If you ask many a writing coach, they will usually steer scribblers far away from writing about their dreams in any final published form. And, it’s true that it can be dangerous to slip into a self-referential blur of abstract prose. That said, there are some good reasons that famous authors of enduring literature (e.g., Shakespeare—“to sleep, perchance to dream” or a “Midsummer Night’s … Dream”)—have embraced the mysterious and emotional depths of dreaming.
It might have everything to do with science and how our brains are wired.
For instance, some neuroscientists have suggested that the amygdala (I should say amygdalae, since we all have two) and the hippocampus (hippocampi) are activated when you dream.
You might want to call your amygdala fear and bliss central. Shaped like an almond and located near the hippocampus (the learning and memory HQ of your brain) without your amygdala you cannot process your feelings. Those deep sensations might lasso up all sorts of emotion-blends– everything from traffic-induced frustration or fear of a snake’s coil to extreme happiness.
Thinking about dreams and writing has led me to two muses this week. One is a clip featuring Dr. Matthew Walker, author of Why We Dream and Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at UC Berkley. In it Walker calls dreaming “emotional first aid” and connects dreams with creativity.
My other muse is an expert named Dr. Aiden Josey, who can help you decipher your dreams–and learn how they can lead you to new insights about yourself and about the world.
Take a look at the forthcoming workshop at my favorite bed and breakfast in New Jersey. June 7-9, Jungian analyst Dr. Alden Josey will be leading an exploration that can deepen your understanding of your dreams. (You can read more about the owner here.)
Here’s a write up about the weekend or click this link:
“In our weekend together,” promises workshop leader, Alden Josey, “we will develop a contemporary model of the psyche and its dynamics with special attention to the relationship between ego consciousness and the unconscious. We’ll look at the dream process as a very important part of the interaction between ego life, its supporting psychic depths, and our creative energies. Our explorations will take us into some of the extraordinary architecture of our psychic ‘house.'”
Alden Josey, PhD spent a career in organic chemistry research and research management–including more than two dozen published technical papers, and 7 patents. Then he retired in 1985, entered the C.G. Jung Institute for Analytical Psychology in Zürich, as a Training Candidate in clinical Jungian Psychoanalysis. With his degree in hand, he returned to the U.S. and opened a private practice in Wilmington, Delaware, from which he has continued to practice, to teach in Jungian Institutes in Philadelphia and New York, and to lecture widely the U.S and abroad. The first weekend in June, he’s coming to Minerva’s by the Sea (a weekend that just happens to coincide with Long Beach Island’s international film festival!)