Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Darkness in Dreams

Last week, I was an invited guest at Craig Webb's online dream class. I have known Craig for several years as a fellow IASD member, and a serious lucid dreamer. He wanted me to be available to his class as a lucid dream pioneer. It was a great meeting, and I had a chance to review a great deal of my own history in the field. One class member, whose name was Jim, asked me about a phenomenon that has recently concerned him--darkness in his dreams. He described being in darkness, unable to see anything. I immediately connected with him, saying that for the past several years, many of my dreams have been characterized by darkness. While the darkness may suddenly shift to bright settings, I spend a great deal of my time "groping" through dark scenes.

I am finding that darkness is a phenomenon that many people experience. I saw a woman for the first time in therapy three days ago, who told me a recurring dream that has worried her. She is on a mountain road, with sheer drop-offs on both sides, and a very narrow passage between the cliffs. Suddenly, it becomes pitch dark, and she does know how to make it through safely. It's important to know that she faces two severe existential issues: the normally fatal disease of scleroderma (now in remission, thankfully), and an adult daughter who has suffered a psychotic break and now lives the streets of LA. My client is deeply aggrieved by her daughter's predicament, and by her inability to help her. As if the narrow mountain passage is bad enough, lacking any way to gain feedback from the situation so she can negotiate the challenge has brought her to a standstill.

Darkness in dreams may represent, simply, a sense of feeling alone and lost in life. From a deeper perspective, it may signify the beginning of trusting another source of support, which is, as yet, not evident. Sometimes we have to be brought to standstill before we learn to rely on deeper resources. I am inclined to have hope for my client, as I have hope for myself. Perhaps we are poised on the threshold of a new life that bears little resemblance to the one that preceded it. Regardless, I am there for her, and so at least there is another voice in the darkness.

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