Minds, Moods And Dreams
by Tony Dean
Firstly, and by way of an introduction to this piece, I feel it must be stated that as far as matters of the “mind” are concerned, I write with absolutely no authority at all! The human mind is, by its very essence, non physical and non tangible. It has always been and still remains an unknown quantity. It has been studied, researched, surmised and supposed since the very dawn of humankind itself. But still I feel in some ways we are no nearer to fully understanding its deepest, darkest and innermost secrets than were our ancient forefathers, or any other famous or indeed infamous radical and inquisitive thinkers, past or present!
Much debate still rages on regarding the power of the human mind, and thus the power of the human potential. Are we still yet to achieve and develop our minds full potential? Or was it achieved long ago and subsequently lost somewhere down the way? Being superseded by the advent of conventional medicine for example? Or other organised belief systems and religions which had politics at their base, mere vehicles for the control and suppression of any individual’s right to free thinking?
Do we control our minds or do our minds ultimately control us?
The first real question I feel needs to be addressed, because it can never be truly answered, is the matter of do we, as individuals control our minds, or do our minds ultimately control us? For example if I were to say to a client who had come to see me regarding a matter of low self worth and esteem “Well Mr. Jones, you certainly won’t have any worries in the future. Your life will be good now, you will be back in control of your life, your emotions, your health, in fact every single aspect of your being! That is of course as long as you never ever think of a “Pink Monkey”, or it will all go hopelessly wrong for you” How is poor Mr. Jones ever going to stop his mind from going there? In fact how would any of us cope when presented with such a dilemma? I propose that ultimately, we would all end up going there, to the “Pink Monkey”. This state of affairs I believe poses another situation. If we take the above as true, can we not turn that around? Can we not believe, thereby throwing our minds a trick, that if we think of the “Pink Monkey”, and think of it often, that all will be well and we will ultimately have control of our being, thereby affording ourselves the opportunity to let the power of positive thought prevail?
”Oh if it could only be that easy” I hear some of you say! We could then all run around, solving all of the problems of humanity, except the rest of humanity wouldn’t have any problems, because we would all be evolving to such superior beings, answering all of the mysteries of the universe and the entire cosmos! Like something akin to Captain Kirk on speed! Speaking of which I think we are all aware that a degree in “Rocket Science” is not one of the quintessential prerequisites to the realisation that this wonderful state of affairs never has been, nor is ever likely to be the case, except in Hollywood of course! We, all of us, as human beings are susceptible to the phenomenon of our own “Moods”. Conventional Medicine has taught us so much, in as much that our mood balances are due to numerous chemicals such as “Hormones”, which govern our sexual orientation, the balance of which can sometimes be all over the place.
Endorphins (more correctly called Endomorphines, pleasure giving chemicals), secreted in our brains, are another example! Conventional medical science has given us the luxury of developing all kinds of drugs and potions, so as to redress any particular imbalance for when these chemicals are not developed naturally. The downside of which obviously being that when any individual’s ability for producing such is replaced by an artificial substitution, a dependency will undoubtedly arise, thus forming a habitual spiral, which for all but the most strongest willed, will be just about impossible to break.
It is widely acknowledged in the Psychological Profession that our thoughts create energy, and that from “energy in motion” derives (e-motion)! Our emotional state at any one time is bound to have an effect on our “mood of the moment” so to speak! Taking this argument a stage further, would it be a fair synopsis to assume that when we speak of our current emotional state, our current mood of the moment, are we not referring to one and the same thing? There are also other factors that effect our moods and emotions. These include outside factors and energies, such as the pull of the moon for example. It has been scientifically proven that the gravitational pull of the moon controls our internal tides in the same way that affects the tides of the oceans. Would it not be fair to assume that the pull of the moon and the barometric pressure exerted can affect our own emotional balance? We have all heard stories and probably know of certain individuals who are perfectly well balanced people for most of the time, but at the time of the full moon, hey watch out! Those individuals may even include ourselves it must be said. The very fact that we have words like “Lunatic”, originally deriving from the lunar effect on the mind state. These effects have over time been accentuated and embroidered, especially in the movies and through mystic folk lore! Tales of werewolves spring to mind! But are these tales anything else but an illustration of mood swings in the extreme? Is it just a coincidence that the moon, thought by many since the beginnings of humanity to represent the “Sacred Feminine”, shares the same menstrual cycle as women (28 days)?
How many times have any of us gone to bed on any particular evening; feeling all is well within ourselves, all is well with our immediate environment, our loved ones, in fact every aspect of our lives? Most of us have, hopefully at least, felt this way at some time or another! The sense of inner harmony, balance, contentment and achievement in our own particular sphere is enough in itself to waft us into a peaceful night’s sleep. Our last conscious thoughts as we drift off into oblivion are probably about all that we plan to do and achieve the next day! Yes, all in all a truly wonderful state of affairs.
But what if we wake up the next morning feeling “Hey, do you know what? Today I just can’t be asked”. “I just don’t feel like it”. “In fact it’s going to be such a bad day today, I might just go back to bed and be done with it”. If we are truthful, both to and with ourselves, we have all experienced something similar! On the other side of the coin, the exact reverse is also just as liable to come into effect! We have gone to bed feeling generally frustrated and restless, all is not that great, we may have worries and concerns, and we actually wake up the next day feeling bright and positive, re energised and ready to attack the day! So whether we end up by getting out of the right side of the bed, or the wrong side, I believe that it’s very probable to assume that something has happened in the meanwhile, something that has had such a powerful effect within our subconscious minds, capable of changing the whole status quo of our mindset, during the sleeping hours!
Almost every ancient civilisation both realised and utilised the importance and the ultimate existence of our dream state. The recording and interpretation of our dreams dates back, as far as we can tell, to three to four thousand years BCE and documentary evidence of such has been found to be recorded on clay tablets. Primal peoples did not distinguish between the dream state and waking reality, treating both as equally powerful and totally natural forms of conscious reality.
Both the Roman and Greek civilisations understood dreams to be messages from the Gods. Dream interpreters accompanied great emperors, often assisting their masters into battle and advising on strategy. Great temples called “asclepieions” were built as monuments to both the power and significance of dreams. It was believed that people with ailments who entered and slept in these temples received inspiration regarding the cures they needed. The same thing was true in the Celtic world where dream ceremonies were held in sacred woodland glades and Druids would assist as dream interpreters.
The ancient Egyptians treated those individuals who had particularly powerful and vivid dreams as blessed with a divine gift. People how were gifted at dream interpretation were seen as divinity itself! The Chinese, Native North American and Mexican cultures believe that when in a dream state, the spirit actually leaves the body and journeys into the dream world. They also see any form of sudden awakening as running the risk of the spirit being lost and unable to re enter the body as a result. To this very day the Chinese are said to be very wary of alarm clocks! These cultures have long held the notion and existence of a totally different but real dream dimension where the spirits can travel back in time, visiting ancestors, and gaining the desired wisdom from such.
There are also over seven hundred references to dreams in the Bible, the most noted of which (largely thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber) is “Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”. During the middle ages, when people were a lot more superstitious, dreams were seen more as the spirit’s susceptibility to evil or “The Devil”. This character was believed to be doing his dirty work and poisoning the minds of individuals during this susceptible dream state! Around the middle of the twentieth century the role of “The Devil” was largely replaced by “Aliens” in popular culture.
Of course whether people thought they we being influenced by “The Gods” (good) or “The Devil” or “Aliens” (bad) they were really being contacted by their own inner selves. As relatively recently as the beginning of the nineteenth century, dreams were seen as nothing more than a condition brought about by anxiety, indigestion, or even some kind of noise going on. Little more importance at that time was attached, until the likes of Sigmund Freud and his understudy Carl Jung reawakened interest and informed debate about dreams. They both did important and pioneering work regarding dreams, their significance and interpretation, thereby revolutionising and reawakening our awareness of such.
Taking all of the above into account, I believe it would be reasonably safe to assume that our dreams do indeed have a most powerful and profound effect on our mood state! How many of us have awoken from a particularly disturbing dream, most probably in the middle of the night, being so utterly dazed and confused to the point sometimes of total disorientation, where the only course of action is to get up, make ourselves a cup of tea, and try to re-establish just who and what and where we are? Sometimes the effects of such dream events remain with us well into the next day, or days to come! In extreme cases, a fear can actually develop, of letting ourselves drift off to sleep and hence revisiting the disturbing scenario! In some individuals this can take the form of an “insomnia”.
In relatively recent times, and largely due to the pioneering work of Freud and Jung, our dreams are seen as the manifest effect of repressed memories of one or many traumatic events, most often dating back to childhood and depending on any one individuals belief and point of view, can be even the effect of an event which may have even occurred in a past life, although presenting in this, current life! Through techniques of regression therapy and Psychoanalysis, and more recently the application of Hypnoanalysis, these original events can be both addressed and “Abreacted” For many the Abreaction being the moment of freedom and liberation from whatever particular event or cause of the repression, resulting in the effect of the disturbing subconscious activity during the dream state! Hypnoanalysis has become to be seen as a far more effective vehicle in recent times than the standard forms and techniques of Psychoanalysis as the former access and deals directly with the subconscious area of our minds, resulting in a much quicker, much more effective treatment.
In conclusion, I believe it generally safe to assume that we, as human beings, are each a totally individual and unique expression of ourselves. That being the case, it naturally follows on that there can be no one standard rule or role concerning our Minds, Moods and Dreams! There can be no one and only dream interpretation chart, no one and only stand alone rule, regulation or assumption. No two minds can ever work exactly alike, although it has come to light through exhaustive research that dream and mood patterns can repeat in many individuals! The recurring dream, the falling dream, the being chased dream, are all examples of this! Our moods, our influences for example, can be both created and affected by sensory association! That old pop song we hear on the radio for example, can take us right back there. The familiar smell of a leather upholstered car can put us back years in an instant, feeling once again that gush of joy and freedom once felt in our youth! Familiarity is generally associated with safety, an inner contentment can flow through us, and we can be once again in a both familiar and safe place, if we chose to be that is. Choice and variety I believe are the main spices of life itself! And it’s nice to indulge once in a while! After all, we are all capable of affording ourselves that privilege!
On the Nature of the Psyche by Carl G. Jung
The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud
The Dreamer’s Dictionary by Stearn Robinson & Tom Corbett
History of Dreams section – http://www.dreammoods.com