Why You Should NOT Google Your Dreams
Even the world's greatest search engine that mines and stores and sells all your data is not sophisticated enough to know the complex network of associations and symbolic representations that your brain is capable of during REM sleep.
Perhaps one of the biggest issues with googling what your dreams mean is that we may tend to look for confirmation bias that will align with what we already think and believe about ourselves. This leaves our dreams deflated of their virtue, acting as little more than peculiar anecdotes we share offhandedly, providing little relative value to our lives.
If we are to engage dreams in a way that is therapeutically beneficial and transformative — and in my experience, this is a real possibility — then we must be willing to confront the possibility that there are things about our embodied experience which elude our awareness. The unknown inside yourself.
The use of dream material in therapy should, by nature, offer new awareness, insight, or symbolic revelation that could not have been reached by rational lines of thought. This can best be done in collaboration with a therapist trained in dreamwork to support thinking about your dreams symbolically.
Lee Irwin, expert and author on Native American dream traditions, states that Euro-Americans epitomize reason as the highest level of human functioning, and this has led to a loss of instinctive vitality necessary for crossing over into the visionary realm of human-heartedness. Irwin proposes that we unite and develop a meaningful continuity between dreaming and waking worlds in order to better access our dreams as a primary source of knowledge, as many Native American religions have done for generations.
Jungian analyst, Dr. Joseph Cambray describes the potential of dreamwork this way:
Disparate elements without apparent connection are brought together or juxtaposed in a manner that tends to shock or surprise the mind, rendering it open to new possibilities, for a broadening of the view of the world, offering a glimpse of the interconnected fabric of the universe (Synchronicity: Nature & Psyche in an Interconnected Universe, p. 31).
My approach in working with dreams is to honor the ancient traditions recognized in indigenous cultures of the power of dreaming to heal and understand the human experience. I also work from a Jungian perspective that dreamwork connects us to the larger collective unconscious, crossing cultural borders and time, to help us find wholeness within ourselves, as humans having a divine experience in the universe.