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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No Wrong Way To Remember

The other day I was talking with a friend about dreaming logs and he offered me a glimpse of his journal. The dark leather-bound book filled my outreached palms, a slim steel buckle guarded its contents.

“Are you sure? I recognize these matters are sometimes private.” I sheepishly asked.

“Go ahead!” he urged.

I held my breath. My thumping heart made me fumble with the simple latch. Within were the unconscious records of another’s mind, the first scribbled pages felt like mountaintops of the great frontier.

From these a pattern of heavy pen inked drawings emerged. These etchings were extremely stylized and ranged from incomplete to intricate. Long-armed damsels had their curvature enhanced through trans-dimensional gowns. Gaunt gentlemen garbed in gothic suits were surrounded by eerie smoke. They were inspired bits straight from another world!

My friend explained that he enjoys fashion design and often wakes with the memory of these clothing styles. His journal was shudderingly alive with these images and wonderfully disjointed words to supplement….for about 15 pages.

He felt that he wasn’t ‘doing it right’ with journaling and had trouble committing to the practice.

There is no wrong way to record your dreams! I’d have yelled it at him if I had a more alpha personality, but instead I suggested it gently.

So here’s an experiment. Remember the last time you ate icecream….1……2…….3…….Now STOP!

What did you think of? A word? A taste? A sound? An image? Record whatever you thought of on a scrap piece of paper.

A dream recording exercise.

Ice Cream for Ice Cream! I’m no Picasso, but this record will do.

Try again with something else. Remember the last time you pet an animal. How about an audio story? Was it a fast-paced affair or did you cuddle?

[I made an audio recording of this one but apparently can’t insert that on wordpress, does anyone know how to transmit audio here?]

Keep it fresh!

There isn’t a wrong way, but there’s a whole lot of ways to try. Make it personal and fun, don’t stress over the little details. Your dreams are just that, yours!

Dream on little dreamers,

EB

Fishing for meaning in an ocean of dreams

Lately I’ve had an unusually high density of dreams of the nautical nature. Within the past week or so I’ve had three separate dreams that involve fishing as the main plot point.
To give some background I have been fishing since I was about 13 as it is my go-to bonding experience with my grandfather. Ironically neither of us are very good at fishing and we end most outings having caught/released fish too small to eat but happy to have spent the time with the water. Being a 21-year-old now means that I’ve spent a fair amount of time in a Hemmingway trance staring at the beautiful yet unyielding ocean. However, now that I’m in college I live too far from the water to make an easy trek so it’s been a long time since I’ve gone out fishing. 

Now on to the dreams.
I’m out on a anchored speedboat in the middle of a vast ocean. I have my very familiar grey fishing rod with me and cast it out to sea. I wait, the pressure building as I attempted to anticipate the movement of creatures hidden just below the waves. My line pulls taut and I know I’ve caught a big one. For a moment I worry that the rod I brought isn’t strong enough to hold but I end up reeling it in with relative ease. I pulled it up next to the boat and found that it was a marlin about half the size of the boat and clearly heavier than me. Throwing an arm over the side I began trying to haul it up on the boat when I realized there was a princess in the water. Dressed in a fluffy pink dress reminiscent of Princess Peach she was swimming towards the boat to get a better look at the fish. The distraction gave the fish the opportunity to thrash about and break the line. To my surprise he went straight for the princess and casually consumed her before sinking back into the ocean. 

And another one…

I’m in North Carolina on a vacation with my three female younger cousins. We’re in a jacuzzi on the balcony of a rental house overlooking the snowy deciduous forest scenery. All four of us have a fishing rod and are fishing in the middle of the jacuzzi. My grandfather comes out of the house and tells us that there are no fish in the jacuzzi. I got the sudden sense that the jacuzzi was too deep and fearfully got everyone out. I tried to help my 16-year-old cousin put away her fishing rod on the way back into the house but it continually warped into impossible shapes as I tried to secure the hook on the line. Giving up on the rod, I watched as a minuscule child with a somewhat purple hue, who I did not recognize, toddled its way to the jacuzzi. With a quick scoop I saved the child from falling in. I woke up with a strange sense that the tiny child represented my unborn daughter.

The last one is nice and short…

I was lost on a pier. I had the vague inkling that I was there for a purpose but had forgotten it. I saw a large rod left baited leaning against the railing. I cast it out just to see what would happen. For some reason as I cast the line I took the perspective of the bait and went diving headfirst into the water. The shock of this woke me up. 

 

My dreams have been pretty gracious in letting me experience a favorite activity of mine from the comfort of my bed. What do you all think of the fishing in dreams? Is it some kind of metaphor for facing the unknown or something else entirely?

I’d be interested to hear your thoughts below. 

 

Dream on little dreamers, 

EB

 

Dissected Dreams

Dream interpretation is as subjective as the dreams themselves. There is no one way to go about interpreting a dream, but there are a few good things to keep yourself reminded of in the process. 

Carl Jung began a discussion on this topic in Man and His Symbols (1964) by emphasizing that there are two different things encountered in dreams. There are signs which are always less than the concept that they represent and symbols which always represent more than their obvious meaning. 

Signs in dreams are typically things which contribute to an overall theme in the dream, whereas symbols give the dream a “point.” The tricky part is determining what is a sign and what is a symbol as relevance is not always linked to importance in the time of the dream. Arbitrary objects can be key symbols while main characters or scenarios can be just signs to continue the plot. 

In Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams (1900) he references the mystical feeling of dreams in our morning recollection of them. He continues to mention that the great majority of dreams will lead us back to our everyday life rather than release us from it. The content of dreams is determined by the personality, age, sex, education and habits of the person who dreams them. In that way it is essential to look not at the symbols as having some kind of set meaning but rather look for your own reaction to said symbols. 

What I mean to get across through all of this is that when you’re attempting the process of dream interpretation it is not the dream you’re interpreting, but yourself. Stigmas of everyday life do not apply in dreams and you should avoid applying them. If you have sexual contact with a friend from years ago in a dream try not to immediately interpret it as a fantasy and consider your own meanings of sex and that person. 

After all, in dreams and in reality not everything is what it seems. 

 

Dream on little dreamers, 

EB

A key to the past within

It may seem obvious that dreams would draw from the past. Many characters and objects found in your dreams are taken directly from your past experience. But what about when it is not your personal past that your dreams seem to draw from?

Freud termed this “archaic remnants,” a phrase meaning psychic remnants that lie in the human mind from ages ago. This term is used to explain why certain archetypal images seem to reoccur in many peoples dreams. Images such as an evil snake or benevolent angel could be traced back to this psychic residue. 

Is it true or is it theory? I couldn’t say at the moment. I would like it to be true as it would give justification for a future fantasy like that found in Frank Herbert’s science fiction series “Dune.”

In the story of Dune there is a guild of characters known as the Bene Gesserit who essentially use a perfected recall of the memories of their ancestors. This allows them to have super-intelligence and become almost immune to the turmoils in the large scope of the series. 

If we are to ever truly learn from history it is important to internalize its lessons on a personal level. Personally, I’d like the human race to reach the level of the Dune series for a lot of respects (they are really fantastic books by the way). 

In “Man and His Symbols” edited by Carl Jung these “archaic remnants” that we find in dreams are the link between the rational world of consciousness and the world of instinct. 

It would be an interesting future to say the least if we all became better at observing and learning from these instinctual lessons of our subconscious. 

 

That post was a little bit rambled. I hope you don’t mind. What do you think we can learn about the archetypes of our dreams? Do you think dream’s images have the potential to speak from our biological past? 

 

Dream on little dreamers, 

EB

Memory on the fritz? Don’t give up!

I’ll say this as much to you all as I do to myself: When it seems like the dreams just wont come, keep trying! Even if you get one bizarre sentence into your dream journal every morning it’s better than nothing. Every little bit counts.

It’s hard to teach something like dream recording where the results do not always match the effort. It can be discouraging to even try when memorable dreams are rare.

Supplements like Fish-oil and multivitamins can be used to help improve memory recall. Also in Thomas Yuschak’s book “Advanced Lucid Dreaming The Power of Supplements,” Piracetam is said to increase the vividness of dreams if taken in low dosages immediately after experiencing a lucid dream. I’d say that seems like a tough moment to pinpoint to take a pill, but I figured I’d mention it for the sake of intrigue. 

I’ve never been one to take any kind of supplements. I find it important to learn how to deal with the “lows” in your relationship with your dreams. When frustrated, I often begin to dismiss dreams as “meaningless” and slack on my recording routine. 

It’s important to avoid letting this kind of burn-out thinking lessen your faith in dreams. Remember that no matter what every night you have a dream. It can be long or short, vivid or faded and even just wacky but they all mean something. 

If you haven’t remembered last night’s dream, that’s ok. Try again tomorrow! Trust me that your unconscious mind won’t be silent any time soon. 

 

Dream on little dreamers,

EB

Angels and Dreamons

A Dream

I was standing outside on my balcony at night. As I looked out I found there was another apartment building across the road. The other building had a single balcony protruding from its shadowed bulk. I looked closer at the balcony. An ominous black mist emanated from the balcony . As I zoned in to the scene I felt my eyes lose focus.

An angelic figure appeared above me, glowing in white light. I pointed in the direction of the balcony across the way, hoping to bring his attention to the evil aura. I felt him fly away, but from my balcony could only see a glowing white light sinking into indistinct blackness. The white light came back soon after, but still my eyes were unfocused.

Thoughts

Dreams are a place of contrast. With a bit of thought archetypal themes can sometimes be found in dreams. These themes often revolve around simple things like what is large vs. small, what is bright vs. dim or even what is good vs. evil.

We can find these themes by focusing on what seemed important through a dream. Try asking yourself: What colors did you see? What textures did you feel? What sounds did you hear?

Oftentimes it’s not about what you actually saw or heard, but what you felt you saw or heard. If you asked me to describe the “angelic figure” of my dream I would be able to tell you that it was a figure in a bright white light. But I know it was angelic, not because I actually saw the perfect projection of an angel, but because I felt that I was looking at something that would be considered angelic.

I apologize if that seems redundant or arbitrary but I want to make a simple point. Don’t expect too much out of your dreams. You’re going to wake up with vague notions of the relationships that existed in your dreams, so take them at face value. Write what you know and interpret it later.

All that we see or seem

Is but a dream within a dream.

~Edgar Allan Poe

 

Dream on little dreamers,

EB