As you undoubtedly know, Sigmund Freud is famous for his book on dreams. I have it here right in front of me – The Interpretation of Dreams: The Complete and Definitive Text. 674 pages if you include index. I do not know if I this is a boast or a complaint but years ago, I read and underlined up to page 236. I cannot say that I remember much, but it is my plan to read this famous text someday. I am trying to decide whether to start over or begin at page 237.

But before this decision is made (feel free to express your opinion) we are going to again look in the book On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life, the book I do not recommend and have not read in its entirety but keep offering to loan you. This week, Adam Phillips, the author, reminds us that we tell ourselves secrets at night by dreaming.

He says a bunch of other stuff too but the main thing that struck me was the idea that our dreams are the most private activity we do. He says it like this: “The dream represents the impenetrable privacy of the Self.”  He says everyone can be excluded from the dream if you don’t want them to be involved. He also writes that the “dreaming experience comes to signify that which is beyond description in the total life experience of the person.”

I’ve tried over the years to analyze my dreams with varying levels of success, but I have known people who have studied their dreams and found them extremely helpful. I am not arguing for the importance of dreams, just the idea (new to me), that dreams are private messages we give to ourselves. That no one can know what the dream is if you don’t tell them!

Have you ever thought of your dreams as being private messages you send to yourself? Please let me know – I am curious!


13 Responses

  1. Dreams

    What draws these messages

    from their depths?

    And who is sending them?

    Me or my angels?

    What have I hidden?

    And why so deep?

    What am I afraid of?

    And why tonight?

    Do I bury the joys along with the sorrows?

    Perhaps something is crawling upward

    to tell me something very important.

    But why then can’t I remember when I wake?

    Why do I dream of bathrooms

    only to wake because I have to use one?

    And the familiar, yet unfamiliar,

    characters that show up…

    Do I really know them?




    And the strange things they do…

    I don’t know.

    I wish I did.

    If these mysterious messages

    could just tap me on the shoulder,

    maybe I could write it all down

    and be all the wiser.

    But…what fun would that be?!



    they fade like the colors

    of a rainbow sky

    they slip through your fingers like the water

    of a cold stream

    But, they leave a remnant

    of shadowy light

    of rolling droplets

    a mood

    a feeling

    a sense

    that you’ve been somewhere

    seen something or someone


    Dream dust clings to you.

    Do you lightly scatter and share it with others?

    Or do you carry it like deadweight

    sensing and feeling a heavy void?


    We wear them like

    a light perfume

    or a heavy winter coat.

    Nancy 🌻

    • Nancy – I liked your poems so much that I decided to print them for others to see. Thanks so much for sharing.
      Sweet dreams!

  2. Unfortunately, the only time I remember my dreams is when they wake me up–the stuff of nightmares! Thankfully, those are few and far between (and usually after I’ve watched a scary movie or TV show)! So … for me, dreams may be my way of trying to work out the scary stuff of movies–or my dreams (the good ones!) are so secret, I keep them from myself!

    • Thanks for checking in Diane – hope you remember some good dreams – you don’t have to tell anyone!

  3. DreamWork by Jeremy Taylor is brilliant. He lays out many ways to discover the unfinished business your mind is working on at night.

  4. DreamWork by Jeremy Taylor is brilliant. He lays out many ways to discover the unfinished business your mind is working on at night.

    • Hi Vicki – I have Jeremy Taylor’s Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill. Do you like that one?
      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  5. My go-to book is Dreams and Spiritual Growth, A Judeo-Christian Way of Dreamwork, Savary,Berne & Williams. Dreamwork has a significant place in spiritual direction. The dream stories are understood as comprising elements of our highly personal internal metaphor system, and no other person can interpret them for you (cf Freud). Another can help the process by strategic questioning. One technique is giving the dream a title, a theme, looking at the feelings (affect), and figuring what question the dream is asking you – TTAQ. Another is the understanding that every element in the dream represents a part of your psyche. They can be a spiritual gift, a reworking of experiences or simply a physical response. The memorable ones are likely to be helpful. I’ve had at least two that have been very formative.
    Not altogether separately, I’ve learned a new word – neurotheology. This is presumably what I was beginning to explore after my experiences. My theory is that neurological changes are concurrent with those experiences, rather than causing them.

    • Hi Trish, Thanks for the book reccomendation and the new word! I also like the idea of each person having their own metaphoric system.
      So much richness in your message. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. Hi Nicky,

    My dreams carry big messages to me. I’ve had recurring dreams in the past trying to give me a message, and once I figure out what that message is, they go away. Throughout the pandemic, my dreams helped me maneuver my way through many tricky things. I once had a friend who interpreted dreams, and I’m sure you know this, but the key is what the items/feelings/actions in the dream mean to YOU. Not what a book says those things mean, but what they represent to the dreamer. Maybe it’s genetic, but my grandma had crazy dreams, I do, and my daughter does. We most always learn something from them. Unless they’re just whacky/crazy and beyond interpreting!

    I hope you are well,

    • Hi Connie! Thanks for your message – I love the idea that your Grandmother perhaps gave you this ability! I have never
      heard that before but I can imagine it has some basis in neuroscience.
      I appreciate you reading & filling me in on your thoughts.
      I am well thank you. Hope you are also!

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