John Welwood in his well-informed book Toward a Psychology of Awakening, notes that full human potential is realized when there is a combination of self-integration and self-transcendence. Psychology has concerned itself with the former and spirituality with the latter. They are considered to be two entirely different areas of growth that are traditionally developed with different practice approaches. For example, exposure therapy may be used in psychology to overcome fear and meditation is used in spiritual practice to move beyond the limitations of the waking mind.
On reading Welwood’s book, I am thinking that dreamwork may be a methodology which can be applied to both the integration of the self and the transcendence of self, even though these are two different areas for growth. Dreamwork can be used to deal with psychological issues as well as spiritual ones, making it a particularly potent practice. It’s not for nothing that Freud called dreams the Royal Road to the Unconscious. Dreams can also access different energies and levels of consciousness both within each of us and also in the wider energy matrix that interconnects us all.
Dreamwork as a Methodology for Self-Integration
Dreamwork is well known for acquainting the dreamer with various hidden aspects of him or herself. Just the mere dreamwork practice of considering all things in the dream to be representative of one’s own various energies allows the dreamer to notice and acknowledge things and behaviors previously unaware to the dreamer. These newly discovered energies, once acknowledged, can be harnessed for a deeper understanding of life’s problems and offer more tools for living life.
Dreamwork as a Methodology for Self-Transcendence
A dream may be given or requested which can provide guidance or a solution, or offer a far greater vision that allows one to rise above the limitations of a binding mindset or a complicated situation. The power of the dream provides new insights and even healing that change the game entirely. A combination of both insight and healing totally changes one’s understanding of the body, psyche and spirit. Also in dreamtime, one may encounter spiritual guides which lead a person on a journey of spiritual growth and deeper awareness. One may actually develop a “working relationship” with these guides that can later reoccur during meditation or dreamtime.
The power of dreams is truly amazing but dreamwork is work requiring courage and consistency. It is a practice that if done faithfully and diligently can help one to both self-integrate and self-transcend. Dreams can indeed answer many kinds of questions, spiritually and psychologically, to grow more fully human.