The therapeutic value of dreams
Dreams can be fascinating. If we’re paying attention to them, we want to know what they mean. We want to analyze and interpret which can be very satisfying. It’s exciting to make the connections, to have the “a-ha” moment and to gain insight about the truth of ourselves, even when it’s a dark truth.
But there’s a case to be made relating to the dream in a way that has nothing to do with interpretation. Interpretation is ego driven and reductive. Instead, when a dream comes that seems compelling or has images that capture your attention, try re-entering the dream by painting it or making something to represent an image from the dream. Write the dream as a short story and continue it – what happens next? Pick a character in the dream – especially effective if the character is a stranger – and write that character a letter asking him or her what they were doing in your dream. Then answer your letter from their point of view. Relate to the dream instead of analyzing it. This is a more expansive approach which allows the dream to grow and do its work in your psyche with your participation. Simply analyzing the dream is akin to killing the butterfly by pinning it down so you can examine it more closely. Analyzing and interpreting a dream can take the life from it. Relating to the dream as a living thing enables it to keep working in you. Try it!