Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dream Studies - A Somatic Example

It was quite by accident that I stumbled upon "Our Dreaming Mind" by Robert Van Castle, PhD. The library was holding a book on Tesla for me, but I'd arrived a couple days late so it was sent back.  Not ever wanting to leave a library book less, I ambled over to the nonfiction section where I hoped to find more books on Jung, and this book was the only one in the same field.   I feared it might be another one of those vapid dream dictionaries, but this instead was an overview of the psychological and physiological research on dreams.  While dream research has a long way to go, first of all, to be located in the psychological departments of research universities instead of in the medical departments, I have to admit it's come along way since I did a pretty extensive dream study during the late 80's and early 90's.  Back then,  I kept daily dream journals and read just about everything I could find on the subject. There wasn't much that was serious, especially in book stores and local libraries, while there may have been more in university libraries to which we had no access at the time, pre-Internet. 
But now dream study seems to be coming into its own, with a number of landmark studies.  What's so great about Castle's book is that he gives a history of the studies from even back in the days of the Greeks through  Freud and his students, Jung and his, through Adler, Perls and so many more right up to recent times.  He also explores every aspect from somatic dreams all the way to telepathic dreams - not usual for hardcore scientists doing extensive controlled experiments in the lab.  He also offers many anecdotes and individual dreams, including series of dreams to explain every finding.  The numbers are rather astounding in categories one might think on the fringes through the dreams and work of psychologist who work extensively with the dreams of their patients, there have come to the foreground some symbols which appear universal, while most are highly personal.
So many aspects of this book have verified things I'd considered, but thought I was weird or just out there to consider.  I no longer feel so alone. Especially in regard to series of dreams. Once I start dream journals and record at least one dream each night, I end up with dreams ending one night and finishing another or carrying the same themes and symbols from one night to the next.  Sometimes I ask my psyche to finish the dream or s the dream finishes while I'm partially awake in that twilight place beforeI get out of bed.  Now, more than ever, I see how important dreams are.
I had a recent dream where  I was  lying on a chaise lounge on the veranda of a large Victorian hotel enjoying a nice cool breeze.  I kept trying to take a nap, but  lots of people from my past kept walking by to and fro, stopping to talk to me, They would bring up an old story about my past or ask if I remembered them.  Some wanted to play catch up, talk about my book, tell me about their life etc.  I only recognized two people, one who was my French Canadian grandmother, and the other who was a young man who spoke over his shoulder to his young son.  I'd never met the man but recognized him. I realized when I woke he was the child, now grown,  who I would have gave birth to if not for miscarrying.  I  told him he looked just like his father.
Then the dream shifted as I watched a  white  bomb crash into a lake next to where I was standing.  At first I saw it descend into the water slow motion as if watching an underground camera following the bomb, but then it popped up and turned on me and now I was eye to eye with the barrel end of an odd futuristic looking gun.  In the dream I felt I was most likely going to die.  And I recall a sort of lucid dreaming moment where in this second segment of the dream, I thought the first part represented my "wake" or visitation not in a funeral home, but on the veranda of a Victorian hotel (which would suit me much better), since I was going to die. I recognized the previous dream as precognitive. 
Then the dream shifted to a piece of white paper on a desk, almost blank except for the words "Gail. Run" typed into a sidebar.  I woke up very frightened.  In the real world I had undergone two procedures this week to check for cancer and other medical issues. While the cancer was ruled out, I won't be informed of other diagnoses until the biopsies come back in a few weeks.  I was very frightened and had a hard time waking up, which is not like me at all.
What is so strange is that this dream was a warning dream, picking up on symptoms I experienced during the night as I slept unaware of until I left the house. After I woke up I only had about 15 minutes to get ready to go to a marathon run to raise money for individuals with traumatic brain injuries, which I attended with my boss and co-workers.  As I was driving to the site of the run I had a sudden allergic reaction - my lips swelled up, I started itching all over the place and my throat started to close up.  I pulled into a grocery store, grabbed some Benadryl and went on to the race, knowing a staffed  ambulance was always on site and I'd have immediate help if the reaction got worse.  Luckily, the symptoms got better, even though I felt tired from the Benadryl (and the rough week with the extensive medical procedures).  I calmed down as I walked. I did not do the run, but the mile walk which folks who have brain injury, their families and staff from HASCI do.  I realized that I must have been stung by fire ants the evening before when I'd raked up a lot of those pollen caterpillar things and disturbed a nest.  I thought I'd avoided getting stung, never saw any ants and had not been itching the few hours I stayed awake after working in the garden.  Sure enough, once I realized I must have been stung,  I found three bites.
Now when I look back I can see that while sleeping my body was trying to "wake me up" and alert me that I'd been stung and was having an allergic reaction.   I've been allergic to fire ants for over ten years and the gun dropping into the water, I interpret as being symbolic of the venom entering my blood stream. My psyche must have felt the gun in my face had to be so graphic as to stick in my mind after I woke up to frighten me into taking immediate action.
The note with the "Gail. Run." demands could have served a dual purpose - first, for me to run and take the medicine or secondly, to go to the Brain Injury Run and get help from the EMT's, if I needed it.
I'm really fortunate the dream was so dramatic. Now that I've been working on dreams, I  remember them more often, write them down (I did not have time that morning) and try to analyze what they are telling me.This time it proved to be very important to remember my dream.

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