Interpreting Your Own Dreams 2: Syntax
Whenever I do a dream meeting some people inevitable want to call me very intuitive, but most of my work has very little to do with intuition. Intuition is the feeling I get when I know I should proceed in a certain direction, but I don’t have the conscious knowledge of why yet. This is because the conscious mind seems to be a bit slower than other communication.
The key that unlocked lots of doors for me about dream work was actually a lot of self discipline and focused attention for long periods of time on the dream in front of me. One of the things I discovered that not many people talk about in dream books is the structure or syntax of the dream. Most people focus on the content. There are shelves and shelves of books about content but not much about the structure of dreams.
For instance, a lot of people end the explanation of a dream by saying, “and then I woke up.” So I asked myself why people wake up from a dream when they do because I hadn’t seen it in any of the books on dreams that I had read. Then I realized that the expression “and then I woke up” could mean that that was when they woke up in their life.
If you had a dream where you were being attacked by a poisonous snake and then you woke up, the waking up is just as important as the attack by the poisonous snake because the snake caused you to wake up and pay attention. Being attacked by poisonous snake means that you are fearful of being attacked by someone whose actions are like poisonous venom in your life, like backbiting or spreading false rumours or vicious criticism. The structure of the dream is that you are being attacked and then you wake up. You only wake up when something bad is happening.
The big thing about syntax in a dream has to do with time and sequence. In the world of clocks and physical space time always goes from beginning to middle to end; first, second, third, etc…. In dream time the clock doesn’t have rules because it is timeless. In a negative dream I can look at time exactly opposite to the clock, that is the end is in the beginning, and beginning of the work is at the end. What the spiritual end, the goal or object of the dream is can come at the beginning. The end isn’t at the end, it is at the beginning and where you start your work can be at the end, not the beginning. It is the last issue in the dream that can mark where you begin your work.
Here is the dream I had on the blog a few days ago.
Last night I dreamt that my son-in-laws and I were behind the lines in pre-World War 2 Germany doing undercover work against the Nazis. At every turn we were nearly brutally murdered, but somehow we managed to escape only to find more threats more numerously as the dream progressed.
Structure: a group/ a place in the negative past /working against/ hiding/ running away/ more challenges/threats
So the structure says that if I work with a group in a place in the negative past then I am going to end being against people, hiding out, running away and things will just be more threatening. The important information is that the structure says that things will just get worse in the end if I put myself in the negative past in the beginning.
This makes the solution so easy. All I have to do is put myself in the positive future instead of the negative past and then my life works.
Here is another example. Suppose you had a dream where you were flying and everything was going fine and then you ran out of gas.
The structure is your were doing something where you were feeling really positive and then something really negative happened. First you have a positive and then you get a negative. This means that you just have to change how you do the negative and then everything will be positive.
Mapping the structure is a bit like how we used to diagram sentences in the past to analyze grammar in English classes. We have largely thrown grammar out of English in North America because we tended not to go for meaning, but when you map the structure of the dream, there are some very interesting things that appear.
Next post: Origin of the issue clues: how to read time clues