Sleep and Dreaming

Diposting oleh amnom | 12.34

In the scientific age, sleep dreams have been explained as simply a function of brain chemisty or brain electrical circuitry, performing, at best, the function of flushing out waste or sorting out waking experiences, and, at worst, no function whatsoever. Sigmund Freud, who was the Viennese doctor who reconnected modern Western humans with dreams as significant events, explained them as part of an unconscious psychological mechanism that disguises and suppresses humans' all-encompassing, yet dangerous, sexual desires, but that has no other value. Carl Jung, Freud's protege for a while, understood dreams to have intrinsic value. He too conceptualized that they come from the unconscious of dreamers and serve the function of facilitating growth. For Jung, sleep dreams are meaningful, balancing waking attitudes, and their message is to be brought into consciousness. He postulated that sleep dreams speak in a symbolic language with the purpose of helping guide individuals to becoming fuller and more complete, "individuated."

We have found that approaching sleep dreams with the assumption that they are meaningful is most useful. Conceptualizing sleep dreams as emanations from the unconscious, both individual and collective, allows a dreamer to understand dreams as information from an internal wellspring of not-rationally attained information. Coming from "inside" the individual, they can be a guide to constructing a meaningful life that is not dependent upon sources outside the individual. Springing not from the conscious mind, sleep dreams are irrational and balance the limitations of the mind.

Sleep dreams seem to have a life of their own, they are wild and undomesticated. They are beyond the control of our rational minds. Because of this, sleep dreams often comment on our waking lives, encouraging us to balance our conscious attitudes and actions that have become too narrow, compulsive or one-sided. Sleep dreams can be understood to give advice about how to proceed in our waking lives.

The language of sleep dreams is not limited by the constrictions of wakeful mind-logic. They can seem utterly foreign and threatening to our rational minds. But taking the trouble to learn their language provides wisdom that makes for a life broader and richer beyond anything the mind can envision.

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