Monday, 31 July 2017 05:56

Dreams tell us what we need to change in our lives

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DREAMS ARE KEY TO UNDERSTANDING WHAT WE NEED TO CHANGE IN OUR LIVES

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

Freudian psychology teaches that we have several parts to our minds, including id, ego and superego; and conscious and unconscious parts.

The id is our natural instincts such as sex and aggression; we have urges to satisfy those instincts; the superego is our learned and internalized social norms checking the id instincts; the ego is kind of like a referee mediating between the id (nature) and the superego (society/civilization), balancing them.

For example, the id tells you to have sex with all the good looking damsels in your world; the superego tells you that if you try to do so that society would punish you; the ego tells you to gratify your sexual  urges with one partner, for if there is no restriction to sexuality and you try to have sex with all women the husbands and boyfriends of those women would be jealous and angry at you and some may attack and kill you, so it is for your survival interest for you to restrict your sexuality to one woman, and not do what your id wants to do, have sex with all good looking women in town.

Apart from the desires of the id, the strictures of the superego and the moderating influence of the ego is another side to our minds, the conscious and unconscious mind. The conscious mind is the part of us that we are aware of, the mind you are using to read this material.

The unconscious mind is the part of your mind that you are not conscious of. Freud said that in your unconscious mind are reposed all your past experiences plus the irrational desires of the id that your superego had repressed.

Sigmund Freud said that dreams are the royal road to the individual's unconscious mind. In our dreams material in your unconscious mind come out and play roles in them. For example, if during the day time you had wished to have sex with the most beautiful girl in your world but could not gratify that desire because of social reasons, at night, in your dream your mind presents her to you and you have sex with her. In effect, you have gratified a wish that in reality you could not.

Thus, in our dreams what we could not do in day life reality we do.  This is the Freudian approach to understanding dreams. Obviously, there is some truth to it but not the whole truth.

Other psychoanalysts, such as Alfred Adler went beyond sex and see the dream playing different roles. To Adler we all desire to be  superior and powerful persons and cannot do so in real life; in our dreams we become more powerful than Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin combined; in our dreams we command the world and it obeys us; that is, in our dreams we gratify our wish for unlimited power.

Carl Jung went beyond Freudian and Adlerian rationalistic psychologies and said that our minds have what he called a collective unconscious part to them.

In the collective unconscious part of our minds are not only what we repressed into them in our present lifetime but what all mankind throughout history has experienced; in our mind is the experience of all mankind; indeed, in our collective unconscious mind are spiritual matters.

According to Jung, in our dreams at night events from human history that we may not have experienced and spiritual matters enter. Jungian psychoanalysis, therefore, tends to be broader in scope in analyzing dreams.

I understand Western psychology and psychoanalysis but do not look at the world from their frame of reference; I am me, not other people.  In that light, I look at my dreams not from any external person's parameters but as seems rational to me.

MY PERSECUTORY DREAM

I have had a strain running throughout my dreams. Occasionally, in my dream I have a feeling that something, what it is I do not see or know, is pinning me down to the bed that I am sleeping on, trying to suffocate me to death and or preventing me from making any movement, such as getting up from the bed.

My first recollection of having this sort of dream was when I was an adolescent boy in a secondary school dormitory. In that dream, spider strewn cobwebs were wrapped around my entire body; it would not allow me to get up; I kept struggling to get away from the cobweb and in the process woke up in panic.

In other forms of this dream I would feel an unseen agent pinning me down to the bed and I struggle to get up and after much struggle wake up from the dream, always in fear.

I have had these types of dreams many times. They do not occur frequently but could occur years apart.  So, what is it that holds me down to my bed, trying to prevent me from getting up, trying to kill me?

My analysis is that the dreams reflect my life. In childhood I had serious medical issues; I was born with certain genetic disorders: cytochrome c oxidase deficiency, spondylolysis of the fifth lumber vertebra and mitral valve prolapse of the heart (if you want to know what they are please read up on them). I was almost always at the gate of death. Life was a struggle for me.

The dreams reflect my childhood perception that something in life is trying to kill me, snuff out my life and my struggle to stay alive. In effect, those nightmarish dreams show me what is in my unconscious mind, my belief that the world, people and things are trying to kill me and that I am struggling to stay alive. The dreams show me that I feel that the world of things and people are persecuting me, trying to kill me and I struggle against them.

These dreams are rooted in my medical issues. They did not come from experience in a past life time. I say so because some friends suggest that may be in a different life time someone killed me or tried to choke me to death and that that episode is still in my unconscious mind hence creeps up in my dreams every now and then.  They suggest that I do past life regression therapy whereby a therapist takes me to past lives; to see the unresolved issues and help me work through them so as to not have the obvious fear of harm and death that is evident in my nightmares.

I do not have a history of parental abuse. Neither my father nor my mother laid hands on me. Father did subject me to criticism; he was always telling how I ought to be first in my classes but beyond that did not physically abuse me. I do not recall any one physical abusing me so I cannot honestly say that the sense of persecution in the dream is due to actual people trying to harm or kill me.

In real life I do not have a feeling that people are persecuting me. My level of paranoia is like what you find in most black persons; black folks tend to believe that white folks have it in for them and feel persecuted and are defensive around the man! This social paranoia is rooted in history for white folks do persecute black folks. That been said, I do not have excessive sense of white folks doing bad things to me; as for black folks I do not recall having issues with them that would lead me to believe that they are trying to harm me.

I believe that my fear of harm and death is rooted in the medical issues of my current life time. I do not need to explore other life times, or social abuse to understand what I can readily understand with my medical problems in this present life time.

SEPARATION OF THE PART FROM THE WHOLE AND FEAR OF OTHER PARTS

I believe that at root we are spirits. I believe that we are unified spirit. I believe that we separated from unified spirit and decided to live as separated selves. I believe that we, the sons of God, invented space, time and matter to enable us seem to live in separated states. I believe that we used the matter we invented to invent bodies for each of us and now seem to live in bodies. In bodies we see boundaries between us and other people; it takes one time to go from one place to another place in space, so separation now seems real to us.

(Please note that in the above sentences I said "belief", meaning that I do not know for sure that what I am saying is absolutely true; what I say here is in the nature of faith rather than fact; but given that we probably know less than one percent of what is knowable some faith in the unknown seems justified. Physics tells us that 73% of the universe is composed of unknown dark energy, 23% of the universe is composed of unknown dark matter; that is, we are beginning to understand the 4% of our universe that is visible to us; if you do not understand over 99% of the universe you cannot rule out metaphysical forces in the universe; we need some humility and must stop making grandiose assertions that there are no spirits, as atheistic scientists do.)

LIVING IN BODIES THAT CAN BE DESTROYED INDUCES FEAR IN US

We all know that our bodies are vulnerable; our bodies can be destroyed by a myriad of things in the physical and social environment.

Other people can destroy our bodies; all sorts of environmental things, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanos, floods, draught, tornado, tsunamis and diseases could snuff out our bodies. Our bodies are very precarious and can be destroyed at any moment.

Therefore, to live in bodies require us to constantly struggle to survive in bodies.  What is life on earth but constant, unending struggle to survive in bodies?

We must eat food, take medications, wear clothes and live in shelters to survive. If we did not eat food we would die; if we did not take medications bacteria, virus and fungi would destroy our bodies; if we did not wear clothes or live in shelters inclement weather would destroy our bodies.

On the scientific note, the human body is composed of sixty- four elements, mostly carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, iron, sulfur, magnesium, zinc, copper, sodium and so on. Each of those elements is an atom with different arrangements of electrons, protons and neutrons. Those atoms are held together by chemical bonds.

When we die the chemical bonds holding the various elements together in our bodies separate and each element continues living separately.  In time the atoms decay to their component particles.

In trillions of years in the future all the particles would have decayed to photons. The universe would be composed of cold radiation.

Our bodies are made of photons, physical light, and return to that physical light. Where did physical light come from? Some say from a non-material form that they call spirit?

TO LIVE IN BODY IS TO FEEL LIKE A VICTIM OF THE WORLD

To live in body is to be a victim of the environment that could destroy it at will. Therefore, if one identifies with body one must feel like a victim of the physical and social environment.

Victim or not, we need body to house our separated ego selves. Thus, we are in a catch twenty two situation.

As long as we live in bodies we must feel vulnerable and like victims and fight to survive.  For one not to feel vulnerable one must not identify with body.

In this light, spiritual teachings ask us to give up our identification with body. Helen Schucman's A course in miracles tells us to say: I am not body; it asks us to say so over and over, again. It says that our defense of our ego separated selves is mostly based on our need to defend our bodies and that if we do not identify with body and see us as spirit that is eternal that we would become defenseless.

If one is part of eternal spirit what could threaten one and if nothing threatens one why would one be ego defensive?

Thus, you are told to give up your wish to be a separated ego self-housed in body if you want to stop defending your body.

Close the gap between you and God; close the separation between you and God by seeing you as part of God and all people. If you regain the awareness of union with God and his creation you would not see you as a separated self-housed in body hence is defensive.

If you are one with God and all people who is not part of you that is trying to destroy your body that you have to protect yourself from?

Thus, for me to stop having the nightmarish dreams I have to let go of my identification with the ego and identify with unified spirit; I have to give up my sense of separation and return to the awareness of union with all existence and in it feel safe.

If I do not see me as a separated self in body, if I see me as unified with God and all his creation, that is, give up separation and the body which houses the separated self I would feel safe.

(Body is said to be neutral; in the final analysis, bodies, like matter, space and time, are illusions that do not exist but that we made to seem to exist to enable us seem separated from each other. When we stop separating from each other and from God our bodies are said to be healed of their medical issues.)

THE WORLD IS OUR COLLECTIVE, SHARED DRERAM

A course in miracles teaches that the world we see with our naked eyes is our collective dream; the world is our shared dream. We, the sons of God, separated from God and from each other and dream this world.

In the dream each of us projects his self into the dream; each of us sees his self as a particular dream figure and projects out other people into the dream and sees them as separated dream figures.

One son of God, who contains the infinite sons of God, is now shattered into the infinite fragments; each of the fragments is each of us; each son of God is dreaming separation from his father and siblings.

THE WISH FOR SPECIALNESS, POWER AND SEPARATION

The dream, the physical universe, came about because of our wish for separation from God and from each other. God extended his self to his infinite sons. God and his sons are the same and coequal.

God created his sons; they did not create him or themselves. In effect, although God and his sons are the same and equal, God is first among them. The sons of God resented God's status as their creator and wanted to create God, create themselves and create each other.

The wish for specialness, that is, for power to create God and ones self, led the unified sons of God to separate from him and from each other.

To separate from God and each other is an attack on unified state. We attacked God and each other to push them away to seem separated from them. To be in the dream, our world, we have already attacked God and other people and other people have attacked us.

However, instead of seeing us as the ones who attacked God and other people we convert our self-attack to belief that other people attacked us.

In our world we see other people attacking us, doing bad things to us. Those attacks are actually self-attacks.  We attack ourselves through what seems like other people.

In one's dream one projects many people out and identifies with one dream self and has the other dream selves attack it, and do harmful things to it and it defends its self from them;  one forgets that one projected out both the dream self that one identifies with and those one does not see as part of one's self. The dreamer now sees the dream figures in his dream as not part of him and defends against their attacks on the dream self he sees as his self.

In my nightmarish dreams, I experience what seems like other things, not people, holding me down to the bed.  I am actually the one holding me down to the bed but made it seem like other things, such as the spider web, are holding me down.

I attacked God, all people and things when I wished separation and manifested as a separated self; I attacked all people and now convert it to believing that other people and things are attacking me.

In seeking separation from God and people, I am trying to kill God, other people and things and now convert it to believing that God, other people and things are trying to destroy my life.

(I am assuming that you, the reader, are intelligent and, as such, understand that all these talk about God, sons of God and separation and attacks are metaphors. We employ metaphors when we cannot express the truth directly. I am writing in metaphors, but the metaphors are trying to articulate a truth that cannot be expressed in words, for God is ineffable.)

SEPARATION LEADS TO GUILT AND FEAR

My dream at night and day time is my self-attack converted to seeming other people's attacks on me.  My attack on God and other people gives me a sense of guilt and fear. I feel guilty from attacking God and his creation, from separating from God and people.

I fear that those I attacked and pushed away from me are angry at me and want to attack me, squelch my separated self. I defend me from their expected attacks.

I now live in immobilizing and paralyzing fear of what God and other sons of God could do to me to snuff out my separated self.  To be a separated ego self is to live in fear.

GIVE UP SEPARATION AND END GUILT AND FEAR

I must now stop attacking people. How? I must stop wishing to have an ego separated self and accept unified self as my true self. When I regain the sense of union with God and all creation I would no longer have fear and belief that the world is persecuting and trying to destroy me (my ego separated self; that is).

OVERLOOKING AND FORGIVING ATTACKS

To be in the world we have already attacked each other. The world is a place of mutual attacks, so I must see people attack me, and do bad things to me as I do to them (I must see me attack and do bad things to me through seeming other people).

Now, if I see other people, that is, me, attacking me, I must overlook their attacks on me; that is, I must forgive them.

In forgiving them their attacks, and since I am the one attacking me through them, I am really forgiving me my attacks on me.

BODY SICKNESS AS EFFORT TO MAKE SEPARATION AND THE EGO SEEM REAL

I am the one attacking my body and making it seem sick; I make my body seem sick so as to continually defend it (sometimes with food or with medications). In seeing me as body and a sick body I treat my body with medications (magical pills that make the unreal, body, seem real).

In treating my body with medications I am accentuating the belief that I am body. In doing so I am accentuating what body protects, my separated self.

Sickness is an attempt to convince one's self that body is real and if body is real then the separated ego self that body houses is real.

But body is not real and the ego is not real. If I forgive what other folks did to my body hence forgive what I did to my body I would realize that body is an illusion, a figment of the imagination that seems real but is not real.

If I stop defending my body hence ego I would transcend the ego, space and time and matter and experience myself as part of unified spirit.

DISCUSSION

Haven't you noticed that all human beings live in fear? I certainly live in fear 100% of the time. That fear is in my conscious and unconscious mind. From my unconscious mind that fear gives me nightmares where something is trying to kill me and I try to overcome it, struggle with it so as to survive.

In the day world I see all kinds' of things trying to harm me and or snuff out my bodily life and take protective measures so as to survive in body. What I am doing is what all human beings are doing. People live in fear and struggle to survive.

I live in America. I see white Americans living in fear. They have fear of other people, especially of black people and other minorities harming or killing them. To protect themselves they have their second amendment in their constitution that allows them to carry guns. They must be protected or else folks kill them.  They live to protect themselves.

Their government is set up to protect them. The police arrests those deemed out to harm the people (which happen to be mostly black folks); their courts and judges try and send them to prisons so that they do not pose threat to the people.

In the meantime, the government that protects them knows that they live in fear and therefore oppresses them.

White Americans talk a lot about freedom and liberty but are the most oppressed people on planet earth. See, their government cannot even give them a single payer health insurance or pay for all children to go to school through university. Instead of doing these rational things for the people the government spends nearly a trillion dollars annually manufacturing weapons with which it says it protects the people.

It uses those armaments to oppress the people. Police are hired and armed to the teeth to oppress the people.

What is going on in America is going on all over the world. In Africa the people live in total fear. They are contemptible and despicable cowards who are afraid of standing up to the criminals that rule them. The thieves of Abuja, for example, make away with Nigerians money but Nigerians do not fight for economic and social justice. They do not fight because if they do so the criminals in the country's armed forces would be told to kill them and they would kill them.  Nigerians live like cowardly slaves, surviving at the expense of their liberty.

All over the world governments abuse the people because the people are afraid of harm and death and want to live at all costs; their fear makes it possible for their governments to oppress them.

If you give up your fear and are willing to die, right now, no one can oppress you. What can a person do to you, kill you? If you are willing to die the oppressor has no effect on you.

It is fear that keeps humanity in bondage to the criminal politicians that rule them.

CONCLUSION

TO LIVE IN EGO AND BODY IS TO LIVE IN FEAR

To live in body is to feel fear; there is no two ways of going about it. The moment you manifest in body you become aware that body is vulnerable and could be snuffed out by diseases and other environmental factors; thus, you begin the regime of trying to protect your life in body. That is just about all that all human beings are doing on earth, protecting our selves. Fear paralyzes and immobilizes us.

To live in body is to live in fear. If so, it follows that to live outside body is to not live in fear. If it were possible for the individual to believe that he is not body and that his mind is outside body and that his mind is eternal and does not die and that nothing can harm it he would overcome his fear. But as long as one believes that one is part of body and dies with the death of one's body one must live in fear.

Occasionally, a human being comes along and through some unusual experiences learns that his mind is outside his body and that he lives forever and ever; such a person overcomes fear. He no longer believes that his body is who he is; he no longer believes that his body determines his mind and behaviors.

Our contemporary neuroscientists teach us that our bodies, brains determine our minds and behaviors; these people have embraced the philosophy of materialism.

According to materialism, the human brain produces our thinking. These materialists have amassed tons of evidence showing us how our bodies determine out thinking.

If we are the product of our bodies and our thinking, mind, is epiphenomenal, is the product of our brains then we are condemned to fear. We must live in fear of death.

If we live in fear then we must protect ourselves. We must have powerful governments that protect us. Thus, neuroscientists support arming the governments to protect the people.

These folks actually do not know that there are a few people who know that they are not bodies and therefore have overcome fear of harm and death and thus live fully.

As I see it, physical scientists are useful in showing us how matter, space and time works; I learn what they tell us about the human body. However, I recognize that they do not know that there are other parts to people than their bodies.

If you want to overcome your fears you must somehow convince yourself that you are not your body; you must come to believe that when your body dies that you still live.

See, Muslim jihadists believe that they live after they die hence are willing to die for their cause of converting the world to Islam.

Given the fear in which Western body orientated scientists teach people to live in, I believe that Muslims could convert Europe and America to Islam. All they need to do is kill a few white folks and like chicken the rest of them panic and start protecting themselves or give up and allow the Bedouins to rule them.

Westerners have been persuaded that all they are are bodies and they want to protect their bodies. They do not know that they have aspects of them that are not body hence should not be afraid of death.  They should not be afraid of Muslims; they should accept death in fighting for a good cause and in that light go to war with the Muslim pestilence and remove it from the world.

I believe that there is a spiritual part to us; a part that Western scientists have told people to give up and in doing so people live in fear and living in fear they are easily conquered by those who believe that there is life after the death of their physical death.

Western scientists who teach godless existence are making it possible for Muslims who still believe in God hence are not afraid to die for their religion to take over Europe and the Americas.

In my dreams are unseen forces producing fear in me. The forces are trying to kill me or destroy my body and I struggle to survive.  I believe that these dreams are trying to tell me that I have fear of harm and death in my unconscious mind.

The only way to get rid of this fear is to convince me that I am not a body and that my mind is eternal and cannot die. If I believe that I am an eternal spirit then I would not have fear of harm and death and would no longer have nightmares of things trying to kill me.

I believe that it was my sickness in childhood, sickness that made me feel that I was about to be snuffed out of existence, die, that produced the fear of death that shows up in my dreams.

Without the fear that holds me down in my dreams at night and in my day life I would live more fully.

What is living fully? It is living as I believe is true; the truth, as I see it, is that we must accept some spirituality into our lives while at the same time embracing science.

We have to figure out a way to rationally combine science and spirituality, psychology and spirituality.

My mission is to figure out how to accomplish the goal of marrying spirituality to science. I totally accept the scientific method and do not accept anything that I cannot prove is true; yet, a part of me, not superstition, tells me that life is more than is found in empiricism, logical positivism, and science. Both David Hume and George Berkeley have correct insights into the truth.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

July 31, 2017

www.centerformindscience.org

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(907) 310-8176

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: ozodiosuji@gmail.com (907) 310-8176