Dr. Liara Covert

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Breathwork Psychotherapist
Sunshine Coast, Queensland

   

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Entries in dream interpretation (1)

Wednesday
Jan162019

Interview with Jane Teresa Anderson

 Jane Teresa Anderson is an expert on dreams.  As a dream analyst and therapist, author, and regular guest on radio and television, her work sparks growing curiosity and attention.  She offers Dream Academy courses and subscriptions to her Dream Sight News, as well as an abundance of ways we can deepen our self-understanding and sense of purpose. 

I initially came across her work during my own dreamwork and radio shows.  A recent synchronicity prompted me to contact her. I find her views both powerful and insightful.  My intention in sharing this interview is to reveal deeper reasons why she does what she does, invite her to share things many people would like to know but do not ask, and orient us to where can benefit from more of her expertise.

What makes you, you?

I am the total of all my experiences, conscious and unconscious, throughout all time, honed by a regular practice of dream work, yoga, and spiritual devotion.

Funny! My mom used to say our names take on deeper meaning through our choices in each lifetime. I love the wizard Dumbledore from Harry Potter, who echoes, ‘It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’  The poet Rumi also echoes, ‘We are beyond words.’ Somewhere, in the unseen continuum, all views and experience merge, just as you imply above. 

This said, as we are exploring the sense of things, we encounter many kinds of dream analysis and interpretation. Which approach do you take? Why?

I take an approach I developed through my research back in the early 1990s.

That’s a bit mysterious. Tell us what happened back then…

Well, I had a few hundred people engaged in writing down their dreams alongside their waking life experiences, completing questionnaires, and doing experiments before sleep and during their dreams. Over subsequent years, I then built on that approach as I worked with clients and on my own dreams. I’m still refining my approach.

It would be fun to hear about the pre-sleep and during sleep experiments!

Your life and interviews, suggest subconscious transformation happens in stages.  What compelled you to deepen your research into this?

I felt a need to do my own research because I wasn’t entirely happy with any other approach that I had studied or read about.

Assume nothing and question everything, what a wonderful philosophy!

Well, some approaches were wonderful in certain circumstances, not in others. I felt there was more work needing to be done. Since I was trained as a scientist, doing my own research was a natural step.

Indeed, taking an interdisciplinary approach is often undervalued. In a role as a lab researcher, I learned that recognizing and documenting findings is invaluable. How do you chronicle your process and research findings?

My findings – and my approach – have been reported through my books (beginning with my first book, Sleep On It, which was published by Harper Collins in 1994, then Dream It; Do It! published by Harper Collins in 1995, followed by The Shape of Things to Come, published by Random House in 1998, and Dream Alchemy first published by Lothian Books in 2003, and then in second edition by Hachette in 2009. My latest book, The Dream Handbook, published by Hachette in 2018 and by UK publishing house Little Brown also in 2018, is an updated version of Dream Alchemy). I have also published my work in an inde-published title, many blogs, and as part of on-line training.

Having read your original Dream Alchemy, I often highly recommend it!  Would you say you have a specific Dream analyst inspiration?

While my work has a Jungian leaning, it is not Jungian.

People often assume a dream analyst must be Jungian or Freudian or some combination. Its refreshing and encouraging to be reminded we can draw from, combine or, not relate to either approach for a given dream. It is as if we each create and evolve in our own paradigm beyond models.

Many people may wonder what led you to your unique career. Yet, rather than focus on the past, I prefer stick to the present. People sense who you are in your energy, actions and passion. Do you focus on past and future?

In dream analyses, I take the approach that dreams reflect the processing of our conscious and unconscious experiences of the last 1-2 days in a bid to update our perspective of our self and our world. When you’re processing a recent experience, it may bring up – or resonate with – experiences from the past, which are then touched upon by the dream. The dream may also project into the future, not in a predictive way, but more to practise how things might be.

Indeed, every day is a new day, full of occasions to learn and unlearn more.  What do you learn from your clients? How do you empower them?

When you interpret a dream, you get to see aspects of the dreamer’s mindset: their conscious and unconscious beliefs, feelings, patterns of behaviour, unresolved issues, ways of seeing the world. I use a number of tools and techniques, including many that I have developed through my research, to do this.

Ah-ha! So, you guide clients to grow more conscious and aware of things they may not yet realize about themselves. That may seem surreal…

Dreams look bizarre and surreal because the logical, editing areas of the brain are not particularly active during dreaming, leaving the more holistic, emotional, intuitive brain to paint a picture of the processing. Interpretation is a matter of learning how to see through the eyes of the picture-painting brain and translate this into a language the dreamer can relate to.

And how does this translate in simple terms?

My approach shows the dreamer (or helps them to discover) how the dream relates to their life; present, past, and potentially future, and lays bare the mindset that causes this.

It feels like you empower people to recognize beliefs, heal their attitude or shift patterns or mindset that may hold them back. Now that is powerful!

Please identify what makes your approach to dream analysis unique.

I follow dream analysis with dream alchemy. Dream alchemy is a process of working with the unconscious mind to reprogram limiting beliefs and resolve unresolved issues. It’s a process that works with a person’s individual, unique dream symbols, since these were produced by their unconscious mind. When you communicate with the unconscious mind using its symbolic language – again, unique to each dreamer – magic happens.

Bertrand Russell astutely reminds us, the universe is full of magical things waiting for our wits to grow sharper.  As you imply, we are our own source of magic. 

During traditional training, student analysts’ dreams are analysed.  What is the most surprising thing you learned about yourself during your training?

I took a different route, doing my research, developing my theories and methods, then testing them on myself and volunteers, so I didn’t experience being trained in someone else’s methods or receiving analysis. Mine was perhaps a longer, more challenging route, because I was my own analyst, and analysing one’s own dreams can be a very tricky business. It’s very tempting to analyse your own dreams and self in a desirable (false) light, to see what you want to see, to not see what you don’t want to see. I experimented with imagining that my dreams were my clients’ dreams, and this allowed me to be more objective.

What you highlight here is that our lives and how we see ourselves in them has outgrown existing paradigms. Your approach that imagined your dreams as those of others is like a mirror. Love your example of being open to observing everything and everyone.  Does this shake your world up?

I couldn’t point to one specific surprising thing that I learned about myself during my own (ongoing) dream analysis. The whole process was more one of turning absolutely everything I thought I knew about myself and the world upside down and inside out, and then opening to a completely changed perspective. At the same time, that dreams can be approached analytically and rationally, the work also opens to embrace the mystery of life. I love walking through both these worlds.

From what you say, dream analysis is a life-affirming or awakening tool on many levels. It can bring clarity, inspire shifts in life direction and far more.  Please share some examples of positive changes from your clients.

All my work with clients is confidential, so I cannot share details. Most work focuses on healing current and past conflicts, issues, and pain, and shifting perspective to enable personal and spiritual growth. Many people I work with discover latent gifts and talents that they go on to develop. The point of the work is to grow through bringing more of our best self into consciousness and into service in the world. Most clients achieve this.

Understand that client details are confidential.  The question is posed as cases are often included in books where names and key details are changed to protect client privacy.  Anyone interested in exploring specific themes can tune into episodes or archives of your monthly Dream Show Podcast.

It is felt by many that Humanity is evolving or shifting in different ways.  How do you witness and/or imagine dreamscapes changing as humans grow more collectively conscious?

I come back to basics: our dreams process our conscious and unconscious experiences of the last 1-2 days, compare these with all our past experiences, and project into potential futures (symbolically, not literally). As individuals evolve and become more conscious, their dreams will reflect this awakening, but will also continue to reveal the unconscious side.

So, if I get what you are saying, we all dream in parallel timelines, the personal and collective, even if aspects of this are as yet unconscious.  It is like, as we awaken, we allow ourselves glimpses into an expanding picture that is beyond our ideas of ego selves...

Please clarify awakening from your point of view as a dream analyst.

Dreamers paying attention to their dreams have the opportunity to fast-track awakening (bringing what is unconscious into consciousness), and this further awakening will be further processed in subsequent dreams. I look at dreams as reflecting an individual’s mindset or evolution, not as tapping into a collective unconscious unless that tapping in is part of the individual’s recent experience in which case it will need to be processed in dream.

Although you admit you only take partial Jungian slant to dream analyses, Jung divides his idea of the unconscious mind into personal unconscious and collective unconscious (where the former made feelings that were once conscious but forcefully subdued, and the latter comprised accumulated genetic information and experiences).  Is this a case where you do not see things the same way?

To be clear, I do subscribe to a collective unconscious, but I believe our dreams focus on our individual experiences. Our dreamscapes reflect our individual experiences.

Thanks for clarifying that!

Some people see dreams as a tool to unleash untapped potential. Other people sense dreams simply invite them to get grounded. What do you see?

We can glimpse our untapped potential through our dreams, and we can also discover where we might be out of balance and need more grounding. These are just two of a multitude of the types of gifts dreams can bestow when we work with them. Dreams show us where we’re at, on every level, what holds us back, what drives us forward, what we have lost touch with and need to reconnect with, and what we have yet to discover and fully bring into our being.

Like you but in his own unique way, Dr. Eric Pearl invites us all to be open to deeper   Reconnection with ourselves. Dreams are but one Path. Its not what you do, but why you do it.

Different levels of dreams exist. It is said many creative people are inspired while dreaming on the astral plane and bring visions into their conscious awareness. Alexander Graham Bell for instance, is said to have downloaded the telephone vision in a dream, drawn it and invented it in our reality.  Great composers are said to hear heavenly sounds in dreams and then translate this in our world as symphonies for us to hear. What is your view?

In my work I do not refer to astral travel or the astral plane. It’s maybe just semantics, but I prefer to focus on how our dreams relate to our individual and unique experiences of life on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual levels. My understanding of ourselves as spiritual beings working through physical bodies means that our dreams process our individual experiences at each of these levels.

Which examples can you share where inspiration comes through dreams? Would you say we each contain an unconscious reservoir of bright ideas?

Our unconscious reservoir is perhaps endless, and can certainly be drawn upon during dreamtime when our logical, editing brain is pretty much out of action, freeing us to be more creative and imaginative. Whether we believe we draw on an unconscious mind that is part of our individual being or part of our spiritual being, or part of an overarching wisdom is, I believe, semantics again. Our dreams assist us to know the greater aspects of the self and our being.

What about finding solutions to challenges…how can dreams assist us?

When life reaches a point where we’re ready to find the solution to a challenge that has been occupying us (what a machine would look like that could help us to communicate across the world: a telephone), the solution is there, accessible through our unconscious mind, often delivered powerfully through our dreams when the chains of waking consciousness are loosened. (It is also possible to be inspired by a symbolic dream, to take elements of a dream and spin them into a new invention, or a song, or a painting, quite apart from the meaning the dream would deliver if analysed as reflective of the individual’s mindset.)

Clearly, this invites us each to pay closer mind to what we tell ourselves!

Past and future regression are often described as states of consciousness. How do you see these in your work?

While we may indeed be able to access past and future lives (or past and future events) through our dreams, my approach is to come back to basics. Our dreams process our conscious and unconscious experiences of the last 1-2 days and compare these to all past and potential future experiences. If past life or future life scenarios are relevant to this processing, then they may be glimpsed in dreams, but I find this is a dangerous track to introduce into dream analysis because people get naturally very excited about bypassing challenging dream work and believing that – for example – the dream about being in a battle in the Middle Ages is a literal glimpse of a past life rather than a symbolic dream about the inner conflicts and battles about reaching middle age.

Absolutely! Different ways exist to look at things. Some dreams are efforts to escape what we resist. Of course, we cannot escape ourselves forever! Please share another thematic example.

As another example, a person might be terrified that the dream that they had about their partner dying is a literal preview of the future, rather than a symbolic dream about a sense of an ending in some area of their life (not necessarily the relationship). I have met many dreamers who have wasted years looking for a soul mate they met in a dream, having missed the opportunity to connect with a wonderful inner aspect of their own soul or being. So, while I do believe in past and future lives, I don’t encourage dream work as territory to explore this.

So, its like dreams allow us to map our own uncharted (emotional) waters. Love they can put situations into perspective, provided we are open to that.

Breathwork is described as a futuristic kind of dreaming where people are known to heal themselves of emotional trauma. What is your perspective?

I don’t know enough about breathwork to comment on this. I certainly agree that there are plenty of healing avenues to connect and reconnect with our inner being and with life on every level, physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, and that is wonderful. My work focuses on dream work because I believe it is one of the most powerful avenues to self-knowledge, awakening, and healing. I also enjoy working with dreams because they directly access the unconscious. If you have an element of conscious awareness, it can be used to re-shape or redirect any experience of the unconscious: it can edit. So even in hypnosis, the conscious mind can edit (in my personal experience of being hypnotised). Unless you are lucid dreaming, dreaming is a place where there is no conscious edit. You have absolute access to your unfiltered unconscious mind.

However, working with remembered dream material (while awake) can be powerfully healing. Dream alchemy is one example. I imagine that breathwork, hypnosis, and other modalities are also powerful in this regard.

Thank you for sharing these insights.

As you were originally trained as a scientist, consider this: the voice of Alpha is our intuition, which grows clearer the closer our brainwaves get to 7.5Hz. Theta (4-7.5Hz): Theta brain waves are present during deep meditation and light sleep, including the REM dream state. Some people use the terms subconscious and unconscious interchangeably. Researchers link deep feelings of peace to Theta brain waves, as well as lucid dreaming.  Share your view.

My work leads me to believe that there is the conscious mind, and everything else is, by definition, un-conscious. In my understanding, what was once known or experienced but has slipped out of consciousness is now unconscious, until retrieved.

Would you say we heal others and ourselves by growing more conscious and lucid dreaming?

Both lucid dreaming and conscious dreaming are powerful methods for exploring the conscious and unconscious minds, for healing, and for drawing inspiration. I choose to work with non-lucid dreaming, and non-conscious dreaming because the editing rational brain is largely inactive during dreaming and so the dream itself brings you direct, unedited unconscious material. Of course you are awake (and potentially in editing mode) when you review a dream, but if you work with a dream analyst or learn the tools and techniques to analyse your own dreams, you can reduce the effect of editing mode.

So measuring brain waves is one way Science measures peaceful states of dreaming (being)? 

I agree that feelings of deep peace can be associated with brain waves.

If you could leave us with lasting insight from your direct experience, what would it be?

We are each infinitely greater and more immaculately supported than we can possibly know.

Please draw attention to anythign else you wish.

I am am available for dream consultations, and invite interested readers to check out Course 1 (How to interpret your dreams step-by-step) at The Dream Academy.  

Thanks Jane Teresa, for all you share here. I also draw attention to Jane Teresa's Blog which is also a great way to catch up on her podcasts and interact with her on subjects of interest.

This interview invites us all to explore different avenues to  better understand ourselves.  It is always wonderful to aspire to become a better person.  After all, we exist in this world to learn and evolve.  Yet, the nature and degree of what we learn does not determine our core worthiness.  We actually have nothing we need to prove.  Any Path we take is up to us. Many reasons exist why some people choose to heal and others not to get well. Come what may, its reassuring to recall we cannot aspire to that which is already ours and can never be lost.  The Truth is only temporarily forgotten.