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  • Writer's pictureBradley

Listening To Our Dreams

"Once we get used to listening to our dreams, our whole body responds like a musical instrument."

—Marion Woodman

Not all dreams occur while we sleep.

Some dreams happen during team meetings when we gaze out the window, listlessly observing the flight of a flock of birds, their chaotic patterns playing on our minds like soothing, hypnotic music. They happen during dinner, when someone's comment flashes in your memory, evoking a forgotten image or event and you pursue the ideas away from your physical being until the clink of utensils on plates pulls you back. They happen during meditations, during driving, and, yes, during sleep. Dreams show us the substrate of our imagination, and our unconscious mind, bidden and unbidden.

What is the imagination? Why is the imagination? And what do we do with the myriad and strange images and ideas that arise, seemingly of their own accord? Many in the depth psychology field maintain these images arise to guide us and reveal deeper associations of life to our conscious mind. In a culture that dismisses imagination and dreaming as insubstantial, it is the uncommon individual who holds on to their ability to explore inner spaces.

"Every good idea and all creative work are the offspring of the imagination, and have their source in what one is pleased to call infantile fantasy. Not the artist alone, but every creative individual whatsoever owes all that is greatest in [their] life to fantasy."

-C. G. Jung

When the noted depth psychologist C. G. Jung attributed creativity to "infantile fantasy," he wasn't dismissing the state of mind responsible for producing such content. On the contrary, it was his belief that by attuning oneself to this voice, this wellspring and inexhaustible reservoir of image, could we achieve individuation: a wholeness and and acceptance of the entirety of our being, including our deepest and darkest selves. This acceptance allows us to transcend a sleepwalking-like state of mind and engage and shape our own destinies.

No one likes to think of themselves as sleepwalking through life, but we often catch ourselves doing exactly that. When we've arrived at our destination and we can't remember driving the last fifteen minutes of the trip. Or when our spouse asks us if we're listening and we must sheepishly admit we weren't. But when we embrace our inherent need to explore these depths of consciousness–of our souls–that we are able to fully live and realize our deepest desires and full potential.

So dream deeply. Find time to stargaze, to be idle, to space out, and to remember what you see when you visit the land of your dreams.

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