Spiritual Psychology
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Excerpt from:

Exploring the Secrets of your Soul
by Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.

The dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.
—Carl Gustav Jung
General Aspects of Dream Psychology
      Dreams have always been personally meaningful to me. Throughout my life, they have guided and stirred me to explore the inner mysteries of soul and spirit. Their metaphorical messages have revealed depths of my being that I might not have understood in any other way.
      My work as a psychotherapist is in transpersonal psychology, meaning the study of human experience that goes beyond the individual's persona, personality or ego. It is an emerging "fourth force" in psychotherapeutic theory, the other three being behaviorism, psychoanalytic theory and humanistic psychology.¹
      The emergence of transpersonal psychology came about because in the 1960s and 1970s clients were reporting experiences that traditional theory did not address or explain to our satisfaction. What was happening to the human psyche when young people were getting "high" or freaked out on psychedelics? How was a therapist to differentiate between a normal person's meditative and mystical experiences and a psychotic's hallucinations and delusions?
      Researchers and clinicians alike searched for answers. Emerging evidence came from three main streams: laboratory studies on biofeedback, altered states of consciousness and meditation; therapists' case studies of clients' mystical dreams and meditative work; and anecdotal reports of people's "natural high" experiences.
      As transpersonal psychology quickly grew, therapists and researchers developed a new perspective and a new language to explain their findings. We began to hear about paranormal phenomena, transformational experiences and cosmic awareness. Spirituality and the search for the sacred entered the popular consciousness as acceptable life paths.
      My work in transpersonal therapy is primarily with people who have been seeking the high road in their lives but have detoured and found themselves stuck somewhere on the low road. They may be uncertain about their direction and confused by their conflicting emotions. Their dream characters and circumstances dramatically portray the ways in which they are stuck and what it will take to free them and get them back on the upward trek.
      Dreams can be a map for the soul's journey, unlocking hidden secrets and opening new vistas. I'll tell you one of my own childhood dreams that makes the point.
      This was a recurring dream I used to have as a youngster. At that particular time, life seemed scary and confusing to me and I would wake up absolutely nauseated from the following scenario. In my dream there were two huge wire circles that were bigger than the earth, and I had to put the bigger one inside of the smaller one without bending them. The bigger one was dull colored and the smaller one was bright gold.
      As a child I didn't understand the message, I just got nauseated. But as I looked back on the dream as an adult, I realized my soul was expressing my absolute frustration with trying to do the impossible. In the dream, I was not only the child trying to do an impossible task, I was also the two circular wires that were bigger than the earth.
      What did the wire circles represent? I believe the golden one represented my hopes and dreams, which were going around in circles and not coming true. And the larger, dull-colored one represented my problems, which seemed totally overwhelming and bigger than life to me. My problems were bigger than my hopes and dreams and I couldn't overcome them until I shrank them. (Many dream images carry a message with this kind of dual meaning.)
      When I began my work as a transformational therapist, I realized that the solution to my childhood dream was spiritual alchemy and self-transcendence. I could indeed shrink the larger circular wire of my problems and expand the golden circle of my hopes and dreams. Now I could stop running in circles. As I accelerated in spiritual awareness, I would be changing my perspective on seemingly unsolvable situations and realizing my higher vision.
      With a sense of excitement and inner joy, I realized the transformational opportunity and I have pursued that journey ever since. My childhood dream has been an inner polestar, always guiding me onward and upward.
      I have learned that in the world of dreams our soul becomes a great dramatist with a definite statement to make. As the ego sleeps, the soul, in concert with the Higher Self, uses the sensory impressions of the day to stage an inner message. Our nightly dramas reveal the unique dimensions and inner reflections of our soul. They convey a metaphorical message to the ego, the outer self. The message is a call to action.
      Our mystical dreams reveal our divine potential--who we already are in our Maker's eyes, the being we may choose to become. Positive dreams reveal our soul's upward growth and development. Seemingly mundane dreams, cloaked in the sensory impressions of the day, have inner messages about our soul's journey. Even our worst nightmares reveal inner parts of ourselves that are crying out to be healed--traumas, conflicts and hurtful habits that stubbornly plague us from subconscious levels.
      The dream message can guide us on an inner healing journey. When the going gets tough, the dream points out old baggage to discard. To our joy and amazement, under the baggage we discover hidden gold.
      I have written Dreams: Exploring the Secrets of Your Soul for kindred spirits looking for keys to self-transcendence. I hope to ignite an excitement about discovering your magical inner being. I hope to stir you to explore the mysteries inherent in your dreams--to dig into hidden nooks and crannies and toss old baggage, to claim the gold of enlightened understanding and to take wing into higher consciousness.
      As you pursue the heights and depths of your own mystical nature, I believe that you, too, will delight in exploring the precious, hidden secrets of your soul. May your journey through dreamland be an illumining and enriching adventure.

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Copyright © 2001-2006 Marilyn C. Barrick. All Rights Reserved.