Introduction/ What Are Dreams?/ Understanding Symbols/ Symbols and Metaphor/ The Unconscious
Next Interpreting the Dream/ Resources & Guides for the Dreamer

Print This Page

The Importance of Dreams


Discovering Your Inner self
True Self

The Ego As 'self'

Webster's describes the ego a 'the individual as aware of himself'. On the first inspection that definition sounds plausible. But it has limitations, so much so that 'to be aware' of oneself becomes a strictly outward process, denying the person full discovery of who they really are. 'The individual as aware of himself' is more ego-centric than it is ego because the focus is on 'him' or 'her', or the 'I', and not self. Self is one's identity, distinct from everyone else. True self is one's identity in relationship to the total identity. Discovering one's potential is a process of discovering one's true self. And it is in the 'potential' that makes life harmonious, balanced and worthy of living. Dreams can play an important part in discovering the true self, and reaching one's potential in life.

When we speak of true self we are speaking of those aspects that are a part of the psyche but have not been fully recognized or realized. Ego-self sees the world with blinders, perception is limited by prejudices and bias, of oneself and the world around. What makes a person act or react to certain situations in life? What makes a person who they are? When we look in the mirror we see only ego-self and not what is beneath the surface. When we look at the unconscious dream we see the total self, in symbolic form, but discernable when we take the time to investigate the dreamworld and begin to understand how it functions. And when that is properly done the psyche will undergo a transformation from ego-centered-self to 'Self' realized, and the whole world opens up.

But what about the transformation. What happens to ego-self when it discovers there is more than meets the eye of waking consciousness? To speak of the 'inner world' or 'going inward' are simple phrases that have little meaning if there is not an understanding of the transformation that takes place. The transformation is the ego-self becoming sub-ordinate to the 'Self', the plane of existence when the life finds a creative/spiritual center instead of a living life of material worth, or illusionary fame. The underlying desires for those things disappear when the 'Self' is discovered because the natural inclination of the psyche is not material, but psyche.

The 'Self'

Perhaps it would be easier if we distinguish ego from ego-centric and self from 'Self'. We all have an ego, we would not be human without one, unless you are severely schizophrenic and separated from reality. The distinction between self and 'Self' can seem almost as paralyzing if your world is teetering day to day on perceived disaster because of unconscious motivations that control much of what you do. The term self would better fit the ego-centered person, which would include most of the population of the Western world {and soon all the world}. Life is centered on career and worth with little attention to creative/spiritual matters. Not that you should not have a career or material things, but when those become paramount to believing life is a success and central for happiness, then you are living an ego-centered life. The 'Self' is not indebted to ego, just the opposite. The 'Self' is that part of the psyche which organizes and directs the rest of the psyche -- the ego, the conscious mind, the personal unconscious, and all other elements of our psychological being. The 'Self' has transcended ego-centristity, it is the 'soul' which recognizes the natural aspect of the human psyche as the controlling agent. And within our natural aspect resides creativity and spirituality {not necessarily religious-spirituality is being true to the natural aspect of the psyche and not to any particular dogma}. Jung describes 'Self' as transcendent, the 'God-image' within us that is centered on giving, compassion, love, detached from the ego's desperate attempts at leadership. But the 'Self' is also a creative aspect, where the true desire of the soul lives life out of one's deepest passion, creativity. Whereas 'God' is the creator, constructing out of love and compassion, so too do we find are deepest love in creating, the passion of the soul.

The True Self in Dreams

The imagery of the true self in dreams are varied, and as in all dream symbols are not fixed. Just as DNA is different from person to person, thing from thing, so too the imagery in dreams. But like the DNA of related persons there can be commonality in symbols. Just as a house is most often a symbols for the dreaming person, the true self can take form that is commonplace. An image of God or Goddess is a symbol for the true self, representing potential wholeness. The planet Earth seen as a sphere floating in space could be a symbol for your true self; wholeness, integration or weightless, relaxed 'floating' with the life giving currents that carry you to fulfillment of your individual destiny. The sun is often symbolic of the true and total self. Ancient Egyptian worshipped At-en and Re, sun gods which were pictured in the shape of a disk. Apollo was a sun god in the Greco-Roman era. Thus the relationship of the psyche to archetypal images in dreams. When you have a dream with imagery as defined as the God Apollo or any other mythological imagery your dream is archetypal. Archetypal dreams often accompany life changing events, usually with a spiritual awakening or redemption of the psyche from a aspect that controlled your life.
The true self is held in the highest esteem within the psyche and the imagery in dreams represents the quest to attain this level in the waking life. Often we repressed certain events in life because of the emotional damage it has caused. Once the process of self discovery is initiated our dreams tend to follow along with imagery that represents an escape from the old, a new birth of some unknown origin, changes in direction that may seem blind but often has feelings associated with it that gives confidence that it is the right path to take. When the process of discovery has advanced to a point of believing the 'inner world' has wisdom beyond that of the waking mind, the imagery in dreams often takes on some type of archetypal representation. A God or Goddess in the form of a mythological figure may appear in your dreams, at least for a period of time. This signifies the advancement in your discovery of your true self which is often a discovery of a spiritual self, and/or a creative self. The imagery may at first seem frightening because it may be in the form of a dark figure. But that dark figure symbolizes your deep unconscious which at first seems frightening because it is the source where at one time those frightening aspects in your life resided. The dark figure in the dream has come to save you and shine light upon that part of you that is hidden. The archetypal image is the dream providing a pathway to full discovery of the true self, the God or Goddess symbolizing that which you seek is within your psyche. To reach out and accept it as a positive message to be received and incorporated in your life is the next big step in discovery of the true self, the you to wish to be, the you that you were meant to be.

Introduction/ What Are Dreams?/ Understanding Symbols/ Symbols and Metaphor/ The Unconscious
Interpreting the Dream/ Resources & Guides for the Dreamer

Return to