Monday, April 28, 2008

Guns for Protection and "Adult Melancholy" Part 2

I was interested in the Stand Firm discussion about guns because of the relationship to Dream Work and the review I had just written of Jane Hamon's book on dreams for a charismatic readership. She devoted a lot of the text to the idea that the dreams about people may not actually be messages from God about those people. Rather, that the people in the dreams may represent parts of the dreamer. This is very similar to the way dreams are interpreted in the Jungian Christian tradition.

In the same way, I was thinking of the discussion about guns being divided between people who say the threat coming from the strangers, the thugs breaking into the house versus those who were concerned about guns being a problem to those inside the house. It would be "blinking at reality' to deny that home break-ins occur. They obviously do as a disturbing link on the thread demonstrates. However, more people may actually die from gun violence among the inhabitants of the house. And as I mentioned in my Part 1 of this yesterday, there is also a concern with guns being accessible to the suicidal.

Taking it back to dream work, a dream about a threatening stranger may be a message from God about a threatening stranger that will soon appear in one's life. But usually, it is not. Usually, as we work a dream, we find that the threatening stranger in the dream is a disowned part of oneself -- "the shadow figure". When God speaks in dreams, God often speaks in the language of visual symbols, using the symbols that resonate with us. Thus, surfacing the characteristics of the shadow figure and exploring it in a safe environment can help the dreamer to mature as God has directed. So the dream may actually have been a message from God, but a direction for personal growth and development rather than a warning about physical safety. God does send dreams of warning but also of admonishment, encouragement and direction.

This sort of work is particularly helpful to people who are having inner conflict. I began this two part post concerned about people who are suicidal. In fact, personal growth often feels like suicide because, metaphorically, our old self must die. In general, working with the associations with images in dreams helps people to understand metaphor. It is particularly important that people understand that the murders in dreams are often referring to parts of themselves that need to die to make room for maturation.

Jeremy Taylor tells a great story of an exchange between Robert Johnson and an audience member during the question and answer session after a talk. Johnson was asked "My dream is telling me to kill myself. Should I do it?" Johnson answered "Yes. By all means kill your self, BUT DO NOT HARM YOUR BODY."

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