Dreams & Symbols
Dharma Glimpse by Paramita
It’s not often that I remember anything coherent from the chaotic imbroglio of weirdness and obscurity that spews out of my mind while I’m asleep. I can never usually interpret much that might prove useful to me, and often feel envious when I hear the richness and clarity of others’ dreams. I sometimes wonder whether my dreams come to me via some external source, like the universal muse or like some random etheric download from the cosmic mind.
In a recent dream, I was enjoying a swim at the local pool, diving onto the bottom and swimming along under the surface, as I often do in my waking state. Suddenly I became aware that I was watching myself from an outside perspective, and as I dived in, the surface of the water froze over, seeming to trap me underneath. There was no panic and nothing like the dark feelings that I usually get when my dreams take a sinister turn. Just a slightly puzzled feeling and a sense of curiosity about the meaning when I woke up.
As I thought about this it felt more and more important, so I turned to the internet for some input and found that, in dream code, diving into water often symbolises overwhelm, or is used to highlight the deliberate attempts that we make to understand our unconscious psychological material. This made perfect sense in light of the therapy session that I had had the previous day, when we were unburdening some of my exiled IFS(Internal Family Systems)parts and their feelings. The freezing may well have been a stuckness that I feel as I fail to make the kind of headway that I think I need to.
Later on that week, a Templemate told me about her dream, which offered an even richer thread of imagery involving mental baggage and intergenerational processes. A handbag that didn’t feel right, holding unresolved feelings and a trauma pattern filtering down through a long family lineage.
I couldn’t help but wonder in awe at how amazing and fascinating it is that the mind has a pre-existing stock of symbols and imagery that it uses to communicate with us and to convey important information about psychological processes. It seems to have a natural tendency towards healing. Maybe healing some great wound that we collectively suffered over the millennia that we’ve been playing out our societal games…maybe even from before? Some primordial schism being reconciled in the midst of our preoccupied bumbling!
One of the things that attracted me so strongly to Buddhism is its unapologetic fascination with the Mind. After all, there can be no question that it is central to all and everything. When I think about dreams, the vast ocean of memories and feelings that exist outside of our thinking, waking minds, it seems more and more likely that our minds are constantly moving us toward some great resolution. Maybe dreams are one of the channels through which our samskaras(mental confections that lead to delusions about ourselves) are uprooted, worked out or slowly neutralized?
It’s probably one of the things that we, or at least I, will never know. Maybe some of these things need to remain a mystery in order to retain their healing power and keep us thinking, guessing, wondering at the depth and richness of everything.
Namo Amida Bu!