Tag Archives: brain

Episode 146 The Dream Show: It will come to you

Thank you for your help
It will come to you

What comes to you in your life, and how do you feel about it? What would you like to come to you – to attract into your life? What do you do to try to make this happen? Are you succeeding, or are you just experiencing same-old? How can working with your dreams and dream alchemy help you?

Everything to Everyone, The Rooftops“It will come to you” is a catchy, uplifting song by The Rooftops (my son, Euan Gray, is the singer-songwriter) that I’ve included at the end of this episode as a Christmas gift that segues well with today’s theme. It’s from their recent album, “Everything to Everyone”. Enjoy!

In this episode we look at the way we each experience life (and what we allow, attract, or repel) according to our individual unconscious beliefs about the world and about ourselves.

We look at how dream interpretation reveals your unconscious beliefs and helps you to understand how you acquired them and the emotions that embedded them. We look at how they might be creating blind spots for you, limiting your perceived options and blocking your desired outcomes.

The Dream Show with Jane Teresa AndersonWe then look at how to change these beliefs by using dream alchemy visualisation exercises to rewire the brain to free you from those same-old limiting neural circuits and replace them with automatic, positively rewarding belief patterns.

In short, we look at how dreams – once interpreted – help you to understand what comes to you and why in life, and how dream alchemy helps you to change what comes to you for the better.

Listen

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Does my dream mean bad luck

Does my dream mean bad luck

Chicken Licken

Chicken Licken

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

Purple haze or How things change

Purple haze or How things change

Picture this: You look into the mirror at three years old and recognise yourself. The next day the mirror tells the same story. And the next and the next. Okay, so one day a tooth falls out and your mirror picture shows you without your tooth, but otherwise nothing has changed. Day by day, year by year, the mirror tells the same story, “Yep. This is you. Much the same as yesterday really.”

Roll on a few decades. Today’s face in the mirror might look a little tired compared to yesterday’s after a big night out. Tomorrow’s face might look younger, well-slept but, hey … much the same as yesterday really.

Day by day your face in the mirror looks the same, yet so many momentous changes have taken place since you were three. Even the longest-lived of your body cells is replaced every six or seven years, so your body has totally regenerated many times. But did you notice the changes? When did it all happen?

When you interpret and work with your dreams, a similar process occurs.

Day by day, night by night, your dreams hold up a mirror for you to scrutinise your reflection. “This is who you are. These are the feelings you try to hide. This is what motivates you. These are the gifts you are too shy to shine. This is what hinders you. These are your buried hurts, your weeping wounds – see how they still shape your relationships. These are the beliefs about life that you have learned from others – see how they affect your vision. This is your mask – when will you take it off?”

Little by little, you begin to see truths about yourself, and begin to understand why your life is the way it is. Small changes begin, often too small to notice on a day to day basis but they add up to momentous changes over months and years. You gather confidence in sharing your talents, you free yourself from hurt by forgiving the past, you let go of beliefs that have not been serving you well, and you begin to see solutions instead of problems, doorways instead of brick walls.

Just over a year ago, I bought a new pair of prescription sunglasses. (Here, in Australia, sunglasses are an everyday accessory, winter or summer, as the sun is so bright.) For the first time I decided to buy Polaroids. My first trip out wearing them was exactly that – way trippy man! Everything was edged in a purple and green haze. Short walks distended into prolonged contemplations of clouds and flowers, while driving along psychedelic purple-green roads was distractingly dangerous.

Last month I realised something amazing. I realised that the purple and green hazes had gone. Everything looked normal through the very same sunglasses. But when had all this happened?

In terms of science and biology, my brain had become habituated. It had decided, without consulting my preferences, that the world wasn’t really as purple or green as my glasses seemed to suggest, so it deleted that input as irrelevant and possibly harmful to my survival. My brain made the executive decision to choose a world-picture that, in its opinion, fitted reality better than the reality portrayed by Polaroid lenses that bend and change the angles of some colours more than others.

Why did my brain make this autonomous executive decision?

It’s all about survival. Have you ever bought a new alarm clock and been kept awake by its loud ticking? In only a few days, the tick-tock disappears, doesn’t it? Well, it does – until you listen very closely, and then you hear it again. What happens is that when you first get the clock your brain hears the tick and stays on alert in case the ticking is a predator keen on eating you while you sleep so …. better stay awake, hey? As time goes by (hmm), your brain decides that this ticking is obviously not a danger, so it habituates to the sound – it makes an executive decision to change your reality to one with a silent alarm clock so that you can sleep undisturbed. You no longer hear the tick consciously, although it lives on in your all-seeing, all-hearing unconscious mind, just as my unconscious mind is deeply bathed in psychedelic purple and green whenever I wear my sunglasses.

A more disturbing example of habituation was described to me by a woman who had just been persuaded to leave a violent marriage. During earlier counselling she had been asked if her husband was violent. She had replied no. She was then asked specific questions, such as ‘When did your husband last hit you?’. Her answers clearly indicated a violent marriage, but she had experienced the violence for so long that she had accepted it as normal, not as violent.

Her counsellor opened her eyes by telling her how to kill a frog. If you put a frog into very hot water, it immediately jumps out to save itself. If you put a frog into tepid water, and then slowly raise the temperature, it doesn’t notice the series of small changes and eventually overheats and dies.

If this woman had been following and interpreting her dreams she would have been awake to her situation much earlier, discovering both self-understanding and empowerment to turn her brick wall situation into an open door. No matter how much the brain habituates and  screens the senses, no matter how much is deleted from the conscious mind, the unconscious records everything and reveals it in dreams.

By now there must be a huge question on your lips. If the brain habituates to a ticking alarm clock or to purple-green hazes to protect our survival, what on earth is the survival advantage in habituating someone to a violent marriage?

The answer is historical. The brain treasures its archives. Your early life experiences and memories helped to create your fundamental beliefs about life and survival. For example, you might have experienced more contact and care from your mother when you were sick, so you learned that sickness is a good survival tool. Or you might have learned that doing what you were told was better than getting slapped, so you learned that obedience was a good survival tool. Or you might have learned that a parent gave you more loving attention after hitting you (in regret) than before, so you learned that accepting violence was a good survival tool.

In the following years, your brain has done its habituating based on your list of good survival tools securely treasured in the archives of your mind.

For life-enhancing change to be really effective, your fundamental beliefs need to be identified and re-evaluated. Your survival tools need to be sorted through and updated. Many need to be disposed of and replaced. Your dreams are the place to start to do this.*

Be ready to kiss a frog or two.

* If you need help, support, or guidance with this, you can consult me or book regular mentoring sessions.

[First published as a Dream Sight article, July 2002. Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson 2002.]

Related articles you might enjoy

Killer ghosts

Killer ghosts

Why is grass green

Why is grass green?

 

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

Do blind people see in their dreams?

Do blind people see in their dreams

“I’m quadriplegic,” said the caller to a dream segment I was hosting on radio many years ago, “but in my dreams I can run and dance, and I’m devastated when I wake up and remember that I can’t.”

Before his accident, he had enjoyed running and dancing, and he could draw on his sensual and spatial memories to experience those freedoms in his dreams.

Does the visual region of a congenitally blind person’s brain create images for dreams, as it does for sighted people with eyes closed?

Does the visual region of a congenitally blind person’s brain create images for dreams, as it does for sighted people with eyes closed?

Does the same apply to people who have become blind, or deaf, and can people who were born blind see in their dreams? Does the visual region of a congenitally blind person’s brain create images for dreams, as it does for sighted people whose closed eyes are not sending sight data to the brain while dreaming?

As you’ve probably guessed, the congenitally blind do not see images in their dreams because they cannot draw on personal experience. Their dreams reflect their more highly developed non-visual sensory experiences of life. In place of images, they dream of sound, touch, smell, taste, and, for those who have developed the skill, echolocation. They dream of the picture of the world they have built using their predominant senses. They picture the world, but not in visual images.

While we sleep, we process the last 24-48 hours of our conscious and unconscious experiences, and we experience this processing as dreams. So our dreams reflect the last couple of days, as our brain and mind work at making sense of the world. We each build our unique pictures of the world as we experience it, and awaken each morning to an updated view, mental map, or mindset. As this processing takes into account all our past experiences, it tends to consolidate our mindset rather than change it.

We draw on our experiences to imagine what it might be like to fly, and we can experience that imagined sense of flying in our dreams.

We draw on our experiences to imagine what it might be like to fly, and we can experience that imagined sense of flying in our dreams.

Sighted or blind, our dreaming brains get creative during sleep. We imagine flying, being the opposite sex, living in an underwater palace, having a pet dog of a breed that doesn’t exist in waking life, talking to a celebrity we haven’t met, being chased by an impossible monster, or just about anything. People who have been blind since birth can dream of what they imagine seeing to be, just as we can all dream of what we imagine flying, or talking to that celebrity, or being chased by that impossible monster might be like. We draw on our experiences of dancing or flying in a plane or trampolining to imagine what it might be like to fly, and we can experience that imagined sense of flying in our dreams. And it feels absolutely real because that’s the nature of dreams.

People who have been blind since birth can – if it’s important to them – dream of what they imagine seeing to be like, or dream of what they imagine objects or people to look like based on their own acutely developed senses and the descriptions of those who can see, but the visual region of the brain is not engaged. They are not able to access visual memories to replay or build upon creatively.  It’s interesting to note that their eye movements are weak or non-existent during REM sleep, adding weight to research that suggests that eye movements during REM sleep are associated with watching dream action.

Sighted people might dream of being able to echolocate, but such a dream experience is imagined, and while it may feel real in the dream, it is not real in the sense that a blind person who has developed echolocation to navigate in waking life would dream the sensation.

The colourblind are equally colourblind in their dreams.

The colourblind are equally colourblind in their dreams.

Sighted people can and do dream sounds, smell, touch, and taste, but visuals are the predominant dream sense, with about half of all dreams (according to research) including sound, but less than one percent of all dreams including smell, touch or taste. (You can train yourself to engage your other senses in dreams by paying more attention to them in waking life.) Some research suggests that congenitally blind people’s dreams include 45% sound and 55% combined taste, smell, and touch.

What about people who become blind? The research shows that people who become blind after the age of seven remain able to see in their dreams, though the emphasis on sight may decline as other senses become predominant, and, I imagine, more interesting and relevant. Those who lose their sight before the age of five seem to also lose the ability to see in their dreams, and that leaves a couple of years, from age 5-7, where continuing to see in dreams may reflect individual development at the time of sight loss.

People whose vision has been blurred from birth dream of blurred images, people who have been deaf from birth do not hear in their dreams, and the colourblind are equally colourblind in their dreams.

All of which serves to remind us that our dreams reflect our waking life experiences – conscious and unconscious – in symbolic and metaphoric form, and in all the sensual shades and tones of meaning that are personally relevant to us as unique human beings searching to make sense of our worlds, night by night, dream by dream.

Consultation services

Related articles you might enjoy

Hot coffee, warm heart

Hot coffee, warm heart

Why is grass green

Why is grass green?

 

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

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]

Consultation services

Related articles you might enjoy

Dream interpretation Radio 2GB Killer ghosts

Killer ghosts

Dream catcher machine

Dream catcher machine

 

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

Dream catcher machine

Imagine downloading movie clips of your dreams each morning.

Imagine downloading movie clips of your dreams each morning.

“What did you dream last night?”

“No idea. Hang on a minute, I’ll have a look.”

Research published this month in the journal Current Biology has led to speculation that this may be possible in decades to come. While no-one has yet captured footage of dreams, what they have captured is computerised reconstructions of what’s going on in the visual area of the brains of people watching movie clips. The computers processed information from fMRI scanners measuring the visual brain activity of volunteers watching movie clips, and came up with good, though blurry, matches.

Top row: original movie clip images. Bottom row: computer reconstructions of same images from brain scans of volunteers watching the movies. Photo: Shinji Nishimoto

Top row: original movie clip images. Bottom row: computer reconstructions of same images from brain scans of volunteers watching the movies. Photo: Shinji Nishimoto

The computers had been programmed to recognise certain images from the brain activity data, such as people, and not other images, such as elephants, but faced with the task the computers constructed what one of the researchers, Jack Gallant, described as “a shambling mound” when the brain in question was watching an elephant moving across the screen.

Gallant, a neuroscientist at the University of California, Berkeley, sees the technology as being potentially useful for stroke patients in the future, and also speculated on using the approach to reveal dreams and hallucinations.

"I'd give 50 or 100 dollars to see dreams of mine with that (current level of) quality." - Marcel Just

“I’d give 50 or 100 dollars to see dreams of mine with that (current level of) quality.” – Marcel Just

Marcel Just, director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University, (who didn’t participate in the study), said, “I’d give 50 or 100 dollars to see dreams of mine with that [current level of] quality.”

Wow. Yet with a little training he’d be able to remember his dreams in vivid detail, as well as recall the experience of being totally immersed in each dream instead of watching it, objectively, as a blurred movie.

And there’s the key thing – the dream experience. No doubt this technology, if ever it were developed into a dream recording device, would incorporate information from other areas of the brain involved in sensing dreams – hearing, tasting, smelling, touching – as well as recording the dreamer’s emotional responses.

A dream cannot be interpreted from visuals alone, just as a dream cannot be interpreted by looking up dream symbols in a dream dictionary. Two dreams might look the same from a visual perspective, but much of the interpretation depends on each dreamer’s emotions within the dream, on the verbals, the sensual experiences, and so much more.

How do you see the elephant in your dream? Majestic? Weary? Shambling?

How do you see the elephant in your dream? Majestic? Weary? Shambling?

An elephant in my dream may look just like an elephant in your dream, but you might describe your elephant as majestic, or weary, and I might describe the elephant in my dream as shambling. The interpretation of our dreams in each case would be different, as our different perceptions of the same animal reveal something about us as individuals.

So what does that say about Jack Gallant’s interpretation of the computerised image of an elephant as a shambling mound?

More info: news article

Consultation services

 

Related articles you might enjoy

How to remember your dreams

How to remember your dreams

Dream symbols Word association

Dream symbols: Word association

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

Episode 98 The Dream Show: Science & dream interpretation

Thank you for your help
In my early days as a dream expert on ABC radio, I received a letter from a woman who said, “I heard a dream interpreter was coming on, and decided to switch to another station as soon as I finished ironing a shirt, but half an hour and several shirts later, I was still listening. You made so much sense.”

‘You make sense’ is one of recurring comments I’ve heard over the almost 20 years that I’ve been interpreting dreams in the media (where I have only a few minutes per dream, if even that, to make sense), and in private consultation (where, thankfully, we have more time to go deeper and find even more sense).

Does being a scientist by training help or hinder when it comes to dream interpretation? I have used my scientific training to take science as far into the world of dream interpretation as I can, and then travelled deeper still. Why stop exploring this field just because a certain set of tools – the tools of science – only take you so far? Do I even see myself as a scientist these days? What other tools or approaches do I use?

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

A new podcast every Friday. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes.

Those who have not personally experienced my methods are often curious. As Ian Kath, who recently interviewed me for his podcast series, Your Story, said, “You’re an interesting contradiction, a scientist who interprets dreams. I’d love to interview you and throw you some curly questions.”

He did, and we bring you that interview, ‘Jane Teresa. Science and Dream Interpretation’, in today’s show, with Ian’s kind permission. Enjoy.

Listen here (Episode 98)

Listen to more episodes

Related articles you might enjoy

Dream catcher machine

Dream catcher machine

Trash tells all

Trash tells all

 

 

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

The science of dream interpretation

Your Story - Episode 59, Jane Teresa. Science and Dream Interpretation“You’re an interesting contradiction, a scientist who interprets dreams,” said Ian Kath, host of the podcast chat show Your Story – How others play the game of life. “I’d love to interview you and throw you some curly questions.”

Of course I agreed, and Ian released our interview this week as episode 59, Jane Teresa. Science and Dream Interpretation.

Ian, who also operates Create Your Life Story, a web resource designed to help people interested in producing their own audio oral history, set the scene:

“She comes to dream interpretation, not from the esoteric fields of connecting with your hidden spirit guide, while dancing amongst the flowers, where everything is touchy-feely but from the world of hard core science.

Trained in the UK with a Honours Degree in Zoology, specialising in developmental biology with some neurophysiological research, Jane Teresa had taken her analytical scientific approach into the world of understanding dreams, their meanings and how they influence our lives.”

Along the way, I interpret the dream Ian had that morning.

Along the way, I interpret the dream Ian had that morning.

Along the way, Ian tells me about a very short dream he had during the early hours of the morning before our interview, which I interpret for him. Naturally this leads to quite a discussion! (Yes, it hits home.)

On his blog, Ian concludes:

“Dream interpretation is a real diagnostic tool to better live our lives and help us understand how we are evolving in our personal life towards achieving what we want for ourselves.”  Listen to the podcast.

Consultation services

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

The right question

How can you escape being eaten by a hungry lion?

How can you escape being eaten by a hungry lion?

Are you looking to your dreams for answers to important questions? Do you go to bed hoping for a dream that will explain all and show you the best way forward? Are you looking for solutions to personal issues, guidance on career, or a bankable genius eureka to boost your fortune?

The dreaming mind offers all these possibilities, IF you’re looking at your dream from the right angle. And what is the right angle? It starts with the right question. The right question goes straight to the point and delivers the right answer, the best solution, the breakthrough.

Most dreams have a storyline, comprising four parts.

The first part of a dream is the opening. It’s the ‘Once upon a time …’ or ‘I was walking along …’. This is the part of the dream that sets the scene.

The second part of a dream is often a problem or question. It’s the ‘A hungry lion was chasing me …’ or ‘I couldn’t find my way …’ or ‘My car was missing ..’. Each of these can be seen as a problem or a question. For example, you might see the problem as the presence of a hungry lion, or you might see the question as, ‘How can I escape being eaten by the hungry lion?’

The third part of a dream is usually where your dreaming brain tries to work out a solution. In the lion example, you might try running faster, climbing higher, jumping into water or hiding. This part of a dream is usually the longest, as various approaches to solving the problem or finding an answer to the question are tried out.

How can I stop the hungry lion chasing me?

How can I stop the hungry lion chasing me?

Many dreams end here, without a part four, in a never-ending search for a solution. These are unresolved dreams. You wake up from these with a sense of the unfinished, perhaps feeling frustrated as if you’ve been working hard all night going round in circles getting nowhere, the hungry lion still hot on your tail.

The fourth part of a dream – for those dreams that find a solution – is the resolution, the ending. Your dream may have a happy ending (you are rescued from the lion) or an unhappy ending (your rescuer is eaten by the lion, even though you are saved).

Before reading further, think of a couple of dreams you have had recently, and see if you can break them down into these three or four parts. See if you can identify the problem or question in each dream. Write the problem or question down.

How do I know the lion is hungry?

How do I know the lion is hungry?

So far, so good. Thinking logically, all you need to do is identify the problem or question in part two of your dream and ask yourself how this relates to your waking life. For example, you might see the question, ‘How can I escape being eaten by the hungry lion?’ as being like ‘How can I escape the feeling that everyone wants more from me than I can give – that everyone wants a part of me?’ Once you’ve identified the waking life problem or question your dream is processing, you know that the rest of the dream is concerned with finding a solution to your problem, an answer to your question. Isn’t that wonderful!

Well, yes. It’s a wonderful beginning. Remember that dreams never tell you what to do. They tell you how things ARE. Your dreams are a result of your dreaming brain processing your experiences of the last 24-48 hours, so what you get from looking at a dream is an insight into how your brain processes your life. THIS is wonderful!

When you interpret a dream, you get to understand how you process your life experiences. You get to understand why your life is the way it is. If your lion dream features you running away, never finding an escape, then this is how you are processing your life – you are running away, never finding an escape from the feeling that everyone wants more from you than you can give. If your dream ends with your rescuer being killed, you get to understand that your brain sees a solution where you could ‘kill off’ your tendency to rescue people. Your dreaming brain has solved the problem of you wearing yourself out, eating yourself away with rescuing other people only to still feel pursued and drained. Whether or not you take this action when you wake up is your decision. Your dream does not tell you to do this, it simply indicates that your brain is looking at this as a possible solution and also reveals that this would bring up some unhappiness for you to deal with.

Most often your dreams travel old ground, trying the same old approaches because your brain (and your unconscious mind) is programmed this way by all your past experiences. The brain usually chooses the old way over the new. Occasionally, though, the brain will surprise you with a breakthrough – a new way of processing the same old stuff, a new creative solution, perhaps even that bankable eureka.

Your dream tells it like it is. It tells you about you and how you brain works today. You then make your decisions based on that message.

So, here’s the big thing

Why hasn’t the lion eaten before now?

Why hasn’t the lion eaten before now?

Knowing that every dream reflects how your brain is processing your life, you must question the question your dream poses! The question in part two of your dream is just as much a result of the way your dream processes your life as the rest of the dream. You ‘see’ a problem in your life and your dreaming brain brings up this ‘problem’, exactly as you see it, because that’s its job. Its job is to process your life experiences of the last 24-48 hours, and one of your life experiences in that last 24-48 hours was the ‘problem’ exactly as you experienced – and decided to see – it.

Can you see the power of questioning your dream question? When you question your dream question you question how you normally question your life. You question why you see certain things as problems. You question why you see a problem one way instead, perhaps, of from a more insightful angle.

Here’s what to do

Take the question you have identified in your dream, and see how many other questions you can get out of it. Like this:

How can I escape being eaten by the hungry lion?
How can I stop the hungry lion chasing me?
Why am I running away from the hungry lion?
How do I know the lion is hungry?
Is the lion hungry?
Why is the lion hungry?
What’s a lion’s favourite food?
Why is the lion chasing me and not someone else?
Why hasn’t the lion eaten before now?
Have I got some other food I can give the lion?
Can I tell the lion where to get better food?
Can the lion do something for me in exchange for better food?

I’m sure you can add more to this list!

Simply doing this for the question in part two of your dream may be enlightening enough. It reveals many ways to look at a situation, reminding you that some angles or perspectives look more problematic than others. It may help you to see that you’re not asking the best question. Reframing your situation and asking a different question results in a different answer.

Consider the question, ‘Is the lion hungry?’ Maybe you’ve misread a situation as threatening and you’re spending all your energy trying to escape it, and all the while the situation is not at all threatening. Maybe that lion is running after you because he needs to tell you something helpful. Like you’re running towards a very hungry tiger!

Consider the question, ‘Why is the lion chasing me and not someone else?’ Thinking about this you might realise that you tend to set yourself up as an easy target, too willing to let others have a piece of you maybe.

Consider the question, ‘Why hasn’t the lion eaten before now?’ Contemplating this, you might be baffled. Lion are supposed to be strong, they get what they want – so this lion must have lost its strength, lost its ability to be king of the jungle. You might realise that you have been forgetting to feed and nurture your inner strength. You may see that you have starved your inner strength, and that’s why you feel too weak to stand up to other people’s demands on your time and energy.

Use your dream interpretation skills to understand your dream symbols (lion, hungry …) and see how they relate to your life. Look at your dream to understand how you are currently seeing and processing your life.

Then, before looking for an answer to your waking life problem in your dream, look for the question. When you’ve found the question, reframe it many ways.

Think about those reframed questions, and answer them. Along the way, you’ll discover the key question – the right question – that shifts your perspective and unlocks the best answer.

[Copyright Jane Teresa Anderson, October 2008. First published as a Dream Sight article.]

Consultation services

Related articles you might enjoy

Otherwise, other wise

Otherwise, other wise

The art of dream interpretation

The art of dream interpretation

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

Hot coffee, warm heart?

Can you distinguish a dream from reality? Test yourself on this one:

John is reading resumes, deciding which candidate to employ for a position. He takes one resume, a sheath of pages attached to a heavy clipboard. “Serious,” he concludes. He takes a second resume, the same number of pages but this time attached to a light clipboard. He dismisses the second candidate as being too light.

Dream or reality?

Does a heavy clipboard add weight to a resume?

Does a heavy clipboard add weight to a resume?

Dreams are generally metaphors, so surely this is a dream, the weighty resume symbolising a serious candidate, a heavyweight, and the lighter resume symbolising a lightweight candidate.

Add this fact to the picture:

The resumes are identical. The only difference between them is the weight of the clipboard to which they are attached. Dream or reality?

Robert Sapolsky, in a New York Times Opinionator article titled This is your brain on metaphors, reports a study where volunteers were “asked to evaluate the resumes of supposed job applicants where, as the critical variable, the resume was attached to a clipboard of one of two different weights. Subjects who evaluated the candidate while holding the heavier clipboard tended to judge candidates to be more serious, with the weight of the clipboard having no effect on how congenial the applicant was judged.”

Sapolsky cites a number of studies showing how the brain links the literal and the metaphorical, and points out that these are processed in the same region of the brain. We are wired to process some experiences as metaphors, Sapolsky explains, to which I add that it is the metaphor versions of our experiences that we frequently see reflected in our dreams. In analysing our personal metaphors, as seen in our dreams, we gain insight into how we are responding to waking life on a visceral level. Our visceral level (gut) response is also programmed by our past experiences, the beliefs we have built about life, and analysing our dreams provides insight into these.

Is this coffee hot or iced? And how is this related to assessing personality?

Is this coffee hot or iced? And how is this related to assessing personality?

You’ll love this one. In another study Sapolsky relates, people are invited to read a description of an individual and assess their personality. The experimenter met each person, his arms full of files and folders, trying to balance his coffee cup, and asked them to briefly hold his coffee while he put the papers down. In half the situations, the coffee was hot, in the other half it was iced. Those who had briefly held the hot coffee before reading the description tended to assess the individual as having a warmer personality, with no change in the ratings of the other attributes.

Interesting but scary stuff, the potential to use metaphor to manipulate outcomes, but nothing new – just think advertising, NLP, fairy tales, movies.

Sapolsky says, “This neural confusion about the literal versus the metaphorical gives symbols enormous power, including the power to make peace.” In the article, he illustrates this with examples of peacemaking in the Middle East and South Africa.

Dream alchemy transforms our personal metaphors of waking life as revealed in our dreams.

Dream alchemy transforms our personal metaphors of waking life as revealed in our dreams.

The power of manipulating (and changing) our personal dream symbols to resolve inner conflict, find inner peace, and create more meaningful perspectives of waking life is the process I call dream alchemy. It’s about taking those personal metaphors of waking life – as revealed in our dreams – that are not rewarding for us and transforming them into metaphors that deliver more positive life experiences and outcomes.

Since the literal and the metaphoric are linked in the brain, and warm coffee warms our assessment of personality, and heavy resumes influence our assessment of a candidate’s seriousness, is it any surprise that dream alchemy, carefully and professionally applied, changes our experience of waking life?

Read Sapolsky’s article.

Consultation services

Related articles you might enjoy

Attitude

Attitude

Alchemy and dream interpretation

Alchemy and dream interpretation

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare

Why is grass green?

“Why is grass green?” I was three or four years old, and this was probably the hundredth question I had asked my mum that day. I was a curious child in every sense, as curious as a cat with nine lives to spare, and a curious specimen of childhood, a child more interested in why than what.

“Oh, I don’t know why,” Mum replied, and I still remember her frustration, the toss of her head, “because it’s not blue.”

I don’t know why (there I go again, why, why, why, some half a century on) I remember that particular incident, but I wonder if it was the first time I realised that parents don’t know everything.

If she’d been Buddhist, she might have answered, “It is so”, gently teaching acceptance of the way things are. But she wasn’t, and her frustrated answer led to my inevitable, “Why isn’t it blue?”

Years later, I rushed home from a school science class to excitedly share that grass was green because it contained a green substance called chlorophyll. Strangely, Mum didn’t share my excitement. I went to bed that night wondering why chlorophyll was green.

A remarkable thing then happened. I learned in school physics that when we look at grass, a selection of light rays reflecting from the blades of grass enter our eyes and trigger nerve impulses that arrive at our brains and actually deliver an upside down image of grass – kind of like a sky of grass and a field of sky. This happens because the lens inside the eye acts like a camera lens; it inverts the image. Our brains consult our bank of experience and decide that it makes more sense to see a field of grass and an overhead sky. So we do. It turns out that the brain interprets what we see (hear, feel, touch, taste) to fit our expectation. The shift that happened for me that day was the realisation that the world we each perceive is not the world as it is, but the world of our individual illusion.

We actually see an upside down image – kind of like a sky of grass and a field of sky.

We actually see an upside down image – kind of like a sky of grass and a field of sky.

Why is grass green? A colour blind person may tell you it is blue, or red, or grey, or any other word that meaningfully describes their experience of green.

So, grass is green because it isn’t blue; because it is so; because it contains chlorophyll; because chlorophyll absorbs certain rays from the sun and reflects the rest which, bundled together, scientifically speaking make green; because ‘green’ is a word someone chose many generations ago to mean the colour of grass; because I am English (not French, in which case it would be vert); because my brain chooses to have an experience it translates as green; because I am not colour blind.

There are so many reasons why grass is green: physical, scientific, subjective, semantic, geographic, experiential. Oh, and what colour is grass at night time, when there is no sun, no light? It’s black. And what colour is grass if you shine a red light on it? So our most basic question about grass – why is it green – is based on a false premise. Grass is just grass, and how green it is all depends on your life experiences and the way in which you view it.

What I love about interpreting dreams is that they help us to understand our individual perspectives of the world. The dreaming brain busies itself each night processing our recent waking life experiences and filing them away, usually according to what we already know. Interpretation reveals the make up of your individual mindset, your programming. You get to understand why you process your life experiences in the way you do, and gain insight into your foundation beliefs and whether these are really serving you well. You get to question those foundation beliefs, and perhaps change them, if you wish.

We see grass as green because our mothers told us it was green. So it is. Indisputably so. Because it’s not blue. Or is it?

Consultation services

Related articles you might enjoy

Psychedelic sunglasses

Psychedelic sunglasses

Episode 48 The Dream Show Yellow ochre

Yellow ochre

TwitterLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrShare