Dreams and Inner BondingBy Nancy Weston
December 31, 2006
In this article, Nancy Weston explores how actual dialoguing with our Inner Child and our Guidance or Guardian Angel can occur in dreams. Nancy gives examples of dreams and how to interpret them from an Inner Bonding perspective. One's personal growth and spirituality can be greatly enhanced through the inspiration and enlightenment provided by dreams.
Driving alone in my car I see a shape covered in terry cloth. The man behind me stops and holds the bundle saying, "Look, it's a newborn baby!" She is naked so I wrap her back up snugly. She is hungry and I begin to put her to my breast, but the man says, "Don't bother." (He means that because I hadn't been pregnant, I have no milk to give.) In his presence I agree but in my heart I know there must be a way.
S.'s dream, coming to her the first night she spent alone at a retreat in which she intends to get to know her Inner Child and to break some co-dependent habits, is portentous. Her dream asks her whether in spite of others' objections and doubts ("Don't bother"), she is committed to accepting the job of the Loving Adult. Indeed, she ends, "In my heart I know there must be a way" as she accepts the self-nurturing part of herself.
Last year I wrote an article for the Inner Bonding Journal, "Dreams, Spirit, and Inner Bonding." I had discovered that working with dreams confirmed what Jungian psychologist Robert Bosnak said: "When you pay attention to your dreams, you inhabit a much larger part of your soul." I saw that in my dreams, my connection with my Child was strengthened and Spirit communicated with me more clearly and guided my Inner Bonding process and my growth.
As I continued to pay attention to my dreams and to ask others to share with me dreams that they thought reflected the Inner Bonding process, I began to marvel at the possibility that the steps and the language of Inner Bonding can be working deeply within us in an unconscious way. As I began to explore certain dreams, I saw that dialoguing could be occurring just as intensely on an inner level. In fact, for some of us who are having trouble keeping the commitment to dialoguing - good news! - parts that seem inaccessible to us - Adult Child, Inner Child, and Loving Adult - may be carrying on at a buried level important communication. The trick then is to induce this unconscious process to serve us at a conscious level; hence the value of working with dreams.
As we look at the dreams to follow, what would it look like to work them from an Inner Bonding perspective? Of course, all dreams are multifaceted and multi-dimensional; any of these dreams could be viewed from a Jungian or a Gestalt perspective. Each of the dreams presented here may have an inner landscape symbolizing the dreamer's issues and conflicts. But let's see how they reflect what is going on at an inner level for someone who in waking life knows the Inner Bonding process.
In Step 1 we tune into the Child's feelings. The Inner Child left alone for a long time feels abandoned. In S.T.'s dream, she hears a little girl pleading with someone: I hear a little girl at a house behind me pleading with someone. I look out my window and see a truck with a man driving it and a little girl in the passenger seat. Next, I am reading the newspaper. On the front page there is a picture of the little girl I saw in the truck. The article says that she had been kidnapped the night before. I am really upset about it and cry. I wish that I had gone over to the house to stop him. S.T. hears the Child's pain but does not yet know what to do
M.'s dream shows that she is willing to tune into her Child's feelings and take some responsibility for them. I have borne a child that is very weak and sickly and has the facial expression of a very old and depressed person. I am very worried about my baby and I am doing my best to nurture it to health but I also fear that I will not succeed. Later, M. dreams: A child in my care and I are at a railway station. Trains are heading for the the gas chambers. I fear for the life of the child but I feel unable to protect her. I go to a woman - a mother who is standing in the crowd - and ask her to take care of the child and to protect her.
If we view the woman/mother in this dream as a part of the dreamer's self which is capable of protecting a child, we see that M. is able to take the job of a Loving Adult. The dream comes to suggest her potential for growth. The dream ends.I take a risk by doing this for I don't know the woman and I can only hope that my trust in her will be rewarded (I reason that as a mother she will understand and take appropriate action).
In Step Three we dialogue with Inner Child and Child Adult, exploring memories, feelings, and false beliefs. M.'s next and most recent dream suggests that her Child now trusts her enough to let M.'s Loving Adult in on the Child's feelings. In a lottery for children, my task is to show one of the 3 winners "a good time" i.e. have a little interview for our newspaper, take her to a fair. But "my" child does not fall for our little trick and asks questions instead. She wants to know "what's in it for me?" implying that it is a small sacrifice, taking a child to a fair for an hour or so. She wants some real attention.
What if we accept the job halfheartedly? Does our Child "fall for the trick?" Taking action (Step 5) in the external world might be M.'s work at this point. She is capable of listening to her own Inner Child, mothering her, and giving her attention.
When we have neglected our Inner Child for very long, we hardly know what he is like. P. is a 55-year old male who is intrigued with the idea of having an inner child. He writes: We have been burying bodies. We are guided underneath this big house.There are two kids who have been kept under there for years and years who won't let go of me. I have to keep them at arm's length, fight them off. They are very tenacious, dirty ragamuffins, desperate to get ahold of me. These children are apparently kept in this cold, dark, damp big cavern all of the time. They are sort of the outcasts of the family or servants or the dirty secrets of the family - not quite human.
P.'s dream suggests that his Inner Child, who seems subhuman from long years of neglect, is desperate to get his attention. P. writes after this dream: I decided that I had a couple of very deprived inner children within me. I also decided to rescue them. I wish I could say that I have taken really good care of them ever since, but they are better off now than they were before.
In J.'s dream, there is a similar theme: I was at the local zoo with my son. I lost sight of him and later found him drowned in a trough of water in an animal house. I wake with the phrase "You are neglecting your child" hanging around in my head. J. writes: "This phrase puzzled me as I am a very dedicated mother. Then it dawned on me that the child was not my own son but my inner child. At the time I was holding down a job I hated to be able to afford a house and live the sort of life my mother wanted me to. My child, a fun-loving creature given to more creative pursuits, was being neglected."
Sometimes we are horrified into taking action. S.W. reports this dream: I see in a crowd a mother open a lighter and hold the flame under a young boy's arm. I am open-mouthed with horror and astonishment that anyone would do such a thing. Then she holds the flame under her baby's leg. More horrified, I shout "Oh, NO! Please DON'T DO THAT!" She smiles at me as if she knows can't can't get to her to make her stop. I find a policeman.
If we accept that one of the jobs of the Loving Adult is to take appropriate Loving Action, then we see in this dream that S.W. is willing to "call" the Child Adult on her permissive, harmful behavior. She sees that the Inner Child needs a Loving Adult to take a stand, to shout NO!
In A SHINING AFFLICTION (Penguin Books,1995) Annie Rogers reports this dream in which she comes across a child in a house: I dream of a little girl who is vaguely familiar, but I do not know her. "Take me out, get me out of here," she whispers to me. Outside a storm is brewing. Soon it will rain, and I want her to leave with me before it does. I pull the child toward me, bringing her head against my chest. In her stillness, I feel her terror. I take her completely onto my lap. She's too frightened to cry, but she pulls her legs up, so that I can hold all of her. We are going God knows where.
In Step 2 of Inner Bonding we choose to move into the intent to learn, often needing to surrender our will, to invite Spirit into our heart, and to open the heart to compassion. We do not need to know what to do, but we do need to be willing to ask the question, "How can I best take care of my Child?" Annie has been willing to hear her Child and to "accept the job," even though she may not know where God is leading her.
We learn in Inner Bonding that being a Loving Adult to our own Inner Child is a sacred charge. "Baby Gift" from S.W. suggests that this realization is known by the unconscious and may need to be incorporated into S.W.'s daily life. A baby girl is born, but her mother dies shortly thereafter. This woman says she brought me the baby because I'd know what to do. I reach out and take the baby into my arms, and she gives me that look of absolute trust that I remember from my own newborn children. I wash her and wrap her in a clean blue towel; it feels like a blessing to us both.
As we work the steps of Inner Bonding we realize that our Child will never feel safe until we "show up" as the Loving Adult to take the action. In our dreams we are being asked to clothe the child, stop the kidnapper or the abuse, rescue the child, or pay attention. P.'s and J.'s dreams, messages from their unconscious, motivated them to take action on a conscious level. J.'s dream motivated her to move, change jobs. She continues: "I am being a much better parent to both my children!" When we accept the job of caring for our Inner Child, we may not always be the perfect parent, but if we are willing to try, we can move away from a victim state and heal the abandoned child within.
Part Two of this article will appear in the next Inner Bonding Journal
Nancy Weston continues to collect "Inner Bonding dreams." Please send them to her c/o Margaret Paul.
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Today, try an experiment. Focus all day on everything you are grateful for, and choose to have compassion rather than judgment for yourself and others. At the end of the day, notice how terrific you feel!
By Dr. Margaret Paul