Monthly Archives: January 2012

Blinded by the light

Blinded by the light

It’s that time of the year here in Australia. It’s midwinter*(see footnote!), the air is clear and dry and the sunlight is blinding. There’s no summer humidity to water down the glare, and the widening hole in the ozone layer down this end doesn’t help. I need a new pair of sunglasses.

Which is better: looking into a glaring bright light or into a dark cave? Yes, we’re heading into dreams, but first please ponder this question. Which would you rather, total glaring light or deeply dark cave?

You cannot keep staring into a bright light. Your reflexes kick in, closing your eyes before further damage occurs. If you are forced to look into the light for too long, temporary blindness and perhaps long term damage will result. Either way, you will not be able to see clearly, if at all. What a paradox! So much light yet nothing to be seen.

If you keep staring into the dark cave what will happen?

If you keep staring into the dark cave what will happen?

If you keep staring into the dark cave what will happen? If you can push through the fear and stay focussed, you may begin to see faint shafts of light penetrating through hidden fissures and cracks in the cave walls. You may catch glimpses of movement, shadowy forms scuttling, lizard-like. The more you focus the more you may see that yes, these are lizards. Your eyes adjust and you discover that there are shades of darkness revealing shapes and forms.

Stars don’t slip away during the day, they shine on but their subtle light is drowned by sunlight.

Stars don’t slip away during the day, they shine on but their subtle light is drowned by sunlight.

Consider the sun and the moon. During the day sunlight is so bright (even on a rainy English day) that it blinds us to starlight. Stars don’t slip away during the day, they shine on but their subtle light is drowned by sunlight. It is only when we look into the darkness of the night sky that we can study the mysteries of the changing cosmos.

How much light do we need to get the best picture? It’s all about balance and your point of view.

Turn your back on the glaring sun and what do you see?

Turn your back on the glaring sun and what do you see?

Turn your back on the glaring sun and what do you see? Your own shadow, as well as shadows cast by other objects bathed in the same brilliant light. Your shadow may be outrageously distorted but it IS your shadow and it does inform you of important parameters such as how many arms and legs you have and how your size compares with other shadows around you.

And so we move into dreams where the preamble to this article will slowly make sense. Stay with me, let your eyes adjust to the dream world and be ready to see the mysteries of your inner universe more clearly in dream light, in starlight, away from the glare of the stark light that blinds.

“Seven years without a heart,” the horse confided. Dolores was shocked.

“Seven years without a heart,” the horse confided. Dolores was shocked.

Dolores dreamed she was watching a horse race. She followed the winning horse to the stable, keen to know the key to his success. She was surprised to find the horse weeping. He looked deeply into her eyes and told her the key to success was deep pain. He turned and revealed an ancient festering wound in his flank, and a hole where his heart had been ripped from his body long ago. “Seven years without a heart,” the horse confided. Dolores was shocked.

On waking, Dolores couldn’t shake the image of the horse and the ripped heartless hole. It stayed with her all day, distracting her from work. Slowly the pieces began to fall into place. She had been in this job for seven years since a painful marriage break-up. She loved the job. It kept her busy, far too busy to notice the pain. In fact, now she thought more about it, her successes were due to the pain. The more the pain threatened to surface, the harder she worked and the more successful she became. Why hadn’t she been able to see this before? She was mystified. It was so clear.

“Heartless,” a voice whispered from the periphery of her mind. “You’ve become heartless. You’re cold. You’ve left us behind. You don’t care,” the voice continued.

And Dolores wept, for these had been the words of her friends. The dream and Dolores’ friends both delivered the same message, but only the dream message got through.

And Dolores wept, for these had been the words of her friends. The dream and Dolores’ friends both delivered the same message, but only the dream message got through.

And Dolores wept, for these had been the words of her friends. They had tried to tell her, but she couldn’t relate to what they were saying. She had thought they were rude and unsupportive, perhaps even envious of her success. She had flicked them off: the words and the friends.

Dolores’ dream had shocked her into touch with her pain, with the festering anger over the way her heart had been ripped and hurt. Her dream delivered the strong message that she could not survive much longer under these conditions. It was time to stop shutting out the pain, to end her heartless pursuit of success, to recognise the heat of her anger and heal it rather than freeze it out.

The dream and Dolores’ friends both delivered the same message, but only the dream message got through. Why?

Dolores’ friends had told her straight. Too straight. The truth was too close to home, too painful, and so her defences kicked in. She found the light too blinding. She denied any truth in it because she couldn’t see it, couldn’t feel it. Her dream was subtle, drawing her to feel the pain of the horse since she was blind to the pain within herself. Once the connection was made, Dolores was able to see the light.

People often ask, “Why aren’t our dreams literal? If the message we need to hear is so important, why don’t our dreams spell it out in a language we can understand?” The answer?

Dreams can help us to see, in shades of nightlight, what is too painful for us to see or acknowledge in blinding daylight.

Dreams can help us to see, in shades of nightlight, what is too painful for us to see or acknowledge in blinding daylight.

Dreams can help us to see, in shades of nightlight, what is too painful for us to see or acknowledge in blinding daylight.

Like your shadow when you stand with your back to the sun, your dreams may be outrageously distorted but their special effect is to draw your attention to yourself. It is only when you look into the darkness of your dreams that you are freed to study the mysteries of your changing self.

* [Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, July 2005. First published as a Dream Sight article.]

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Fast fix

Sidney Nolan: Ned Kelly 1946

An original signed sketch by Sir Sidney Nolan, one of Australia’s best known painters, recently sold on eBay for $113.61. It would probably have sold for thousands if it hadn’t been pan fried. Yes, you did read that correctly. Pan fried.

The idea to pan fry the sketch - a portrait of the dreamer’s grandfather - came in a dream.

The idea to pan fry the sketch – a portrait of the dreamer’s grandfather – came in a dream.

The idea to cook the sketch – a portrait of the dreamer’s grandfather – came in a dream.

“In the dream I had an exhibition of drawings which had all been crumbed and deep-fried. I’d never seen anything like that before,” explained artist Andy Wear.

Wear was inspired to follow his dream literally, exploring the question of valuing a work based on the artist’s signature rather than on the quality of the art. “I find it intriguing that just because a great artist does it, it’s treasured,” he said.

Following a dream literally also blinds you to the more meaningful personal insight you can gain by understanding your dream at a symbolic level.

Following a dream literally also blinds you to the more meaningful personal insight you can gain by understanding your dream at a symbolic level.

Many brilliant inventions, ideas, and creative solutions, have been triggered by dreams. While following a dream literally may be rewarding, it may also be disastrous or misguided.

Following a dream literally also blinds you to the more meaningful personal insight you can gain by understanding your dream at a symbolic level.

I don’t have any more details of Wear’s dream, but the notion of an exhibition of crumbed and deep-fried drawings reminds me of the hunger for fast fix dream interpretation that people new to the subject often expect.

I encounter it frequently in the form of well-intentioned questions on Twitter, when people new to exploring their dreams manage to get their dream and their request to tell them what it means down to the 140 characters that Twitter requires, clearly expecting me to be able to deliver a fast fix in up to 140 characters back.

People ask me what their dreams mean on Twitter. What? In 140 characters or less?

People ask me what their dreams mean on Twitter. What? In 140 characters or less?

I understand this. Dream novices think you can look up the meaning of a dream in a dream dictionary, and expect a dream expert – like me – to be that instant dream dictionary.

I love that people are interested in their dreams and what they mean, and I’d love to deliver fast fixes, but that’s not how you get meaningful, useful insight, the kind you can take action on to create meaningful,  long-lasting, deeply rewarding change in your life.

We live in a fast world, and all hail to speed and efficiency when it gets us results and frees time and energy for us to enjoy. Interpreting dreams takes time, and the only way a dreamer can speed it up is to get a professional interpretation. Absorbing that interpretation, pondering and understanding the new insight it delivers, doing the dream alchemy to reprogram limiting beliefs, and taking appropriate action: these take time.

I’d love to deliver fast fixes, but that’s not how you get meaningful, useful insight, the kind you can take action on to create meaningful, long-lasting, deeply rewarding change in your life.

I’d love to deliver fast fixes, but that’s not how you get meaningful, useful insight, the kind you can take action on to create meaningful, long-lasting, deeply rewarding change in your life.

I’m not going to do the metaphor about the time it takes to grow, harvest, shop, prepare, and cook good food as opposed to popping into McDonalds for a fast fix.

Oops, I think I just have.

Next time you find yourself taking a dream literally, stop. Have a deeper look.

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Episode 121 The Dream Show: Healing light

Thank you for your help

Healing light

My guest this episode, Gay, is keen to hear my take on a dream she had six months ago, a dream that profoundly changed her life.

Gay dreamed of moseying along a walkway from a dark museum castle into a room filled with a blinding light where she embraced her estranged granddaughter.

The Dream Show, a free monthly podcast with Jane Teresa AndersonThere are many deep and wonderful levels to Gay’s dream, its interpretation, its healing qualities, and we explore these as Gay tells her story.

This inspirational episode will deeply touch your heart, while guiding you – as all our episodes do – in developing your dream interpretation and dream alchemy skills.

Listen here

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Extreme dreams

And in the opposite corner ...

Here’s a great tip for when you’re feeling stuck and need some guidance to move forward. Most dreams, when you look at them closely, have at least one pair of opposites. For example, your dream might involve slow and fast, or high and low, or noisy and quiet, or long way round and short way round. Look for these opposites, and write them down.

One person in your dream might be someone you consider rigid and closed-minded.

One person in your dream might be someone you consider rigid and closed-minded.

If the opposites don’t jump out at you straight away, look at the personalities of any people in your dream. Dreams usually highlight people with opposite personalities or approaches to life.

For example, one person in your dream might be someone you consider very flexible and open-minded, while another person in the same dream might be someone you consider rigid and closed-minded.

Not all dreams contain pairs of opposites, but most do, so have a really good look.

When you find a pair of opposites ask which opposite best describes you or a life experience you are encountering right now. Then ask what you think about people who tend to be in the opposite corner from you on this. Finally, ask if you were ever in that opposite corner before you ‘swapped sides’.

Another person in the same dream might be someone you consider very flexible and open-minded.

Another person in the same dream might be someone you consider very flexible and open-minded.

These pairs of opposites define issues that your dream is processing. Something is only an issue in your life if you tend towards one extreme opposite (or corner) because you find something about the other extreme uncomfortable. For example, you might tend towards being too flexible because you haven’t had good experiences with rigid people and don’t want to be like them. Or you might tend towards being too rigid because being too flexible in the past seems to have created difficulties for you.

Find the middle path between two extremes.

Find the middle path between two extremes.

What’s the solution? The solution is to identify the issue (in this example, the issue is how flexible or how rigid to be about something in your life right now) and then to balance your approach by finding a mid-point between the two extremes. For example, it’s usually best in any situation to take an approach about half way between too flexible and too rigid, a place where a bit of both serves you well.

Dreams help you to identify issues you have been blind to, issues that are affecting your life in a negative way. They help you to see where your life needs more balance. It’s up to you to follow that cue.

[Extract from 101 Dream Interpretation Tips, Jane Teresa Anderson]

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