M1. “Dreams are not letters from the unconscious mind”
– Stephen LaBerge, Famous Lucid Dream Researcher
How does this relate to the idea shared by many people that dreams are messages or postcards sent to us from our unconscious minds? Or other people believe that the gods are communicating with us through our dreams. How does that fit?
Well, LaBerge goes on to explain that instead, dreams are “experiences created through the interactions of the unconscious and conscious mind. In dreams, more unconscious knowledge is available to our conscious experience.”
Dreaming is Something We Do
So in a dream, it is not so much that our unconscious mind is sending us messages, but rather, our unconscious minds are simply more accessible to our exploring dream egos.
I think this is important because many people have asked me why it is that if dreams are messages sent by our unconscious minds, why is it that we so often cannot recall our dreams? What on earth is the point of our unconscious minds (or the gods) sending us messages if we do not even hear them?
And LaBerge’s answer is that our unconscious minds don’t send us messages at all.
He is saying that dreaming is something we do and not something we simply watch on the receiving TV screens of our minds.
Dreams are the Result of Interactions
LaBerge goes on to say, “However, the dream is not at all the exclusive realm of the unconscious mind . If it were, people would never remember their dreams, because we do not have waking access to what is not conscious.”
Well, that fits pretty well with our general concept of the “unconscious mind”.
Wikipedia says “The unconscious mind (or the unconscious) consists of the processes in the mind which occur automatically and are not available to introspection, and include thought processes, memory, affect, and motivation.”
So far so good.
But Our Unconscious is Not a Secret Realm
Because, LaBerge then says,
“However, the dream is not at all the exclusive realm of the unconscious mind . If it were, people would never remember their dreams, because we do not have waking access to what is not conscious.”
So the dreaming activity we take part in each night when we sleep is an interaction between the conscious and unconscious minds. Also, the boundary between conscious and unconscious is blurred during the activity of dream, whereas during waking moments unconscious is not available to introspection.
This is why dreaming is so important, in my view, because it allows access to our unconscious by our conscious minds.
Our unconscious minds yield, at least, some of their secrets during the activity of dreaming.
How to Explore our Unconscious Minds
To explore our unconscious minds we can examine our dreams.
LaBerge is very clear on this when he says, “The person, or dream ego, that we experience in the dream is the same as our waking consciousness. It constantly influences the events of the dream through its expectations and biases, just as it does in waking life. “
And this is the point, dream interpretation is not compromised by any of what is explored above. And furthermore, even Lucid Dreaming does not change the evidence from the unconscious that is discovered during the activity of dreaming (or lucid dreaming).
This is emphasised by LaBerge when he says that, “The essential difference in the lucid dream is that the ego is aware that the experience is a dream. This allows the ego much more freedom of choice and creative responsibility to find the best way to act in the dream.”
But that is all. A Lucid Dreamer is just more efficient and cognisant of what is doing on during a dream. That is one of the benefits, as well as being more fun, etc.
Dream writer Robert Moss expands on this when he says,
“Dreams give us the answers if we attend to them… To attend means more than listen… To work fully with our dream source, we are required to stretch our understanding, to go beyond familiar maps.”
The essence of this post is that dreams are not simply carriers of messages from our unconscious minds or the gods, but activities to be experienced. However, those experiences may yield hidden things we didn’t know before.
Better maybe to say, dreams are not postcards sent but dialogues we enter into during sleep.