The Secret of Dream Analysis, and Why Sedative Drugs and Herbs Might Be the Wrong Approach to Gaining Refreshing Sleep

by on April 30th, 2014
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Carl Jung once called dreams the royal road to the unconscious. While many people associate dream analysis with the application of symbols found in books to the strange objects they find in dreams, that approach is merely scraping the surface.

Professional dream analysis is built upon the system of association. In associative analysis, the dreamer himself does the work of interpreting the dream, by noting associations to the objects, words and images that appear while he was asleep. Over time, the person doing the analysis will come to gain an appreciation for the subjective symbolism of his own unconscious.

One way to help an individual appreciate the reality of this phenomenon is to have him draw out in pictorial form what he saw in the dream. Over time, he will find that various patterns, whether a room or a series of rooms, such as a hotel room or bed room, for example, will appear in multiple dreams over a series of nights. Frequently these recurrent images are compendiums of experiences and associations he has had over many years going back to his earliest childhood.

In truth, these recurrent images are subjective manifestations of personal symbols, which the individual has created, and which together form the structure of his internal subjective mental life. Images formed when the person was younger, like lines drawn on a blank page, are much more fundamental, and form the precursors of later memories. So therefore, a certain type of bed, appearing in one dream, may relate to a bed the dreamer saw in life a year ago, five years ago, ten years ago, during his childhood, or never at all. Over the years, various beds the dreamer has seen, experienced, read about, or dreamed about, have come to have subjective associations and meaning to him, depending on what occurred in the beds and where they were located. The images of these beds, and composite images of beds created in his subjective memory bank form a subjective filing system, that he uses to process every new experience related to beds or activities, thoughts, and feelings associated with beds.

When an individual goes to sleep, full of new images from the day’s activity, he faces the challenge, of integrating the new images, emotions, thoughts and experiences of that day into his preformed subjective memory circuits. This process takes place during the times of dreaming. Before we enter dream sleep, the body turns off the circuits to the muscles, so that we can experience images associated with the previous day’s encounters without responding to them physically. At the same time, the images that appear in dreams are often all ready associated with older images we have seen, or even strange images created subjectively by our imagination. As the process continues, on and off throughout the night, the harsh world of external reality is gradually replaced by our own inner subjective world of personal images and associations that we make up ourselves. When we finish one set of REM sleep dreaming, we already have come to believe that the dream we just had was our real life and activity. Between each REM sleep dreaming period we fall back into deeper levels of sleep, which provides more and more refreshment and rejuvenation. As the process completes itself, we are more or less successful in returning to the sense of subjective contentment we once had when fetuses in our mother’s womb.

People on the go, with only a limited time to sleep, often take sedatives to help themselves quickly access the levels of refreshing sleep they crave. However, virtually all the sedatives, whether herbal or pharmaceutical, mess up to a greater or lesser extent the delicate patterns of REM sleep and deep sleep. While people who take the sedatives might get sleep, they fail to get the important benefits that come from having enough dream time, which means enough time for them to reinterpret the day’s images and emotions into their own individual subjective view of life. Without this important sleep time function, people often experience subjective memory problems, increased suicidal behavior and a greater tendency to express anger. All of these symptoms are indications that they are not successfully maintaining their internal homeostasis.

To counteract this problem, traditional Chinese medicine has developed compounds that energize the user and promote a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Products such as BioDream by E-Helps stimulate the energy flow (Qi) through all of the 12 meridians. People using supplements such as these live more intensely during their waking hours, and then fall into a natural sleep, that importantly does not restrict the valuable REM sleep cycling.

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