I have been thinking quite a lot about the unconscious mind lately. Depending on what source you look to, apparently only about 15% of how our minds operate is conscious, the rest is relegated to the unknown, the invisible. And if that’s the case, I’d venture a guess that about two thirds of that is not happening as mindful awareness, but is actually the ego voice within us run amuck, engaging us in conversations with people who aren’t in the room, reviewing the past or rehearsing for the future.
So if most of us is operating from the unconscious mind, it is fair to say that the struggles that we have are grounded there as well. This has left me feeling a bit confounded about how healing takes place. We can direct our thoughts till the cows come home to affirm that we are filled with well being, but if our unconscious mind is railing at us that the sky is falling, we are living in a house divided.
How this relates to my experience of dreaming intepretation comes in the form of a dream I had last night. In this dream, I was in a community of people putting on some sort of production of a play or musical comedy, in which I had a prominent role. The woman who was directing this was an old friend from high school, Anna. In the dream, we were quite intimate, enjoying a romantic connection of some depth. However, prior to this (in the dream’s past tense) there was some issue about a contract she had signed for some furniture she was to have delivered. She changed her order, going against the contract, and I had pointed this out to the authorities. This occurred before we became intimate.
At some point, there was a rehearsal in which she began to change things that had been already staged and set, which through me off considerably. Shortly after this, there was a big board meeting going on which I was not invited to. I knew that I was being discussed in this meeting in a critical manner. While this was going on, I noticed that my travel plans were set to take me home from this location (which now revealed itself to be England) on the Saturday morning before the performance. It turns out that I was never going to be in town to do this show in the first place. As the board let out, I approached the president of this group (who resembled the psychotherapist with whom I did my mandatory didactic therapy with as part of my doctorate). This man was dismissive of me and seemed completely uninterested in the fact that my travel plans were going to render me unable to participate in the upcoming performance.
So the juicy part of this dream was this: All of the above was essentially exposition for the scene in which now, my beloved Anna was ENRAGED with me. She was railing against me in every conceivable manner and had now called this board meeting in which she was setting me up to be the villain in the scenario that had unfolded. I was dumbfounded. Not only was I pretty certain that I had behaved in a good and true way in each moment that I had been in, I also didn’t think that the “wrongs” I had done merited such a violent and vitriolic reaction from her.
If what I have shared with you isn’t cluttered enough, there were dozens of other images from this dream that I remembered vividly. As I sat and ruminated on what they all might mean, my mind just collided in a frenzy of over-intellectualized chaos. How was I going to work with this dream? I knew it felt important, but I was initially stymied by how I was going to find the nuggets of truth and a valuable interpretation in and amongst all these details.
And then I thought about this notion of how my challenges are rooted in my unconscious mind and that they are just that: unconscious, and therefore invisible to me. So, rather than try to figure all of this out, I thought I should just go for a process that was more about the sensation of the whole than an intellectual understanding of the parts.
I closed my eyes and relaxed as fully as I could. I pictured myself in the space that this group of authority figures had met and called the board back to order. I gathered all of these nameless characters, as well as the president and, of course, my beloved Anna. I found myself saying to them, this:
“Okay, I can’t know what you all talked about when you met. I can’t even pretend to know, Anna, why you are so desperately angry with me. And while I can’t go back and fix what I’ve done in the past and I can’t know what is unknown to me, I can insist that a healing takes place.”
With those words being spoken inside my meditative mind, I felt an emotional shift. Something settled in the pit of my stomach and while I don’t know what it was, I could feel the change inside me without reservation. I felt a healing take place.
I don’t always have to KNOW how that is happening or even what was out of alignment to begin with. But having a healing is my birthright as a human being. My mind may not have known how to heal this situation, but my heart certainly did. And I would rather dwell in my heart than in my head. I am reminded of the old saying, “I think, therefore I am.” These days, I am more inclined to say, “I am, therefore I think.”