In a previous post I wrote about Dreams as language. In this post I will focus on what is translated.
The images that we remember appearing to us in dreams are an expression of something that lies below the place of verbal language. Dream images and their characteristics are like words in this language. The images themselves are a reflection of the conversation between two elements of psyche (mind): the Ego and the Unconscious – although these are very rough terms.
Also, talking about this now I am using verbal language to translate yet again. If this sounds grossly abstract, I apologize but the verbal language is the primary medium through which we communicate. The language of dreams lies deeper in psyche and is thus more difficult to convert into words. Dreams, like any language, requires considerable time to understand and to achieve a modicum of fluency. My goal with this post is just to highlight the language aspect of dreaming to lay the groundwork for further exploration.
I think this necessary because of the general misconceptions that seem to exist about the nature of dreams and what they are.
My approach values life experience and the acquired wisdom of humans through the eons, including scientific wisdom. I am skeptical of approaches that need a component of magic to explain dreams and dreaming or ones that impose a kind of anthropocentric bias onto nature. To my way of thinking, dreams are a natural process and not exclusive to humans. Another way of describing dreams is animal consciousness, and one could even break this down further into mammalian consciousness and reptilian consciousness as way of describing the depths and complexity of this process that evolved over the eons.
What I promoting here is the idea of a multi-layered consciousness where there are several layers that have built upon and expanded previous layers in ways that provide for a more effective life experience as the organism evolves. As mind becomes more complex the amount of energy needed to maintain consciousness increases as well as the amount of unconscious information. Humans contain an additional layer on top that allows for enough space for the development of consciousness to the point of self-awareness, but at the cost of more of psyche (mind) needing to remain unconscious. As a result we can become unaware of the lower (animal) layers of mind.
So one way of thinking about dreams and what they translate is that they translate unconscious impulses, feelings, and experiences into images perceptible to the conscious mind. Beings with complex minds need down time for these processes to occur and for information to be more fully exchanged and processed. As the solar light of Ego sets at the end of the day the unconscious constellation of images becomes perceptible to the Ego that remains conscious.
So, what gets translated through the process of dreaming is something like the patterns of the stars at night, but more intricate and complex, as if each star was a complete image that can be interacted with. These images exist in a very real way and have an internal (symbolic) aspect and an external or apparent aspect that is the image that we see. In other words, an image of someone we know has the external aspect of that person but also carries a symbolic aspect that could also represent a part of ourselves. There is much more that can be explored regarding the symbolic aspect.