This information provided by: Robert L. Johnson, Ph.D., M.Div., L.M.H.C. (FL lic # MHC 0001426), Specializing in Jungian Process (Holistic Approaches to Personal Development & Psychotherapy) Telephone: 850-948-7926
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LN - Dreams
Sleep and Dreams
Why Do We Sleep?
Basically we sleep to allow physical and psychological rest and repair. There may be other reasons that we have not discovered to this point. At this time we best understand the 1st and 4th stages of sleep.
How Do We Sleep?
We actually sleep in cycles, not hours. Cycles last about 60 to 90 minutes. We average about 5 cycles per night.
Young children need more sleep. Older people often need less sleep. Depressed people often desire much more sleep.
If sleep is lost over a long period of time, then it must be regained over time. If sleep is lost over a short period of time, then it can be regained in a short period. When catching up on sleep you need time for at least 1 full cycle.
Stages of Sleep
Stage 1: Psychological: Light sleep very closely related to consciousness. We initially fall into level 1 sleep for a short period of time upon going to sleep. We then quickly descend through levels 2 & 3 and the we stay in level 4 for 30 to 45 minutes. We then come back through 3 & 2 to level 1 (REM) sleep in which we dream. This is the stage of sleep that provides us with dreams, image sorting, and psychological rest. If we are deprived of this stage of sleep we do not function well mentally in daily activities. If we awake normally, we awake out of this stage 1 sleep.
Stage 2: Body movement: A deeper sleep with unique electrical activity, but still more like consciousness in some ways than levels 3 & 4. It is in this stage of sleep that body movement, sleep walking and sleep talking occur.
Stage 3: Electro-chemical: A much deeper sleep in which you become much more difficult to awaken. There is a 500% increase in electrical activity in this stage of sleep with decreased heart rate and body temperature.
Stage 4: Physiological: This is the deepest stage of sleep. You are practically in coma. You have large slow EEG waves. It is extremely difficult to awaken someone in this stage of sleep. This is the most important stage of sleep for physical rest. If we are deprived of this stage we do not function well physically in daily activities.
“... To me dreams are a part of nature, which harbors no intension to deceive but expresses something as best it can, just as a plant grows or an animal seeks its food as best it can.” —C.G. Jung
I tend to be of the school which suggests that we do not dream at all, but rather we are dreamed... of course the big question is by whom. I think of dreams as an attempt by the "Unconscious" to communicate with
the ego for the purpose of moving the individual to a more creative psychological or theological position. I think of dream interpretation as an personalized art based in some illusive framework. We each must learn to work with our dreams. However, there is an innate danger in interpreting our dreams by ourselves. The danger is a shadow trap. The shadow will manipulate your interpretation of the dream to be satisfactory, but it will be either off the mark or short of the mark. So, if you are really serious about your dreams you need to find other serious people and work with them. There are three levels of dreams:
Level 1: These dreams have to do with everyday events in our everyday lives. All dreams should initially be looked to interpret or rule out level 1 interpretation. The contents of level 1 dreams are as variant as our lives. The best clue of a level 1 dream is that all of the imagery in the dream would seem rational in conscious life. This is not an absolute, nor does it mean that all the players and actions are as they appear. It means that the commonness of events suggests the commonness of external reality where egos play. Many dreams contain dual imagery representing both level 1 and level 2 phenomenon.
Level 2: These dreams have to do with your personal psyche and intra- psychic dynamics. The contents of level 2 dreams are as variant as the gods that play in them. The best clue to a level 2 dream is that the imagery or shifts in the dream would not seem rational in conscious life. This is because the archetypes (gods) that are playing are not limited to the time-space continuum. This is not an absolute, but a reasonable place to start looking at a dream. These dreams are about you and you alone. Every player in the dream is an aspect of your own archetypal composition, often trying to workout dynamics for which ego is not capable or able of taking responsibility... at least to this time. I fully believe these god-images are trying their best to get your attention and communicate with you as ego. These god-images speak in the language of the unconscious. They do not speak English. English captions are added for egos benefit and occasional amusement. Archetypes communicate in images and metaphor. That is simply their language. If we wish to understand our dreams, we must be willing to learn their language.
Level 3: These are great dreams or big dreams. These are uncommon and usually we have less than a handful in a lifetime if any at all. They commonly occur at critical stages in life such as puberty, mid-life, and the final stages of life as we approach death. They speak of existence beyond our own life or internal struggles. They do not lend themselves well to interpretation. They are normally quite clear if the dreamer is open to input that is beyond her/his own world view.
“I do not know how dreams arise. I am altogether in doubt as to whether my way of handling dreams even deserves the name "method." I share all my reader’s prejudices against dream interpretation as being the quintessence of uncertainty and arbitrariness. But, on the other hand, I know that if we meditate on a dream sufficiently and thoroughly - if we take it about with us and turn it over and over - something almost always comes of it. This something is not of a kind that means that we can boast of its scientific nature or rationalize it, but it is a practical and important hint which shows the patient in what direction the unconscious is leading him.” —C.G. Jung
“Am I Chuang-Tzu dreaming that I am a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming I am Chuang-Tzu.” —Chuang-Tz
Types of Dreams
Compensatory: These dreams are about the other you. They may be aspects of you light or dark shadow. They may be unfulfilled desires or wishes. They appear to supply to your life that which you do not seem to be able to get or express in conscious life
Confirmation: These dreams tend to confirm decisions that you are making in your life or in your process. They may re-enact a specific life event. They may set up a scenario which reenforces a specific aspect of your feeling or thinking function. They basically say, "You’ve got it".
Directive: These dreams point to a specific direction that you may want to consider. They often appear when you are at some type of crossroad to influence you in one direction or another.
Reflective: These dreams reflect past events that ave occurred in our lives. They often do so for the purpose of helping see some unfinished business from the experience or possibly as a warning that we are setting up the situation again in our life.
Insightful: These are dreams that tell us about something that is going on in our lives that we just are not getting. I think of these dreams as pointing out the obvious even if it was not obvious until we see it in the dream. I often think of the dreams as reenforcing our sensate or intuitive functions.
Anticipatory: These dreams actually show us an image in our own future. Dreams are not regulated to the time-space continuum, so occasionally we are graced with an image of the future. At times these can be warnings, and at times we simply experience them as deja-vu.
Entertainment: Once in a while we have a dream that simply entertains us. This might be a sub-category of compensatory dreams. They may be telling us to get out and smell the roses a little more often or to lighten up and enjoy existence a little more.
Revelatory: These are great dreams or big dreams. These are uncommon and usually we have less than a handful in a lifetime if any at all. They commonly occur at critical stages in life such as puberty, mid-life, and the final stages of life as we approach death. They speak of existence beyond our own life or internal struggles. They do not lend themselves well to interpretation. They are normally quite clear if the dreamer is open to input that is beyond her/his own world view.