I was reading Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung and associates this morning. The book has me reflecting back on key dreams during my life, ones I haven’t forgotten because of their impact. I haven’r recalled any dreams the past few nights, so I wondered how I can work with the unconscious without current dreams. In the early 90s I went to a workshop on “Focusing” developed by Eugene Gendlin. I was the lucky person who got to be an example as the instructor ran me through the process for the group to see how it is done. I experienced the “felt sense” rather easily. Turns out that this is usually the most difficult part. I don’t think I can explain it, but it is not a mental process and not feeling sensations in the body. After you get in touch with this felt sense and experience it a little while, you can ask yourself if there is a word or image that, when you put it up against the felt sense, there is a resonance. If there is, you feel a shift. It’s not an idea, but just a shift inside. Hard to express this, but Gendlin does a great job in his book called Focusing.

So this morning I wondered if this experience of “felt sense–image–shift” was similar to having a dream–recalling–coming up with meaning or value. Are both ways of touching the unconscious? With focusing I really don’t come to a cognitive understanding during the process, but I do come to a release of that initial stress that brought me to do the process. Then over the course of time, often a few days, I find myself moving into resolution of the problem area basically without trying.

Gendlin wrote something about focusing with dream analysis which I haven’t read. And I have seen something about Jung using the imagination, though I don’t know if this was with dream material or simply imagination by itself.

What I’m looking for is how to approach the unconscious when I don’t have dream material to work with.