Saturday 5 March 2016

Two Meanings from One Dream: Concluding Post

A woman dreamed of burying “bad men” in the sand. (See my post dated 2/29.) When we analyzed the dream symbols, we arrived at the following interpretation.

There’s a part of me that I’ve made into a kind of scaffolding to keep me from falling into a hole inside myself. I use this part of me to stay above the hole in me. I guess what I’ve done is to dig a grave inside myself. It’s in a part of me that’s lifeless; nothing will grow in it. This part of me is unstable and blows all over. There are other parts of me that I know are not good for me. I don’t really know what they’ve done to me, but I’m getting rid of them so they won’t bother me anymore. These parts of me are probably going to lose their lives. They’ll cease to exist. I’m untroubled by all this; I have no qualms.

The dream seemed to suggest both constructive and counterproductive activity in the dreamer’s psyche. Eliminating parts of herself that were “not good for me” could be helpful. But the images of a lifeless part of herself, plus the concept of “burying” something you don’t want, could be self-defeating.

The logical place to seek clarification of these images was with the dreamer herself. Was she doing good things for herself or destructive ones? Here is what she had to say.

The dreamer tells her story
“Oh my God! I have always had a tendency to try to hide and forget what I don’t like. I think it comes from when I was a kid. I had parents—especially my mom—who would come down hard on me if I ever tried to go in a direction, or even express a thought, that she didn’t approve of. As a kid, I always seemed to be working overtime to fit myself into her idea of who I should be. So whenever I’d have an urge to explore some direction of my own, I knew I had to shove the idea away from myself. The image of the grave in the dream really resonates with me. Whenever these conflicts would arise, I would pray that these ideas I’d have would simply go away deep and die.”

Was this a positive dream?
The most beautiful aspect of this dream was that it offered her a golden opportunity to examine and, hopefully, change a counterproductive behavior pattern. Her parents were no longer in the picture. She could now, finally, re-examine and re-explore facets of her life that she had long been required to suppress.

So the dream was both positive and negative. It illuminated an old, destructive pattern in her life. But it did so in the hope that she could begin to heal an old, painful wound. That’s how dreams work. They often show us to ourselves in the hope that we might take advantage of a highlighted aspect of our lives and make changes for the better.

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