The Dream Toolkit continued….
by Doug Grunther
mentor at the Wise Woman University
(read The Dream Toolkit - part one)
As I discussed in previous columns, I use eleven key principles in dream work. These are based on the work of my dream teacher, Dr. Jeremy Taylor, one of the leading dream experts in the world. He refers to these principles as the “Dream Tool Kit.” I have added a few of my own, based on the many years I’ve been doing dream work.
In the last column I covered principles #4-6. Here are principles #7 and #8.
7. Dreams often use puns, satire and black humor to enlighten us. Discovering the hidden humor in a dream is often a profound and transformative experience.
Here’s one of my favorite examples, a dream a close friend of mine told me under stressful circumstances. He had been suffering terribly for two days with intense stomach pains. He didn’t trust doctors and so he was trying to wait it out. His wife was beside herself, fearful he could be experiencing a major intestinal issue or even worse. I was at his house when he told me the following dream which had disturbed him the night before:
I’m in a restaurant eating dinner. The restaurant is part of a larger resort I’m staying at. I’m eating alone. After finishing my meal I head for my room to retire for the night. Walking down the hallway I suddenly realize there are no numbers on the doors and there is no way I’ll be able to find my room. I wake up in a haze of anxiety.
As I imagined my version of this dream, I considered the fact that eating in a restaurant and being able to finish a meal is a good sign since in waking life the intense stomach pain makes digestion nearly impossible. But what about the strange hallway and the doors to rooms without any numbers? I knew from experience that it is not uncommon, particularly when a dream seems very mysterious, that the symbols could be part of an esoteric joke or pun. A big smile appeared on my face as I felt a big “AHA!” of recognition.
I said to my friend, “If this were my dream, it would be telling me I’m not going to die.”
My friend looked puzzled. “What gives you that idea?”
I said, “There are no numbers on the door. So as I imagine the dream, it’s coming to say, ‘MY NUMBER’S NOT UP.”
My friend laughed. The next day, feeling less frightened, he went to a doctor who told him the intense pain was the result of a stomach flu and that he’d be fine.
8. Every dream is both unique to the dreamer and, at the same time, has universal meaning. This is because all of our dreams come from a shared collection of symbols and patterns.
This principle may be the most powerful part of dream work. It seems like a contradiction or paradox. How can a dream be totally unique to the dreamer on one hand and connected to all of us on the other? Carl Jung and then many dream experts influenced by him have written extensively on this phenomenon. Jung devoted a substantial amount of writing to the connections between eastern mysticism, with its embrace of paradox and universality, and western psychology, with its emphasis on the heroic individual who stands out from the crowd.
Jung distinguished between our “personal unconscious,” that aspect of the psyche which does not usually enter the individual’s awareness and which appears in dreams—the source of new ideas and creative breakthroughs unique to the dreamer—and the “collective unconscious,” that aspect of the unconscious which reveals inherited universal themes common to all humans, past and present.
When we are willing to explore the deeper meanings of our individual dreams, particularly when dreams are shared with loved ones, friends, colleagues and in dream groups, inevitably the themes generate various “AHAs!” of recognition for the dreamer AND to many of those listening to the dreams. The “AHAs!” the dreamer experiences and those experienced by others may relate to totally different issues for very different reasons. The key is that our dreams connect all of us to each other in profound ways.
We’ll explore this phenomenon more deeply in future columns.
by Doug Grunther
mentor at the Wise Woman University
Doug Grunther is a certified dream work facilitator and has been Woodstock, NY’s most noted radio talk show host for over twenty-five years. One of his current programs, The Dream Show, heard over WDST-FM, Woodstock, and over the Internet at WDST.com, offers listeners the opportunity to call in with a dream and receive valuable insights from dream experts. To contact Doug, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Course by Douglas Grunther
Discovering the Creative and Healing Power of Your Dreams
Learn how your dreams can provide valuable insights into your physical, emotional and spiritual life. Every night we dream between 4-6 times.
During this course you will learn how to remember more dreams by creating a dream journal and practicing “incubation” techniques. We will explore the fascinating symbols provided by our dreams and learn how to extract the deeper meanings behind them so you can apply them to major life issues. And after a discussion about the advantages of sharing dreams with others, you will learn some of the most effective ways to work dreams one-on-one and in groups.
Listen to the mentor's introduction to this online course:
About the Mentor:
Doug Grunther is a certified dream work facilitator and has been Woodstock, NY’s most noted radio talk show host for over twenty-five years. His program, The Dream Show, heard over WDST-FM, Woodstock, and over the Internet at WDST.com and WCBS.com, offers listeners the opportunity to call in with a dream and receive valuable insights from dream experts.
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