M2. Psychiatrist Carl Jung distinguished between small dreams and big dreams.
“At least once in our lives, each of us experiences a dream of extraordinary power and intensity, a dream that strikes a chord deep within us that continues to resonate, often for the rest of our lives. From the dawn of history, people have regarded such dreams as an important source of spiritual wisdom and insight.”
– Alan Siegel, Ph.D., president, Association for the Study of Dreams
Big Dream Basics
What is the difference between big dreams and small or ordinary dreams?
Well firstly, big dreams are often in technicolor. That is they are vivid, colorful, moving, and often unforgettable. They make an impact on us as in the quote above.
Secondly, they are about subjects that are not merely day-to-day subjects. They are significant.
Big dreams are supposed to come from deep within our unconscious minds, from the core of our psyche.
Big dreams are often regarded as a wake-up call. That we know something has to change in our lives.
Big dreams feel more real even than real life and often have a strong meaning to us during the dream.
The symbology of big dreams is often archetypal and we are not meant to take them literally. They need thinking about and ruminating upon.
Big dreams tend to be highly emotionally charged. That is one may feel enormous relief when the dream story concludes, or maybe one feels elated about the experience, or maybe one feels the pain that such a wonderful dream has come to an end.
The experience of big dreams is so well known to so many cultures around the world. In fact, the idea is so prevalent that,
“some scholars have gone so far as to argue that religion itself actually originated in dream experiences”
– Kelly Bulkeley, past president of the Association for the Study of Dreams
Big dreams come when they choose and not when you want them. You can’t have them to order.
In contrast, small dreams are mundane, run of the mill, often quite forgettable incidents about recent day to day stuff that is occurring around us all the time.
What Should We Do With Big Dreams?
If we ignore them, sais Dr. Knudson director of the Ph.D. program in clinical psychology at the Miami University of Ohio,
“we discount our most valuable resource in understanding ourselves”
So a big dream is a call to action either by telling you to do something or giving you a critical piece of knowledge to enable you to do something.
If you pay attention to it you will have an adventure into the unknown which is an opportunity as well as a risk too. But if you miss it through inattention then you may forever have bad luck.
Inattention is the cardinal sin.
Psychologist Carl Jung referred to big dreams as the
“richest jewels in the treasure-house of the psyche”
So what do you do with a big dream? Well, thank your good fortune because they come rarely for most people. But then try hard to interpret it symbolically and emotionally.
Then try and work out what it might be asking you to do, because they are generally calls to action in some way.
And finally, treat it with the seriousness it deserves and, at least, pay ritual homage to it for what it is. Because only you know what it really means.
It may even change your life… totally!