Language and the Value of Dreams
ONE can hardly locate any point in the evolution of mind where symbols first were
used. After all, concrete things cannot exist bodily in the mind, and as a symbol is that
which stands for something, whatever mental images the mind holds are the symbols
of its physical and mental experiences. Those symbols which are now in current use
as the words of our language, are merely the more complex development of a process
that is as old as life itself.
The oldest language of all is the language of feeling; used by the soul, or unconscious
mind, to receive information from its sense organs, and to communicate its orders to
the form it occupies. Whatever, at any point in its cycle that form may have been, it
reacted to the conditions of its environment. That which is felt was stored as
thought-elements in the thought-cells of the unconscious mind. This feeling, as thus
stored, imparted information to the unconscious mind; information which
CONDITIONED the future conduct.
Even at the present day, because the language of feeling has been so very long in use,
the cells and organs of our physical bodies take their orders readily from feeling, and
but reluctantly from the reasoned commands of objective consciousness. One must
steel oneself carefully, making the reasoned command unusually forceful, to prevent
flinching while a knife digs out a sliver of wood that inadvertently has found its way
under the finger nail. The old language of feeling gives the command to move away
from the object inflicting pain. Reason says hold firm, that the offending invader may
be removed and thus prevent still greater future pain.
When attacked, reason commands anger to be held in abeyance; that the actions may
more effectively be guided by cool judgment. But the old language of feeling harks
back to primitive occasions of attack, and commands that adrenaline should be
secreted, stimulating the heart action, and withdrawing blood from certain
vulnerable regions and giving those organs used in combat an additional supply.
Even though the head be kept clear, when conflict thus arises, it is the unusual person
whose physical cells and organs are so under the dominion of reason that his body
oes not react to the stimuli of his glands. In spite of reasoned commands, on
occasions people blush, grow pale, flush, exhibit signs of nervousness, and blunder
in the performance of trivial tasks. All because the glands, cells and organs of the
physical body more readily understand the language of feeling than they do the
words employed by the objective mind.
Because physical life had the power to feel before those special organs of feeling
used in hearing and in sight were developed, the general language of feeling is the
oldest of all means by which the unconscious mind communicates its desires to the
physical organism. But with the development of hearing and sight, visual images and
auditory images were related, through the LAW OF ASSOCIATION, with this
language of feeling.
Sight is the ability to feel, through special sense organs, the etheric vibrations
reflected from objects in such a manner as to distinguish and define those objects.
Hearing is the ability to feel, through special sense organs, the molecular vibrations
that have been set in motion within the range called sound. Other people have a
nervous system so sensitive that they can feel the thoughts of others at a distance in
such a manner as to recognize their significance. And some, furthermore, perceive
through bringing up into objective consciousness what is recognized by the special
sense organs of the astral body. Yet whatever the organ employed to gain
information from the environment, it merely specializes in some process of feeling.
Every Thought Brings a Change in the Physical Body
–Creatures with eyes have learned to place great dependence upon visual images,
that is, upon the ability of the eyes to interpret the feeling received from lightwaves.
Repeated experience has associated certain images with definite feelings. The image
of a snake close at hand is so closely associated with danger that not only man, but
many beasts, react instantly by leaping away from the image. No slow and laborious
process of reasoning here. Nor in dodging a missile seen coming at one’s head. Time
is too short to think the matter over. Association has related the image of the snake or
the missile not only with danger, but also with a special kind of movement to avoid
the danger. The visual image itself, through its previous associations, is utilized by
the soul, or unconscious mind, as a means of commanding specific action.
Another visual image–the sight of food–is utilized by the unconscious mind as a
means of commanding the flow of saliva and the gastric juice.
Or if we wish to turn to auditory impressions, the cracking of a dry stick in a region
where game has been much hunted, is so closely associated in the mind of each
animal with danger, that it has all the force of a command from its unconscious mind
to flee at once. No stopping to think it over. No pausing for visual verification. The
crack of the broken stick sets it off as if, which at times it does, its very life depended
Here I have given a few outstanding examples of the operation of a principle which
the laboratory psychologists have formulated in these words: “No mental
modification ever occurs which is not accompanied or followed by a bodily change.”
This means that every perception, sensation and conception being a change in the
astral form is accompanied by a tendency to produce corresponding changes in the
physical body. Astral substance being so much more mobile, the changes usually
take place in it first. In the case of organic growth, for instance, the organic processes
of renewal and multiplication of tissue afford the astral form the opportunity to mold
the physical form by acting upon small particles as they are deposited from nutrition.
Symbols Are Habitually Used by the Unconscious Mind to Communicate With the Bodily Organs
— It means also that while feeling is the oldest language used by the unconscious
mind, that the unconscious mind in communicating information to the physical cells,
physical glands and physical organs, customarily uses visual images, auditory
impressions, sensations of odors, and perceptions of taste. The higher types of
animals have had abundant experiences in association with each of the five common
physical senses. The association of experiences of a given type with a given sense
impression relates these so closely in the thought-cell structure of the unconscious
mind that when one is given energy the other also receives energy. And because the
experiences in the past have called for some special activity, this activity is also
associated with the same thought-cell structure. The sense impression, whatever it
may be, thus adds energy to thought-cells, which in turn stimulate physical change.
To put the matter in a slightly different manner, a certain sense impression has come,
through repeated association, to have a definite meaning to the unconscious mind. It
is the symbol of a condition. And acting upon that usual association the unconscious
mind has come to use that symbol in issuing its commands to the physical organs.
That is, visual images, auditory impressions and other sense impressions are the
habitual symbols used by the unconscious mind to communicate information and to
command action. And thus it is, whether through dreams, visions, or divinatory
instruments, because the unconscious mind is so accustomed to using such symbols,
it finds it easier to communicate whatever it perceives to the objective mind by means
of such symbols, rather than by means of lately acquired arbitrary words.
Universal Emotional Symbols Used by Animals and Men
–The term language more commonly is applied, not to communications between
the unconscious mind and its physical vehicle, or between the unconscious mind and
the objective mind, but as denoting the means by which one individual
communicates with another. And in this more widely accepted significance of the
term it is interesting to note that the rudiments of language may be observed in
animals other than man. Sounds, for instance, which arise involuntarily from an
emotional stress, become associated with the emotion as its auditory symbol.
When an animal which has experienced pain that has caused it to cry out, hears
another animal emit a similar cry, the LAW OF ASSOCIATION comes immediately
into play. The sound is at once related in the animal’s mind to its own cry, and to the
pain which was coincident. In one way or another the particular cry becomes
associated with pain in the mind of each member of a flock. And as pain in a similar
manner has become associated with that which causes pain, the cry becomes a
symbol by which the whole flock is made aware of the presence of danger.
A dog recognizes the snarl and bared fangs of another dog as the symbol of its
animosity. A horse will paw the earth as a symbol of its desire to travel, will neigh as a
symbol of greeting, and will snort as a symbol of fright. Other horses recognize the
significance of these expressions; but the number of such symbols of communication
that can clearly be recognized thus by other horses is hardly so numerous that such
animals can be said to have a language. Perhaps even the methods commonly
employed by man to express emotions of various kinds, though conveying definite
information to other men, should not be dignified by the term language. But certainly
they border closely on it.
In nesting time, if you will conceal yourself in almost any thicket and suck on the
back of your hand, in imitation of the distress call of a fledging bird, every old bird in
the vicinity, regardless of species, will come close and exhibit signs of anxiety and
excitement. It is a favorite method used by bird lovers to see their feathered friends
that otherwise remain invisible. But what interests us here is that birds of different
species recognize the sound as conveying the information that some young
bird–perhaps their own–is in trouble. That is, this particular sound is a universal
symbol recognized by much of the bird world.
Thus also, a frown, a smile, laughter, tears, a cry of joy, an exclamation of fright, are
universal symbols recognized in the world of men. Laughter, the world over, is
recognized as the symbol of mirth. A smile is recognized as denoting pleasure. A
frown indicates displeasure; as does the growl of a dog. The whine of a dog denotes
anxiety, and is so recognized by other dogs and by men. Weeping is a symbol of grief
among men; and a shout of victory, whether from the throat of a barnyard cock or
from those who attend a football game, is unlikely to be misunderstood.
Man then Added Universal Imitative Symbols
— But in addition to these emotional sounds, some of which the higher animals use to
convey similar information to their fellows, man at a very early date added those of
imitation. That is, he heard the wind through the trees, the noise of water babbling
over stones, the cries of birds and animals, and other noises of the wild. And he
adopted and adapted these sounds to convey information about the objects with
which more commonly they were associated. The sounds that express fear, love,
anger and pleasure were derived from the spontaneous expression of these emotions;
and an object that commonly gave rise to an emotion might be designated by the
emotion; but if there was no such emotional association, it might be designated,
instead, by some sound associated with it.
Take, for example, the sound of rushing water and note how it resembles the sounds
of the names given it in the various languages: “Rauchen, risseln, ruschen, rinnen,
rennen, to rush, ruscello, ruisseau, river, rhein.”
If you ever have listened to the whine of a Norther the word, wind, will be more than
vaguely suggestive; as will the word, snow, to one who frequently has heard it
slithering along an already ice-hardened crust.
The tracing of words to their origins is an interesting task. And the more we know
about such origins the more clear it becomes that there is a complete chain of
ASSOCIATION between the emotional and imitative sounds used by primitive
people and the words we use today.
For that matter, through using imitative sounds and gestures as universal symbols, it
is possible for two people of different nationalities to carry on considerable
conversation. Once as a young naturalist in Southern Oregon, in a day when fewer
Red Men spoke the English language, I had an Indian tell me of various experiences.
When he wished to tell me of a trapped animal, he placed his hands open on the
ground like the jaws of a trap, then closed them suddenly on his foot and emitted the
cry of the indicated animal when in distress. I have had him tell me, in such fashion,
how many coyotes he had caught; repeating the performance and imitating the snarls
and howls of a coyote; how many wild cats he had captured; repeating the
performance the proper number of times, and giving vent each time to yawls and
cat-calls. I have had him tell me of other game, imitating the bounding of a deer by
leaps with his hands, then picking up a stick and leveling it, and shouting “boom,”
much as a child might do. Although I never received instruction in such sign
language, I had no difficulty in following the tale he told.
Things Acquire their Names Through the Law of Association
–Through Resemblance and Contiguity sensations fuse to become perceptions,
perceptions join to become conceptions, and conceptions amalgamate to become
reason and intuition. And under the influence of the same two factors, which together
constitute the LAW OF ASSOCIATION, an object acquires its name. In sound,
form, color or some other attribute it may Resemble something for which already
there is a name; or it may be Contiguous in time or space with something already
named. And from the attributes of objects–as in the obvious relation between
pigeonhole, which now means a place where a document ceases activity, and the hole
in a dovecote where a pigeon comes to rest–as the need for speaking of them grew,
were also derived the words by which man designates his conceptions.
Having once associated a word with an idea, another word expressing a different idea
often is derived from it through Resemblance or Contiguity. And a whole train of
ideas may be expressed by a single word through its associations with some of the
words in the train. This development of language, one association leading on to
another, each expression built in obedience to the LAW OF ASSOCIATION, on
what had been before, is dramatically stated by Anatole France:”
The metaphysician has only the perfected cry of monkeys and dogs with which to
construct the system of the world. That which he calls profound speculation and
transcendent method is to put end to end in an arbitrary order the natural sounds
which cry out hunger, fear, and love in the primitive forests, and to which were
attached little by little the meanings which one believed to be abstract, when they
were only crude.”
Written language, also, is based upon an imitative foundation. To express that a man
was doing a particular thing, the simplest form of writing merely pictured the man
engaged in the act. The Cro-Magnons who invaded Europe at the end of the Ice Age
thus drew pictures upon the walls of the caves where they resided; and from which
they had driven Neanderthal, who was the original cave man.
American Indians, to indicate where game was abundant, traced the trail to be
followed on a conspicuous rock, and crudely pictured the game to be found at the
proper place along the crooked line which mapped the trail.
Such pictographs are purely imitative, as much so as to make the sound of rushing
water to designate a flowing stream. The association is of the most obvious kind. But
intelligent peoples were not long content to be restricted by what could thus actually
Symbolical Pictograph is Closely Allied to the Oldest Language; that of Feeling
–To express one thing, they pictured something else which was invariably
associated with it. The spring of the year could not be pictured; but a rose, which
came always with the spring, could easily be pictured. The time of year when cattle
were taken into the mountains could not be pictured; but the clover on which the
cattle fed in the high valleys could easily be drawn, and came thus into use to
designate the summer.
Or take the cuneiform writing of the early Sumerians. Sheep when sold were kept in
pens. It was difficult to draw a sheep with the little wedge-shaped marks in soft clay
tablets, but four such marks in a rectangle made an excellent picture of a sheep pen. It
was used to indicate sheep. And after it were placed as many wedge-shaped
marks–shaped thus because the papyrus stem used for stylus is triangular –or
tallys, as there were sheep to be designated. Thus a record was kept of sheep bought
Some sheep were fat, and some were not fat, and it was desirable in calculating the
price to know how many of the sheep bought or sold were fat.
To draw a picture of fat is difficult. But to get sheep fat it was customary to feed them
grain. To picture a sheaf of grain with the little wedge-shaped marks made by a
papyrus stem was easy. It is the origin of the astronomical symbol of the sign Virgo,
and also of the Biblical blessing given to his Virgo son by Jacob: “Out of Asher, his
bread shall be fat.” To indicate the number of fat sheep in a transaction, such a
crudely pictured sheaf of grain was placed alongside of the pictured pen which
denoted sheep, and the required number of tally marks placed after it. Tallys after a
pen adjacent to no sheaf of grain were so many sheep which had not been fattened.
In Chapter 8 (The Development of Knowledge, Course 12-1) the history and
development of writing is followed to its more complex modern forms. But here it is
only necessary to trace it from its simple beginning as visual pictograph images to the
next step, which is the visual symbolical pictograph. Yet the necessity is urgent to
make clear at this point that pictographs and symbolical pictographs not only were
the first visual images used by the race in the communication of ideas from one to
another, but that, because they represent obvious associations, they are the images
still employed by the unconscious mind.
While the words we speak, and the letters we write, in reality are linked historically
through a long chain of association with obvious relations between things, yet the
links in the chain mostly have been lost. Thus our written and spoken language has
the appearance of arbitrary sounds and arbitrary marks on paper. It is, in fact, a most
effective tool for the expression of precise and detailed information. Yet biologically
it is a very recent acquisition, as well as a complex one, and the unconscious mind, for
this reason, often finds it a difficult instrument to use.
Pictographs, however, are closely related to feeling. To recognize a mountain or a
tree from its picture requires no complex mental process. And if the individual is
accustomed to think of the mountain as an obstacle, if it has prevented him from
journeying to some desired spot on the other side, the picture of the mountain also, in
his mind, has the function of a symbolical pictograph of an obstacle. And if he is
accustomed to think of trees only in terms of firewood, a tree, following the most
obvious association, may readily become the symbolical pictograph of fire.
Many thoughts cannot be expressed merely by pictographs. We cannot picture
energy, love, desire, ambition, thought, religion, statesmanship, and thousands of
other conceptions. But through the commonly observed and recognized relations of
such conceptions to things that we can picture they can be expressed pictorially.
Symbolical Pictograph is the Language Commonly Employed by the Unconscious Mind When Feelings Do Not Suffice
–Feeling is the oldest language in existence. Visual and auditory images such as
either directly or symbolically represent thoughts are far more closely allied to this
oldest language than are arbitrary words and phrases; and therefore they are much
more easily handled by the unconscious mind. Consequently, when the unconscious
mind strives to communicate with objective consciousness, it may make use of
feeling. We often hear people say that they “feel” something to be true, even when
reason indicates the contrary. Or the unconscious mind may make use of visual and
auditory images, such as those experiences which people have in their dreams.
Because symbolical pictograph is the language commonly employed by the
unconscious mind to impart information too complex to be expressed merely as
feeling, its appeal is universal. Pictorial symbols may be chosen, the common
associations of which are the same the world over. In this manner, regardless of
changes in arbitrary speech, or differences in nationality, an idea can be conveyed to
any intelligent people in the world in spite of passing time.
It was the understanding of this language commonly employed by the unconscious
mind, that led the ancient wise men to employ it to impart to posterity their
knowledge of occult law and spiritual verity. Instead of entrusting their wisdom to
the fluctuations of arbitrary speech, they employed symbolical pictographs which
were universal in import. Such universal symbols were traced in the sky as the
constellations, and were traced on tablets as the sacred tarot.
The Three Dream Factors
–The question often arises, especially in studying the significance of dreams, why
when the unconscious mind attempts to impart some information to the conscious
mind, it does not use the language to which the person is accustomed in his ordinary
waking life. The reason now should be apparent; it is because symbolical pictograph
is far more familiar to it, and is therefore much easier to use.
There are, in fact, three elements of the dream life that need some special
consideration. 1. The effect of desire. 2. The effect of the preceding waking period
and of stimulation from the external environment. 3. The actual experiences of the
soul on the astral plane.
To understand the effect of desire upon dream experiences the difference between
Directed Thinking and Fantasy Thinking must be known. Desires are energies in a
state of tension within the thought structure of the astral body. Such energies, which
are ever straining for release, as well as physical stimuli, tend to attract the attention.
Because it was not decided beforehand to focus the attention thus, this type is called
The energy of a desire tends toward release in action of a particular kind. All action,
in fact, is due to desire energy thus released. Yet desire can find expression not
merely in physical activity, but also in mental activity. And when it is permitted thus
to express in mental images which are uncurbed by the critical faculties, the process
is called FANTASY THINKING.
DIRECTED THINKING is thinking with the attention directed by volition. The
attention also usually is directed to actual conditions, the effort being made that the
images shall stand in their natural relation each to the other, without distortion. That
is, directed thinking is a careful attempt to reproduce reality.
FANTASY THINKING, on the other hand, makes little attempt to maintain the
distinction between actual conditions and desired conditions; but follows wherever
Spontaneous Attention leads.
When a master said that the person who Thinks is the exception, and a great naturalist
remarked that few people ever think who think they do, they did not refer to Fantasy
Thinking, but to Directed Thinking. Fantasy Thinking takes very little effort; but
Directed Thinking quickly uses up energy. It is a process of psychic assimilation that
consumes much vitality and leaves the system correspondingly exhausted. In other
words, there is no harder work in the world, and none more useful, than Directed
In regard to Fantasy Thinking, the late William James said:”
Our thought consists for the greater part of a series of images, one of which produces
the other; a passive dream-state of which the higher animals are also capable. This
sort of thinking leads, nevertheless, to reasonable conclusions of a practical as well as
of a theoretical nature.”
As a rule the links of this sort of irresponsible thinking, which are accidentally
bound together, are empirically concrete things, not abstractions.”
Day-dreaming and dreaming in sleep are not dissimilar processes. The difference is
chiefly in how much consciousness is influenced by awareness of external
conditions. Sit in a chair, relax the body, lean back and close the eyes:
The sound of a street car may recall the rumble of an earthquake, and thus through the
LAW OF ASSOCIATION bring before the mind a whole train of images. To the
extent the attention is completely withdrawn from the objective world does it more
and more become absorbed in Fantasy images. The physical world seems to cease to
exist. So long as the physical brain registers a recognizable consciousness of the
physical environment it may be said to be awake; but when Fantasy Thinking so
absorbs its attention that the few impressions received from objective consciousness
are greatly distorted, the physical brain is said to be asleep.
The thought-cells and thought structures of the astral body never cease interacting
with each other. In them are stored energies always straining for release. And those
which at the time find some measure of expression become the focus of attention. Or,
as the laboratory psychologist would put it, every person at all times has trains of
thought passing through his mind. Every person dreams continually all the time he is
asleep, even though he is unaware he ever has a dream. The psychoanalysts have
proved this so completely that it is universally accepted.
Without as yet explaining the source of the energies which desires possess, let us
merely consider them as energies straining for release. If a particular desire,
whatever it may be, is rather completely realized in the daily life, it has released its
energy in thus finding satisfaction. Because it no longer has much energy to spend, it
has little power spontaneously to attract the attention, and little energy to use up in the
weaving of Fantasies relating to its fulfillment. Its influence upon the dream life,
therefore, is not apt to be profound.
We will learn later that attention reinforces the energy of desire and that action is
always in the direction of the strongest release of desire energy. Yet the conditions of
civilized life place, and rightfully, many inhibitions upon desires that have acquired
tremendous energies in their biologic past. It is no longer considered good taste to kill
an opponent, even if that opponent is the suitor for the hand of the lady of one’s
choice. Yet in the biologic past that was the proper thing to do. Nor is it now the
proper thing to express the desire for reproduction, except under the protection of a
marriage certificate. But birds and beasts and other forms of life through which the
soul has made its way, have recognized no such restrictions.
The desire to conform to civilized standards is usually stronger in the waking state
than the desire to follow more primitive impulses. Physical action, therefore, is
governed by the proper amount of restraint. But restraint does not dispose of the
energy of desire, it merely prevents the energy under tension from breaking through
and becoming converted into action. The energy is still there, ever striving for
The desires which restrain other powerful desires from expressing themselves in
physical action, do not offer such unbending resistance to their expression in
Fantasy, that is, in the realm of imagination. It is not uncommon for people to permit
themselves in their imagination to do things they certainly would not do physically.
As a matter of fact, if they were able to express these acts in physical life there would
be no need for them to use up the energies of these desires in Fantasy.
The child is born with a sense of omnipotence. In the womb all his needs are supplied.
After birth a little crying, or kicking about, brings a quick response to his needs.
When no desire is denied there is nothing to indicate he cannot have or do anything he
wants. All infants thus live in a happy delusion of being all powerful.
As life moves on, however, their desires multiply and they find obstacles more and
more barring the way to their fulfillment. Because the desires cannot be realized in
physical action does not destroy their energy. The energy is still there, straining for
release. And if a desire is powerful, we may be sure that sooner or later it will find
some way of escape.
The Dissipation of Day-Dreaming
–If the desire is such as to afford possibility of realization, and such realization
would be beneficial, the best method of using the energy of the desire is to direct it
into those actions which tend to overcome the obstacles and thus lead on to its
If, instead, the energies of the desire are permitted to weave Fantasies, in which the
realization is attained only in imagination, this may afford a substitute satisfaction.
But it uses up energy which should be directed to some actual accomplishment.
The individual who finds great pleasure in imaginary accomplishment, to that extent
decreases the energy at his command for actual accomplishment. He has drained his
desires without getting concrete results.
Satisfaction in such imaginary accomplishment should not be confused with the use
of imagination creatively. Creative imagination brings images together in various
combinations, and lives vividly in the mental, or astral, realm, not to find complete
satisfaction there for the desires, but to get ideas, to formulate plans, and to perceive
how things the better may be done. That is, the desires create and build first on the
astral plane; that they may have a correct pattern to follow when they express
externally. But there is sufficient energy left, when the correct pattern is decided
upon, for a valiant effort to bring about its physical realization.
But when desire, as in Fantasy Thinking and Day Dreaming, is permitted to be used
up and attain its satisfaction in imaginary conditions, this is Dissipation. It dissipates
energy in useless inner experiences which are negative. And to the extent satisfaction
is found in such imaginary situations is there lack of ability to attain satisfaction in
the realm of reality.
It is true that many desires, in their original form, should not be permitted expression.
But they each represent so much energy that can be made available for real
accomplishment; and means can be devised by which such energy can be diverted
into channels that lead to worthwhile results.
–Civilization has, from early childhood, built into the unconscious mind certain
standards of conduct. More primitive desires, even when fortified with energy, are
not permitted to trespass too far on these standards, even in imagination. There are
things that an individual does not permit himself to do even in his day-dreams. Nor
will he permit himself to do them in his dreams at night. That is, he has within his
unconscious mind desires not to do these things which are stronger than the desires to
This does not dispose of their energy, however, and they seek constantly to find some
means of expression.
In our everyday life it is common to make veiled illusions to things that it is bad taste
to state more bluntly. On the screen there is a ruling that the person firing a gun, the
gun, and the victim who is killed by the shot, must not all be shown at the same time.
The person firing the shot can be shown, then the person struck by the bullet can be
presented an instant later, and finally persons looking down as if on a dead body. The
actual killing is thus symbolized.
Civilized standards of conduct impose upon the movie screen restrictions as to what
can be shown in its stark reality. Yet these realities are made known to the audience
by symbolical pictographs.
Nor will civilized standards of conduct permit the individual, in his dreams, to do the
crude things which some of his primitive desires prompt. The civilized desires stand
as guardians of what may be presented to consciousness. They are stronger than the
savage desires; just as the movie censorship is stronger than the producing
companies. Yet even savage and crude desires are permitted to express themselves if
they disguise themselves sufficiently to meet the requirements of the censors.
Bearing in mind that it is only those desires which have not found fulfillment in
objective life which retain their energy, and that the energy of these unfulfilled
desires, whatever it may be, is ever straining to find expression, it is easy to perceive
that these are the desires which most influence Fantasy. Not able to release their
energies in physical action, they release in finding an imaginary realization.
This also indicates that which the psychoanalysts have proved, that the strongest
unfulfilled desires are those that most influence dreams.
As the reason they have never been permitted objective realization often is because
they are unacceptable to the Civilized Desires, and as these Civilized Desires are
frequently strong enough to prevent their crude expression even in the Fantasy of
dreams; if they are to find any measure of satisfaction they must more or less
completely disguise their real selves in the garments of symbolical pictographs. The
experiences of the individual in his dream-life no less than what he hears or sees in
his dreams, largely perform the function of such symbolical pictographs.
The Happenings of the Previous Waking State
— Whatever is now before the attention is always linked through Resemblance or
Contiguity with that which was before the attention previously. Mental processes are
not disconnected images, but trains of thought, one image joined to the preceding
image through the Law of Association.
There is, therefore, no sudden jump from the thoughts which occupy objective
consciousness to the thoughts which occupy the attention during sleep. All normal
dreams start with some experience, or thought, of the preceding waking state. And
contrary to what might be expected, this experience which enters into the dream as a
connecting link, is more often than not some inconsequential happening or passing
thought that was given slight attention during the waking state. Perhaps for that
reason it was unable to release energy associated with it, and this energy carried over
into the dream state affords the link of connection which dreams always require.
This fact, universally observed by students of dream life, is mentioned here to
emphasize that thought is a continuous process night and day, governed at all times,
as all mental processes are, by the LAW OF ASSOCIATION; and that in the analysis
of what occurs during any sleeping state, if it can be completely remembered there
will be happenings which have been definitely suggested by, and have their origin
from, something which entered the mind before the period of sleep. This factor,
therefore, in dream interpretation, even though represented in symbolical form,
should not be given some other significance.
Recognition of Occurrences Witnessed from the Astral Plane
–The astral body possesses sense organs by which it can acquire information from
the astral, or four-dimensional plane, in the same way the physical sense organs can
be used to acquire information on the physical plane. Furthermore, the astral body
during sleep is not chained to the physical, but has the power to move to distant parts,
and there to perceive what is taking place.
To the extent it can raise or lower its general vibratory rates it can even travel to
higher or lower planes than that of its usual vibratory level. It is almost as free to
move from plane to plane, or from one region on a given plane to another region on
that plane, as is a discarnate soul. And it can communicate with discarnate entities or
persons on the plane it thus reaches after the manner in which people usually
converse. Or within certain limits it can tune in, while actually on one plane,
sufficiently to pick up information being broadcast from another plane. In other
words, even as on the physical plane during the waking state the acquisition of
physical information is limited only by the ability of the individual: so the acquisition
of information from the astral plane during sleep is limited not by impassable
barriers, but by lack of individual training and initiative.
If our attention is riveted during the day to worldly matters, and we have no
knowledge of the possibility of acquiring information from another plane during
sleep, the mind in slumber continues to occupy itself with the problems and desires of
the day. The janitor who every day is in the laboratory where great scientific
discoveries are made, as a rule knows nothing of the experiments there being carried
out. He is so engrossed in his own personal affairs that these matters of vast
importance affecting the destiny of thousands are carried out under his very nose
without him knowing anything about them.
If we are absorbed in reading a thrilling tale some person may enter the room in
which we sit, and we remain quite oblivious of it. We only see, hear, or otherwise
recognize that to which our attention is attracted.
Nor is it something most can do without some training to direct their attention during
sleep to the acquisition of information. Since birth the training all has been toward
keeping the attention riveted to the physical avenues of knowledge.
Yet the four-dimensional world is open to inspection during sleep, and its entities are
there to be contacted, almost as readily as they are after passing from the physical
body. And through directing the attention to acquiring knowledge from such sources
during sleep much of value, not merely that has already happened or is in existence,
but also regarding that which will happen in the future, can be brought back into
–Except when some unusual stimulus intrudes, the state of relaxation, such as that
preceding sleep, favors Fantasy Thinking. Even without losing objective
consciousness, if we close the eyes and relax the body in an easy position, the mind,
no longer having its attention directed to reality, tends to drift into a world of the
In such a state, as well as in sleep, one thing suggests another, and this suggests
something else, and if there is in the thought structure of the unconscious mind some
strong unfulfilled desire, the energy of this desire, straining for release, soon captures
the attention. That is, the energy of such an unrealized desire straining for release is
sufficient stimulus that it attracts the attention. The trains of thoughts passing
through the unconscious mind are led to this desire because it is making so much
A foot uncovered during sleep, if it gets unduly cold, attracts the attention. The
Fantasy images are led to include this coldness in their symbolism. This, for instance,
may bring dreams of sleigh riding, or of arctic travel. And in the same way the
stimulus of an unfulfilled desire brings the Fantasy images passing through the mind
to include and symbolize it. The desire is energy seeking release. And it finds this
release in the Fantasies of the dream.
But opposed to the crude, even though natural, methods of expression, there may be
the rigid censorship of the Civilized desires. Thus if the energy of these unfulfilled
desires are to express, even in the Fantasies of dreams, they must conceal their true
identities under various symbolic disguises. The images are subject to condensation,
displacement, and various other processes, which, nevertheless, when viewed with
an understanding of symbolical pictograph, fail to conceal their true significance
from one attempting to interpret them.
–In the interpretation of dreams the effort should be made to separate and interpret,
each according to its own type of significance, the three various factors of dream life.
The happening of the previous waking state that is the link between waking
consciousness and the dream should be sorted out and given recognition as
possessing this function only. Then the unfulfilled desires, especially the one which
at the time is strongest, should be sought, and given its proper evaluation; for it also
commonly finds symbolic expression in the dream.
Finally, there often is, and this can be cultivated as the usual occurrence, information
of real value to the individual gained from the inner plane. The best manner to learn to
recognize this factor is to remember the dreams and correlate their happenings to the
events that shortly come into life. Through such cultivation dreams can be made to
possess great value.