The longer one's life, the more apparent it becomes that life is not a destination, but rather a journey of searching for meaning, understanding, and ultimately happiness. While we don't necessarily characterize our dreams as journeys, there is a sense in which our waking journey is sometimes affected by our most powerful or memorable dreams.
Many dreams include needing to travel from A to B before progress is made in completing the dream task. Many times, this traveling is the challenge. The elements may be uncooperative or contrary. Traveling machines may be magically powerful or nonsensical and unreliable. Sometimes, we are simply walking across a field, down a road, up a hill, through the forest, or along the cliffs on our journey. The environment around us along the way can be familiar, strange, friendly, anxiety-ridden, and a host of other possibilities. The purpose of the traveling and the companions along the way can be significant.
The journey is often a symbol for trying to find what is needed to bring life into equilibrium. This is the task of finding one's place in the universe. It could also be characterized as the archetypal search for the most authentic self. In either of these metaphors, there is the idea that our souls tend to be a little restless at times. The journey is the task of finding out what the soul needs to quiet that restlessness.
In waking life, this is played out by the "I need a change" feeling that crops up every now and then. The process of individuating yourself from the expectations and influences of others conjures feelings along these lines. In dreaming, we often travel alone, leaving others behind by choice or necessity, to find what our next task is.
Along the way, who we meet and what we partake in may reveal much about where our individual struggle is in the waking, conscious self. We may encounter strangers with whom there is an adversarial relationship or a romantic one. We may encounter mystical strangers who unlock unknown powers within us or withdraw particular powers from us. In either case, the journey is our personal goal, and how we experience others during the process says much about the relationships of our waking world.
Is your destination known to others, or held in confidence?
Do others invite you to accompany them, vice versa, or are you on a solitary trip?
Can others direct you, or are you traveling to an unknown place? Answers to these questions influence the meaning of the dream in your life.
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