[kml_flashembed movie=”http://ianwallacedreams.com/wp-content/uploads/flash/wide-river-weir.swf” height=”180″ width=”240″ /]As our beliefs evolve beyond the dogma of religion and the rituals of magic, and psychology becomes more and more focused on lab rats and nuclear magnetic resonance, our dreams and our creativity continue to provide the most profound insights into our lives. But the great art and great dreams that illuminate our mythic realms are often ignored as we scurry from one transitory stimulus to another, like frantic rodents in a laboratory maze.
Rather than using our dreams to experience symbolic space and create meaning, we conceptualise, analyse and reduce our worlds until we are only left with meaningless results. The meaningful spaces created by our dreaming awareness cannot be directly understood by rational and reductionist analysis. Our unconscious awareness can often seem to be like the Big Bang white noise of an unattended TV, continually revealing a great mystery if we only knew what the question was.
Using an NMR brain scanner to try and find out what is really happening in our heads is like a television engineer try to make sense of the stories being played out on screen by measuring voltages inside the television set. The engineer will be able to detect that the TV is on and perhaps even which channel is being received. But they will never see the bigger picture because reducing a human epic to a series of voltages will never tell the real story. The voltages may be measurable signs but they are not contextual symbols. The engineers can perhaps define the signs but have no idea about the story space that the symbols create.
Our symbols help us to create a meaningful space where meaning can be expressed and encountered. A symbol resonates in meaningful space, helping our inner awareness to resonate with what we experience outside. It links the known and the unknown, the familiar and the unfamiliar. A symbol without meaningful space is merely a token sign, and trying to break a symbol down to dissect it merely destroys it. We experience symbols in their contextual spaces as energised images that reflect the stories all around us. Our shared symbols become an iconography that creates the spaces for our private dreams to connect with the public myth.
The gift of a symbol is the meaningful space it helps to create. All over the world, we all dream the same themes and produce common symbols from mandalas to Mac desktops. Our dreams are fantastic creators of resonant imagery and the art of interpreting our own waking dreams is to find the meaningful spaces, not just analysing the symbols by saying ‘this means that’. Words can only hint at this meaningful space and never fully explain it.
Aristotle observed that ‘The most skilful interpreter of dreams is he who has the facility for observing resemblances’. The symbols and spaces that we resonate with are those that most resemble our own individual myths and stories. Where our words explain, resonant symbols arouse intimations, possibilities and emotions beyond verbal expression.