What kind of practical results can you expect to see in your life when you understand a dream and apply dream alchemy?
Last month I was a guest on Ruby and Dave’s breakfast show on Radio 94.9, chatting about dreams and taking calls from listeners. One of the callers, Ian, asked about a recurring dream he’s been experiencing for many years. Being radio, where we need to keep things short and sweet, he summarised his dream as being stuck in a corner with large balls coming at him. In just those few words, he painted a vivid picture, and I’m sure you can imagine how he feels in this dream, and how that feeling spills over into his day as his dream lingers on his mind.
Actually it starts the other way around, because dreams reflect our conscious and unconscious experiences of the last 24-48 hours. So whenever Ian feels stuck and cornered by what life seems to be throwing at him, he has this dream, and because the dream doesn’t offer a solution to his predicament, he wakes with a residue of the same feeling colouring his day.
Ian’s dream is unresolved. It reflects a situation in his life that is unresolved. I didn’t get to hear the whole dream, so I didn’t have the opportunity to pinpoint the unconscious beliefs and conditioning that cause Ian to experience this stuck and cornered feeling from time to time in his life. What we do know is that because the dream is unresolved, his situation is unresolved. He hasn’t managed to find a way out of that stuck in a corner feeling.
While our dreams reflect our waking life experiences of the previous two days, they also work on finding solutions – on problem solving. (That’s why sleeping on a problem is a good idea, as you’ll often wake with a solution, regardless of whether you remember the dream.) If you look closely at complex dreams, you’ll see they frequently involve trying to solve a dilemma or problem, such as how to find your way somewhere, how to escape a tsunami, how to feed too many dinner guests. The dilemma or problem is usually framed at the start of the dream, and the rest of the dream is devoted to trying a variety of solutions. If a solution is found, you may wake with an insight into a current problem, though your dream solution may also reflect a stuck-in-a-rut solution you habitually apply that feels promising but only keeps you stuck. If your dream does not find a solution – if it is an unresolved dream – it reflects a waking life situation that is unresolved, and the likely cause is an unconscious belief or attitude that is blinding you to seeing a fulfilling solution.
If you were to meet Ian, you might find that he seems cornered and stuck. Or you might find that he seems to be very driven, active, and apparently coping with all that life throws at him. If this second scenario is the case, Ian’s recurring dream reveals that he is driven by a belief that life throws overwhelming difficulties at him that must be fought and overcome or else he’ll be stuck and cornered. This belief would most likely have been conditioned by Ian’s early life experiences, the emotional shadows of which haunt him in his recurring dream. Ian may attribute much of his success to his drive, and be blind to the fact that he could achieve all his success and more in a less stressful way and by feeling encouraged and inspired by passion rather than driven by fear of being cornered.
Again, because I didn’t get to hear the whole dream or talk with Ian for longer, I don’t know where he’s feeling the pressure in his life, so let’s imagine some possible situations:
- He might feel stuck and cornered at work, overwhelmed with demands.
- He might be a high achiever at work, daily battling overwhelming demands.
- He might feel stuck and cornered in a relationship, feeling overwhelmed by his partner’s demands.
- He might exert his independence and freedom in a relationship, feeling overwhelmed by his partner’s demands.
- He might feel stuck and cornered in his finances, overwhelmed by debts.
- He might be focussed on amassing wealth and security, feeling overwhelmed by the cost of living.
- He might feel stuck and cornered when it comes to expressing himself, feeling overwhelmed by criticism and judgement of others.
- He might be persuasively expressive, or even opinionated and defensive, feeling overwhelmed by a belief that others will criticise and judge him.
There are many more potential situations, but these serve to illustrate the point.
In dream therapy we would identify the situation and explore the psychology behind it before doing an appropriate dream alchemy practice to reprogram the belief that has been blinding Ian, into a new supportive belief.
Let’s cut to the chase and answer the question I posed at the beginning of this blog: What kind of practical results can you expect to see in your life when you understand a dream and apply dream alchemy?
If Ian understood his dream and applied dream alchemy, what kind of practical results might he expect to see in the suggested scenarios?
In his work, he might expect the usual workload to suddenly feel less demanding, perhaps more inspiring. He might notice that demanding people become less so, or that they take their demands to others, sensing the shift in Ian’s psyche. He might notice that work suddenly seems less a battlefield and more a joy, and that success comes with more ease and less stress. Rather than coping with overwhelming demands, he might feel more creative about setting a productive, healthy pace.
In his relationship, he might notice his partner feels less demanding, or he might gain insight into her real needs and expectations and realise that some of these can be easily negotiated or fulfilled. Or he might notice that his partner seeks help for her demands elsewhere – perhaps talking things through with friends or a counsellor – or that she suddenly seems to resolve issues herself. He might feel less driven to express or protect his independence and freedom, and realise that he can enjoy these while also enjoying spending more time with his partner, pursuing common goals, and being more intimate. Or the relationship may end, prompted by Ian’s shift no longer fuelling the old dynamics.
In his finances, he might expect his debt situation to ease. This might be through an increase in income or funding, an insight into a better way to negotiate or handle his debts, sudden clarity on how to reduce excess living costs, or unexpected workable offers from his debtors. Or he might notice a shift away from focussing on amassing wealth and security, and toward appreciating other areas of his life. He might notice that the money he spends on living suddenly seems less of a cost and more of a reward.
In his communications, he might notice that people seem less critical or judgemental. He might suddenly notice people being supportive, or offering helpful insight. He might notice a shift in his thoughts about himself and others, becoming less critical and judgemental. He might feel less defensive in communication and more interested in understanding other people’s views. He might find people interested in what he has to say, and feel less inclined to add drama and persuasion in an effort to underline his validity. He will find communication eases.
As you can see from the examples, accurate interpretation and appropriate dream alchemy results in the dreamer experiencing positive, practical change in a situation which had previously been problematical.
In most cases, the situation remains the same, but the dreamer’s perception of it shifts, so he responds differently. That different response changes how the other players in the situation respond, which feeds back to the dreamer, and so on.
Look at your life.
What do you see?
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