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Dreams - What They Are and Their Function
Dreams are a succession of images, actions and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind primarily during the REM stage of sleep. Dreams are unbiased, spontaneous products of the unconscious, outside the control of conscious will. The act of dreaming is physical but the contents of dreams is psychological. They are NATURAL expressions of the dreamer's emotional/personal life illustrating experiences that possess strong emotional energies. Although there are literal applications in dreams the primarily language is symbolic, metaphorical of the dreamer's emotional energies.
  • 1. Dreams are about the emotions, emotional energies of the person who is dreaming. They offer advice and a deeper understanding of our waking life as well as the foundations for the emotional energies of the dreamer.

  • 2. The language of dreams is symbolic, but also with literal applications {literal waking experinces}. The symbolic images and actions are metaphors for the patterns or motifs for the dreamer's emotional/psychological/physical life. Every character in a dream is a different aspect of an unacknowledged aspect of the dreamer and/or a prevalent situation in the person's life involving actual persons/experiences {dreams will address both aspects}.

  • 3. The purpose and function of dreams is to guide the conscious self to achieve wholeness and offer a solution to the problems in waking life. Solutions to problems and conflicts from everyday life, as well as the deeper underlying issues, 'emotional injuries' that stem from the foundations of the dreamer {early life experiences and trama experiences in life}.
    ---Dreams attempt to reveal the authentic emotions and feelings that are often concealed from the conscious mind.
    ---Dreams compensate for conscious attitudes and personality traits that are out of balance.

  • 4. Dreams are intentional. Nature provides us with dreams to understand and help heal emotional conflicts/issues. Just as the body has the immune system to heal and protect, the psych{ology} has the dream.

  • 5. Dreams possess 'Archteypal' representations. Archetypes are universal, original patterns and images that derive from the collective unconscious and are the psychic counterpart of instinct. An archetype is an inherited tendency of the human mind to form representations of mythological motifs-representations of the symbolic images/actions without losing their basic emotional pattern. Dreams and mythology share the same archetypal images, myths as illustrations of the universal patterns and dreams as illustrations of personal patterns.

  • 6. All dreams have at least two meanings or applications. One is the symbolic representation, metaphorical of the emotional energies, and the second being a literal application where a person, place or experience is addressing a real life experience. More about this in the Basics of Dream Analysis section at Power of Dreams

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    the freedom to live

    hi all,
    i think a lot of contibutors to the forum will be familiar with joseph campbell and his theme of the hero journey,
    the final part of the quest,as joseph campbell put it,
    the freedom to live.
    i am interested to know what anyone feels this means to them,
    i feel that dreams are part and parcel of our own personal myth,our life,
    and understanding what would give us that "freedom to live"may help us understand
    ourselves a little better,i am pretty sure it will be different for everone,
    regards steve

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    Re: the freedom to live

    Hi Steve,

    What the hero's journey means to me is something that fluctuates and changes at times, but, overall, it is a wisdom which grows and protects in times of despair and hardship - something like holding to the 'knightly virtues'. The WAY that you travel (to find the 'grail') is the journey and thus IS the grail- the secret, rather than the actual destination.
    The secret chalice or 'prize' is actually yourself and - what you turn yourself into.

    The freedom to live is recognising that life is here now, this moment, and its how we live it that is important, rather than hankering after some utopia in the future.

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    Re: the freedom to live

    The freedom to live, is releasing yourself from the belief that the answer to your problems lies in the world somewhere and recognising that it lies within you.

    Similiar to ' the alchemist's quest' - it is what the alchemist (the man) turns himself into which is ' the gold' not the object he is 'transforming'.

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    Re: the freedom to live

    Steve,

    This quote from Campbell's The Hero With A Thousand Faces is from the monomyth concept of a hero's journey and is the last part of that journey. This pattern was adopted by George Lucas in both the original Star Wars trilogy and its prequels. The Monomyth is divided into three sections: Departure, Initiation and Return.

    Once the final threshold is crossed, the hero is now free to move back and forth between the two worlds at will. He has mastered the conflicting psychological forces of the mind.

    With the journey now complete, the hero has found true freedom, and can turn his efforts to helping or teaching humanity.







    The 'freedom to live' is a reference to life after death, the symbolic death and rebirth that occurs when one intentionally accepts the 'Call to Adventure', survives the psychological journey and returns to the common world of society to share what he/she has learned. For me this is accomplished by living a spiritual life, and a life that involves that 'bliss' the soul searches for in the human life. Most often it is found in the creative aspect. It is also results in what I see as true knowledge of the world around us, and within us {I often use the term 'gnosis'}.

    In "The Return of the Jedi" Luke has overcome the Empire and his rebellion is free to live and thrive, the ending scene establishes the peacefullness established by Luke's victory.

    It is first a psycholgical peacefulness, having faced the shadows within and survived to confront the outer challenges that society places on us. Having done this the hero/heroine seeks to share what they have learned from their own experience, either by giving of oneself to a higher cause within the framework of society or by expanding the creative Self and sharing the knowledge learned {a picture speaks a thousand words}.

    Personally I believe the freedom to live is to utilize the creative aspect that the individual posses, but also intentionally living a spiritual life. While my true 'bliss' is found in my dreamwork and creating the Myths-Dreams-Symbols website, living a spiritual life in the social world is probably the most important part of the quest of hero. When I am not in that blissful state of creative expression I see spirituality as the expression of the deepest soul. My actions toward others, as well as the whole of nature, define who I am. Whether the example to follow is that of the Christ figure, the Buddha, or the Jedi of Star Wars, the hero's final task is to discover the Holy Grail, which is the spiritual soul. This is the inherent aspect Jung defines as a part of the human psyche.

    I have referenced many times at the Forum how Joseph Campbell spoke of the difficulty in living the 'hero' pattern in today's world. Life has become so complicated and the demands of society {working to make a living} are so great, it is often very difficult to be that creative Self. But in the everyday life, living within society, it is the spiritual aspect that proves to be the determining factor as to how 'good' life will be. I believe the time will eventually come when the hero who lives the spiritual life realizes that 'blissful' aspect. Not a person of faith, I do have faith that by living the hero myth the realization of one's bliss does come about. I believe all those who venture the hero journey live for that day when they can devote their entire being to the creative Self, and by doing so fulfilling the spiritual desires of the soul.

    Life is an adventure for the soul.

    Gerard

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    Re: Re: the freedom to live

    gerard & claire
    thank you for your participation in my question,
    i hope more will give their interpretations as to what it means to them, to be, free to live,
    i felt a connection with the mastering of opposing
    psycholgical forces that you mentioned,
    i have been very aware of this aspect taking place in my own journey,and the settling of this dispute between inner and outer would certainly give me the ,freedom to live,
    i look forward to hearing what others have to say about this.
    regards steve

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    Re: the freedom to live

    Hi Steve

    Where do you think you are at the moment then?
    What would help to settle you?

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    Re: the freedom to live

    Steve,

    For now, for me, this means Daring: Being willing to undertake things that involve risk or danger.

    For several months I knew I may have to make a decision. In preparation, I reasearched, investigated, looked at the angles and aspects. And hoped others would make the decision they needed to make. The option offering the best possible outcome, would be a momentus undertaking, huge personal and professional risk if wrong. And if the final stage is needed, may be dangerous not only for me, but others. But the alternative, doing nothing for fear of making a mistake, I could not live with. While I waited I knew it was just a possibilty, nothing certain. That changed a few weeks past. That path is now set, so my path must now turn to meet it. And others I rely upon still have not made a decision, preferring to make no commitments. After much internal struggle the past few weeks, a personal commitment to do what I must. My dreams and synchronicities, and mentors, all aid me in choosing the path of true Self.

    The freedom to do what inside I feel I must do, regardless of the risk of personal and public...societal...failure. And doing so not having all the experience or knowledge required to carry out a task...but possessing pertinacity, willingness to be guided by the inner Self, and to seek out what is needed to complete the task.

    Kind regards,
    Kathy

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    Re: Re: the freedom to live

    hi claire,
    deep question really,
    for sometime now other powers or whatever you want to call them have made themselves known ,i have had great difficulty in accepting, dispite the undenyable validity of of my experience,
    this has caused great inner turmoil,a conflict between what is socially determined and acceptable, (which is only the tip of the iceberg)
    and what lies beneath,call it individuation ,coming to true consciousness,doesn't really matter,these are all words talking of the same thing.
    as to what would give me the freedom to live,
    it would be i think ,an end to this conflict,how that will come about,i don't really know,
    probably more of the same.
    i hope this answers your question.
    regards steve.

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    Re: Re: the freedom to live

    hi kathy,
    what you have said struck a chord,great stuff,
    sometimes the only risk,is not taking one.
    regards steve

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    Re: the freedom to live

    I believe taking risks are an essential aspect of the journey. The hero/heroine of myth never follows the beaten path but takes one that is unknown, never taken before. And although this is done knowing there may be risks and dangers in doing so, the hero/heroine has the 'helping hands' as a guide in this journey. For me it is this idea there is something within nature itself that will come to the rescue when I am in need. It has happened so many times in my life. Instead of looking to a 'personal' God for help, the hero of myth looks within him/herself. This is in line with how natural law functions. Heed the 'call' and do not look back and there will always be a 'natural' positive result in the discipline of choice.
    Physically humans have a natural defence system that fights germs and bacteria. So to psychologically. Dreams are one such natural aspect. But the psychological aspect often needs more than a natural defensive system since the mind often ventures away from the natural course and what is best for the total psyche.
    Human frailties and weakness are a cause of so many of the conflicts in life. Most are brought on ourselves {this is the unnatural aspect that nature did not intend}. Becoming whole is the psychological war each of us must undertake if we are to find wholeness. Confronting the shadow self is a risk in itself. For some it is the most frightening risk.

    Gerard

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    Re: the freedom to live

    Steve,
    I forgot to add, after discussing some details with a few mentors...making a decison and committment to course of action- dream recall returned, full force and then some. The most significant change, other than actual recall, so far there is very little conflict in my dreams. Mostly calmness of mind.

    The first dream I recorded, short but to the point. Your intuitive insight is on the mark Gerard...

    Saturday night 11/6&7:
    I look over my right shoulder to see a large shallow white bowl, with wide flat shallow sides, perfectly round. It held in the center a deep black sphere, like a black walnut shell as it had groves in the surface. I turned away, but was drawn to look at it again this time facing it to see it clearly.

    Kind regards,
    Kathy

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    Re: Re: the freedom to live

    hi,
    i like the phrase ,to not follow the beaten path but to follow your own,
    this is the greatest challenge,are we up to our own myth,can we stand in the inner wilderness and embrace what comes to us there,

    its important to open dialogue with the unconscious self ,we know this,from the works of joseph campbell and carl jung ,they were experts at it,
    but as lily tomlins once said,
    its ok to talk to god,its called prayer,
    but if god talks back,its called schyzophrenia,
    i am not schyzophrenic,and neither am i.
    (just a little psychological humour there,)
    humour is a light, in times of danger,
    regards steve.

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    Re: the freedom to live

    You're right Steve. I have just thought of a quotation that sometimes helps me, which also reminds me of the 'freedom to live' and also the journey towards that, that Gerard and Kathy have mentioned.
    It also reminds me of the individuation process:

    (Jo Coudert quote) “You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself. The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self. Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never lose.”

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    Re: the freedom to live

    Hi All,

    Thank you for the quotes. I'm not an original thinker type and rely heavily on the knowledge of others that are. Both of these are deeply relevant to my Journey at the moment.

    Innate in each creation are the tools and capabilities to enable life including overcoming or sidestepping defenses by further developing some preexisting aspect, utilizing a rarely employed aspect, and/or through evolution, including the aid of an outside influence, in developing a completely new aspect. This too is the ‘helping hand’ of nature. The locust swarm benefits from the helping hand, just as the plants they decimate did the season before. Life in all its forms benefits from the helping hand at it’s given moment.

    Likewise, I think the psychological aspect of humans can evolve. The dream state itself can evolve from its primary compensatory function of communication from unconscious to conscious. And similarly, perhaps it is a helping hand that will effect this evolution to living life consciously. The source or catalyst in this transition may be just as drastic as the locust swarm to the plants. But the overall result would be a positive evolution of consciousness whereby dreams no longer compensate, but illuminate an already conscious state.

    Kind regards,
    Kathy

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