In 1997, a close friend shared a dream with me and it was the first time I interpreted a dream about prison. She was in her 50s at the time, and in her dream she saw metal bars and cement which she described to appear like a prison cell. My interpretation was that a part of her Self was in prison. In order to release her prisoned Self she would have to let go of old beliefs, old patterns of thinking & behaving. It wouldn’t be easy but if she was able to do this, the feeling and life experience would be like being released from prison, like being free.
Around that same time, one of her sons was arrested and he was given a long sentence. I remember thinking at the time that he was living out the metaphor he inherited from his mother. She was metaphorically imprisoned & now he was literally imprisoned. I thought a long time about what his True Self would and need and achieve from living out that metaphor in real life.
After a decade of studying dreams using the method taught in Richard Hasting’s Dreams For Peace approach, I have a new way of looking at this prison dream and the real-life prisoner. The new way is to ask a question to the dreamer such as, “Where in your life do you imprison your True Self?” The answer will have something to do with times when the dreamer has a positive vision of what they want to go for and then they interrupt or stop themselves, imprison themselves, so that they don’t go for that positive vision.
Usually there is a fear involved. Also when there has been trauma or abuse in the past this kind of work can bring up some of that energy. Seeking a good therapist who can help walk through the issues is a great idea. There are plenty of good ones out there in the world.
When a parent can work through their own inherited issues they lighten the work for their children and grandchildren. Each generation can help the one coming afterwards by identifying the issues, working through them to get to the positive qualities, and then continuing to grow and develop increasingly more capacities day after day.
In this way, the work is a lot like being released from the prison of Self. It is so freeing.