In my first days at college, a new friend invited me up to her dorm room. Hanging above her bed was a poster that pictured the earth as seen from space, under which were printed the words, “Love Your Mother.”

Eager to make conversation, I said, “So, you’re close to your mom, huh?”

My new friend, as gracefully as she could, pointed out that the poster was a statement about environmentalism, not family ties.

Oops. The good news is that the friendship flourished, despite my inane remark.

But, like a dream that we revisit over the years, I now look back on that moment and see something else, besides just a cringe-worthy freshman-year faux pas.

My initial blindness to the collective message in that poster’s symbolism mirrors, to some degree, a problem that most of us in western culture have when it comes to understanding dreams.

Sigmund Freud made dream analysis popular, but he also made us look to the dream for purely personal understanding and gain. Every dream, in the popularized Freudian paradigm, was about our inner, personal conflicts. Many, of which, by the way, were interpreted as being about the mother complex.

Carl G. Jung added the idea of the collective unconscious to dream studies, expanding the art of dream work beyond personal symbolism and connotations into broader, more universal themes.

But still, by and large, dreams these days are looked at primarily as private messages coming from our individual store of memories, fears and desires, to serve our own personal growth and development.

And while yes, dreams are great for personal evolution; they speak to us on a more global level as well. Many ancient and aboriginal cultures see dreams first and foremost as collective messages, meant for the healing and benefit of the community as a whole.

So, back to that poster: Love Your Mother. When it comes to dream work, we have to look at this slogan, and the other symbols and messages that come to us, not only on a personal level, the way I mistakenly did that autumn afternoon during my first week at college. It’s important to see the bigger picture, both in our dreams, and in our waking lives; not only for our own sake, but for our Mother, as well.

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Seek and Ye Shall Find:

They say that Freudians have Freudian dreams and Jungians have Jungian dreams. In other words, what we believe about dreams and dreaming might influence the structure and content of our dreams. As we prepare for our upcoming group dream for Global Healing on Monday night, March 19, 2012, let’s begin to think about the global resonances our dreams offer.

  • Contemplate the idea that your dreams might have messages for the healing of our communities and our planet, in addition to healing messages they have for your personal life.
  • Each morning as you review your dreams, notice if there are symbols, scenarios and messages that might help you be a healing agent for the planet.
  • Awake, too, reflect not only on your personal needs & health, but on the needs of the plants and animals, seen and unseen, in the environment around you.

Recommended Reading:
The Secret History of Dreams by Robert Moss: In this book you will learn about various cultures and traditions where dreaming was a communal, not just personal affair.

 

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