Dream Analysis/Interpretation by Dream Analyst
Gerald Gifford {at Forum #1}

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Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

Look at this leadin to a Reader's Digest article from the Sleep Neuroimaging Research Program {you have to subscribe to Reader's Digest to read the whole article}. Other fields of science, acknowledging that psychology is a science, booster many of Jung's theories on dreams. Look at the terminology in the first paragraph in this statement.

Your Brain on Dreams
The simple science of dreams.
By Michael J. Weiss

At the Sleep Neuroimaging Research Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, researcher Eric Nofzinger, MD, delves into the brains of sleeping subjects using PET scans normally employed to detect cancer and other diseases. By injecting subjects with mildly radioactive glucose, he's traced the source of dreams to the limbic system, a primitive . During dreaming, the limbic system explodes like fireworks with neural activity, suffusing our dreams with drama.

Primitive part of the brain. Compare that to Jung's assertion that archetypes come from the primitive mind, the oldest part of the mind relied on 'inherent' instincts as much as brain development.

part of the brain that controls emotions. A primary function of dreams are about our emotions. Something I state often in my interpretations.

"suffusing our dreams with drama"....our life is a stage, lived in drama. Drama is a large part of our dreams. They are seldom benign, uninteresting. Every dream is an orchestrated play with the dreamer being the producer, the director and the actors.

From the second paragraph

"That's why so many dreams are emotional events," says Nofzinger, "where we're running from danger or facing an anxious situation. The part of the brain that controls dreams also orchestrates our instincts, drives, sexual behavior and fight-or-flight response." Meanwhile, the frontal lobes of the brain that govern logic disengage, explaining why dreams are often bizarre combinations of events and people.

"That's why so many dreams are emotional events"." Again, our dreams are about the different emotional forces that make up the dreamer's emotional life. Every physical experience is also a psychological event. Not every psychological event is a physical experience.

The part of the brain that controls dreams also orchestrates our instincts, drives, sexual behavior and fight-or-flight response. Sexual behavior, drives, instincts, Jung's different aspects of the psyche.
Fight or flight is how we often see ourselves in dreams...running away, trying to escape, fighting an enemy, slaying a dragon. Most of our dreams are presented in one or the other, fighting or fleeing.

"why dreams are often bizarre combinations of events and people." the bizarre combinations, the strange symbolic language of dreams.

These are physical reasons why our dreams as they are. Jung has provided the psychological reasons. They fit with each other, naturally.
Looking at the dream in a logical, scientific manner supports Jung's theories of dreams.

Next we can explore the science of quantum physics and see much of the same language and applications as in Jung's concepts of the psyche. The depth of Jungian psyche can be see in 'Carl Jung’s and Wolfgang Pauli’s concept of the complementary relationship between radioactivity and synchronicty.'

This is deep stuff. More reason to read Joseph Campbell as a primer to Jung. A good intuitive mind can 'tap' into those same depths if there is a discipline to follow that 'path of self discovery'. To 'go inward', deep into the depths of one's own psyche, can open one to 'knowledge' that is unseen although it has been there all along. The dream looks at both, the personal and the universal, one's own inner truths as well as the universal truths.
The archetypes of the psyche come from the deepest depths of the mind. The physical brain and the psychological mind correspond on every level. The reason we see the same terminology in so many different sciences. The reason why the same concepts will apply at the different levels of science. All the more to understand 'what is true here on earth is true in the deepest reaches of outer space.'

After all, it is all related.

Jerry

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Re: Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

A correction. In the first paragraph where it reads
'By injecting subjects with mildly radioactive glucose, he's traced the source of dreams to the limbic system, a primitive' this should be added to the end of the sentence,
'a primitive part of the brain that controls emotions.'

The 'two' points from this paragraph I was making is what Jung stated as the primtive mind still retaining its psyche energies which produces the 'archetypes' we experience in dreams. The second point of course is the function of dreams is to provide the dreamer with info about the dreamer's emotional life. The fact the dream resides in the same area of the brain that controls emotions supports this function of the dream. It is only natural that the dream is about the emotions since it does reside in the same limbic system.

Jerry

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Re: Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

Hi Jerry, I just wanted to add the observation that I believe all mammals share the limbic system, which would help explain why animals are capable of showing affection and experiencing emotions just like us.

Your post reminded me of a conversation in a Jung seminar book where he discusses not necessarily the anatomy of emotions but something very similar, where he says "the white man in Europe is afraid of death because he has lost the body- he has lost his friend Enkidu." Enkidu being the primitive limbic or lumbar(?) aspect of Gilgamesh.

It almost reads itself it's so good. I only reread the first two pages. Perhaps he elaborates more further on. The page begins with him speaking about Zarathustra.

http://books.google.com/books?id=igc64p-RsmQC&pg=PA250&lpg=PA250&dq=notes+on+a+seminar+nietzsche+cortex&source=bl&ots=5jMUTRYV6i&sig=e4O5_X8LXP1D5hEIlg_KCNPDXtY&hl=en&ei=poPETKKyNM3KnAeIp5WLCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=2&sqi=2&ved=0CBkQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q&f=false

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Re: Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

Sam,
Thanks for the link. Let's forewarn anyone who does wish to read the passages, they do get 'deep'.

As for your observation/belief all mammals share the limbic system. All the more reason to understand how evolution works. 'All things are related' and when we get to the higher forms of life we realize how related we are to one another. The primative mind is still active if accessed within modern man's psyche.

On the subject of evolution {which I whole heartly believe in}. Something I have discovered about so many things/aspects in life is they do evolve. It is important to understand this process when engaged in the hero journey {the process of Individuation}. There are distinct stages and it fits in some order on all levels of consciousness {abiding by Campbell's descrip where you see energy there is consciousness}. Not only of human consciousness but of nature itself {what we think of as universal consciousness-the universal mind, unseen and unknowable}.

Take the hero journey. It is an evolution of personal, psychological and spiritual growth. A process with defined stages {and like nature, each can have many variations but still fit a definable pattern-s}. Within each stage there is an evolution of lesser stages. Just when you think you have ascended to the highest peaks you discover you have merely transcended one more level of consciousness. New awareness but not an ultimate awareness.
The final stage, death, is the ultimate transition. Where that goes we can only speculate. No one knows or can ever know. But if death follows the set patterns we have discerned within nature the 'hereafter' would have an evolution of its own. Of course this is all predicated on there being a 'soul'. We know the body doesn't survive death and if there is 'anything' in the hereafter then it would be the soul's journey {as is life itself, one more experience for the soul}.
Following the rule in interpreting death in dreams, which symbolizes 'something coming to an end' in the dreamer's life, then with an end to something there is a new beginning, a new birth. There would be a resurrection of soul from body to whatever lies beyond conscious human life.

Nature has its way and evolution, i.e. the journey, has a defined order, on all levels. If we want to understand the process of life on any, and all levels, we need only look to the set patterns within nature to discover the truths that govern all things. Jung and Campbell tap into that order beyond conscious life and provide clues to the possibilities. What, for me, makes their philosophies a greater possibility is they have at least a partial foundation in science. And the more new science I see in all te studies and experiements the more I find support of these philosophies.

Let's deviate one more time from the subject we were following {I am acting in the form of Jung, going down one path and along the way exploring the other possibilities, then returning to the original subject-very confusing and often hard to keep up}. I came across this web site:
Seven Foundational Principles for Interpreting Dreams
Here are the basics of those principles:
1} Most dreams are symbolic (including biblical dreams), so view them the same way you would view a political cartoon. Throw the switch in your brain that says, “Look at this symbolically.”
2} The symbols will come from the dreamer’s life, so ask, “What does this symbol mean to me?” or, if working on another’s dream, ask, “What does this symbol mean to you?”
3} The dream generally speaks of the concerns which your heart is currently facing. So ask, “What issues was I processing the day before I had the dream?”
4} The meaning of the dream must be drawn from the dreamer. Realize you know nothing about the dream, but through dependence upon the Holy Spirit and the skillful use of questions, you can draw the meaning of the dream out from the heart of the dreamer
5} The dreamer’s heart will leap and “witness” and say, “Aha!” when it hears the right interpretation, so never accept an interpretation that does not bear witness in the dreamer’s heart.
6} Dreams reveal but do not condemn. Their goal is to preserve life, not to destroy it
7} Never make a major decision in your life based only on a dream without receiving additional confirmation from the other ways that God speaks to us and guides us (peace in our hearts, the counsel of others, illumined Scriptures, God’s still small voice, prophecy, anointed reasoning, etc.).

Sound familiar? If you haven't yet determine the source of these principles, they are Christian. Of course they fall pretty much along the lines of what Jung prescribed in working with dreams. Even down to the spiritual aspect but of course which also has to be taken symbolically {not naming God as religions do}. As I have stated before, and it is apparent if one 'Googles' the many web sites on the subject of dreams and their interpretations, Jung's philosophy of the dream has become the established authority in almost all forums that can be taken seriously. Being called a 'Jungian' is becoming a worthy notation on ones resume. The down side is so few people are capable of understanding these truths because they are so controlled by teh ego-centric mind and are not able {due to a lack of discipline and a need for something outside themeselves to latch onto as their support system} open up to deeper possibilities.

Jerry

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Re: Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

To speak to your statements about people not being able to understand and not having the discipline:

I don't think it takes much more than an average intelligence to have a deep impression that the world is a great mystery. Even if I had never stumbled on Jung and Campbell, I think it would take little more that one of those once in a blue moon dreams that shake you out of bed in order to get me on the trail toward Jung and Campbell. I could have easily been a great believer in rationalism and strict science, but at some point as a maturing adult, I would have had that dream.

So many dreams about light, it shows in every context that they want to be allowed into consciousness.

I am beginning to see the discipline of this process of integrating the unconscious as exacting as anything anyone can do. It is almost like there has to be a certain amount of lucidity or consciousness in the dream, things just can't happen TO you, but one has to participate. This would explain dreams about light, there usually follows something very rememberable.

Saturday night was kind of a new experience for me, where I got into that state of watching images and scenes and mentally noting them. I had a dream in which I became lucid and was able to interact with it for a much more prolonged time than before. I know trying to control a dream is pointless. I heard of a lucid dream where a guy flew into the air, but dirt and grass kept showing up above him no matter what he did.

My dream was very emotional, it involved a lawn full of little candles, a young man speaking a little like Philemon, and a black guy who had all my insecurities and we all laughed when people jested with him. I was able to maintain a high level of consciousness during this little dream. Maybe more than needed, but I do think part of the discipline you speak of is to be more conscious so to speak, so that when you wake up, you don't have to fight as hard to pull out of a kind of torpor.

Anyway, I know you are looking across a vast expanse at my psychology, but I thank you for the great patience and compassion.

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Re: Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

Sam,
First I will address your personal journey then in another post add to the overall thesis. There is so much to say about these two subjects, intelligence and discipline I don't want to add confusion to what applies to you and what I generally think about these issues.

"I am beginning to see the discipline of this process of integrating the unconscious as exacting as anything anyone can do."
The process is as much a discipline as it is an integration. Taking that inward journey requires much courage and the discipline not to back away from the task will determine whether you succeed or whether this phase in your life passes and you go a different route. At 33 you are capable of becoming a true 'Jungian' and a teacher. As part of the hero journey it is required that what you learn you share with all mankind. Not in just the teaching but as the example also. To integrate the unconscious as a vital part of the conscious life is a discipline within itself.

"I know trying to control a dream is pointless."
I say Amen to that. Not that lucid dreaming doesn't have its place. But by controlling the dream I believe you remove the therapeutic value of the dream. I don't know if the dream can be without bias if there is a controlling element of it.

"I do think part of the discipline you speak of is to be more conscious so to speak."
The discipline is to listen to the unconscious and abide by what is there. Then apply what you discover to the conscious life. The ego wants one thing and it is often opposite what is best. All dreams are emotional and the task is to control the emotions in the waking life and not the unconscious. Go with the flow of the dream so you can remember what it has to say about the true self. Often that is opposite of the ego self.

Jerry

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Re: Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

Sam,
My point is it doesn't require great intelligence to access the 'hidden knowledge' within the psyche. But we have to understand what 'intelligence' is to gain insights to the abilities of an individual. The standard intelligence tests used to gauge I.Q are biased because they primarily judge what you have learned and not what you are capable of knowing/learning. They lack the ability to judge intuitive knowledge and instinctive sensing, something I believe is more valuable in understanding psyche processes than an IQ average. By the standards used in IQ testing I am average. But if that is true my understanding of Jungian psyche would be impossible since such tests would suggest my intelligence isn't high enough to understand the very difficult Jung. It is through my intuitive understanding, the natural process of knowing, that I am able to comprehend Jungian psyche {psyche not only being short for psychology but also including the study of the 'metaphysical' processes beyond the normal range of the science of psychology}. I think of myself as an 'intuitive Jungian'. The in-depth academics are not my greatest interest {they may have been if I had pursued my interest in psychology when I a young man}. My abilities to understand and interpret dreams are as much intuitive as they are academic. And God{dess} knows my mind doesn't possess great abilities of memory {which could be partly blamed on an early childhood head injury}. Anyone with a good intuitive sense, and we all possess such abilities, can learn to develop this natural sense and in the process develop higher intelligence abilities.

As for discipline. There is a general disability to possess the disciplines needed to advance past the 'average' being because modern humans are so dedicated to material worth and the need to 'look outside' themselves for spiritual and personal support. If a person has an addiction, and we all do or have had to some degree, then they either can find ways to overcome those negatives or go through life half heartedly trying. Or as most people do avoid the effort all together. The minds of modern humans are frail because life has become too easy, modern science providing newer ways to avoid using those capacities to think for oneself. We have become too dependent on outer resources and have neglected the inner sources that have sustained mankind throughout history {early humans depended as much on sensory abilities as they did intelligence}. If we were all to look inward we could access those disciplines needed to overcome our negatives. And we wouldn't need religion as a crutch, we would be in touch with the true spiritual Self that Jung talks about. The obesity rates are increasing at alarming rates and it is primarily because there is not a discipline to say no to what the body craves. Add in the greed factor of the corporate world and you can see why there is such a decline in the health of so many. It is the battle of body vs will with will losing on all fronts.

Dreams are the emotions. The emotional battles we have to endure in life are part of the reason for a lack of discipline. We are overwhelmed with so much effort to survive and fit in that there is not an ability to look for the proper resources that do sustain a balanced and harmonious life. Jung is all about finding those resources and the discovery of those emotional negatives and resolving the conflicts that caused them.

I feel my own life experiences {something else IQ tests fail to properly gauge} have helped me gain insights to the world around me. God{dess} knows I have had more than my share of emotional experiences when it comes to human contact {looking for love in all the wrong places}. If I could go back and do it all over again I would in a heart beat. But not being able to do that, it is from those experiences that I do have an 'extra' sense of what ails others emotionally. Add an intuitive sense {something I realize I have possessed since I was a young man and have developed to a higher degree in my working with dreams} and I believe my 'intelligence' has grown to a higher ability than if I had never began this journey inward. Does that make me an Einstein, no. But I dare say the ability to understand just by reading a dream, or reading a person, is enhanced to a level that few reach {again, because they are so focused on the outer self and ignore the inner world}.

I subscript to what Joseph Campbell responded to when asked about faith. 'I don't need faith, I have experience'. The outer experiences over a life time and the inner experiences that go beyond mere intelligence. There are hidden truths to be discovered within, personal and universal truths that put one on a course that will bring about harmony and balance. But without discipline these truths can never be discovered. It doesn't require great intelligence but it does require great physical, psychological and spiritual discipline. That is a big part of the hero journey, the tasks of overcoming the obstactles in life that prevent the harmony and balance we seek. It seldom comes in a flash but requires a process that evolves over time. Staying the course is the biggest, baddest dragon the hero faces in the journey to wholeness. The discipline to do so is what makes or breaks the effort.

Jerry

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Re: Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

Hi Jerry, I was thinking on the night after my last reply that I should refine what I meant by being conscious in the dream. I think what I meant more clearly, is first, one needs the discipline in order to bring the contents into waking life. And after that regular communication, archetypes begin to move, or personal personifications (projections) of those archetypes. Would you agree that when in a dream, light or lightning, or some flash occurs, it can be associated with that urge for the unconscious things (forgotten, repressed, etc.) to be re-known or discovered or acknowledged by the ego? I wonder if it can be said of a light related experience, which I can think of having a handfull of dreams of these, that they represent more or less the upward surge of the unconscious and it's personifications toward conscious recognition, and that recognition can even be acceptance of something painfull to the ego, not always an ethereal revelation, but a necessary step toward further spiritual development.

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Re: Our dreams come from the part of our brain that controls our emotions

Sam,
A flash of lightning can represent awareness or insights. But unconscious awareness is not always the same as conscious awareness. That would depend on the other symbols and how they fit within the dream. I do agree that so many dreams with lighting would suggest a good possibility of conscious awareness. Do you have a dream where lightning was a part?

As for archetypes. I think it important to distinguish between what I see as the 'lesser' and the deeper archetypes Jung spoke about. Here is the definition of Jung's archetypes which appear in dreams during major life changes or realizations.






Jung's Archetypes

Self-portraits of the instincts. The instinctive forces and instinctive strategies or ways of behaving. 'Archetypal images' are the symbols through which these instinctive things show themselves in dreams.

Archetypal images include symbols that occur in mythology, fairytales and religions. They are older than mankind and belong to the collective unconscious. Archetypal images are symbols that represent contents within the psyche that were never conscious experiences.

They are the 'universal' symbols that are available to us all even though we have no knowledge of them in our waking lives.










Lesser Archetypes


Then there are those images which partially fit the description of major archetypes but not completely. They fit with the 'inherited patterns, or forms of thought and experience' but not the mythological images as in Jung's description. Recurring images that are constant representations such as a house or a car. These do not often represent a major life change or realization but do depict a universal representation. Of course if there is an image of the 'President's house' or a 'royal auto' you may be entering into the world of major archetypes. There are many images that may be thought of as major archetypes but are not. To discern if they are one only need to look at the waking life and see if there are major changes taking place or if there have been recent major realizations in ones life. A dragon may or may not be archetypal. For someone like myself who uses the dragon as a term representing social obligations, dreaming of a dragon may simply be an emotional response to my conflict with social duty. But when I had my dream in the late 90s of the large black woman whom I determined as Kali it was at a time of realizations that led to my greater interest in interpreting dreams as well as a prelude top my creating Myths-Dreams-Symbols. It was a major change to my life. Dreaming of a large black
woman that is ordinary would represent a recent
experience that may be an unconscious conflict or even an encounter in my waking life with such a woman {but with a deeper aspect also}.


Major archetypes are not usual for most people. Because a person dreams about the President or even a mythological character does not mean it is a 'Jungian' archetype. Again it must fit with major aspects within the dreamer's life of changes or realizations. The age of the dreamer is always important since an older person is more likely to have major changes happening in life thus producing
a dream with an archetypal image. Most dreams are ordinary on the surface. But when you go into the depths of any dream, especially of an older person who has accumulated the baggage of experiences from life, you will discover aspects of personality, foundations of personality and behavior and most important a discovery of the true self as opposed to the mask we wear in our ego life.

All experiences in life are psychological. A physical experience is always a psychological experience as well. But a psychological experience need not be a physical experience. Dreams address all psychological experiences that have great psyche energies that affect the emotions. Major archetypes represent the psychological imagery in dreams that depict 'numinous' psyche energies. Simple archetypes {my termnology} are universal imagery that represent the characteristics in the dream that represent the dreamer. One is usual, simple, the other unusual, major.
Jerry

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Re: Be in the moment

A new study out showing that a 'wandering' mind is an unhappy mind. In other words when a person is not focused on what they are doing at that very moment they are most likely dwelling on something negative in life. If one spends so much time on the negatives when they should be paying attention to what is at hand they are not only putting oneself at risk due to inattention but are also affecting the stress levels. As we all know stress is a 'killer', leading to many physical and psychological ailments that can be avoided.

"Just what sorts of places does the mind wander?
Reminiscing (and ruing) past events, looking forward to (or fearing) things that might happen in the future."

"Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people's happiness," Killingsworth said in the statement. "In fact, how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged."



You may ask, if I am looking at the past and rueing past events how am I suppose to reconcile those emotional conflicts that are often an unconscious force in how I live life? Jung's theory of balance and harmony 'is' to reconcile the past. When is this to be done and how?

The answer is to focus on such experiences in a constructive way, giving time to properly consider what those past experiences hold. Not just giving attention to it in a passing moment but actual time and effort concentrating on the past. By doing that you are not only 'living in the moment' but also making that moment worth while. Truly living in the moment and by doing so participating in the Individuation of self, self analyzing those foundations of your life.

Joseph Campbell tells us if we are depressed or thinking about things that are depressing we should merely change what we are thinking about. Of course that is easier said than done. It requires discipline, the same discipline the 'hero/heroine' of myth possesses in their journey to wholeness. And let there be no mistake about it, the ultimate quest of the hero journey is psychological. And the the Holy Grail is a metaphor for a balanced and harmonious soul.

What is even greater than being in the moment, putting your focus and thoughts on what is before you? Not thinking at all. The method for doing that is yoga. To reach that place where you can 'not think' requires a lot of effort and concentration, or should I say lack of concentration on not to think, letting the senses take over and the mind stand still. Very much like the dream state but without the actions of effort and experiences. You just are, in the body and nothing else. I have been there although I have not practiced yoga in a long time. I tend to use dreams as a type of meditation, dwelling on the inner life and reaching the soul through a different path. Both are soulful, wonderful experiences. If you are able to put yourself in a position to 'be in the moment'.

Jerry

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