This is part 7, and the final installment for now, of a series about combining the practice of meditation and dream interpretation.
Please see Part 2 and 3 of this series for more details regarding the basic techniques I suggest you use when writing out the description of a dream.
Last week I mentioned three primary features to Jungian dream interpretation that I have drawn on as I developed my own process. Please see Part 6 for a recap on the first two of these methods.
The third method of Jung’s process is to use imagination and visualization as another way to work with a dream while awake.
In my experience this is one of the least well known, but highly effective ways to work with a dream. Generally the process goes like this. After you write out a dream and determine the relevance of the dream to current life issues or emotional formations, you then imagine different outcomes to the dream that are more consistent with how you wish the dream had ended.
For example, if you imagine you are trying to get somewhere in a dream but keep getting lost or delayed, with this method you imagine finding exactly where you were trying to go. Or, if you are chased by threatening figures in a dream, while you are awake and thinking about the dream you imagine turning to those figures and asking them to sit down with you to talk. You can ask them where they were born or what their life is like or any question you want. If you have a dream being in a house you spent many years of your life in, you can imagine or visualize going back to the house and redesigning the house with the features you always wished the house had. Another idea is to draw a picture of the primary scene in the dream and then draw variations on the dream imagery.
In short, with this third method Jung suggested, the dream is no longer frozen or fixed. You can imagine and visualize very different outcomes to a dream. If a parent who has been dead many years appears in your dream you can imagine having the conversations with them you were not able to have while they were alive. If a sexual encounter in a dream is unsatisfying you can visualize a more satisfying outcome to the dream when you are awake.
If you have a very mysterious dream where someone in the dream utters a particularly cryptic remark, you can imagine talking to them and asking them, “What did your comment in the dream mean?” Or you can ask them to repeat the comment in another dream but next time with more explanation. Or, you can imagine them saying something entirely different.
If you have a strong dream that is set in a location near where you live, you can go and sit for a while in the place where the dream action unfolded. You can sit, and by quietly sitting in the dream location, give the unconscious a sign that you are willing to live with the dream over time as a way of gaining additional understanding of the dream.
You can also infuse a sense of compassion and bright strength into the uncertain or murky dream imagery you are reflecting on and thereby transform the emotional tone and sense and memory of the dream.
In short the dream and the dream imagery need not be “cast in stone” with its message of anxiety or confusion or unfulfillment also “cast in stone”
You can take the writer’s chair, at least in waking life, and rewrite the dream with different outcomes.
After the holidays I will return to this theme of dream interpretation to discuss lucid dreaming and its counterpart, a term I believe I have coined, lucid waking. I will also go into more detail of the relationship between meditation and dream interpretation.
Please feel free to send me an email or to call the number below if you wish to discuss dream interpretation in general or any specific dream you have had in particular.
Will Raymond Author or “The Simple Path of Holiness”, host of Meditationpractice.com
will at meditation practice dot com ( spelled out to limit spam)