Death, avoiding painful emotions; entering the unconscious; feeling overpowered.

Dreaming of being “put under” means the dreamer is ready to let go of a painful experience.

1- To be anaesthetised in a dream highlights the fact that we are trying to avoid painful emotions, and feeling overpowered by- external circumstances. It also indicates that we are trying, or being forced, to avoid something.

2- We arc numbing - or avoiding something we don’t want to face. We may be creating a situation which requires external management. We perhaps need to be quiescent and let events unfold around us.

3- As with amnesia, an anaesthetic can be a possible indication of death, but usually of part of ourselves.



Anaesthetic | The Dream Meanings

Keywords of this dream: Anaesthetic

A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

Example: ‘1 ran down very dark streets, like a maze, and could not find a way out of them’ (Mrs N). Darkness has many meanings, depending on what else appears in the dream. In the example the feeling is of being lost and trapped in depressing feelings.

What is unknown; not defined by the intellect or conscious self; unconscious; depression; confusing, terrifying; secrets we hide from self or others; things we do under cover of dark­ness’; age; the womb, death.

The following dream depicts particular aspects of darkness. Example: ‘It was a festival in this strange world, in which everything had a rather dark, dilapidated look’ (Tom). Dark here is ancient, things dating from times past. This may refer to our sense of our own child­hood which feels like the ancient past, or to our unconscious knowledge of family and cultural attitudes and experience. In general the ‘strange’ world of the unconscious or sleep.

Example: ‘I was overwhelmed by terror, as if the very dark­ness of the tunnel was a living force of fear which entered and consumed me. I screamed and screamed, writhing in uncon­trollable fit-like contractions. Nevertheless a part of me was observing what was happening and was amazed, realising I had found something of great importance’ (Andrew P). Be­cause the dreamer explored this dream with me, I know the darkness was depicting fear Andrew experienced while a nine year old in hospital. He was given a rectal anaesthetic because he was about to have a nose operation. He fought and begged for the nurses to stop, but to no avail. This led to a very real feeling that humans were terrifyingly dangerous animals who would not respond even if you were on your knees begging. So trauma was the fear in the darkness. Darkness here is the unconscious area of experience.

Example: ‘I am back in time looking at an old cottage. I see the windows, walls and doors, everything about the place. It is dark and old and warm. I see the curtains and bedrooms, all the ornaments and I feel safe and comfortable’ (Mrs R). Here dark is comfortable, perhaps because it is undemanding, one is not in any glare of attention or activity. It is the relaxed quiet of evening. This woman has a relaxed relationship with her unconscious.

Example: ‘I met a woman I know in a long, dark under­ground tunnel. She was waiting for me. We had sexual inter­course. She had a very formed vagina mouth, and a very large clitoris, like a small penis. I masturbated this’ (Norman). Nor­man has no fear of the tunnel. It is his secret desire and pleasure which he admits to no one, often not even to himself. Dark here is one’s secret self.

Dark water: emotions which are felt and powerful but have not been defined or their source understood. Dark colours: feelings emanating from unconscious sources; depressed or unhappy feelings. Idioms: a dark horse; in the dark; keep it dark. See night under day and night. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

The symbols of death or the fear of death can be: sunset; evening; a crossed river or falling in a river, a skeleton; snarling dogs; sleep; anaesthetic; gravestones; ceme­tery; blackness, or something black; ace of spades; a fallen mirror; stopped clock; a pulled tooth; an empty abyss, the chill wind; falling leaves; a withering plant; an empty house; a lightning-struck tree; coffin; struggling breaths; the dead ani­mal in the gutter; the rotting carcass, underground; the depths of the sea; the Void.

What lies beyond death is conjecture, but the archetype of death we are considering is not completely about physical death. It is about our observation of it in others; our concep­tions of it gained from our culture and our impressions; the feelings which generate around our experiences and thoughts; our attempts to deal with our own aging and approach to death, plus what material the deeper strata of our unconscious release regarding it. It is about how our sense of conscious personal existence meets the prospect of its disintegration.

Unless we can come to terms with what is behind the haunting images of death we meet in our dreams, we fail to live fully and daringly, we are too haunted by death lurking in the shadows of injury and the unknown. Images of death and the associated emotions, carried within for years, can have a negative influence on our health. Coming to terms means the courage to feel the emotions of fear or chill and discover them for what they are—emotions. They are certainly not death, only our feelings about it.

The differences shown in the two following examples illustrate the avoiding and the meeting. Example: 4So to get to the bedroom I had to jump across this gap. I tried to jump but missed and I fell and hit the bottom.

The next thing I remember was I was floating up. I looked down and saw myself lying face down with arms spread out and I suddenly realised I was dead. I was so frightened that I woke up. I had the feelings of fear of dying, but I felt no pain’ (Cath). Example: “Suddenly I was in a huge underground cav­ern. It was hundreds of feet high and as wide. It had two great statues in it, both to do with death.

The whole place overpow­ered me with a sense of decay and skeletal death, darkness, underground, earth, the end. I cried out in the dismal cave, “Death, where is your sting! Grave, where is your victory!” I immediately had the sense of being a bodiless awareness. I knew this was what occurred at death. Fear and the sense of decay left me’ (Andrew).

Summarising these and many other dreams, it is not only the accumulated images of death, but also bodilessness and loss of power and identity which bring so much fear. There are two antipodes of human experience. At the tip of one is focused self-determining self consciousness. At the tip of the other is unfocused void without identity. Strangely enough we experience both each day in some degree—the first while awake, the second when we sleep. Yet to face the second with consciousness feels like all the horrors of death and loss. Yet facing it is important, especially to the second half of life.

The symbols of rebirth are: the cave; an egg; spring; the tree; the cross; dawn; emerging out of the sea; the snake; the bird; a seed; arising from the earth or faeces; green shoot from a dead branch; phoenix; flame; a pearl; the womb. Rebirth is as difficult to face as death. It holds within it not just the memones of the struggles and difficulties of our own physical birth and growth, but also the challenge of becoming the un­known future, the dark possibility, the new.

The dream of Andrew in the underground cavern is an example of positive rebirth. After realising himself as bodiless awareness he emerges from the cave and finds himself near a tree. Example: ‘A tremendous jolt of power poured into me from the tree. I saw that we had arrived at a place where a line of trees, about a 100 yards in length, stood very close together in a slight semicircle on the top of a bank.

The trees had great spiritual power and the place was a holy temple. Two spiritual beings were there—an ancient Earth Being, and Christ’ (Andrew).

The next example is of a dream typical of meeting memo­ries of physical birth. As can be seen, the experience is pow­erful enough to cause physical shaking. Example: All I can see of what I enter is a very narrow space with a light showing through. But immediately I enter I realise I have made a mis­take for I am being forced swiftly through a dark, very narrow tunnel. I feel pain as I am dragged along and I hear loud banging noises which frighten me, but although they are loud they seem to come from inside my head. I feel terrified and breathless and very relieved when I wake before reaching the end of the tunnel. In fact as I write this account I am shiver­ing” (female, anon). ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

of the universe dreams Writers commonly quote the experience of William James who, while under anaesthetic, dreamt he found the secret of the universe. What he was left with was the doggerel ‘Higamus Hogumus women are mo­nogamous—Hogumus Higamus, men are polygamous’ The conclusion is that dreams cannot be truly revelatory. While it may be true to say that some such dreams contain little which adds to the dreamer’s understanding, some dreams give in­sights which profoundly alter the dreamer’s future attitudes or actions.

Revelatory dreams are more common to men than women. This may be because more men concern themselves with questions of what the universe is.

If the dreamer creates a mental or emotional tension in themselves through the inten­sity with which they pursue such questions—and we need to accept that often such intensity anses out of anxiety regarding death and one’s identity—then the self-regulatory process of dreaming might well produce an apparent revelation to ease the tension. On the opposite tack, research into mental func­tioning during dreaming, or in a dreamlike state as in research using LSD, shows that there is an enormously increased abil­ity to access associated ideas, allow feeling responses and achieve novel viewpoints. Freud pointed out that dreams have access to greater memory resources and associated ideas. P H. Stafford and B.H. Golightly, in their book dealing with LSD as an aid to problem solving, say that this dreamlike state en­ables subjects to ‘form and keep in mind a much broader picture . . . imagine what is needed—for the problem—or not possible . . . diminish fear of making mistakes*. One subject says ‘1 had almost total recall of a course I did in thermodynamics; something I had not given any thought to in years.’

Although humans have such power to scan enormous blocks of information or experience, look at it from new an­gles, sift it with particular questions in mind and so discover new connections in old information, there are problems, oth­erwise we would all be doing it.

The nature of dream con­sciousness, and the faculties described, is fundamentally dif­ferent to waking awareness, which limits, edits, looks for specifics, avoids views conflicting with its accepted norm, and uses verbalisation.

A nonverbal, symbolic scan of massive in­formation is largely lost when translated to waking conscious­ness.

My experience is that the content of revelatory dreams is almost wholly lost on waking.

If the individual explores the dream while awake, however, and dares to take consciousness into the realm of the dream, then the enormous waves of emotional impact, the massive collection of details, the per­sonality changing influence of major new insights, can be met.

The reason most of us do not touch this creative process is in fact the same reason most of us do not attempt other daring activities—it takes guts. See creativity and problem solving in dreams. ... A Guide to Dreams and Sleep Experiences

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