A Sustained Will to Live

In the midst of stress and chaos, we can be sane. Dreams pop through, offering encouragement when we need it most. They wait till we can’t do more on our own, our back up against the wall. A patient came in for their first session and reported, “I had a nightmare I was cornered in a pitch-black room. I couldn’t get out and knew I just had to stay still, and then the lights would come back on. That was last night, the night before my first psychotherapy session.” The dream told me he was up against it, and there was nowhere to go. So, it was a perfect time for a dream, a hot-off-the-psychic- press nightmare. A light came on for him in that first session with the realization that he’d come to the right place to do the soul work he needed to do. He sighed, sat back on the sofa, and relaxed into the work. Not until you’re ready, when you tried everything and nothing works, will the lights go out and an answer, light arrives.

We can’t find our way on our own, with only our conscious egoic way of thinking. We need something bigger and deeper than our conscious thought. It’s profound wisdom within that also surrounds us like the air we take in as we breathe each precious breath. It helps if we have someone to talk with, understand what we experience and suffer. I’ve been seeing psychotherapy patients for forty years, listening to feelings, memories, and dreams. There’s been much healing and progress for many. For others, they’ve got a little of what they needed and then move on. And, you and I meet up on this post. It’s our way of talking. Each page has one insight about dreams for reflection, a little something gained from years as a therapist and human being attempting his best to understand self and others. This includes the fact that we can’t go it alone in life, always in need of the eternal more that dreams offer via symbolism and guidance. They help us to keep on with life.

In stressful moments, I find that staying true to what we are feeling, in a non-hurtful way, helps. Then wait for a dream to come with practical advice. Once you understand the dream, you’ll feel like living again, fully applying yourself to what’s ahead. There’s no more lashing out at others or self-recrimination. We let dark emotions run their course without acting out, speak to us along the way, and eventually make their way out. There’s something to learn from vital feelings that blossom into dreams. If we don’t act out, instead settle ourselves and, if possible, talk, listen more, reach an understanding, then clarity comes. It usually is in the form of an Ah-Ha! Moment. That’s when you know you’ve got the meaning of the dream. Ah-Ha! The clarity is striking, however subtle or obvious. Your head clears, and the relationship or situation begins to heal to the degree and in the way that’s best. We feel a restored vitality, a will to live with full exertion of self.

If we listen and strive to be true to ourselves, the unconscious mind makes sure that things turn out in the best possible way. Right now is a lovely time to be alive because, at this moment, we’re engaged with one another. I’m passing on my inspiration about life and dreams. There’s a reaching out that I feel, an empathic stretch your way. Maybe, just maybe, I’m touching on something meaningful for you. I hope so. You know, chaos and stress will always be here. There’s no way out of people problems, no way out of the pull toward negativism in our head. But, we can resist the pull, resist the downward tug, resist despair, and yield to the reality of dreams and their potential for meaningfulness. And as William James, father of American psychology, noted in The Varieties of Religious Experience, it is the virtue of hope that offers the sustained will to live in a stressful world. So, when you understand the meaning of a dream, there's hope in the way that's best for you and provides a sustained will to live.