Interpreting Your Own Dreams 6: The Symbols
Last night I dreamt that I was downtown at a movie theatre with my wife. While I was trying to choose what to watch, I got separated from her because she went to the washroom. The longer the dream went on, the more it became apparent that the choices were really bad, mostly horror type movies about some rampaging homicidal maniacs. I then started to feel panicked about not being able to find a film and then I woke up.
So what does it all mean? There are 3 aspects to deal with, the feelings, the syntax, and the symbols. The theme of this post is about the symbols, but it is often nice to end with the symbols rather than begin with them.
The feeling that I have is panic or anxiety that I can’t find a movie to watch. If the feeling were positive, then the symbol of the movie theater would be something that I would want to pursue, but as the feeling is negative, it means that the symbol needs to be transformed. This is because negative emotions come from the ego, while positive ones are from the true self in dreams. Anxiety is an emotion that denotes lack of confidence and its solution is almost always to remember positives about yourself and then act from them. When you are overwhelmed, it is often helpful to do something like washing the dishes or cleaning up because simple activities often ground you into remember positive abilities. But panic about not being able to find a movie means that I have lack of confidence about something. Panic, structurally, is a combination of internal speed and a large negative imagined picture. When it takes over, it can be pretty crippling.
So the feeling tells me that I am going to need to some confidence by slowing down inwardly and remembering positives in a large way.
As regard to syntax, the one thing of many that I can see is that the emotional content starts with the hope of doing something together with my wife, things soon get more separated, I end up in panic, and then I wake up. So the dream goes from the hope of closeness, to separation and panic. This means that if I solve the dream that I am going to have a great deal of closeness and feel really slowed down inside as opposed to panic.
Ok so this brings us to the symbols. Metaphor is the language of dreams just as it is in myth, mystical writing, and art such as poetry. The best way I have found to deal with symbols is first get your mind to slow down so that you can take your time to figure out a meaning. It doesn’t need to be done in a hurry so if you write your dreams down, then you can go back to them often to enrich the meaning. What is most important when you are at the beginning stage is to avoid jumping into believing that the dream is literal even if it seems literal. A literal dream such as a future dream that comes true also has symbolic meaning because it is trying to communicate inner abilities.
The key symbol in the above dream is the movie theatre. The way to start understanding the symbol is to ask yourself what a movie theatre is and then make a correlation with non-material reality. What is a movie theatre? A movie theatre in a positive sense is a place that you go to view a made-up story that communicates something related to life. When you leave the theatre, you feel enriched and have more understanding about life. So a movie theatre is a symbol of a made up reality that attempts to communicate a message. You can have your own positive inner movie theater by making up pictures of the life that you want to live and then going for them.
The problem I have in my dream is that when I go to my own inner movie theater trying to pick the movie that I want to live by, I only find negative choices and then I panic. In the dream I was having to pick from other people’s choices which means that my negative inner movie theater was being run by others. To transform the theater I simply can start choosing the inner movies that I want to view and one of the best ways to do this is by seeing the great positive movies of the past about my life which then can be used to create new movies about the kind of future that my true self wants to live.
When I am panicked, my ego throws me into a materialistic way of viewing the world that is controlled by others which causes me to be separated from others, but when I view the dream symbolically and then transform it to a positive, I can create positive pictures of being closer to others by remembering how I was able to do it in the past, and then projecting a new positive film about the future.
Once again, the key to understanding symbols is to not rush into thinking about them literally, to remember that they are trying to communicate deeper spiritual conditions both positive and negative.
Next post: Symbols related to elements
Once again, I find your articles extremely helpful. Thank you!
This is really helpful. I love the way you’ve been writing out so clearly about the step by step process of figuring out our own dreams. It’s so great! Thank you!