Dream Coaching (A Ponderous Ramble)

Today a friend of mine interjected our conversation to say that something I said reminded him of his dream last night. I dropped everything and asked if he would be willing to write it down. He meant to start a dream journal, but had never tried. I offered to prompt him through the process, should he be comfortable with the idea of sharing with me.

It blossomed into an interesting gambit of quick-tips as he scribbled fragments of an almost-lost dream. I focused on just getting an outline of the dream rather than trying to create a narrative. I asked general questions about the environment and company, “were you inside or outside?” “was there a crowd of people or a just a few.” With a couple of jumpstarts he was able to remember facts about the dream that he hadn’t originally recalled in our initial conversation.

I tried to stress the need to move forward with the narrative rather than get jammed up on the little details. If an action or character in the dream has you stumped then just note it quickly and move on. As his ideas slowed down, I asked him to draw any vivid images (stick figures allowed) to give him something to look back on. My friend said it was a very useful experience and I wondered if I could recreate it for others.

I like the idea of developing a coaching regiment for dream journaling. I think people would enjoy a lecture on the subject of dream recollection. Would you attend? What tips do you think are important for inexperienced journal keepers?

Dream on Little Dreamers,

EB

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Bittersweet Sigh of a Forgotten Dream

Awakened quickly to ringing tones

I set myself to this day’s home

Traffic hums – the beasts’ moan

Listening to my mind of stones

I feel so close and yet so vague

A woman there, I think, a shade?

Time’s too finite here.

Car door opened, no longer alone

solid things needing to be known.

On desk-like parapet I note a peer…

There were eyes like that one’s

with star mist gaze like talons.

I shook it off, not in this world.

Despite myself, no dream unfurled.

I Dream of a World of Dreamers

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope some day you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” -John Lennon.

I dream (figuratively) of a world that prioritizes the substance of dreamer’s visions. These dreams are not the backwash of our daily lives but rather a vision of our possible futures. I refuse to believe the materialist excuse, which dismisses dreams as a mess of neurotransmitter firings left amok in the absence of a conscious overseer. Mastery of dreams equates to mastery of the self.

The path of psychotherapy is deeply appealing to me. I find its progress greatly inspiring and wish the best for those who advance this science. However, with all the assertion of an undergraduate psychology student I feel that there are some structural flaws in its practice. Subjective analysis, an interpretative approach vulnerable to personal biases,  in psychotherapy is its downfall.

Why can’t we nail down the reactions of the unconscious the same way Pavlov could condition the salivation of a dog? It’s extremely difficult to study, sure. It’s made of a smorgasbord of influences from the environment and genetics and dietary influences, sure. It’s a big scary question mark that has brought many psychologists careers to a shrieking halt, sure. Why don’t we try anyway?

Allowing subjectivity to be a core tenant of your scientific theory is the equivalent to sending a man to the moon with no spacesuit. It will fail and when it does it will be a tragic loss.

I want a version of psychotherapy that focuses less on interpretation and more on causality. One that is purpose-driven in its goal to make dream analysis both a valid and reliable science. Why not experiment on the plasticity of the unconscious mind? Give me ten hours of hanging out in the New York subway system and see if I dream of large crowds and rats, I volunteer!

I just want to see people care about their dreams again. Too often I bring up the conversation only to be met with “I haven’t had a dream in years.” Oh but they have, every night they’ve fallen into REM sleep (unless there’s some sleep apnea going on) they’re dreaming so many utilizable things. It’s so very sad they don’t know it.

Dream on Little Dreamers,

EB

How to Respond to Dream Dissatisfaction

Just a short post today, I think I’ll revisit this topic later.

Sometimes we have dreams that we just plain don’t like. It seems like the easiest way to get back at an unpleasant dream is to forget it, and “just leave this one off the books” so to speak.

I’ll admit that I’ve done this countless times (literally countless because there is no record of the times I’ve done it). Earlier this week I had a friend ask me about whether I have dreams that are too dissatisfactory to record. I answered: “Of course! But I do everything I can to fight that urge and record them anyway.” I provided the example of a nightmare I had where I was the victim of an alleyway rape. It was extremely difficult to motivate myself to record the details of this dream but that struggle paid large dividends on my post-record satisfaction.

From that dream there were many deep-seated themes that I felt were not often approached by my dreams. It seems to me that unpleasant dreams are pockmarked with meaning, which may be part of why they’re so distasteful to wake up from. I find that I’m usually quite grumpy when I wake from these dreams.

It’s a much healthier approach altogether to approach the troubles of your unconscious mind than to repress them. It is a natural product of dream recording that you’re going to have unconscious experiences that are extremely unpleasant to offset the pleasant ones that will also come. Each time I asses one of these dreams I find that I am deeply fulfilled by studying them.

deeply-troubling-Grumpy-Cat

So try to think of Grumpy Cat next time you want to grumpily toss aside your journal.

Dream on Little Dreamers,

EB

Interpreting a dream

First and foremost I’d like to say that making an effort to interpret your dreams is NOT NECESSARY to the skill of lucid dreaming. Nonetheless I feel as though its pretty fun to try to predict the messages of your subconscious, I imagine I’m speaking to an audience that feels similarly seeing as you’re all reading a blog about dreams anyway.

So if its not obvious I’ll readily tell you that dreams are not very consistent with their ease of translation. Some dreams seem to drag on in a way that suits a fiction series whereas others flash by your subconscious mind like a crazed bat. Telling the difference between logical and illogical dream plots is a good first step to interpreting your dreams.

Illogical dream plots often consist of little to no permanent characters (including yourself) and a blatant inconsistency of setting. Not that dreams have to be bound to a single setting but when the settings seem to flash by faster than you can count them it usually signifies a less logical plot. Just because a dream is illogical does not mean that they are uninterpretable.

Interpreting a illogical dream becomes easiest when you stop looking for a moral and start looking for themes. Themes can consist of anything in a dream such as a theme of darkness, a theme of being watched, a theme of silence, or a theme of strangeness.Don’t look too deeply into the details of your dream to find a theme, pay more attention to how YOU feel about the scenario that played out (however odd it might seem).

I once had a dream where a small child stood outside a decrepit hospital then I was suddenly transported to a slum where I was running from two ravenous German Shepard dogs and lastly was  groveling in the dirt apologizing to my suddenly dead dream-father. At first I could see no relation between these things but felt as though everything had an apocalyptic overtone. Using the apocalypse as my theme I was able to interpret that the dream may have had something to do with not living up to my fathers expectations and an over-dramatized fear of the results of my failure.

Logical dreams are a little easier to interpret but overall much more rare. The signal of a logical dream is of course the opposite of everything that would make a dream illogical and also a sense of finality by the end of the dream. What I mean by finality is that you wake up feeling as though you got something accomplished in your sleep as opposed to emerging half-dazed as though from a wild carnival ride.

Interpreting a logical dream is usually based on your ability to characterize those that you met within the dream. Who was in the dream? Who are they in your everyday life? How was the dream-projection of them different from the real version? All characters in your dreams are derivative from people that you have met before, so although it may be difficult try and figure out who that person you met may have been (it could have even been a random passerby) make a serious effort to do so. Characters in your dreams are very much representative of your own psyche more than the psyche of the person they represent. Try to figure out how the dreams’ end-result (such as a death or infatuation) to those characters represents your relationship with that side of yourself.

There are many methods of interpreting dreams, what is most important is whatever satisfies you. Some sites like to give definition based interpretations of dreams. I recommend http://www.dreammoods.com/ and http://www.mydreamvisions.com. They are definitely helpful when just beginning to interpret your dreams although I would advise against becoming too dependent on them as they are just as scientifically based as any guess you would make is (and guessing is just more fun).

 

Dream on little dreamers,

E