I have been examining a dream that seems to be valid on (at least) two levels. In the dream, the dreamer was visited by a friend. The next day, the dreamer learned that his friend had died, and he felt that his friend had come to him to say goodbye. The dreamer’s understanding of his dream is valid in its own right.
But then the dreamer and I treated his dream as a “normal” dream, interpreting it in the customary way. When we did, we discovered that the dream presented him with a theme and a meaning that was completely separated from his deceased friend, and one that was totally relevant to his current life circumstance. (Scroll down to my last post to read our analysis in more detail.)
Is one level of the dream more important than another?The question I wish to explore in this post is whether one of these levels of understanding is more important or relevant than the other.
Most of us, when we have a profound—even “spooky”—dream experience, become fixated on the exciting part of it and stop our analysis of it there. In this case, the idea of being visited by a dying friend was plenty interesting enough to monopolize the dreamer’s attention. There are lots of similar dream scenarios. People have prophetic experiences, or shocking dreams, or find themselves in embarrassing physical contact with someone they had never thought of sharing a relationship with. The imagery is so powerful that it occupies our attention completely and exclusively. It’s almost as if there is no room in our thoughts for anything else.
But these attention-getting aspects of the dream are the variable part. These change from dream to dream—sometimes about the future, sometimes about deceased loved ones, sometimes about scary encounters. What doesn’t ever change is the fact that, no matter what the imagery is, it always contains a metaphoric statement that is relevant to the dreamer’s current circumstance.
I once did a radio interview with a host who was having prophetic dreams about natural disasters in and around her home town. When she acted on the dreams’ warnings and intervened, she could divert and minimize the potential disaster. For her, the kind of metaphoric dream experience I was talking about was a “lesser,” more mundane one.
When I tried to counter by suggesting to her that her “natural disasters” were also messages to herself about some personal conflict, and that the dreams she was having could be viewed on two levels, she didn’t want to hear that. She was so fixated on her self-importance as a “stopper of earthquakes” and a “preventer of fires” that she saw my work with metaphor as being on a much lower level.
From my perspective, it would have been fascinating to discover what her own, inner earthquakes and fires were all about!
Dreams communicate with us on many levels, and each one is as important as the other; no levels should be ignored.
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