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.
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
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
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
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.
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.