Jungian Dream Work

"It doesn't matter so much that I
understand the dream. It matters
that the dream understands me."

- Marie Louise von Franz


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A very intelligent man, a scientist, came to Dr. Jung with his problems. After reciting the symptoms, he asked Dr. Jung what he should do. Dr. Jung replied, "I don't have the faintest idea; all I know to do is listen to your dreams; they will tell us both what to do."

Dreams are like letters we receive each night from the unconscious. They come to tell us something that we don't know but need to. Wherever a roadblock exists in our personal development, wherever a psychological bridge is washed out, or a neurotic rockslide has covered the roadway, it is here that our dreams set up tents and produce their little 'morality plays' in an effort to motivate the dreamer to do the work to clear the roadway and move one step closer to the totality of their being.

Dreams will guide the dreamer to his/her roadblocks (childhood injuries, current self-deceptions, repressed secrets, denials, premature limitations, unconscious desires and opinions) -to all the things that block the way of authentic self-knowledge and separate the dreamer from a sense of connection with the divine.

It's best if we avoid putting any kind of a program on dream work and instead allow ourselves to surrender to the process and trust that the dream will take us where we need to go. The task is to understand the symbols. The symbols do the healing. Sometimes it's also important to avoid looking for a literal answer to a dream and instead to simply lend energy to one's healing process by contemplating the dream. In any case, it's imperative to stay as open, respectful, curious, and observant of dreams as possible, being careful not to jump to premature conclusions about what they mean.

Sometimes, during an especially difficult period of one's life, perhaps during a depression or period of bad luck, it may be difficult to rise adequately above the confusion in order to know what to do, where to turn, what lesson to learn. The hidden purpose of such darkness may be something so unusual, unique and unexpected that one can find no meaning or guidance from ordinary means. In these times, it is often wise to pay attention to the material welling up from the unconscious in dreams.

Whenever we succeed in removing a roadblock or restoring a bridge (comprehending the message a dream intended), our dreams skip ahead to the next place along our path that needs repair work. There, our dreams will once again set up their traveling tent show to attract our attention.

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