Personal Joseph

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When someone tells you about a dream they remember, sometimes you can surprise them by offering an interpretation. Dreams that involve strong imagery and emotions frequently mean something to the dreamer.

My opinion is that it doesn’t matter much what the person saw or heard during their dream. All of the dream’s surroundings were invented by the brain on the spur of the moment and are more or less random. The emotions of the dreamer, on the other hand, are the important content. The brain doesn’t just manufacture emotions. The dream is based on the real-life emotions of the dreamer, and all the images were created around those.

When listening to a dream, the interpreter should focus on the way the dreamer felt during the dream, and also the way they feel while recounting it. Freud placed great stock in the dream narrative. When the dreamer relates the dream, they are not going to be able to remember it well. But the parts that they do remember are likely to be the important ones for the interpretation anyway. So the dreamer just needs to do their best to illustrate the dream for the interpreter and not worry about the parts that are lost.

The emotions that are present in the dream are linked to emotions in waking life. The interpreter should identify the emotions of the dream, and then look for an event or situation that would have caused those emotions. There’s frequently an obvious match. That match is the true subject of the dream.

Ironically, the meaning is unlikely to be discovered by the dreamer. The dream is a message from the subconscious mind, not the conscious mind. If the dreamer were ready to hear the message consciously, then they would have had the idea while they were awake. The fact that the message is presented in a dream means that it is slightly repressed. The interpreter will usually need to describe the meaning to the dreamer. After that, a correct interpretation will probably sound obvious to the dreamer too. (Here’s an example).

One-Way Trip

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When we are faced with a decision that is going to have long-term consequences, it would be easier if we could predict which outcome is going to make us the happiest. Sometimes we pray about the decision as we try to discover the best answer. A good goal is to feel strongly enough about the decision that those feelings will sustain us later, as we live out the consequences of the decision.

Prayers occasionally add to the stress though, because we worry that a bad decision will indicate that we were spirituality misguided. It’s as if we want to travel forward in time and have a conversation with ourselves. We would like to ask someone who has all the facts about which decision is better. And we want prayer to help us attain that level of certainty.

Prayer works better if we use it in the other direction. Instead of asking our future self which decision is better, we should tell our future self which decision we want. First we need to understand what it is we feel is right. Then we need to commit to that course of action. After that, it doesn’t make sense to worry that the future might prove us wrong. Our actions and our attitude will control how satisfied we are. We can have peace of mind just by knowing that we will persevere until our future works out.