Thursday, January 19, 2012

The (un)meaning of dreams

What does my dream mean?  - This is probably the most usual first question about dreams.

Regrettably, there are no meanings in dreams.

Meanings are aspects of waking consciousness, not dreams'. Meanings mean and signify something for our intellect. To mean something is to find an explanation for intellect. Meanings and explanations are post festum, secondary, later processes. They are born afterwards, in retrospect, in the dreamer's head. Everyone of us has a unique meaning dictated by our individual and collective life histories, brain structures, personalities. This simplified, pruned, impoverished construction we call meanings, gluing them on the dream, believing that these labels have something to do with the dream.  All various meanings are merely external formulations without any corresponding content in reality.

In the very moment you think that you have understood what the dream means, you have put it into the prison of your intellect. What does a beautiful sunset mean? What does love mean? It is easy to understand how by thinking that you have understood their meaning, you have missed the living essence of them.

Every dream is an infinite ocean where you can see waves rising. You can discern the wave; the dream born from the ocean, being at the same time an integral part of the ocean. The more you see the wave being only a very short term, very small movement in the living ocean, the more possibility you have to feel the whole invisible ocean of your soul, roaring even deeper than the dream waves on the surface.

To interpret dreams with theoretical classifications is like classifying snow flakes. The classifier's mind has invented these classifications, these "meanings", but we know that the variations of flakes are infinite. Classifications are projections of the observer's own mind, not realities.

The relationship of meaning to living contents in dreams is like the relationship of an Earth-centric worldview to a heliocentric one. The Earth-centric model was comprehensible, logical, yet fallacious. The same is valid for dream interpretations. In life, as in dreams, there is more than meets the eye. A meaning given to some dream may seem very logical, explaining it nicely, but still leave the dreamer unconcerned, unmoved, untouched at the emotional level, which means that it has not yet touched the real contents of that dream.

To evaluate dreams with yardsticks of meanings is no more fruitful than to judge people from their shadows. When we succeed in tuning ourselves away from the shadow level of meanings towards the experiential, multidimensional visions of dreams, they rush through our whole being, creating impressionistic, truthful paintings of our life on the dream canvas. Only then are we able to see that meanings are only shadowy, frozen snapshots of ever-dancing silhouettes on the surface of our waking consciousness, originally created by the flame of life, but petrified by interpretations.

Meanings may be related to dreams as a view through a keyhole is related to an unrestricted view of the whole landscape. Many consider a keyhole view to be the widest view possible. But peeping is better than nothing. Perhaps the dream door may later open for the earnest seeker. 

(More detailed treat of this topic is found on pages 37-39 in my book UnderstandingDreams - The Gateway to Dreams Without Dream Interpretation)

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