QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
Dreams Department

Please remember, this column is designed to help the consumer seeking behavioral-health information, and not intended to be any form of psychotherapy or a replacement for professional, individualized services. Opinions expressed in the column are those of the columnist and do not represent the position of other SelfhelpMagazine.com staff.

Question

How do you work with dream imagery meshing with waking life events? For example, I had a dream where I was sitting in a chair out in a field near trees when it started to rise into the air to fly. I was excited but afraid because as I reached the top of the trees, I knew I didn't have the ability in the chair to stop it from ascending or "land" it when I was ready. So I couldn't fly far because of that. Someone was encouraging me to go ahead and fly. I recently ended a 3 year relationship which I didn't want to end. We eventually separated. This could have something to do with the dream but I have had other "flying" dreams, such as when I was a kid and had dreams where I could skim along just above the ground.

Answer

While individual dreamwork is no substitute for issues that require professional counseling, using dreams to view life issues can be very informative and insightful. One technique is to say, "What does this dream have to say about my situation?" and read the dream as an answer. Since the dream as an answer is not immediately obvious, I can generalize each part of the dream.

If this were my dream....
In my dream I am in a particular field. In the dream it is a meadow like field, but I want to generalize the meaning, so I take it to mean area field, like a field of study, this issue or a field of dreams. In this field I have a flying chair. Now a flying chair is like a vehicle, so its the way I travel or could travel in this particular field. Trees are rooted grow and I can reach the top of my growth in this field in the flying chair. I have some concerns about this vehicle and my control over it, but am encouraged by another.

When I ask myself, what does this dream say about my life situation, I wonder if I have a vehicle or way to move past the rooted growth I have achieved in this field? For me, the question has to do with this new vehicle and whether I can trust not always being in control, or if I have to be able to land it (possess or will it) to go on. The memories from my childhood may provide a clue. I used to have fun just flying in dreams and may have to call on this sense of play to get past my rooted growth in this field.

Of course, your own generalizations may be completely different. The point is that working with the imagery in the dream can slow us down long enough for new insights and ideas to emerge, as well as allowing us to experience novel aspects of being in creative metaphors, such as the feelings and thoughts evoked by the flying chair.

To further slow down the mind so that the image may emerge more fully, I can also dwell on the descriptions of the dream. Just exactly what kind of chair is it, and what color is it? Is there paint on the chair and is the paint peeling? Is the chair stable or rickety? Does it have arms and if so, where on the arms do my own arms rest?

Each of these approaches, generalization and description, give meaning to the dream and allow it to reveal to us its significance.

2/20/98

Richard Wilkerson is general editor for The Internet Dream E-zine, Electric Dreams, and director of DreamGate, the Internet Communications and Dream Education Center. He writes the Cyberphile column for the Association for the Study of Dreams Newsletter.

 

Please help support our SelfhelpMagazine mission
so that we may continue serving you.
Choose your
support amount here:  
 

Back