After our fears and insecurities our minds are really most influenced by stories. This is stories you see on TV, stories you read, hear about, stories you made up from your own experiences etc. The best book we can look at to learn more about dreams that are influenced by stories is a fairly common one, and its one that pretty much everyone at some point has read. No its not the Bible.
I am of course talking about that most seminal of tomes, the great and powerfully influential book known as Spot goes for a walk.
Any common children’s book is good, as most carry the themes that dreams will commonly follow. If you haven’t read the book recently, let me remind you of its content.
First spot is going for a walk, before he even leaves his mother behind he is told “Don’t get lost.” Already we are playing on spots fears of losing himself, losing his mother, and not being able to find his way back. These are fairly basic fears that children learn from a very young age and ones that are actually vital to learn. From a dream analysis point of view it tells us what our first thing to look at when we have decided to analyze/interpret our dreams. Is this something I fear, of have feared. Its not wrong to have fear. Yoda does say that “fear leads to suffering” and all that, but he is a Jedi, and to be frank your probably not. We all have fear and admitting we have some is often the best course of action. Denial of our fear is however far more dangerous for us in the long term.
The first thing Spot encounters as he continues his journey is a cat in the shed, the cat hisses at him and you are led to believe he runs away. This is of course another fear based page and already covering that aspect we shall move along.
Next Spot encounters some chickens, and then some bees. The chicken says hello, and the he says that the bees flowers smell lovely and they say “Thank you”. These are everyday occurrences. Its fairly common to have them in your dreams. You talk to people in the street, so you would do so in your dreams, you also like to look at things and most people like a nice smelling bouquet of flowers. Having these things occur in our dreams is very likely. Even if we don’t do something everyday, if we can imagine it happening to us, we can dream it (some even say the same parts of the Brain do the same processing (see Eugen Tarnow, and Science 294 (5544): p. 1052–1057.)). Everyday occurrences are of course going to be a topic for another post and we will cover them more then, and even how we can make the up as well.
Spot then enters a Rabbit in a field of carrots. The Rabbit is somewhat of a Trickster character in the Spot, s/he tends to lead spot astray and often tricks him, but s/he also occasionally helps Spot in his goals. This is quite typical of a trickster charter, you never know when you can trust them. The Rabbit knows that Spot is hungry and tells him to look in the flower bed, the flower bed when Spot digs it up, contains a Bone. If this was a dream this is what we can call encountering a dream character. Rabbit is a character in Spots story who represents something. We all know a person or character in our lives that is like Rabbit, slightly Tricksy, slightly helpful, and these characters are ones we will encounter when we record our dreams and analyze them. We can have many characters of different sorts of archetypes (more on these later) and they are often based on stories we have read, like Spot, or even have watched, been told, or even stories we have lived (of course). Our characters are what really define our dreams and our interactions with them can help us discover many things about our own true natures (ok yeah I know that sounds a bit fluffy but its actually true). This is the aspect of dreaming I am currently most interested in exploring more and influences of characters from our stories are ones I like the most. I like the ability to talk to Superman, or even have a beer with Sam Gunn, or walk on the moon with Neil Armstrong (with or without spacesuit, its all the same in a dream).
Before Spot finishes his walk he then goes to a pond. Here we encounter what most would call a “challenge”. Spot wants a drink after his meal of bone and so drinks, but he is told to be careful not of fall in (Fear again) and unfortunately he does. He doesn’t meet his challenge. So his walk comes to a end, he is finds Mum and is asked what he did that day, he says “Not a lot” even though he appears to have done a great deal.
When we face challenges in dreams we can pass or fail, but when it comes to influences from stories, a challenge is pretty common. We can thank the continually used “Heros journey” for this particular influence in some ways, but it didn’t become the most popular of story telling methods by just being really easy to follow the formula. When our challenge is from a story we often attempt to overcome it in the same way the hero did in the story. If this means some sort of radical, non possible scenario, all the better, if its means that Penguins ride in on Lamas while singing Wagner’s Ride of the Valkies carrying silver arrows and wearing KISS armor plating and makeup, all the better (especially during REM sleep). Due to the fact that part of dreaming is influenced by things we see and do, as well as what we like and don’t like, as well as trying to process everything all at once, we can get some pretty mashed up stuff (so your not weird).
So when we think about our dreams, think a little more simply, because something like a story can easily lead us to how our mind came up with what seems like a pretty crazy thing. Spot goes for a walk is a very good example of a story that can easily represent what things we need to consider, but there are of course others.