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Dream Ecology


In DREAMING PLACE, the word “dream” has many applications, but we are also VERY interested in its more traditional definition describing that mysterious action which occurs, whether we know it or not, while taking a nice snooze in the sun on a hammock or in a bed at night.

Did you know that scientists estimate that (almost) every person on Earth has over 1,460 dreams every year? That’s an average of 4 dreams per night. Multiply that by the Earth’s human population (over 6.5 billion) and you get A LOT of dreams – and that doesn’t count the billions of dog dreams, horse dreams, cat dreams, pig dreams, cow dreams, bird dreams, deer dreams or daydreams!

According to Wikipedia, during a typical lifespan, a person spends a total of about six years dreaming (which is about two hours each night). Most dreams only last 5 to 20 minutes.

This sometimes invisible “dream ecology” is thick everywhere. We all live with it swirling around us all of the time. How does it affect us, shape our worlds, our places, our histories our futures?

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Doug Stephenson #

    Hi Claire :
    Your good posts got me to thinking about how important dreams are in counseling and psychotherapy, and how seemingly mysterious actions occurring during sleep can reveal useful insights, increased self awareness and sometimes ever better understanding of the environment and world we live in.

    One key to increased awareness of the meanings of dreams is to understand that everything in your dream is some aspect of yourself, and in effect when you are dreaming, you are writing your own script. You’re saying things about yourself, as an existential message, a message of how you exist, the nature of your existence, often in the form of symbols, other people, objects, scenery (sky, moon, clouds etcetc.); ALL dream elements are projections of yourself….all with purpose of you sending a message to yourself about something important, needing resolution, attention. closure acceptance, whatever

    Here’s a brief ‘case vignette’ example from a patient:

    ” A couple of nights ago, I remembered a dream. I dreamt about my mother. She was going to kill me and I couldn’t imagine that she was serious. And then I discovered that she WAS serious, that she really was going to kill me. This was a nightmare for me. I was terrified! And then I recognized that I had a message for me. I went back to sleep and kept that dream. The message to me is very clear. When I’m being my mother, the part of me that’s my mother, I’m killing me. I know some of the characteristics of my identification with her; when I’m being nasty or sarcastic, that is when I’m being my mother and I’m killing me. When I’m being my mother, I’m being the torturer.” Dream message to yourself: “Don’t torture others with your nasty-ness or sarcasm”

    Enough for now…hope all’s well with you,Chris and your parents. Have a great holiday too Feliz Navidad!

    xxoo Tio DS

    December 2, 2012
    • Hi Doug!
      Thank you so much for this wonderful reflection on dreams, dreaming and their important place in our psychology and even our understanding of the world and our relationship(s) with it. They are certainly big and interesting questions – where do dreams come from? What do they mean? Of course it makes sense that much of our dreams come from within our psyches, as dreamers. And certainly analyzing characters, actions, even environments in dreams as aspects of ones self could be extremely helpful to gaining insight into one’s own life situations and challenges. But do you think a dream or a vehicle could ever be a vehicle for something outside of one’s self? Something that comes from a place, another person, another time? Did you ever come across this in your practice? We would be fascinated to know!

      Claire (and Anna)
      P.S. Apologies for the late response…..time got away from me!

      March 16, 2013

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