel or experience something transitional.
I experimented with drugs, I moved 2,500 miles away from home, wanted to study things that opened my mind rather than things that would get me a job. I was the alcoholic and he was not, I got depressed and he didn’t. My brother never swayed from the Catholic faith and I’ve become agnostic/atheist depending on the day.
At the end of the dream, I know where my car is and he doesn’t know where his is -this is the exact opposite of the way it was in reality. Until now, that is. I think I have finally found myself and what I am doing now with the dreams is something I feel connected with. I have come into contact with my spirit – I know where my car is – where my life is going. I am less dependent on my brother tracking down things for me and helping me keep things together.
My brother has historically been in my dreams more than any other figure in my life. I looked to him and not my father because my brother was always mentally present. Now, I am finally beginning to handle this control function. This is why no one would help me get up at the ravine, I had to do it myself. I am becoming autonomous– or what Jungian’s would refer to as going through the “individuation” process.
I’m prepared to move forward in life. Okay, that’s enough for tonight.
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Further definition of Individuation: (From Wikipedia)
According to Jungian psychology, individuation (German: Individuation) is a process of psychological integration. “In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated [from other human beings]; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.”
“The symbols of the individuation process . . . mark its stages like milestones, prominent among them for Jungians being the shadow, the wise old man . . . and lastly the anima in man and the animus in woman.” Thus, “There is often a movement from dealing with the persona at the start . . . to the ego at the second stage, to the shadow as the third stage, to the anima or animus, to the Self as the final stage. (From Wikipedia)
Individuation is a process of transformation whereby the personal and collective unconscious are brought into consciousness (e.g., by means of dreams, active imagination, or free association) to be assimilated into the whole personality. It is a completely natural process necessary for the integration of the psyche. Individuation has a holistic healing effect on the person, both mentally and physically.
In addition to Jung’s theory of complexes, his theory of the individuation process forms conceptions of an unconscious filled with mythic images, a non-sexual libido, the general types of extraversion and introversion, the compensatory and prospective functions of dreams, and the synthetic and constructive approaches to fantasy formation and utilization. (From Wikipedia)
References for Individuation
- = 4) Jung, C.G. Psychological Types. Collected Works, vol. 6, par. 757.
- Jung, C.G. (1962). Symbols of Transformation: An Analysis of the Prelude to a Case of Schizophrenia (vol. 2). New York: Harper & Brothers.
- Jung, C.G. (Shamdasani, S). (2009). The Red Book, p. 208, par. 3. Verona, Italy: Mondadori Printing.
- Jung quoted in J. Jacobi, Complex, Archetype, Symbol (London 1959) p. 113-114.