Monthly Archives: February 2012

Is this your life?

One simple sentence

How often has your alarm clock saved you from a worrying dream you thought was real? What a relief to wake into your everyday life, where all the quandaries and confusions of the dream evaporate and leave you free to get on with your day! You may have spent all night trying to catch that dream plane but now, awake, your confidence in getting places on time is restored. Phew. Missing a plane would never happen to you, would it? You may have endured hair-raising confrontations with a slippery, fang-endowed snake but now, awake, you know that’s one encounter you need not worry about, living in the city, as you do. Or perhaps that alarm clock intruded on a passionate, illicit love affair. Plummeting to earth on opening your eyes you console yourself that at least your waking life is guilt-free. “No,” you conclude, looking around your bedroom, “This is my life. This is what’s real. There are no missed planes, lurking snakes or secret lovers in my life.”

“No,” you conclude, looking around your bedroom, “This is my life. This is what’s real. There are no missed planes, lurking snakes or secret lovers in my life.”

“No,” you conclude, looking around your bedroom, “This is my life. This is what’s real. There are no missed planes, lurking snakes or secret lovers in my life.”

But I invite you to take another look. No time? No problem! This is an easy exercise. It will take you no longer than five minutes a day and you can always set that alarm for five minutes earlier, can’t you?

This is what to do:

Write one sentence a day. It’s best to write this sentence a few minutes after waking up, while your dream is fresh on your mind, so keep an exercise book or diary by your bedside for this purpose.

The sentence is a summary of your dream, written in the present tense, starting with the words ‘I feel’ and including the word ‘something’. It can only be one sentence though! Here are some examples.

Your dream:

I feel worried that something precious and fragile may break.

I feel worried that something precious and fragile may break.

It was a long and complicated dream, but the part that stood out for you was when your son was carrying a stack of precious, fine china crockery. You were moving house and were worried that the plates, cups and saucers should have been properly packed to prevent them from breaking.

Your sentence might be:

I feel worried that something precious and fragile may break.

 

Your dream:

I feel frustrated that so many delays are slowing me down from achieving something so simple.

I feel frustrated that so many delays are slowing me down from achieving something so simple.

It’s your recurring dream theme again. It’s long, it’s involved, and the essence is that you have a plane to catch but everything goes wrong and you never get airborne.

Your sentence might be:

I feel frustrated that so many delays are slowing me down from achieving something so simple.

 

 

Your dream:

I feel surprised that something I expected to be painful was not as bad as I had anticipated, but only time will tell the full outcome.

I feel surprised that something I expected to be painful was not as bad as I had anticipated, but only time will tell the full outcome.

This dream was an epic adventure involving snakes appearing from nowhere, chasing you and threatening to bite you. At one point you were actually bitten. Surprisingly it didn’t hurt as much as you thought it would, but your dream ends in trepidation. Was the snake poisonous or harmless? Only time will tell.

Your sentence might be:

I feel surprised that something I expected to be painful was not as bad as I had anticipated, but only time will tell the full outcome.

 

Your dream:

I feel an attraction to something deeply and personally fulfilling, but I feel the only way I can protect my current way of life is to keep this secret.

I feel an attraction to something deeply and personally fulfilling, but I feel the only way I can protect my current way of life is to keep this secret.

You were magnetically attracted to an awesome person and ended up having a deeply loving sexual tryst that left you feeling elated physically, mentally and spiritually. In the dream you know you have been unfaithful to your partner. You decide the solution is to keep this affair secret.

Your sentence might be:

I feel an attraction to something deeply and personally fulfilling, but I feel the only way I can protect my current way of life is to keep this secret.

 

Your dream:

I feel surprise that when I dive into something I think will be painful, I discover such rich rewards.

I feel surprise that when I dive into something I think will be painful, I discover such rich rewards.

The bit that stands out for you in your dream is the swarm of bees. You get stung, yet you decide to chase the bees. They lead you to the hive where you dive in, as small as a bee now, and see all the honey being made. Rows and rows of tasty, golden honey glisten.

Your sentence might be:

I feel surprise that when I dive into something I think will be painful, I discover such rich rewards.

 

In each of these examples, notice that ‘something’ is usually one of the main dream symbols: it’s the crockery, catching the plane, the snakebite, the lover and the beehive. In other words, ‘something’ can be a thing, an action or goal, a sensation, a person or a place.

Use the examples as guidelines and remember to start with “I feel” and to include the word ‘something’.

Use the examples as guidelines and remember to start with “I feel” and to include the word ‘something’.

Five minutes a day to write one sentence summarising your dream. There is no right sentence. There are many ways to summarise a dream, so dive in and just do it.

Use the examples as guidelines and remember to start with “I feel” and to include the word ‘something’. As the days go by, you’ll get quicker at this.

Five minutes will become two. Just two minutes a day!

So what do you do with all these sentences after writing them down?

Choose a day, perhaps a weekend day or an evening you usually have to yourself, to take 30 minutes to review your list. Make it a weekly appointment with yourself. Allow no interruptions.

You will have seven sentences to review, assuming you remembered a dream on each night, less if your dream recall was not so hot. (If you remember more than one dream on any night, you can choose to summarise only the most vivid one, or to summarise them all.)

My relationship is precious to me but it feels fragile and in need of careful handling.

My relationship is precious to me but it feels fragile and in need of careful handling.

During your 30-minute weekly review, read each of your seven sentences in turn and ask yourself, “Where does this apply in my life?” If an answer comes to you, write it down, using – you’ve guessed it – one sentence.

As a guide, your answers to the examples in this article might be:

1. I feel worried that something precious and fragile may break. Where does this apply in my life?

Answer: My relationship is precious to me but it feels fragile and in need of careful handling.

2. I feel frustrated that so many delays are slowing me down from achieving something so simple. Where does this apply in my life?

Answer: Losing ten kilos in six months should be so simple, but here I am, still way overweight after twelve months of setting my goal.

3. I feel surprised that something I expected to be painful was not as bad as I had anticipated, but only time will tell the full outcome. Where does this apply in my life?

Answer: I finally got enough courage up to talk to my partner about a sensitive issue, and it wasn’t as painful I had expected it to be, though how things will turn out in the long run, I don’t know.

I want to build an energy-saving home and embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle, but to do this I risk losing the support of my family who enjoy the luxuries of life my current high income allows.

I want to build an energy-saving home and embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle, but to do this I risk losing the support of my family who enjoy the luxuries of life my current high income allows.

4. I feel an attraction to something deeply and personally fulfilling, but I feel the only way I can protect my current way of life is to keep this secret.

Where does this apply in my life?

Answer: I want to build an energy-saving home and embrace a self-sufficient lifestyle, but to do this I risk losing the support of my family who enjoy the luxuries of life my current high income allows.

5. I feel surprise that when I dive into something I think will be painful, I discover such rich rewards. Where does this apply in my life?

Answer: I finally decided to tackle my tax problem by enlisting the help of an accountant who not only taught me some simple, helpful bookkeeping skills but also got me an unexpected tax rebate!

What is the value in doing this exercise? These examples might give you the feeling that dreams simply tell us what we already know, but not so. It’s easy to think that, looking in on someone else’s dreams, someone else’s summary sentences, someone else’s answers. But we rarely appreciate the deeper patterns of our lives until we look closely. Your dreams draw your attention to the way your life is. They exclaim, “Hey! THIS is your life! Is this how you want it to be, or would you like to change this pattern?”

So, what might our example dreamer conclude?

She began to see why she tiptoes around her partner’s moods, fearful of breaking up

She began to see why she tiptoes around her partner’s moods, fearful of breaking up

1. Her dream about handling fragile crockery helped her to see that she regards her relationship as both precious and fragile. Strange though it may seem, she hadn’t seen her relationship in this light before, but her dream view suddenly made sense of a few things. She began to see why she tiptoes around her partner’s moods, fearful of breaking up, instead of finding a mutually beneficial way of relating, perhaps taking a tip from the dream and looking at better ways of strengthening the relationship (better ways of packing the crockery). Her dream gives her a metaphor to contemplate. Does she want a fragile relationship?

The delays, she saw, were all her own work.

The delays, she saw, were all her own work.

2. Her dream about missing the plane because of so many delays helped her to see that her weight-loss goal is achievable. Why? She travels widely with her job and never, ever misses a plane. If she can achieve something as simple as catching a plane by taking a step-by-step approach, she can achieve the equally simple goal of weight-loss. She looked at her dream again and suddenly saw all the delays in a new light: her lost baggage was her fear of losing weight, her lack of passport gave her a feeling that maybe, just maybe, she wasn’t ready to give herself permission to achieve her goal and all the rewards that go with it. The delays, she saw, were all her own work!

3. Her dream about the snakebite helped her to see that other sensitive issues that she fears broaching may also be less painful once faced. Her dream gave her courage, not only to face pain, but also to trust the outcome. She decided to visualise this dream whenever she needs to address an issue, summoning up a feeling of trust in the process.

4. Her dream about the secret affair helped her to realise just how important her desire to embrace a change of lifestyle was. It also helped her to see that her ‘secret affair’ was a form of infidelity to her family. In trying to protect them, she was hiding a wonderful part of her being from them. She wasn’t being true to them. From here she began to understand why some of her family relationships weren’t as fulfilling as they could be. She saw she needed to share more of herself. She called a family conference – an entirely new approach – and shared her dream of building an alternative lifestyle. She was blown away to discover that they also had ‘secret dreams’ and that they all had more in common than they had believed.

Whenever a task looked too daunting, too stinging, too deep, she closed her eyes and imagined flying into the hive and discovering all that honey.

Whenever a task looked too daunting, too stinging, too deep, she closed her eyes and imagined flying into the hive and discovering all that honey.

5. Her dream about the beehive, you might argue, was an afterthought. She had already dived into her tax problem and been rewarded with some very golden honey, so how could this dream be of help? Dreams confirm our excellent moves, cementing in positive new attitudes and patterns. She used the dream as a visualisation from that day forward. Whenever a task looked too daunting, too stinging, too deep, she closed her eyes and imagined flying into the hive and discovering all that honey. Her visualisation helped her to dive in, uplifting and inspiring her forward.

Five minutes a day, one simple sentence a day, one thirty minute contemplation once a week. Give it a go. What’s that? Can’t stop, you’ve got a plane to catch? I don’t think so. Is this your life?

[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, March 2006. First published as a Dream Sight article.]

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Things that go bump in the night

Things that go bump in the night

Ever woken to eerie sounds in the night, or a feeling of your skin being touched when you’re sleeping alone, or been scared out of your wits when you’ve opened your eyes to see ghosts or strange things going on in your bedroom? As utterly convincing and frightening as these sensations are, it’s important to take a deep breath and know that what you are hearing, feeling, and seeing is not real. Neither are you going insane. What you are doing is dreaming while partly awake, so that both your dreaming and waking worlds overlap. You could say you are experiencing the Twilight Zone, not a scary spirit world but a brain zone where the night of dreams mixes with the light of day in a hazy, confused half light. This is how it happens.

You will be utterly convinced that a tiger is under your bed.

You will be utterly convinced that a tiger is under your bed.

When you wake up to visions in your bedroom, you are experiencing a phenomenon known as hypnopompic hallucination. When you open your eyes while you are dreaming, your eyes transmit a picture of your bedroom to your brain, and this is then superimposed onto your dream images. Because your eyes are open, your brain decides the mix of images is a real event situated in the bedroom. So you see the ghost, or dream scene, in your room.

The sensations feel real, but they are dream sensations, dissolving away as your brain becomes fully awake.

The sensations feel real, but they are dream sensations, dissolving away as your brain becomes fully awake.

The same applies to other sensations, such as sound and touch. If you start to wake up while you are still dreaming of a wolf howling, or a tiger nuzzling your skin, your brain will superimpose the fading howls or the warmth of the tiger’s breathy lick onto your bedroom scene. You will be absolutely convinced that a wolf is outside your door, or that a tiger is under your bed, as your ears will still be ringing, and your skin still tingling. The sensations feel real, but they are dream sensations, dissolving away as your brain becomes fully awake. The memories of those sensations may haunt you, but they were dreams.

Have you ever got into bed and then felt the covers lift as if an invisible stranger or spirit has just climbed in with you? The explanation for this sensation is the same, except that your dreaming mind has switched on while you are still half awake. This common experience usually happens when you’re not expressing your whole self, holding back too much of the real you, the true enormity of your power. Your dream is about to introduce your ‘lost spirit’ and you perceive this lost, detached, abandoned shadow as a separate being as your brain begins to switch into dreaming mode.

Be amazed at the power of the mind to believe what it sees and feels.

Be amazed at the power of the mind to believe what it sees and feels.

So when these kinds of spooky events happen to you, relax in the safety of this knowledge, and be amazed at the power of the mind to believe what it sees and feels.

Then simply record your awesome Twilight Zone experience, and interpret it as the dream it really is.

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

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The beholder

Thank you for your help

The beholder

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What you see is what you get, depending on how you see it.

As your eye changes – as your experiences change – so does what you get.

Have you noticed how a favourite story from childhood is different when you reread it as an adult? Or how the message of a movie can change from one viewing to the next? Or how even a non-fiction book can seem to impart different information when you review it years later?

Beauty – and all other value judgements and interpretations of life – is also in the ear, mouth, nose, skin, mind, heart and soul of the beholder.

Have you noticed a difference in what you get from reading a story to what you get from hearing it?

Have you noticed a difference in what you get from reading a story to what you get from hearing it?

Have you noticed a difference in what you get from reading a story to what you get from hearing it?

If you’re primarily a visual person, you may feel you get more from reading an article than from hearing it, and if you’re primarily an auditory person the opposite will probably be true.

Yet the challenge of listening as a visual person focuses your attention in a different way, and what you get from listening may be quite different from what you get from reading. And vice-versa.

Test this by listening to this month’s episode, episode 122, in which I read four of my blog articles, all interlinked upon a theme. Oh, and of course there’s a bit of chat too.

This is what you get in this episode, depending on how you get it!

The Dream Show, a free monthly podcast with Jane Teresa Anderson

This is what you get in this episode, depending on how you get it.

What’s the moral of The Princess and the Pea? If you were to sleep on twenty feather beds piled high upon twenty feather mattresses, would you feel the pea the Queen had placed beneath this luxurious mountain of a bed, and would you mention your discomfort to your royal hosts in the morning? There are life lessons ripe for learning here.

Far more uncomfortable than a pea under the mattress are those dreams where you feel over-the-top loss, devastation, rejection, betrayal, anger, or other painful emotions. Why do we have these kinds of dreams from time to time, and what do they mean?

In this episode, we also take a light-hearted look at life through the eyes of a dog and cat, explore how we interpret and misinterpret waking life, and interpret a dream at four different levels – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

This is a power-packed episode that will broaden and deepen your approach to dreams, and get you thinking again about the goals you pursue in life. Enjoy.

Listen here

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The open door

The open door

Twenty-one years ago, I dreamed I was trying to get into a building by pushing through one of its solid brick walls. It was hard work that got me nowhere at all. All it did was exhaust me. I stood back, walked around the house, and discovered an open door. I realised that the door had been open all this time.

This short, simple dream helped me to see that there was a much easier way for me to get to where I wanted to be. I realised that I believed the way was tough, that I needed to push to achieve my goal. What an exhausting belief!

I believed the way was tough, that I needed to push to achieve my goal. What an exhausting belief!

I believed the way was tough, that I needed to push to achieve my goal. What an exhausting belief!

I had this dream a year before I began my research into dreams, and my interpretation, while insightful and life-changing for me, was basic. If you brought this same dream to me for a dream therapy session, we would spend a full hour exploring the many concurrent levels of meaningful insight such a dream offers, and I would lead you through a dream alchemy practice to transform limiting beliefs that block your progress into more rewarding ones that open your way.

When I had this dream, I hadn’t done the research, hadn’t developed and tested the concept of dream alchemy, hadn’t seen or experienced the power of working with dreams at such a deep level. It was enough for me, back then, to stand back and look at where I pushed hard in life – and why – and then to look for the open door, the opportunity I was not seeing. And this approach worked quite magically for me.

Now, looking back with twenty years professional experience in working with dreams, I also see the building as me, the brick walls as my solid beliefs, my pushing on the walls as a readiness to breakthrough my beliefs (my illusions of reality), and the open door as the result of surrender to change.

Surrender to change

Surrender to change

Each interpretation is correct. The same dream – any dream- can be interpreted on a physical level (pushing hard is exhausting you, there’s an easier way), a mental level (you have a belief that you need to push to achieve your goal), an emotional level (you have this belief because of the emotional rewards it gives you, and because you fear what will happen if you release this belief), and a spiritual level (surrender). And this is only a beginning. There are many other interpretation levels, each adding dimensions to the one emerging picture of why your life is the way it is at this particular point in time, and what you can do to change this, if you wish.

The journey – as the old cliché reminds us – is more important than the destination. A goal gives you purpose, inspiration, motivation, and a sense of achievement when you attain it, but it’s the insights you receive along the way that build physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual mastery.

No matter which goal you choose, the lessons inherent in the journey will be the same.

No matter which goal you choose, the lessons inherent in the journey will be the same.

Choose goals that feel important and meaningful to you, or goals that feel fun and enjoyable, or goals that make you face your fears. Pick goals that are big, or small, long-term, or short-term, because no matter which goal you choose, the lessons inherent in the journey will be the same.

Twenty-one years ago, I walked through an open door. I no longer remember the goal I had in mind at the time of the dream, but the lesson was life-changing.

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