A good 15% of the images we find in our dreams are related to our environment. A change of season, a change of employment, the start of a new relationship, a death in the family or simply a trip to a different region away from home can cause a shift in your dreams. I’ve only touched a fraction of the things you can do on a daily basis that can create a new detail or image in your dream space. Think of it this way – every time you add something new in your life or take away something old your dreams will identify it. When I took this picture (blog photo) of these yellow birds in my garden -- I wasn't prepared for what the dreaming would later communicate to me. It literally introduced 3 months worth of living that was totally unexpected. Not only that but I noticed that synchronicities started appearing more and more in relationship to this image and I was guided to experiences beyond my imagination.
Why do dreams connect to life changes?
Because we dream for several different reasons:
Mainly we dream to survive.
Surviving has certainly taken a different form in the last 50 years of humanity. Most Western people don’t have to hunt for food or build their own shelters. They don’t have to gather in tribes or groups to stay alive. They don’t have to struggle to stay warm and to stay healthy. Yet, other challenges have appeared that can threaten our survival. People depend on money to buy food, clothing and to rent or buy homes. Poverty can still make it enormously difficult for some families or people to survive. Illness (mental, physical, emotional and spiritual) can still threaten the survival of many individuals especially amongst the poverty groups. Where the people of yesterday focused on weapons, tools, the weather, food, shelter and warmth, the people of today are more focused on money, loneliness, abandonment or rejection, conflict and violence. Our dreams have suddenly adopted new imagery.
· We also dream to stay in touch with the invisible realm or what Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious” – the psychic realm.
Again this kind of dreaming was attached to survival. If surviving has changed in the last century than so has the need to connect to the “collective unconscious” and the need to “believe in the invisible realms.” It certainly doesn’t make these realities any less real but when we (human) walk away from something we often have the tendency of forgetting its existence. It’s not because we live in a city of cement buildings that forests of century old red cedars don’t exist. Our dreams tend to produce images according to daily experience. This is why most Western dream analysts will say that “our brains invent or create what we dream of.” Indeed, our brains serve as archives of images and our brain match these images to our daily experiences. Yet, there are Dreamers who dream the unknown, who see what their brain has not yet seen because they are capable for reaching for experiences beyond the daily living. Those who can do this can stimulate their brains to develop yet another ability – that to produce imagery that is beyond reach!
· We also dream to learn and to heal; to deal with unresolved issues; to grieve; and to find solutions.
Again this kind of dreaming refers to some aspect of surviving. If we are stagnant and we can’t change we often can’t meet daily challenges and evolve or adapt to life’s changes. My grand-father used to tell me that he found it difficult to understand remote controls. He remembered a time when there were no televisions. In his 72 years of life he had seen horses and buggies, the invention of the car, and the first Lamborgini. He came from a world where the train was the greatest mode of transportation to flying in planes. He often tried to explain to us that change brings physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual impressions. My grand-father repeatedly said: “It will take make weeks of dreaming before I can integrate and make ready to accept those impressions as part of me.” I don’t think people today realize how much they ask of themselves just by living too much environmental change and lacking the ability to adapt and transition.
· Finally we dream to stay in touch with our ancestors and Creation as a whole.
I don’t have to say it again that dreaming in large is meant to help with survival. Our ancestors used to depend on dreams to find the herds of elk to feed their people, or to find the caves that would shelter them from terrible winter storms, or to guide them to the mountains or the rivers that would allow them to flourish all summer long. Dreams were meant to show people the way. Who was meant to marry whom? What names should they give their babies? Etc… Today, we don’t use dreaming for much of anything only because we’ve lost the need or the know-how to use this ability. It doesn’t mean though that it’s any less important or helpful to our daily living. There are still people on this Earth that depend on dreams and that are experts in Indigenous Dreaming. It’s not like we don’t have the teachings anymore. It simply takes the interest and the curiosity. Of course, it also takes commitment once you’ve chosen to bring dreams back to your life.
If you find yourself dreaming repeatedly about one particular image ask yourself the question: “What has changed in my life that is asking to be acknowledged or explored?” Change brings repetitive imagery and a need to integrate this change. A white wedding gown for example could mean quite a few things: Purity, commitment, marriage, a new love-relationship, a need for family etc… Of course I’m giving symbolic interpretations based on Western perception. Look at your own inner programming and your own belief system when trying to interpret images because your brain is working according to your perspectives.
Thank you to all those who replied to my blog entry on dreaming because you were the inspiration for this particular text.