Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.
— Carl Gustav Jung
While I understand the fascination with exploring Outer Space and the Solar System, I often think that the world would be a better place if we were as determined to explore our Inner Space. Knowing what lies within us can result in true happiness. Yet many people find self-exploration to be very threatening. There is often significant fear about what one might find deep in our psyche. I believe that life is about facing our fears and understanding them for what they are. Only then can we take away any power those fears have that keeps us from being free to experience life fully. If we resist taking the journey into our Inner Space where we can find out who we really are, we can’t learn to love ourselves. Without that all-important self-love and self-acceptance, we won’t experience the great joy of loving others unconditionally. As I’ve said many times, I believe our reason for being is to love each other. Before we can give that genuine love to another, we must love ourselves.
A powerful path to looking within yourself is paying close attention to your dreams. The symbols in dreams can be extremely informative, representing your thoughts as well as what might be going on in your body. Dreams themselves are evidence of the mind-body connection. I still find it amazing when I visit medical schools that most doctors have never been told of how, in 1933, after attending the case presentation of a patient who described a dream, Carl Jung made the correct diagnosis of a brain tumor from the dream alone. As a doctor, I used the dreams my patients described to me right along with all of the other things I was trained to do as a physician. What I hear in those dreams and see in their drawings has been very informative, helping me make diagnoses and decide on a course of treatment.
Recently I had a dream in which I walked into my former surgical practice. I was naked, and everyone looked at me. I said, “What’s the matter, haven’t you ever seen a naked doctor before?” In my dream I was totally at peace and comfortable. The staff was frantically trying to find a white coat for me to wear but couldn’t. When I woke up and reflected on this dream, I realized that symbolically it meant I was revealing the real me. Instead of me feeling uncomfortable, it was the others (my staff) who were uncomfortable. When they couldn’t find any white coat to fit me, the symbol to me was that perhaps I don’t fit in. It gives me peace and comfort to think of myself as being different and unique. It occurred to me that if you put together the words “Crazy, Unique, Refreshing and Exceptional” they spell CURE.
Push through your fears and start exploring your Inner Space. If you can, find a Jungian therapist or other expert in symbol and dream interpretation. But you can do things on your own like keep a dream diary and describe the symbols that appear. Patterns will emerge of recurrent themes—let them guide you. An awareness and knowledge of who you really are will become clear. The rewards of facing your fears and taking the journey within yourself are many, including the wonder of getting in touch with your pure creative and intelligent energy. As Carl Jung tells us, “…..Who looks inside, awakens.”