The Power to Create
Dreams teach us much about creativity and cultivating joy. They reveal information that resembles guidance. Since they show us how the mind constructs reality – they present us with insight into the power to create our experiences.
The Interpretation of Dreams
When Freud wrote The Interpretation of Dreams, it was during a time when people believed dreams were nonsense. The human body is a work of ingenious design, much of which operates without our conscious input. Why would nature orchestrate one-half of our existence in time spent fantasizing?
Nature designed the body with mechanisms that regenerate wellness, and the mind is part of the body too.
Freud believed we dreamed as a way of fulfilling the unmanifest wishes of daily life. Carl Jung saw a more evolutionary and spiritual meaning behind dreams. In either case, both gave us an understanding of how our mind holds information of which, we are unaware.
Dreams Reveal Our Blind Spots
Although they used the word unconscious, we are not unconscious when we dream. While portions of normal consciousness abate while dreaming, this word was used to describe our blind spots, or ideas we fail to connect with during the day.
These blind spots can create a condition of fixation, where we are drawn to keep encountering this repressed energy. It can give a type of 'charge' to our encounters because what is unconscious, will keep interfering with what we experience.
Freud believed we dream of what we are trying to ignore. The more we repress or push away an idea, the more it becomes the content explored in dreams. Jung saw this as the root of projection. What we fail to own as our own condition gets projected onto ‘the Other’ and we encounter it as fate, believing we are a victim of circumstances.
Anyone quitting smoking or attempting to forget an old lover can attest to how repressed ideas dominate dreams.
When we dream, we become a witness to the unbounded world of our own power to create. Our sense of time dissolves, and we open to possibilities for future growth.
Dreams and the Symbolic World
The word symbolic holds the idea that something is given greater meaning because of what it represents. In this sense, words are symbolic and their associations can take the place of actual awareness. Symbols in dreams too, have personal and significant meaning for the dreamer.
The symbolic identity manifests as the persona we associate with in the present. It captures our various roles, as we seek acceptance and embark upon a path to fit in.
From our parents, we adopt cultural and role identities. In the workforce or in groups, we don additional identities. Even changes in fashion can transform our identity.
The symbolic world of dreams is similar. We imagine ourselves – with the same sense of realism – in a tapestry without normal limitations and boundaries. Recognizing that dreaming is a mirror image of our own psyche, all symbols, even the landscape and other people, are mirroring qualities we are exploring.
Anyone untrained in psychology, might dismiss how dreams are exploring a more authentic identity. The day-dominant psyche dismisses aspects that are explored by the night-dominant, sleeping psyche.
Any discoveries made while dreaming are, in turn, dismissed or quickly forgotten by the day-dominant mind. This is a simplified reason for why we have difficulty remembering our dreams.
Whether we are attempting to fulfill our wishes (Freud) or are being guided toward individuation (Jung) the symbolism which emerges in dreams holds a picture of our future.
Since dreams show us how we construct reality – they also show us how we can change it.
The Unmanifest Self
Whether guided by the soul, natural mechanisms, the Higher Self or God, some part of us has an understanding of where we are going that transcends our awareness.
We may do things in dreams we would never do in daily life and feel a sense of relief upon waking. The common dream of needing to find a bathroom, while doors are missing or the plumbing fails, symbolizes a need to let go of something we are carrying, which needs to be released.
Just like digestion, dreaming allows us to assimilate the nutritious ideas that support our growth, while eliminating the unnecessary. Otherwise the psyche's energy can be consumed by holding onto anger, shame or fear. A low level of anxiety can fester below conscious awareness and actually undermine wellness.
Dreams reveal the disparity that exists between the identity we adopt by day, and the less constrained witness who encounters a more authentic view of itself.
We may be successful in business and dream of a snowy landscape as a lack of real warmth and fulfillment in what we are doing. Our sense of self-worth may be examined when we embark in a new direction, and we dream of an old lover.
This person once validated our worthiness and embodied our first encounter with self-love. They reappear because the psyche seeks to embrace this idea as its own, to incorporate it into the present.
In both cases, our future sense of wellness will be set into motion through dreaming, whether or not we remember our dreams.
Who Are We When We Dream?
We observe how the identity transforms over time, and how nature designed us with the nightly and periodic dethroning of ego’s hold on the psyche. Ego resembles a pseudo-organ that regulates survival. Its view of our wellness is often consumed by looking for what is wrong – or out of place in the environment.
Eliminating self-defeating ideas through dreaming is how wellness has been orchestrated through autonomous processes.
When we consider all of the things that are happening within the body without conscious thought, we aren't much different from a plant. The importance of the heart in determining whether we live or die makes us more like animals.
However, we were given a complex and creative organ that helps us problem solve. Just as foliage falls and regrows, or an animal's outer covering sheds, nature appears to renew the mind's self-creative capacity.
The innocent and unbounded witness who dreams, is the part of us that was designed to open to possibilities. It is that aspect of awareness that has access to unbounded creativity.
The waking mind is conscious and has volition, but can feel victimized by outer events. The dreaming mind, on the other hand, is conscious and accessing the unconscious at the same time. Either way, we are the hero of a meaningful drama.
We know the dreaming mind creates the drama. The waking mind is actively creating a similar drama.
When we work with our dreams, we see how the mind creates its version of reality. When we encounter a 'charged' situation, we might understand our projections, or how the present is over-laid with ideas from the past.
Locked in the drama – we forget our power to create. To encounter the moment with the same suspension of logic as in dreams, we can awaken to our power to create.
Let your body do what it does best – you needn't worry. Loosen ego's tendency to focus only on what threatens it.
Take nothing for granted and step away of perceiving anything at face value. Like the loss of time sense in dreams, let the past and future dissolve and settle into the present.
Believe that anything is possible.
Cultivate the perspective of the one who dreams.
Whether awake or sleeping, it is the same mind and it holds the same power to create your experiences.