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Selected Thoughts On Dreams

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Our dreams disturb us because they refuse to pander to our fondest notions of ourselves. The closer one looks, the more they seem to insist upon a challenging proposition: You must live truthfully. Right now. And always. Few forces in life present, with an equal sense of inevitability, the bare- knuckle facts of who we are, and the demands of what we might become.
----Marc Ian Barasch, Healing Dreams

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
---William Butler Yeats

A Healing Dream can never be completely "interpreted," or fully understood. Healing Dreams want us to stop making sense; not just to crack the case, but to enter the mystery.
----Marc Ian Barasch, Healing Dreams

But he would have us most of all remember
to be enthusiastic over the night.
Not only for the sense of wonder
it alone has to offer but also because it needs our love.
For with sad eyes its delectable creatures
look up and beg us dumbly
to ask them to follow.
They are exiles who long for a future
that lies in our power.
---W.H. Auden

We crave a world of either/or, but the Dream says, Both/and. We build a wall between our social persona and our inner selves; the Dream bids us, Demolish it. We wish to believe we're separate from one another, but the Dream insists, We are in this together. We are pleased to believe Time is a one-way river from past to present to future, yet the Dream reveals, All three times flow into one. We wish to seek pure virtue and avoid all stain, but the Dream avers, The dark and the light are braided and bound.
--Marc Barasch, Healing Dreams

They tease me now, telling me it was only a dream. But does it matter whether it was a dream or reality, if the dream made known to me the truth? ----Dostoevsky

I do not know how to distinguish between our waking life and a dream. Are we not always living the life that we imagine we are?
----Thoreau

I cannot be awake
for nothing looks to me
as it did before,
Or else I am awake for the first time,
and all before has been a mean sleep.

----Walt Whitman

"....And Pharoah had a dream; he was standing by the Nile, and there, coming up from the Nile, were seven cows, sleek and fat, and they began to feed among the rushes. And seven other cows, ugly and lean, came from the Nile after them; and these went over and stood beside the other cows on the bank of the Nile. The ugly and lean cows ate the seven sleek and fat cows. Then Pharaoh awoke. ---Genesis 41:1-4)

"I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was. and is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream...The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was."
---Bottom, in Shakespeare's A Midsummer's Night's Dream

"Our mind has its history, just as our body has its history. You might be just as astonished that man has an appendix, for instance. Does he know he ought to have an appendix? He is just born with it....Our unconscious mind, like our body, is a storehouse of relics and memories of the past. A study of the structure of the unconscious collective mind would reveal the same discoveries as you make in comparative anatomy. We do not need to think that there is anything mystical about it."
---Carl Jung

By and large, the Healing Dream is not the defender of our waking goals--material achievement, perfect romance, a modest niche in history--but an advocate-general for the soul, whose aims may be diametrically different... The nourishment of the dreamworld is a reciprocal affair: as we provide for it, it provides for us.
---Marc Barasch, Healing Dreams

"Friend, many and many a dream is mere confusion a cobweb of no consequence at all. Two gates for ghostly dreams there are: One gateway of honest horn, and one of ivory. Issuing by the ivory gate are dreams of glimmering illusion, fantasies, but those that come through solid polished horn may be borne out, if mortals only know them."
---Homer, The Odyssey

"The best means of differentiating the true from the untrue dream is by the degree of excitement experienced by the dreamer. If one dreams of powerful fantasy images that cause him to be excited or to feel anger or fear during the dream itself, this is a true dream; but if the images are insipid and arouse no strong feelings, the dream is not true. The reliability of any dream is thus in proportion to its level of excitement."
---Solomon Almoli, Pitron Chalamot (The Interpretation of Dreams),

"Many who know something but not enough about dreams and their meaning...are liable to succumb to the prejudice that the dream actually has a moral purpose, that it warns, rebukes, comforts, foretells the future, etc. If one believes that the unconscious always knows best, one can easily be betrayed into leaving the dreams to take the necessary decisions, and is then disappointed when the dreams become more and more trivial and meaningless...The unconscious functions satisfactorily only when the conscious mind fufills its task to the very limit."
---Carl Jung

"..All elongated objects, such as sticks, tree-trunks and umbrellas(the opening of these last being comparable to an erection) may stand for the male organ...Boxes, cases, chests, cupboards, and ovens represent the uterus...Rooms in dreams are usually women...Many landscapes in dreams, especially any containing breidges or wooded hills, may clearly be recognized as descriptions of the genitals...
---Sigmund Freud, The Interpreation of Dreams

"Mental activity in the daytime creates a latent form of habitual thought which again transforms itself at night into various delusory visions sensed by the semi-consciousness. This is called the deceptive and magic-like Bardo of Dream."
---Milarepa, 11th century

"The dream and fantasy images are sorted into piles of anima, superego, and shadow, transference reactions and degrees and kinds of interpersonal relatedness. they are parceled out as belonging to our job, our sense of inferiority, our mothers. the individual experience is subtly exchanged for a pre-defined package process toward an end, which will remove one from the scary, disabling aspects of the imaginal. The presence of the image is acknowledged but it is then then from its world and used to further the ego. The meaning (or what is interpreted to be the meaning) is strained from it and the image is discarded and forgotten. The image is recognized, but one does not want its world."
---Mary Watson, Waking Dreams

Big dreams are risky business. The psyche can be fiendish, puckish, exalted, imperious, tender, sardonic, faithful, pestilential---whatever rivets our attention upon the task of psychic growth. It is not so hard to find at least a little sympathy for theologian Martin Luther, who prayed to God not to send him any dreams at all, fearful he could not distinguish between those of divine origin and those sent by the Devil.
----Marc Ian Barasch, Healing Dreams

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