Dreams & Homeopathy

Words: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR

We all enjoy pleasant dreams. We don’t seem to relish them when they tend to be dreadful. Dreams cost us nothing — rather they help us make something out of life. Most people with religious, or devout, upbringing relate to such dreams as good, or bad, omen, with the help of astrologers and chronicles. There are, likewise, any number of myths attached to the phenomenon which bear no significance from the scientific perspective and they have been ‘eased out’ from time to time.

First things, first. Let’s analyse the psychology of a dream. It has been suggested that sleep, which is a sort of relaxation of consciousness, imposes a ‘separation’ upon the sleeper from reality and passes though different stages during the sleeping process. Psychologists maintain that one phase which involves ‘that’ entity of ‘separation from reality’ forms the terra firma for dreams to taking place during sleep. It has also been suggested that the sleeper may break their links with reality too with a view to achieving a certain balance between perception and awareness. They also emphasise the possibility of one hallucinating in one’s own mental vision during the ‘separation’ phase.

From the medical context, it is thought that most emotional disorders are due to lack, or shortage, of dreams, with the involvement of rapid eye movement [REM] sleep, which, in fact sets the tone for dreams during the sleep. REM is the stage where there are phases of nervous stimulation and dreaming at certain intervals of time. What’s more, the pons, located at the brain stem, acts as the control tower.  It sends excitory messages to the cortex to start dreams and inhibitory impulses to the body’s muscular system to prevent the physical enactment of the dream. Thank nature for big mercies.

Or, else, dreams would have had not only mental, but also physical ‘action-centric’ constituents.

Wish fulfillment is another formidable cause of dreams — day as well as night dreams. When one has had unsatisfied string of desires, it leads to disappointment and frustration. Dreams provide the transitory satisfaction of viewing oneself in the context of having achieved the desire which may have eluded one in real life. Think of a person, for example, obsessed with doing something with the lottery ticket which they think will fetch a big prize. Sadly, the ticket flops and with it the person’s day-dream as well. This is why most folks think that dreams may provide us the magic wand to overcoming frustrations when expectations don’t blossom into realities.

Dream Expression

You’d also think of a dream as a force that cannot be expressed in realistic terms when one is awake. This may, of course, find a medium of expression in a dream during sleep. Such expressions may be disguised, or symbolic. It has, therefore, been suggested that a dream is supposed to contain two parts, 1. visible, and 2. concealed, or hidden. The former is one component which we remember and report after sleep; and, the latter, the most unpalatable entity may not be reported. This is usually associated with pain. There is also evidence of the presence of an obscure substance in the painful part — from the more painful to the less painful elements — this is called dream-work. This is thought to dissipate dream substances into complex forms so as to cause confusion to the dreamer.

A person who thinks that they are bound to do badly in a job interview, the following day, may dream of heavy rain with thunder and lightning, or one in a less forceful form, a travesty of rain with lightning in parts. The person may, however, realise the import of it all albeit the essence may be unclear in their perimeter of thought. Some individuals, on the other hand, may, likewise, insist that they don’t dream at all. The factual thing is they just don’t remember what they may have dreamt in sleep.

Dr Sigmund Freud, MD, the father of psycho-analysis, whose work on the interpretation of dreams forms the core of ‘scientific thought,’ observed that most of the symbols one sees in dreams have a sexual meaning.  In dream analysis, a patient is asked to describe their dream, in detail to the therapist, who may even encourage the patient to dream. Dr Freud believed that dreams ‘personify’ the unconscious attempting to communicate itself consciously. Dreams provide access to material in the unconscious. The goal of dream analysis is, therefore, aimed to discover, with the help of the therapist, the meaning of the patient’s dream so as to disclose their unconscious motivations and desires.

Followers of different schools of psychology have widely conflicting views, although the fact remains that some dreams are quite explicit in their meaning. They are often prophetic, bearing in essence the physical significance of dreams.  One well-known example was provided by Mark Twain, the celebrated American writer, who, in his words, “had a clear dream of his brother’s body lying in a metal coffin supported across two chairs with a bouquet of white and crimson flowers resting on his chest.”

Only a few weeks later, Twain’s brother was killed when a river-boat boiler exploded. When Twain saw the body, he found it laid out exactly as the dream had foreseen — in a metal coffin supported by two chairs. While he watched, in gloom, a woman entered the room and placed a bouquet of white flowers, containing a single crimson bloom, on his dead brother’s chest.

Beyond REM

When individuals are awakened during REM sleep, they will find that their dreams are interrupted and they can recall many details. The study of dreams offers important forays into the paranormal [especially ESP, or extrasensory perception]. There are advanced techniques in use today. They are increasingly being used to study dreams in detail, just as much as the use of hypnosis has helped to boost our paranormal faculty.

A subject was given a hypnotic suggestion that he dreamt of Martin Luther King Jr, and of the riots.  He actually dreamed of King’s murder: someone has thrown a rock, and rioting was feared. The other subject, without hypnotic prompting, dreamed that a black policeman was beating up another man.  He feared that someone would throw a brick and precipitate a riot.

Dreams, on the whole, cause no problem, more so when they are related to one’s fancy. Picture this. The thought of a close-up with one’s sweetheart is bliss, especially when one visualises it in a dream sequence. But, what when dreaming becomes tedious? Especially, if they are horrid every night? They may upset one’s mind and become a cause for emotional distress.

Homeopathy & Dreams

Homeopathy is one form of medicine and/or holistic healing that expansively records the physical, mental, emotional and dream patterns of its remedies vis-à-vis the individual, or patient, presenting with a set of such physical and emotional signs and symptoms. It, therefore, stands on a pedestal unique to reason — that finding the similimum, or the most appropriate homeopathic remedy for the given individual, or patient, is dependent on the understanding of the human psyche in its entirety.

As Samuel Hahnemann, MD, the founder of homeopathy, put it, “This pre-eminent importance of the emotional state holds good to such an extent that the patient’s emotional state often tips the scale in the selection of the homeopathic remedy. This is a decidedly peculiar sign, which, among all the signs of disease, can least remain hidden from the exacting observing physician.” This includes concealed, or tangible, dreams, their ‘dream states,’ and such sundry — that may, to one extent or the other, encompass symbols, images, and the like, each of them being unique to the individual, or patient, in question, and also the homeopathic remedy.

According to Dr Jane Cicchetti, the American homeopath, and author of the much-acclaimed book, Dreams, Symbols, and Homeopathy: Archetypal Dimensions of Healing [North Atlantic Books], “Despite much advance, the blending of homeopathic psychology with mind-body healing, is largely unexplored. This not only revolutionises the practice of homeopathy, but also explores the much-needed reiteration of the [holistic] paradigm of homeopathy’s theoretical basis, without which one cannot truly comprehend its power.”

Dr Ciccheti’s paradigm of ‘Mercurial Fountain: The Inner World of the Psyche,’ for instance, puts Jungian archetypes, the shadow, anima/animus and the self into a well-thought-out and easily understandable entity. Her ‘Descent into the Baths: Moving Towards the Union of Opposites,’ uses dreams in case-taking in a manner that opens new doors — allowing access to information from collective connections, while respecting the individual, or patient’s constitution and temperament. Most importantly, her ‘Symbolic Materia Medica,’ is a new way of perceiving the homeopathic Materia Medica from the broader perspective of symbols and myths — a comprehensive interpretation that may well be the best possible expression of our quest for greater wholeness.

Dr Cicchetti paraphrases the legendary psychologist, Carl Gustav Jung, regarding our society’s movement to chaos, thus: “Our only hope is for individuals to make a conscious consolidation of opposite forces with themselves to serve as a counter balance.” She also, in so doing, weaves Jung’s seminal interpretation, that, “Healing belongs to the inner life of the individual and is part of the collective human experience — a pattern that refutes our ‘rational’ cultural influences of supporting fragmentation.” Put simply, “Dreams,” as Dr Cicchetti, again, observes, “are the doorway to the symbolic realm of the psyche, a powerful force underlying human consciousness.”

To paraphrase the American homeopath, Dr Todd Rowe, MD[H], DHt, CCH, “Dreams are the uncensored voice of our subconscious speaking truth to us about our lives. They reveal the deepest part of ourselves. They are a tool to find the heart of ourselves and to heal ourselves. Dreams can be a useful guide to the homeopath as well as to the patient. Repetitive dreams can help develop insight into the patient’s issues. Even if the actual content is not particularly enlightening, the feeling accompanying the dream can reveal the individual’s psychological state, fears, or preferences and, in so doing, provide clues to the homeopathic remedy selection” — with better treatment outcomes.

To cut a long story short, each dream taps a special temperament in the individual. It denotes a subtle change in them. This calls for proper and correct homeopathic management and treatment under the especial guidance of a professional homeopathic physician — one that takes into account not just the working and deviations of all the body organs and their functions, normal and abnormal, but also every facet of underlying, or tangible, information that emerges from one’s thoughts, ideas, emotions, and sentiments, aside from our subconscious and unconscious states — in health and illness.

Here is a shortlist of ‘select’ dream states and their corresponding homeopathic remedies. The list is only representative. It is intended for informational purposes only; not self-treatment.

  • Dreams of animals: Phosphorous
  • Dreams of battles: Allium cepa
  • Dreams of business: Bryonia alba
  • Dreams of the dead: Anacardium orientale
  • Dreams of falling: Thuja occidentalis
  • Dreams of fire: Lachesis muta
  • Dreams of flying: Apis mellifica
  • Dreams of robbers: Natrum muriaticum
  • Dreams of snakes: Lac caninum
  • Dreams of urination: Kreosotum
  • Horrid dreams: Kali bromatum
  • Nightmarish dreams: Paeonia officinalis.
Dr RAJGOPAL NIDAMBOOR, PhD, is a wellness physician-writer-editor, independent researcher, critic, columnist, author and publisher. His published work includes hundreds of newspaper, magazine, web articles, essays, meditations, columns, and critiques on a host of subjects, eight books on natural health, two coffee table tomes and an encyclopaedic treatise on Indian philosophy. He is Chief Wellness Officer, Docco360 — a mobile health application/platform connecting patients with Ayurveda, homeopathic and Unani physicians, and nutrition therapists, among others, from the comfort of their home — and, Editor-in-Chief, ThinkWellness360.

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