Fritz Perls on Dreaming

A place to share and analyze your dreams (lucid or otherwise) to better understand your dreams' subconscious symbolism.
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Summerlander
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Fritz Perls on Dreaming

Postby Summerlander » 23 Jan 2015 14:35

Fritz Perls, who believed in promoting individual human potential, did not believe in dream interpretation. Instead, he believed in the detailed re-enactment of dreams in waking life in order to help the dreamer with self-integration and understanding of the 'real' personality. His work focused on a know-thyself quest.

Perls identified three levels of awareness: that of the self; of the world; and the intermediate zone of fantasy that prevented people from being in touch with themselves and the world. (Perls even credited Freud with the discovery of this distracting fantasy zone, but also criticised the great psychoanalyst for only focusing on it whilst ignoring what he saw as the necessity to integrate self-view and world-view.)

One can almost describe Perls's approach as slightly Buddhistic in that, contrasting Robert Waggoner's view that through dreams one can reach the inner self and a connection with the real world, they instead provide a convoluted challenge and escape (or avoidance) from the ultimate.

According to Perls, by realising that dreams are illusions that do not require interpretation, one gets to fully experience what comes with the senses without the need for analysis - a step closer to Satori (awakening).

I am currently reading Pamela Ball's "Dreams & Dreaming" and on Fritz Perls method she has the following to append:

"...we do not say that the dream means such and such--but that the dream has given us a particular insight into ourselves, which we can use in our daily lives."

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

jasmine2
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Re: Fritz Perls on Dreaming

Postby jasmine2 » 26 Jan 2015 04:13

It seems to me that some fragmentary dreams may just be replays of random memories or impressions from daily activities. However, I think that dreams which contain a series of events or interactions are usually dramas created by the unconscious mind to communicate some insight about the dreamer's particular every day concerns, interpersonal relations, emotions, attitudes, psychological inner world, or wider outer world view.

The dreaming mind often communicates through metaphorical symbols and images. Sometimes these images may seem so bizarre that it's difficult to know what they represent. I try to latch onto a dream memory, just as I'm waking up. If it's an interesting dream, I'll quickly jot down the main dream emotion, elements, or actions. Later if I patiently mull over puzzling dream symbolism and characters, I usually can make some personal association which helps to make the meaning of the dream more apparent.

Dreams may have many levels of meaning, but when I "get" at least part of the meaning, this communication often happens less on a rational, intellectual level, and more on an emotional, felt sense level. My dream recall becomes much better if I transcribe my quickly scribbled dream memories into more complete form in my dream journal.

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Summerlander
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Re: Fritz Perls on Dreaming

Postby Summerlander » 26 Jan 2015 13:56

Replays of random memories that get all twisted and because of that they can be interpreted in many ways. There are theories which suggest that one dream object can represent many things. "Condensation" is in fact one of the four devices the mind uses in dreams to distort reality which Freud identified.

It is even possible for a dream object or event to represent a memory replay laced with emotional distortions and thoughts that went with those memories (conscious and subconscious). In fact, we can say that dreams are like "thoughts on steroids" when we observe that NREM dreams are more thought-like than realistic.

The other devices that Freud identified were displacement, representability, and revision. I won't go into these just yet but you already get the picture and we can see how Perls used Freud's ideas and findings as a template for his own theory. It is also worth remembering Jung, who not only showed us that the unconscious can be a repository for external information, but also introduced the concept of archetypes which may also influence our behaviour.

I do agree with you that some dreams provide valuable insight and can help us to think in ways that are difficult in the waking state. It is also true that the more you record, the more you remember. Do you find that you often remember dreams in reverse?

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"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava

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HAGART
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Re: Fritz Perls on Dreaming

Postby HAGART » 26 Jan 2015 19:23

How can you put emotions into words? Try to describe, 'angst', to a robot like DATA from Star Trek.

We often have raw emotion in dreams that run amok which draw upon our deepest understandings. Deep down we understand through metaphors and analogies. Our minds don't think with language. They are much faster. It takes time to translate your thoughts into words, much like I'm doing right now. The true self doesn't think with words.

Perhaps analyzing dreams with a waking, logical mind is the biggest mistake any dreamer can make. :ugeek:
If we all lucid dreamed this world would be a better place.

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Summerlander
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Re: Fritz Perls on Dreaming

Postby Summerlander » 28 Jan 2015 00:49

I think you are right, Hagart. In evolution, language is a recent development. Action begins with our swift and instinctive primordial brains before exciting the higher orders of the neoencephalon which work a lot slower.

Language is structured and pattern-seeking to adapt to external events. Our "lizard brain" makes associations that do not have to make sense or be logical (in tandem with the real world). Such conceptual compositions, which are of a more abstract nature, tend to be inaccessible in the waking state.

The dream state provides a perceptual bridge between the evolutionarily old and recent layers of the brain. Thus, it seems, the dream world is a mental reflection of two different types of cerebral activity working simultaneously.

If there is a harmonious balance between the two, we get lucid dreaming, and the waking self can easily and coherently access mental abstractionism and formulate original ideas from emergent insights.

By the way, I do not recommend Pamela Ball's hideous dream dictionary at all. The first few pages are fine, with the history of dream interpretation and scientific research. But when she recommended spells, crystals, homeopathy, and other New Age mumbo-jumbo, I had to put the book down...

[ Post made via Android ] Image
"Empty cognizance of one taste, suffused with knowing, is your unmistaken nature, the uncontrived original state. when not altering what is, allow it to be as it is, and the awakened state is right now spontaneously present."

- Padmasambhava


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