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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 27-Aug-08


Wednesday 27-August-08

Interpreting dreams

I've woken up in the middle of the night and reached for my trusty old PDA to blog my way back to the land of nod. I was in the middle of a strange dream, running down the road, trying to catch the bus and, very frustratingly, just missing it.

Dreams are often about our hopes and fears and are windows onto the subconscious and offer rare glimpses of what's going on inside the machine -- something which psychoanalysts from Freud and Jung onwards have found very useful. The problem, however, is that subconscious often appears as child-like, literal and highly symbolic, which makes interpreting dreams a rather hit and miss affair (and also good business for the psychoanalysts).

So what does running for the bus mean? And, significantly, what does not quite catching it imply?

Perhaps the bus represents a goal I am trying to achieve, such as getting a 'changing minds' book written. I've been distracted from this recently by more mundane household repairs. In a Freudian light, it could represent my mother, with the chasing as seeking her limited approval or attention.

Meaning-making from dreams is most significant in the impact of the meaning and has value in what is gained from this. Thus if I interpret the dream as short-term frustrations, it could lead to a re-focus on writing the book. If it is about my mother, then I might reflect and reframe from an adult position. Importantly, even if it is neither of these, I can still gain the same benefits. Like the lost mountaineers who found their way home using the wrong map, the outcome and benefits gained outweighs the impenetrable truth of the real meaning of the dream.

So dream on. I'm feeling drowsy now and will put away the PDA and drift away again into mysterious reverie. Sweet dreams, I hope.

Your comments

First of, you wouldn't argue if I told you that you are a human being, would you? of course not. Then, let's examine your dream this way: separate the word 'dream' as it's been used and interpreted in the Western literature to mean a wish. Let's consider it as something spiritual through which an unknown self is revealed to the dreamer. This is the real dream independent of human manipulation or programming.

In light of the latter description of dream, your dream could be interpreted as though:

Running down the road symbolises your foothold in whatever career you are currently pursuing and that the obstacle to your achievement of your goal in life is conditioned by someone else's approval. It's as simple as that.

-- Joseph K

Dave replies:
Nice challenge, Joseph. Indeed there are many perceptions and the question 'Who am I?' bears much thought and has no easy answer. 'Spiritual' also means different things to different people, perhaps because like the notion of self, it has much to with what we conceive it to be. There's a spectrum of perception, from coldly scientific to highly spiritual. I like to walk this path and am happy that people can take a stance at any point. My background is scientific so I tend towards that end of the line but I'm also an emotional human and try to stay in touch with my spiritual self. The trick is to be happy wherever you are, and I can see dreaming from either standpoint. All in all, it's a curious, wonderful world, including whatever dreams may be.

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