The psyche, if you understand it as a phenomenon
occuring in living bodies, is a quality of matter …
it is simply the world seen from within …
~ C G Jung
It is January, 2015 in Victoria, B.C. I am living in a small studio apartment focused on writing and physical rehabilitation from several strokes in April, 2014, and rotator cuff surgery October 23, 2014. This morning birds are singing in the rain outside my window.
It is now nearly 26 years since The Living Room dream occurred amidst massive financial problems, spiritual confusion, and the struggle to understand what was happening in my inner life since my healing journey became so deep and meaningful. Some dreams, Jung says, are for a lifetime. This early sequence of dreams are surely what he was writing about. Outwardly, my life may seem the same to some friends and family. Others definitely know better. Inside myself? I indeed have a new living room.
The Living Room
In the dream, I arrive home from somewhere to find the living room has been renovated. It is filled with beautiful new furniture. The color scheme revolves around rich shades of blues. Royal blues, pastels … I am surprised and very calm. The dream ends.
In reality, our living room is 12′ by 19′. The house was built in 1951. The rug was installed in 1977 and after 12 years wear and tear, needs replacing. The walls are beige. The furniture is mostly early mother-in-law and some of our own 20 year old originals. The idea of replacing anything is absolutely not on the agenda considering the expenses of two teenage sons and a young daughter. I do not expect to find the furniture replaced by the tooth fairy. We have investigated, planned and discarded notions of renovation given a price tag of about $25,000 which is far beyond our means.
Thankfully, I have learned enough about dreams to start with the notion of my own inner world.
If your intention is to use dreams as the royal road to the unconscious, as suggested by Jung and to better understand yourself within your life and the world, the best rule you can adhere to is BE HONEST WITH YOUR SELF. Sure dreams can and are fun. They are also not silly literal messages saying, “go and get new furniture!” If you are expecting dreams as in “ah, so dreamy!”, stop reading now. If you are seriously needing a deep methodology of living life more fully, start with recording your dreams and working with them often. An easy rule to remember and to help you understand more deeply, Your first thought may be absolutely wrong. Do not be fooled by wishful thinking and by assuming your own brilliance! C G Jung spent a lifetime and when he died in 1961, he was still discovering and developing his theories and thoughts. Although it comes at a dear price, his Red Book was released by his estate a few years ago. I am hoping to one day own a copy. His dream illustrations are beyond words. Dream work is for a lifetime.
Merging Dream Levels
There are at least 12 levels of working with dreams including then physical; spiritual; universal; experiential (thoughts, sensations, intuitions, emotions); creativity, inspiration, problem solving; sexuality, libido, wish fulfillment; compensation for unconscious attitudes within (for example, the Inner Tyrant you do not acknowledge); archetypes, religuere, God, Divine Wisdom, recognition of the spirituality within; humor, pun, paradox, juxtaposition; and, the precognitive, or synchronistic.
Combining the use of word associations with 12 possible levels of understanding my living room dream took me a great long time. In fact, it was a long time before I could begin to understand. Dreams for a lifetime are those you remember vividly years later. This dream is still giving its Gift of Inner Life.
I associate blue with the Virgin Mother Mary’s Mantle. It connotes devotion, innocence, and religuere. Often as I meditate, blue swirls around and through me bringing feelings of peace.
The words “I come home” may suggest returning to my Self, the prodigal child returning to accept the Divinity within; the Divine as explained by Jung who used capital letters to refer to the Higher Self as opposed to the personal self. It is important to mention that our personal context is very important to understanding dreams. I had lived with the story of the Prodigal Child and probably colored pictures of them as a youngster. Dreams come from our personal and from the collective unconscious. Dreams include symbolism that may help us understand. The story of the prodigal child provides depth of meaning for me because of my life experiences.
The “living room” according to Jung, may well be that world where we live! Indeed, if I spent more time in this world as shown within the dream, my entire life would be less struggle, more worthwhile. I would feel more worthy. Life would be more loving. I would be more accepting of the divinity which is in, with and through me. The Big Guy in the Sky concept of a God who pulls strings while humans respond to directions, properly or poorly, as sinners would not be my inner world. The God who chooses sides in a war would no longer exist. The anthropomorphic gods, created in man’s own image of punishment and reward would cease to be my God. Funny, I had never thought about the kind of God I believed in. God was God. Right? Wrong. There are many Gods in the world and each one is the figment of one’s own personal beliefs. I would not have false gods before me. It will take years for me to come to any deep understanding of this. Years of struggle. Our world is filled with people who try to impose their own image of God on everyone. Like all children, I had inherited a God, had developed my own childish interpretation of a God. All of that was being transformed. Easy words to write. Hard beliefs to recognize and then to accept and then to, well, share. I would run head on into many who wanted, like the speaker referred to in the Broken Church interpretation, want to tell me if I was “right” according to their own truth. I was starting along the road to “I am my own authority.” Again, easy to say. Much more threatening and destructive to my false self than I knew in June 1990. As Lao Tzu said, “New beginnings may come from painful endings.” The end of a belief system may seem small to some. They may not have experienced it except perhaps at an intellectual level. Dreams and transformations come from the very root of my existence. These shifts brought moments of truly existential despair. In other words, existence threatening. That sense of despair is the work of the Ego. Ego in fact fights desperately to remain in charge. Ego uses every possible mind trick. Have you ever watched someone make determined and desperate attempts to recover from alcoholism? smoking addiction? When was the last time you actually were successful in transforming even a small aspect of your belief system? Recognizing egoic thinking is a huge challenge.
“Renovation” surely suggests change and transformation. Time would definitely prove that dreams and transformation is not just a book title. In my life, it was very real.
May 10, 1991 Furthering the Dream Gift
This entry is forthcoming. It furthers the Living Room Dream transformation.