Dream Myths-Our hidden desires and fears
Dreams or Nightmares?
Each night we sleep, but do we remember our dreams? We associate dreams with pleasant desires and nightmares as inherent fears. We cannot escape our subconscious mind that reveals our true desires and reminds us of our guilt and fears.
Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’, A Christmas Carol, exemplifies this as there is no escape as he is visited by ghosts in his dreams that haunts his conscience. His repressed fears, regrets and guilt are shown to him as his conscience is reawakened. The truth is revealed; that he lost his fiancée due to his greed and the potential death of Tiny Tim gives Scrooge the opportunity to reevaluate his actions and to change the potential outcome.
Many of us carry guilt throughout our lives and they remain at the back of our minds and can return to haunt us when we least expect it. The scale doesn’t matter, as it’s your own conscience that is processing how to let go and to forgive yourself, or to apologize and make amends.
Can you handle the truth?
Dreams also reveal our hidden desires as we envisage what we really want to do, where we want to be and who we want in our lives. Suppressing these desires and ignoring them can lead to an unfulfilled and sad life, while we need balance, material gains do not bring true happiness. The power of our dreams is strong and should not be ignored; they are messages to tell us where our journey should be heading. Often dreams repeat, indicating they are significant, guiding us to what could happen or as warnings to ensure we do not stray in the wrong direction.
Do you believe dreams can come true?
Signs, symbols and messages
When you are aware you are dreaming, but have no control except to observe and feel what is happening, it can be confusing as no one can see or hear you. This is how some psychics have premonitions and receive messages. Others call it dreamwalking, where you are observing in other peoples dreams, but you feel you are in another realm of time and space. It could be from a past life memory or a metaphorical warning.
This type of dreaming when in deep REM is when you recall things, they may come in flashes and parts of the dream might provoke a reaction. If you are dreaming you are falling down some stairs, your legs may shake and your body reacts as if it were happening. These are powerful subconscious reactions, that no book on symbols or websites on interpretations can analyze or explain the precise message to you.
Symbols have a different meaning to everyone, there are the universal ones of being chased (fear and a threat) or to dream of mountains (obstacles), but each of us has a different relationship with what it means to us. In addition, during dream analysis it is important to recall the emotions during the dream, whether you felt confident, scared or confused; this needs to be interpreted in conjunction with the symbols in the dream.
Nightmares or guilt?
There are dreamcatchers that filter out bad dreams, only allowing good dreams to come through. Traditionally they were used by the Native Americans to help children to sleep and make sure they were safe. However, some bad dreams are necessary if guilt eats away at a tortured soul—it needs to release the negative energy that is building up and a dream is natures way of telling the person, it needs to be confronted and resolved. There are things we cannot escape.
Stanley Krippner's Mythic Conflict
Professor Stanley Krippner, an expert on dream psychology amongst other things, developed in his research, exercises to recognize and address dream myths using visual imagery. Here is a very brief overview of his extensive work, where I had the privilege to attend a workshop and discuss theories with him.
The Mythic Conflict is how we can interpret our beliefs (myths) and how we deal with them. There are several solutions to choose from.
Not necessarily a defeat, but an acceptance of others beliefs, or a win versus lose situation
Finding common ground and negotiating the best solution for all concerned, by weighing up the good and the bad
To view myths in a positive light and to realize what can be learnt and developed
An unresolved myth where a solution or a different perspective is not as yet achievable
What influences personal myths are a mixture of sociological factors; cultural traditions, peer pressure, social environment, media influence and personal ethics and morals. Understanding why we have certain myths can help us resolve and confront those we have difficulty in releasing, often these are repressed emotions or from being in denial.
Facing your fears
One way of confronting and releasing your demons is using Behavioral Rehearsal. This exercise requires you to talk to yourself and rationally question why you hold onto beliefs that are negative and holding you back. It’s like being your own therapist, by questioning how and what steps you need to take to let them go and how that would make you feel. You must feel free to elaborate and be open; use your imagination as the seemingly impossible and theoretical can become reality. By putting yourself literally in others shoes, it can open up alternative perspectives and bring about unprecedented resolutions that may not have been considered before. You may begin to question your beliefs or why you choose to compromise and even reevaluate why you behave as you do—through choice or as a reaction to others actions.
There are myths we are all loath to accept or want to acknowledge, so an exercise in revealing the myths to yourself can be painful and difficult. Revealing some personal myths to yourself can be used as a tool for self-development and an exercise in understanding:
- Why you have those myths (Experience)
- How they came about (Influence)
- Potentially, how they fit in your life path (Discard or Develop)
Drawing your own myth map (your fears or beliefs, inspired and motivated by hypothetical scenarios) you take from it, why you have the myth and then decide if you want to discard it or if it is one you want to work towards. Myths can be negative, positive or inspiring—it is how they can fit into your life and make you feel better about yourself and how they can assist you in your journey.
For example, ‘I should be free to do what I want, as long as it does not affect anyone else’, can be a positive myth to be worked on. A belief you hold, but sometimes are not confident of upholding due to fear of what others may think. Another could be, ‘Relationships take more than love to work’, could mean different things to each of us as past experiences influence how we feel. It may be something to work on or to release if that myth stemmed from a bad experience.
Learn more about Stanley Krippner
Naturally, we can have any number of myths, but we should look at the ones that resonate and recur in life in an attempt to resolve them. What is a myth? One can define it, as something we believe is as true and valid through hearsay, cultural traditions, superstitions, bad experiences or social and media influences, but it is our perception that matters.
Our dreams and the myths they reveal to us, show the authentic and true self that society has conditioned us into concealing and repressing. Only when we are alone in a dream state that these underlying issues surface and we remember them so we know to address them.
Don’t fear the dream because it is your true self, sending you messages—telling you what you really want to do in life and what is holding you back!