Monday, September 24, 2007

Dreams, 2

As you know, now and then I love to talk about dreams and the unconscious, at least partly because of their mysterious relationship to creativity. I've started keeping track of my dreams again, as I do rather formally now and then, and I use the techniques in this post.

For the theologically inclined, there's a nice little book called Dreams: A Way to Listen to God, written by the late Episcopal priest and Jungian, Morton Kelsey. Even for the non-theologically-inclined, I think his advice is basic and accurate:

From his section called, "How to Interpret Dreams":

1. The cardinal rule for those who wish to understand their dreams is to write them down.

If you don't write it down within five minutes of awakening, you'll probably forget it. According to Kelsey, the dream laboratory of the US Navy in San Diego did research that indicated that 95% of dreams are forgotten after five minutes if not told or written down.

2. Take your dreams seriously.

Kelsey says, "If you seriously believe that a power lives in the realm of the unconscious that wants to speak to you, then you will begin to give serious attention to your dreams and they will begin to speak to you."

3. Pay attention to images.

He says, "It is important to familiarize ourselves with our inner images. The dream brings us into contact with problems in our unconscious that need to be explained and worked out."

4. Make associations.

Kelsey: "Pay attention to the associations you have with particular dream contents. I once had a very short dream, much like a vision. I saw a pink peach pit. Now what could a pink peach pit mean for me? I associate peaches with the state of Georgia. The memory touched a sore spot in my unconscious, and it became clear that I had repressed a certain problem because I shied away from a situation that had taken place in that state."

5. Pay attention to repetitions.

Kelsey: "When a dream repeats itself, it is usually important. It is as if a friend is poking us in the ribs advising us to pay better attention this time."

6. Listen to the dream as if it were a play or a movie.

"The dream can be regarded as a play with various actors representing different parts of ourselves. When we see a play, we usually do not need another person to go along and explain it. We see the beginning, we follow the situation, and the development of the action, and we usually understand the solution or conclusion. We can follow the action of a long dream in the same manner. Most dreams appear to be enacted on the stage of our soul to teach us something." Kelsey suggests that when they're not easy to understand, telling them to a friend who knows us well may help. " Note from Nan: It would have to be a VERY honest friend. :)

7. Learn to understand archetypal symbols. "(They) appear in the dreams of almost all people and carry a universal meaning in addition to a personal one."


Nancy P said...

That was a great party yesterday!

I can say that, because it is 13 minutes after midnight where I am.

Off to bed and dreams.

I'll see you when the sun shines.

FARfetched said...

Kelsey repressed a situation that had taken place on Planet Georgia? He ought to try living here. :-D

I've seen short lists of dream symbology before. A Google put at the top of the list, so it might be worth checking out.

Yup, that was a great party... no hangovers either!

AndiF said...

I like to be contributor, so in lieu of dreamstuff, I'll offer up a dreamlike image.

Family Man said...

Morning Nancy.

I never have paid too much attention to dreams. To do all that writing and remembering seems like a lot of work to me. :)

Hope everyone has a good day.

Nancy P said...

LOL farfetched, I thought of you when I read "Georgia."

Andi, that really is a dreamlike image. Thanks for that!

Family Man, yeah, it is a bit of work,so a person's really got to have the desire to do it. Or be crazy. I like to think I qualify on both counts. :)

Nancy P said...

Man, have I had an interesting (to me) series of four dreams in the last four nights. As I went to bed on the first night--after rereading sonme of the Kelsey book--I promised my unconscious to pay more attention and to start writing dreams down again. It promptly rewarded me, dream, dream, dream, dream.

I say "unconscious," and not "subconscious," because Jung always said dreams don't tell us what we already know--or sort of know. They tell us what we don't know. What we are un
conscious of, in other words.

Good morning!

Nancy P said...

Oh, this is nice. Late on the party thread, farfetched said that Kelly's diary at Daily Kos had made the "rescued diary" list. (He's KMc over there.) Here's what they said in pointing people's attention to it:

Work, sweat, bleed for something...and eventually, you will probably hit the wall and contemplate quitting. What you do when you hit it is the real topic of this excellent diary, and it applies equally to all of us who are political activists. Don't miss KMc's inspiring diary, Never Surrender! Kossack #22776 Book-Launch: Cybermancy.

Conda said...

Has anyone besides me had story plots or characters or plot elements come to you in dreams? It doesn't happen often, but when it does, I feel like I'm cheating, I'm asleep! And I do have to wake up and write it down immediately.

How about dreaming in color?

And what happens to me if a kitchen smell lingers...I'll dream about that food all night long. Ick.

Nancy P said...

I have friends who dream character and plot lines, and I wish I did, too!

Dreaming in color. . .I'm glad you said that. It made me realize my dream last night was in color, even if the color was mostly tan. :)

FARfetched said...

Nice shot, Andi… I could dream of being there.

I dream in color, usually, and I think I've got one story idea out of a dream I had. I do keep a notepad & a pen under my side of the bed, in case I need to write something down, but that usually happens before I get to sleep.

Anonymous said...

I wake up and realize that I've dreamed an entire book/movie with believable characters, gripping plot, etc. etc. - and then it vanishes in a second. I NEVER get 5 minutes! Usually half a second.

So I know it's in there somewhere - all I have to do is coax it out and onto paper...

Dream away, folks!

Kelly McCullough said...

Nancy, Thanks for a hell of a great party!

Conda, I do that quite frequently. In fact, it's how I know that I'm really done with the structuring of the current book. I basically don't remember any of my dreams when I've got a work in deep progress-my unconscious seems to use dreams for processing. Then, when I hit the end of the book, or at least the end of the hard stuff, I start dreaming vividly, often stuff that turns into the next book or story.

Nancy P said...

Wow, Conda and Kelly, that is so cool. I'm going to tell my unconscious to get with the program!

Beth, what sometimes helps me is to start telling myself the dream the minute I wake up, before I open my eyes, even, much less write it down. I say key words to myself over and over to help me remember the scenes. Like, "Back yard. Veldt. Jackrabbit. Chomp. Many animals. Picture window." (And that's just the opening scene of last night's dream movie, lol.)

FARfetched said...

This 43 Folders posting from today may be appropriate if you need a a little extra dream-time….

Nancy P said...

far, I went to that site. Funny! This particularly boggled me (and Dali was just crazy enough for me to think it might be true):

The way Salvador Dalì did this was his secret to creating those fantastic paintings without the use of hallucinogenic drugs. He prepped his canvas, his paints, everything, and leaned back against the wall, holding a spoon in his hand, and as he hit that weird psychedelic dream state, he’d drop the spoon. The clatter would wake him up, and viola, another surreal (and disturbing) masterpiece.

Kelly McCullough said...

Beth, Nancy's suggestion is great. One thing that I do along the same lines is to try to grab the strongest images and tell myself a story about them while I head for the keyboard. It may not set the exact story of the dream, but it does set a powerful part of the story.

boran2 said...

Unfortunately, I remember few of my dreams these days, usually only the occasional nightmare. It's been a while, but I've often been chased by someone. And in real life people are usually running from me. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Nancy and Kelly. I'll try it - and maybe I'll find gold! :-)

Running FROM you, Boran? Too funny. Maybe the chainsaw in your hand is sending the wrong message...

Nancy P said...

b2 and beth, lol!

Night, all. . .

Valery said...

Great post! thanks! May be you'll be interested to read one more about how to interpret dreams.