Our dreams express who we are, how we feel, what we believe and what we perceive. They arise from many levels of our being – our physical bodies; our emotions, needs and desires; our higher consciousness – even beyond our individual selves. Different parts of ourselves – “subpersonalities” which hold various attitudes, feelings, and parts of our personal histories – use our dreams to express themselves and communicate with our waking consciousness.
Some dreams are relatively simple – though they may bear surprising and useful messages. Others are rich tapestries of multilayered meaning. They can be direct portals to our deepest truths – though frequently dreams serve us by revealing obstacles which must be overcome in order to progress. Dreams can provide clues to help us achieve the healing, liberation, connection, balance, or fulfillment that we seek.
Some dreams provide clues to important events in our own histories – ranging from traumas which need to be resolved, to blissful experiences which can help heal our lives today. A beautiful example involves a man who’d grown up with a stressed and bitter mother, whose husband had left her alone to care for their large family. One night he dreamed he was a small boy — and his mother was kind and loving. He’d forgotten how wonderful she had been, and how connected he had been with her, before his father left. This memory warmed his heart, bringing a renewed sense of inner wholeness, a felt knowledge of being loved.
Dream re-entry is the use of hypnosis or inner focus to go back into a dream, bringing your waking consciousness. When a dream seems important yet unfinished, dream re-entry can help you to get the deeper message – or experience the resolution, the climax of the dream plot. For instance, perhaps you dream you’re on the verge of an exciting discovery – then a noise awakeners you. At that moment, you might be able to return to sleep and intentionally resume the dream on your own, by recalling the images and feelings, ideally lying in the exact position you were in when you awoke. You may then find yourself “lucid” in the dream: i.e., aware that you are dreaming. (This is an example of DEILD: Dream Exit Induced Lucid Dreaming.) Sometimes this occurs spontaneously, or on the first attempt. Yet often such techniques require practice, even extensive practice. And, of course, sometimes you may simply need to get up for the day!
If you have ended an intriguing dream prematurely without sufficient opportunity to re-enter it on your own, you might want to consider guidance from a dream re-entry practitioner. With live guidance, you may find it much easier to relax deeply and re-enter the dream, perhaps vividly or perhaps mildly, continuing it to completion.
Another use of dream re-entry is to explore a recurrent dream, which often holds a message or memory of great significance. Sometimes a recurrent dream clearly depicts an earlier time, perhaps another lifetime, which you can potentially access through dream re-entry. One man described a recurrent dream scene – just one scene – of riding on a train. Through dream re-entry, he quickly found himself immersed in a previous lifetime, with a detailed and vivid story unfolding.
In Gestalt dreamwork, typically you would tell your dream in present tense and then let yourself “become” one of the characters or objects in the dream. (This process is described more fully here.) These characters and objects may be manifestations of different parts of yourself, in essence subpersonalities (each of them being a part of you with specific feelings, interests and attitudes). Feeling “their” feelings and dialoging with these characters and objects can lead to greater understanding of yourself. Your subpersonalities probably have agendas which can now be brought into greater harmony. Such harmony can support meaningful changes in your life.
For more about Gestalt Dreamwork, please click here.
In other variations, you can explore the prehistory of the dream (how DID that Mercedes get into your living room?) or move as a dream character would move, gaining a fuller sense of the dilemmas or positive potentials inherent in this subpersonality. You can then take further steps to resolve the dilemmas, freeing more of your energy for joy and success; or strengthen your connection to the positive potentials, empowering yourself to manifest these potentials further in your life.
Dream-inspired art is a powerful way of harnessing the energy and magic of dreams. You can create some form of art inspired by a dream – perhaps a painting, a story or a song. Spontaneous art which flows from your center is more liberating, and (in this context, among others) often more rewarding, than carefully planned, meticulously executed creations. Dreams frequently inspire creativity, and working with them – perhaps in the form of these outer creations – can help you express and liberate yourself. Your own creations can be vehicles of deep satisfaction as well as further exploration, if you choose – since we express hidden dimensions of ourselves in our creations as well as in our dreams themselves.
For more information about the work of Dr. Laurie Greenberg in New York City, you can explore this website or contact me directly:
DrLGreenberg@aol.com – or – +1 (212) 501-4647