As the personality is changed by any action, so it is changed by its own dreams. As it is molded by the exterior environment, so it is molded by the dreams that it creates and which help form its interior world. To the whole self, there is little differentiation made between exterior or interior actions. The ego makes such distinctions. The core of the personality does not. As an individual changes his physical situation through reacting to it, so he or she changes his or her interior or psychic situation in the same way.
In dreams, we give freedom to actions that cannot adequately be expressed within the confines of normal waking reality. If the personality handles his or her dream activities capably, then problem actions find release in dreams. When the ego is too rigid, it will even attempt to censor dreams, however, and freedom of actions is not entirely permitted, even in the dream condition.
If this solution fails, the impeding action will then materialize as a physical illness or undesirable psychological condition. If an individual has strong feelings of dependency that cannot be expressed in daily life, he will express these in dreams. If he or she does not, then he or she may develop an illness that allows him or her to be dependent in physical life. If he or she is aware of difficulties, however, he or she may request dreams that will release this feeling.
The individual would not necessarily remember such a dream. Psychologically, however, such an experience would be valid, and the dependency expressed. I cannot stress this too strongly: To the inner self, the dream experience is as real as any other experience.
If follows that by using suggestion, various problems can be solved within the dream state. The inner ego of which we have spoken is the director of such unifying activities. It is the ‘I’ of our dreams, having somewhat the same position within the inner self as the ego has to the outer physical body.
Upon proper suggestion, the personality then will work out specific problems in the dream state, but if the solution is not clear to the conscious ego, this does not necessarily mean that the solution was not found. There will be cases where it is not only unnecessary but undesirable that the ego be familiar with the solution. The suggestions will be followed by the sleeping self in its own fashion. The solutions may not appear to the conscious self in the way it expects. The conscious self may not even recognize it has been given a solution, and yet it may act upon it.
Both psychological and physical illnesses could largely be avoided through dream therapy. Rather harmlessly, aggressive tendencies could also be given freedom in the dream condition. Through such therapy, actions would be allowed greater spontaneity. In the case of the release of aggressiveness, the individual involved would experience this within the dream state and hurt no one. Suggestions could also be given so that he or she learned to understand the aggressiveness through watching himself or herself while in the dream state.
This is not as farfetched as it might seem. Much erratic anti-social behavior could be avoided in this way. Crimes could be prevented. The desired but feared actions would not build up to explosive pressure. If I may indulge in a fantasy, theoretically we could imagine a massive experiment in dream therapy, where wars were fought by sleeping, and not waking, nations.
In practice, however, there are many considerations to be understood. If aggressiveness is the problem, for example, then the preliminary suggestion should include a statement that in the dream, the aggression will be harmlessly acted out and not directed against a particular individual. The subconscious is quite capable of handling the situation in this manner. This may seem like a double censor, but in all cases it is the aggressiveness itself that is important and not the person or persons against whom the individual may decide to vent his or her aggressiveness.
When the aggressiveness is released through a dream, there will be no need for a victim. We do not want an individual to suggest a dream situation in which he or she is attacking another person. There are several reasons for this, both telepathic realities which we do not yet understand and guilt patterns which would be unavoidable.
We are not attempting to substitute dream action for physical action, generally speaking. Here we are speaking of potentially dangerous situations in which an individual shows signs of being unable to cope with these psychological actions through ordinary methods of adoption. No one can deny that a war fought by dreaming men at specified times would be less harmful than a physical war — to return to my flight of fancy. There would be repercussions, however, that would be unavoidable, [for again, basically, the personality does not differentiate between sleeping and waking events].
Again, if the personality is fairly well balanced, then his or her existence in dream reality will reinforce his or her physical existence. We are involved in a juggling of realities. It is necessary to see the personality as it operates within both, if we are interested in understanding its whole experience.
Sometimes dreams that seemed nonsense contain one clear, important image that shortly — within a few days– would appear in a different context entirely. In several cases, two or more future events would be considered into one dream.