Image Activation is a relatively simple form of dreamwork that can be used to bring to light both the emotional memories and potential predicaments within the image. It can also reveal the real life situation that prompted the dream.
Keep in mind that all dreams speak a universal language and are the way in which your subconscious works to bring you health and wholeness. Nightmares are the way in which your subconscious attempts to really grab your attention. Also, it is only the dreamer who can say with any real certainty what meanings his or her dream may have. All dreams have multiple layers of significance and meanings, and they never come to tell you something you already know. According to Bob Hoss, follow this format:
1. Pick and Image or Dream Character: For the dream you wish to interpret, pick the characters and images within the dream that seem the most curious, important or impacting. Images that are colorful (their color was noticeable or played an important part in the dream), inanimate images and non-human images may hold the most meaning as they are the most alienated fragments of your personality.
2. Become the Image. Close your eyes, go back into the dream, and bring the dream image or character back into view. Take three deep breaths and move into the image by “becoming” it. Feel its essence; look at the dream through its “eyes.”
3. Let the image speak: Speaking as the image, record their statements exactly as you spoke them. You must speak as if you are the image/character in the first person present tense, using “I am” statements:
A1) Who or what are you (name and describe yourself and your feelings): I am _________”
A2) Alternately, if the image is a dream character who is someone you know, then “become” that person, and:
a) Describe your personality; b) in what ways are you like the dreamer; c) in what ways are you different than the dreamer.
B) What is your purpose or function (what do you do)? “I am _______ and my purpose is to _______________.”
C) As the image, what do you like about who you are and what you do? “I like _____________.”
D) What do you dislike about who you are and what you do” “I dislike ____________________.”
E) As the image, what do you fear most? “I fear _____________.”
F) As the image, what do you desire most? “What I want most is to _____________.”
4. Playback and look for a Life Situation Analogy: Read back the role-play statements to yourself (or have someone else read them to you).
A) Do one or more of the statements sound like something you feel or would like to say about a situation in your real life?
B) Does the “I am” statement sound like a role you are playing in your real life?
C) Do the “I like” versus the “I dislike” statements sound like a conflict going on in your head?
D) Does the “I fear” statement sound like an analogy to a waking life fear?
E) Does the “I desire” statement sound like a waking life goal or desire?
F) If the dream character is someone you know, does some aspect of this person’s personality relate to the way in which you are approaching the real life situation, or alternately, does this dream character have a personality trait that you admire or wish you had more of in order to better handle this real life situation?
5) Life Situation: Describe the waking life situation that is recalled or that is most closely related. Close your eyes and focus on the situation and then a specific event that evokes the feeling and statements in your role-play. Describe that situation and your feelings at the most emotional point. Now what decision did you make about yourself or others in that situation? Was that a healthy decision that allows you to move forward, or is it holding back your progress because you wish to avoid more fear, hurt, pain?
6) Transformation Exercise–New Dream Ending: Go back into the dream near the end, to perhaps the emotional or conflicting point and ask what you are trying to achieve at that point and how then does the dream end. How does that relate to resolution in your waking life? Does the dream remain unresolved or have a negative outcome? If so, then try this exercise:
A) Without thinking about it, using the first thing that comes to mind, make up a new dream ending that resolves it in a positive and satisfying manner.
B) Now look at that new ending as a metaphor or analogy for a new way to deal with your real life situation. Is it a healthy resolution that allows you to move ahead, or does it only keep you in the same place or the same conflict? If it is a healthy metaphor, then what specific steps can you take in your real life to bring it about? List them.
Next Week: Robert Johnson’s individual dreamwork method.