A useful analogy for looking at our minds and consciousness is that of an iceberg. The part of the iceberg that lies above the surface of the water and can be seen and easily accessed is only about 10% of the total iceberg; the rest lies under the surface, unseen and not recognized. So it is with our consciousness; we only have access to a small part of its contents. In Western cultures, our primary emphasis is on consensus reality: that which we can all “objectively” agree on as real, that which can be perceived by our senses and can be measured and easily described. And less value is given to our subjective realities: the world of feelings, intuition, dreams. and other diﬃcult-to-describe experiences. When we spend too much of our time focusing on consensus reality and neglect our inner subjective experiences, the result can be a malaise and life can lack a sense of meaning and the spark of creativity.
At night while we sleep, our patterned conscious mind turns oﬀ, and the spontaneous ﬂuctuations of our unconscious mind takes over and dreams occur. Some cultures have put higher values on dreams than our modern Western cultures. In some aboriginal Australian tribes, the world of “The Dreaming” is viewed as more real than the world of consensus reality and, each morning, the women gather together to act out their dreams from the previous night to bring guidance for the coming day. Many Native American cultures used dreams as a basis for making major decisions for individuals and the community. Even in more modern cultures, there are various schools of understanding dreams, many of them inspired by the work of Carl Jung. According to Jung’s theories, dreams contain marginalized parts of ourselves that are trying to emerge, be recognized and given a place in our daily lives so that we can become our whole and complete selves.
The world of dreams has its own language. Learning to understand and speak this language is a key to reaping the beneﬁts of this incredible resource. Learning to look below the surface of our consciousness through interpreting and unfolding the mysteries contained in our nighttime dreams and to integrate their teachings into our waking lives, can lead to increased creativity, enhanced enjoyment, and a more self-reflective and inspiring life.
The Power of Dreams
by Herb McDonald