Dr. Michael Glock

Dream Symbols: Your Gateway to Personal Growth and a More Meaningful Life!

Dream Symbols: Your Gateway to Personal Growth and a More Meaningful Life!

A symbolic life plays a crucial role in human development by offering a framework to comprehend and navigate the complexities of existence. This is particularly significant for those experiencing feelings of hopelessness and meaninglessness because deriving meaning from emerging symbols becomes a source of purpose.

Carl G. Jung, a prominent figure in analytical psychology, proposed that symbols, especially those appearing in dreams, are essential for unraveling the intricacies of the human psyche and promoting personal growth. Jung asserted that symbols represent expressions of the collective unconscious, serving as archetypal motifs that resonate universally across cultures and time periods (Jung, 1959). Dream symbols, as direct manifestations of the unconscious, act as gateways to the concealed realms of the psyche, revealing latent desires, fears, and unresolved conflicts. It is the spontaneous fantasies, the landscapes, voices, and the images in dreams that are the symbols and the “best formulation for still unknown or unconscious facts” (Jung, CG & Jung, CG. 1970. Mysterium coniunctionis: para 772 p. 540).

These symbols offer individuals insights into their unconscious motivations, enabling a deeper understanding of their personal narratives and aspirations.  Now tending these symbols to unpack the symbolic meaning can be done using a number of different methods. Active imagination was a technique Jung developed. You take a snippet of the dream and actively imagine more of the dream sequence; you add to it and produce a “sequence of fantasies produced by deliberate concentration” (Jung, CG, 1980. The archetypes and the collective unconscious. para. 101 p. 49).

Moreover, integrating symbols into conscious awareness facilitates individuation—a process of psychological maturation that leads to a more harmonious and authentic self-efficacy.  Individuation is the process whereby “individual beings are formed and differentiated: in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general collective” (Jung, CG. 1990. Psychological Types: The Collected Works of C.G. Jung. 9. para.57 p. 448).

In essence, exploring symbols in dreams is integral to human personal development, providing a transformative journey toward self-discovery and the realization of a meaningful and symbolic life.

It is in the “darkness of the unconscious [that] a treasure lies hidden” (Jung, CG,  1976. para 510 p. 330). This is the pearl beyond price, and the doorway to this realm is through the symbols that emerge from dreams. Tending to this realm is what is meant by living a symbolic life.

References:

Jung, CG & Jung, CG. 1970. Mysterium coniunctionis: an inquiry into the separation and synthesis of psychic opposites in alchemy. 2d ed ed. (Bollingen series no. 20). Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Jung, CG, Jung, CG & Jung, CG. 1976. Symbols of transformation: an analysis of the prelude to a case of schizophrenia. 2. ed., 3. print. ; [paperback ed.] ed. (Paperback editions of C. G. Jung’s writings / transl. by R. F. C. Hull). Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

Jung, CG, Jung, CG & Jung, CG. 1980. The archetypes and the collective unconscious. 2. ed., 1. Princeton Bollingen paperback print ed. (Paperback editions of C. G. Jung’s writings / transl. by R. F. C. Hull). Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

Jung, CG. 1990. Psychological Types: The Collected Works of C.G. Jung. 9. Aufl ed. Edited by W McGuire. (Bollingen Series XX). Princeton: University Press.