The Masculine and the Feminine

Each of us contains the opposite. Perhaps, as in the I Ching, complement is a better word then opposite. Each man has elements of The Feminine inside and each woman has elements of The Masculine. We each express our own individual blend of these principles.   I have chosen to capitalize The Feminine and The Masculine to emphasize the archetypal nature of these principles. They are much closer to the Chinese ideas of yin and yang than to simple notions of how we define men and women in our culture. An individual woman may not be yielding but the principle of The Feminine has a yielding non time bound element. Some men do not do well with time or structure but The Masculine is both time bound and structured .   The Feminine and the Masculine are important archetypal elements within our dreams. Most of the women in a dream will represent what is going on in the Feminine. Male characters will point to what is happening in The Masculine aspects of the dreamer. By paying attention to these characters we can see how we are balancing these principles in our life. Has one element become to dominant, perhaps taking over? Are we underutilizing an important part of who we are? The dream may point the way to establish a better balance or to live out our lives more...
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Remembering Your Dreams

If we are using dreams as a way of paying attention to the unconscious one of the difficulties we may face is remembering our dreams. The memory centers in the brain are, in brain distances, fairly remote from the brain areas that are most active when we dream. It only takes a few seconds for most of us to begin forgetting elements of our dreams. Some people are lucky and have easy frequent recall of their dreams but for most of us it takes a little effort.   There are some habits you can develop to help with dream recall.  Get a dream journal, any kind of journal. It might be fancy or simply a good sized note pad. I had a friend who was into saving paper and his dream journal was used envelops. Personally I love artists sketch pads. I like the large expanse of unlined white paper and the fact that some of the paper is recycled. Once you get a dream journal keep it next to your bed and keep a pen in the first blank page. This way you can write out the dream in the middle of the night without even turning the lights on. Some times it is enough to make an outline or write down key elements of your dream. Just enough to jog your memery in the morning. Many times I have heard people say “I had this amazing dream last night and I was sure I would remember it. Now I can not remember a thing.” So write down what you can.   One simple thing you can do is to set yourself up to remember your dreams. Just tell yourself before you go to sleep that you are going to remember your dreams. This works an amazing number of times. Both the journal and reminding yourself before you go to sleep are ways to say to the unconscious that you are ready to listen.   If you are going through a phase where you are having difficulty remembering your dreams you might try going back to the last dream that you worked with and seeing if there is not more that needs to be done with that dream. The unconscious works thematically and if you unlock something from an earlier dream it may open the gates for more. It can also work to just take a period of...
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Dreams: A Compensatory Point of View

Each of us experiences the world from the point of view of our own egos. We have a perspective on our lives and the lives of others based on how we see ourselves in the world. This is not a bad thing. We need an ego to orient ourselves and to act as a cohesive element in the psyche. The egos point of view is necessarily limited. There is much more going on below the surface than the ego can be aware of. Many contemporary psychological schools empathize the egoic point of view over something deeper.   We like to think that we know why we are doing things, that we understand our actions and emotions even if they are driven by irrational elements and inner complexes. It can be easy to find ways to justify or rationalize even our most outrageous actions and thoughts. We need a way to balance the egos perspective and stay in touch with the deeper meaning and flow of life.   Dreams provide that balance. According to Carl Jung dreams speak a compensatory language. They give us an alternative to the egos way of seeing ourselves and the world. In fact, Jung said that dreams are the objective reality while the egos perspective is the subjective reality. This is why we need our dreams and to understand them as best we can. It is also why our dreams can be difficult for us. Our dreams are trying to loosen the egos grip on our point of view. They give us another way of seeing things that is closer to the truth and the truth can be difficult for us at times.   This is also why it can be helpful to work with a psychotherapist trained in working with dreams. They will be able to gently guide you through the process of unlocking the meaning of your dreams and help you to see the direction your dreams are laying out. Most of the time our egos lead us through life. Dreams are trying to connect us to deeper truths and let those deeper truths lead us.   To make a Jungian counseling and psychotherapy appointment for an in person session in Kihei on Maui or to set up an online Jungian counseling and psychotherapy session call 808-280-3450 or go to the appointments page of this...
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Dreams: A Symbolic Language

Each of us dreams about four or five times a night. Of course, many of these dreams go unremembered. Some people never remember their dreams. Most people do remember some dreams but they do not stay with them very long. Dreams start to deteriorate in the memory very quickly. If you are trying to stay aware of your dreams it is a good idea to keep a pen and paper very close to your bed. There are those rare individuals who have great recall for their dreams.   Dreams speak to us in a highly symbolic language. I have heard lots of people say that they had a weird dream. The challenge with dreams is to move beneath the seeming randomness or strangeness and to capture the symbolic picture of what the psyche is saying to us. There are at least three levels of possible symbolic meaning in a dream, the personal, the cultural and the archetypal. Water, as a symbol, is an interesting example. So someone dreams about water. If they almost drowned as a child there might be a very negative personal association with water. Here in Hawaii water is everything. We are surrounded by it and our very existence depends on it. Our whole culture here is centered around water. On the archetypal level water is the unconscious, the emotions and the carrier of life. When we look at a dream we must look at each element and try to see on which levels the symbols are speaking.   Another important aspect of dreams is their basic structure. Each dream has a beginning, middle and end. The beginning of the dream presents what the dream is about. Is your dream about work or relationships or perhaps some aspect of our personality.? They middle of the dream is the action. This tells us what is going on with the topic of the dream. The end is the pointing finger. This tells us about the direction things are headed in or sometimes leaves us with an important question to ponder.   Each dream is an invitation into the mystery of our lives and our relationship with the powerful forces we are surrounded by. They are a doorway, a portal that provides an opportunity for us to listen to the unconscious. They challenge us to see more deeply into our lives and the universe.   To make a Jungian...
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Jungian Psychotherapy and Counseling: In the Beginning

Starting any therapy can be difficult. Most of us would like to start when it feels like it is a sunny day out in the meadow and psychotherapy will be an easy thing to do. Usually when someone starts therapy it feels more like it is dark, cold and wet. It is just before midnight and the only thing we know is that it feels like it is going to get worse. Our everyday mind has run out of ideas and options. Somehow we are going to have to get some help and we are not sure which way to turn. Getting a recommendation from a friend for a good counselor might help. Some times we go online to see what we can find out about the therapist or just look in the phone book.   Starting with an initial consultation is a good way to start. This gives you some time to see how the therapist works and how it feels to be in their office or online with them. You might want to do this with a few therapists until you find one where it feels right. Usually we want to be fixed right away and that is not the way therapy works. It is patient work building trust in the relationship. It can be challenging sharing the most secret parts of our life. Often we expect the same sort of judgement and shame that we have received from others and that we hold inside ourself. Gradually things will begin to open up. We find that it feels like we have found a safe place. A place where it is OK to be ourself. Sometimes we even begin to wonder why it seemed so difficult to begin therapy and the process feels as natural as breathing.   A good psychotherapist does not tell you what to do or offer insubstantial platitudes. They will journey with you so that you can find the right answer for you. In Jungian psychotherapy and counseling we use the unconscious as our guide. We listen to dreams, creative urges, fantasies and images as markers along the way. It is a mater of two people, therapist and client, sitting with what the unconscious presents and to the degree possible following the direction laid out. We unfold and come into who we are. This is deep and respectful...
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Listening

  “the blossoming and unfolding of the individual as the experimental, doubtful, and bewildering work of the living God, to whom we have to lend our eyes and ears and discriminating mind.”  C.G. Jung   Our inner work requires cultivating the art of listening with our whole being. We are each of us a work in progress, changing, growing and developing. There is an inherent inner process that wants to go on. We can and often do stop the process but we can also listen and bring ourselves in tune with the greater plan that resides in each of us. Our dreams are often the greatest clue to what is trying to unfold.   Many people think that God or the unconscious is not talking to them. That there is no communication. I think the challenge is to realize that the unconscious uses a highly symbolic language. William Stafford’s great book “Dreams: God’s Forgotten Language” does a wonderful job of clarifying this approach. The unconscious speaks to us nightly through our dreams. Our challenge is to do our best to understand the message of the dream. This is often challenging to do by ourselves. When we look at our own dreams we are stuck within our own way of seeing. We have monocular vision and can not see in depth. When we sit with another person we can get binocular vision and begin to see the true depth of what is being presented.   To make a Jungian counseling and psychotherapy appointment for an in person session in Kihei on Maui or to set up an online Jungian counseling and psychotherapy session call 808-280-3450 or go to the appointments page of this...
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