Working with Dreams is the core of the analytic process

A note about dreams, their place in our cultural context and the importance of working with them:  Nature’s way is cyclical.  Just as the year, the seasons, the day come full circle and night flows again into day in rhythmic exchange, so on a psychic level we experience an alternation of lunar and solar consciousness, each mode a different quality of time, space, being.

On the one hand, the right hand, what we call the real world is rational, concrete, linear segmental and sequential, cause and effect, analytic, verbal.  The other hand, the left is beyond reason or unreasonable, irrational, but holistic.  The flow is circular, in images, a knowledge by analogy and meaning through  coincidence of events, rather than causal connection.  This is what Jung called synchronicity.  Here the essence is a mystery that does not want to be reasoned away.  It is the realm of poetic time and space, a symbolic world opening onto the soul and meaning.

In 1912, Jung wrote Symbols of Transformation describing “Two Ways of Thinking.”  This was well before split brain studies scientifically revealed the different ways of processing information in the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Here Jung refers to conscious, focused, conceptual thinking contrasting with fantasy thinking in images which surfaces as attention is reduced.  When conscious tension breaks down completely in sleep, we have a dream. 

Our modern times characterized by such unbelievable material and scientific developments are ruled heavily by the right hand and the left hemisphere of focused daytime consciousness.  At deep psychic levels, our natural balance is out of kilter leaving a gap and profound feelings of something missing for many people.  Into this gap creep depression, addictions, greed, lust for power or thrills, whatever makes the dark hole disappear, whatever closes the gap for the moment.  And when the moment is over, fear, rage and violence surface and we become soulless survivors cut off from our roots in nature and our own meaning.

Dreams are a natural occurrence.  They bridge gaps, restore balance, wholeness and health.  In this way, dreams are healing and this is particularly important in an age of deep splits.