Getting to Know Your Dream Ego
Have you ever had a dream where you did something or experienced something that you would never do in your waking life? When you remember the dream the next morning, does that person, who is you in the dream, feel different or unfamiliar to you? Maybe you have never thought about it or think of your dreaming self as your imagination. When you recall your dreams, you are connecting with your dream ego. Getting to know your dream ego begins a two-way conversation between your waking and dreaming selves.
In Jungian psychology, the person you identify with as you in your dream is your dream ego. It is not the same you that you identify with when you are awake. Your waking ego makes choices and responds to the events in your everyday life. Similarly, your dreaming ego does the same thing, but it operates in the world of your dreams, which is a vastly different place.
The dream ego lives in a world of possibility, myth, and creativity. It doesn’t have to play by the same rules as the waking ego. Your dreams are like a work of fiction where you can experiment and try things that aren’t possible in the physical world. You can fly, time travel, walk through walls, have conversations with people you have never met, and transform your appearance.
Freud considered dreams a reflection of our pent-up desires, but I disagree. Approaching dreams from that perspective can cause unnecessary worry and anxiety. A common fear that people have when sharing their dreams in a group or even with a close friend is that their dream will reveal something embarrassing or shameful about them that they can’t see for themselves. It is like the familiar dream of being out in public and realizing too late that you are naked. However, the truth is, when you are naked in the dream world, you will be ok and no one will know the next morning when you wake up.
Your dream ego has a language or a communication system of its own. It is personal to you in the sense that it chooses symbols and situations that are meaningful to you and get your attention. Dreams are complex and have multiple meanings. Dreams also repeat themselves, build on each other, and are non-linear. It is a complex language to learn.
Spending some time just observing your dream ego gives you a wealth of information about what life is like in your dreaming world. For example, in most of my dreams I am looking through the eyes of my dream ego. I am standing in her shoes watching and hearing the dream. I feel what she feels and do what she does. As I wake up, I feel myself separating from the dream and my visceral experience of the dream lessens. Once awake, I am no longer merged with my dream ego. Instead, my connection to the dream becomes that of a spectator recalling the details of the dream in my mind, similar to how I would retell a play or movie I watched the previous night. I see the dream story unfold from the perspective of the leading lady, my dream ego.
Over the years, I have developed a relationship with my dream ego. She is serious and freely experiences a wide range of emotions. My dream ego is consistent but not static. As I grow and change so does she. Over time, she increasingly has a wider base of experiences and people to choose from as she creates her nightly script.
Getting to know her has made it easier for me to recall my dreams and to ask questions about my dream when I am writing it down. If a certain part of the dream is unclear, I imagine looking through the eyes of my dream ego to re-experience the dream the best I can with my waking mind.
How would you describe your dream ego? Perhaps your dream ego is more carefree than your waking self. If it is, your dream life might include dreams where you take a great deal of risks. On the other hand, your dream ego might be more of a trickster or clown devising dreams that are full of clever puns and intricate plots.
Before you go to bed tonight, set the intention of learning more about your dream ego. Don’t worry about remembering the content of your dreams. It is more important at this stage to find out how he or she tells you your dreams. Are your dreams shown, told, or are you thrown into the middle of the action?
In subsequent articles, I will talk more about the dream ego and other fundamental concepts used in dreamwork.
Lisa Finander is a published author, developmental editor, and consultant/teacher specializing in mind, body, spirit subjects.
Throughout her college coursework, Lisa created Independent Studies combining subjects such as tarot and dreamwork with personal development, resulting in her completion of a B.A. in Psychology & Symbolism from Metropolitan State University, St. Paul, Minnesota.
She is the author of Disneystrology: What Your Birthday Character Says About You. For Disneystrology, Lisa incorporated the teachings of astrology, tarot, and numerology to create 366 unique birthday entries with a corresponding Disney character... read more about Lisa