In the preceding blog, you were asked to review the content of one of your dreams and come up with a suitable title for it. In your reviewing efforts, you may have noted that some type of rather complicated or perhaps confusing incident from the preceding day was being described. Recognizable linkages between experiences you had during the day that seem to be replayed in your dreams are referred to as ‘day residue’. If you watch a TV show in which some police or soldiers are trying to control a shouting group of protestors and then dream about a similar situation, that would be a good example of ‘day residue’ influencing your dream. There are obviously many people, events and emotions that you encounter every day, so the question arises as to why certain elements are repeated again as ‘day residue’ material. The answer given by dream theorists is that there is an important emotional linkage between the remembered, witnessed, or experienced daytime events and unresolved conflicts that are harbored in the dreamer’s unconscious mind.
The famous Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, characterized dreams as:
“Dramas taking place on one’s interior stage.” We are the playwright who creates the background setting, props, cast of characters and writes their dialogue. Jung noted that most dramatic plays usually consist of four components. The drama begins with an opening scene which introduces the setting, key characters and some challenging situation for the main character. The second component to this drama is the development of a plot, and the third is the emergence of a major conflict. The final component is the response made by the main character. In my experience, I have found that there is often a close match between the drama portrayed in the dream and a recognizable reflection of where the dreamer is currently functioning in regard to that situation in waking life.
I had indicated earlier that the majority of dreams reflect kind of a negative or unpleasant tone because we are aware at some deeper level that we are struggling to achieve a better solution to some problem, or some type of “breakthrough” moment of awareness. If you think of life as a series of challenges, we are usually much more stressed while we are still immersed in the challenge, but then experience a sense of relief or triumph if we have a successful breakthrough in understanding some personal emotional blockage or in achieving a more satisfying type of relationship with some significant person in our life.