Psyche and Mindfulness
Welcoming the Wisdom of Your True Nature
Suzanne Szalay, M.D.

                You have within you an inner sage who speaks to you nightly in your dreams. Trouble is, typically we filter the sage's wisdom through a lens that is clouded by our habitual desires, aversions, and prejudices. Skillful work with your messages from psyche entails refraining from the temptation to twist the precious commentary of the dream into ego-validating propaganda.

                Every dream arises for the purpose of balancing the habitual one-sidedness of our conscious ego. The whole point of dreams, in other words, is to bring new information to consciousness. Your inner sage doesn't waste its time (or yours!) telling you what you already know.

The dream is the equivalent of the internist's x-ray. We find out what's going on inside--underneath the surface of conscious awareness--by examining the images presented in dreams. Holding them up to the light of conscious awareness, we view them from different angles. By drawing on the lens of archetypal symbolism, and by putting the images together with relevant details associated with the dreamer, we establish the inner situation--the diagnosis, cause, treatment, and prognosis.

                Of course, much like the most straightforward x-ray, the simplest dream may not mean much to the untrained eye. In fact, like trying to read an x-ray without any training, trying to make sense of a dream without technique amounts to guesswork, and can even generate unnecessary fear.

                After all, the suspicious mass that lurks in your shadows may turn out to be a healthy, even essential, piece of psychological anatomy you hadn’t even known you possessed. By the same token, a subtle peculiarity eluding the untrained eye often contains the key to a whole conundrum. So where does that leave you? Well, whether you are looking at radiographs or dreams, with informed help, technique, and practice, and most of all by examining lots and lots of pictures, in time you catch on. You know where to begin, what to look for, what to be thinking about, and how to track psyche’s way of tying things together.

                The “lots and lots” part is easy enough. Each night you are presented with picture after picture for your waking perusal. Even just recording your dreams has merit, as it brings you one step closer to conscious relationship with psyche. As with a babbling child, or any relationship, really, lending psyche a listening ear, allowing it to “let off steam,” already builds relationship. Even if the babbling is incomprehensible, something “beyond words” begins to shift.

                Most importantly, while bodily symptoms, slips of the tongue, outer predicaments, and relational issues are all communications from the unconscious, the sage-like wisdom of the dream takes you one important step further: it shows you precisely where and how you are fooling yourself. When this isn't happening in dreamwork, we deceive ourselves about genuinely working with our dreams!  

© Suzanne Szalay, M.D.