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 staff.


Why do I dream that I'm swimming in mud? There's no water where ever I'm swimming, even in the ocean. I dream this dream all the time.


The meaning of dream is best left up to the dreamer, but sometimes it is useful to hear what other people might do with the dream if it was theirs. If this were my dream...

In my dreams I am always trying to move through places that continually resist me. I feel that there should be an easier substance here to swim through. Even in places where huge bodies of liquid elements should be there is only this mud. My mind wanders into mythical stories about coagulation.

The cosmogony of the Native North Americans often has the story of the earth-diver, who continually brought up bits of mud from the depths of the sea to create the dry land. In Hindu mythology there is a great flood, and afterwards, the land is created by the continual churning of the waters into mud, and finally land. "Like the Butter hidden in Milk, there resides the Pure Consciousness. It is to be constantly churned, with the mind serving as the churning rod."

Perhaps like the newly born earth, I am in a process of churning. I swim in mud, I am the churn. I'm a little indecisive. Do I want it to all become water, or to turn into dry land? Perhaps I want to get out of the situation too soon, when what the dream maker really has in store for me is to experience the muddy world itself. It may be that I just need to be stuck in the muck, to experience the muck in all it muckiness. I find this hard, I want to make it into something else, something more controllable -- ahh.

So muckiness is not only about blurred boundaries but also my not being in control. As I scan through my life I see there are a lot of places I have left really fuzzy boundaries and now they require lots of effort to get through. And yet, in accepting the muckiness of these relationships, I can grow in other ways than simply clearing things up, I can learn to find more inner containers that can tolerate things being mucky. After all, it's the best place to plant seeds. I hope the next time I'm having a mud swim, I can just enjoy the muck.


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.


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