On the path of getting more acquainted with ourselves, we may wish to take a look at some of our emotional and behavioral patterns. When we take the time to reflect on how we act, and really ponder on these patterns a bit more, we come to see how we actually seem to attract a lot of similar situations into our life. The actual circumstances may indeed be different, but the energy is the same, and very interestingly – our emotional reactions are very similar, time after time.
We seem to attract situations into our lives, which allows us to continue in our emotional comfort zone. Though to say “comfortable” may of course be an overstatement. A better term might be emotional zones of habit. We get into a habit of acting and living a certain way.
In Jungian psychology there is a term called archetypes, and these are described as universal patterns of behavior. Archetypes have the power of influencing us in various ways. They come into our lives, and rule us until we are able to work through them, or assimilate them into our lives in a healthy way. We can’t run away from an archetype. There is something here for us to learn.
The archetypes reside in the big field that connects us all, that Carl Jung referred to as the Collective Unconscious. We often tap into this field when we dream. It’s a timeless field, outside of both time and space. When we connect with the collective unconscious it’s possible to dream of something that may be happening right this moment very far away, but we may also dream of something that happened long ago – to someone else, and not ourselves! The notion of a Collective Unconscious is definitely one of many beautiful reasons I found my way to Carl Jung, and his incredible approach to psychology.
As with most things relating to the unconscious, it’s difficult for our conscious selves to understand what is happening within us unconsciously. That’s why it’s so wonderful that we have our dreams! In our dreams, we get to truly observe our behaviors and emotional reactions from a higher perspective – by having ourselves played by many different characters.
Depending on our upbringing and culture, archetypal images and themes are revealed to us in our dreams in a way that makes sense to us.
Also in daily life, archetypes makes themselves known in a way that makes sense to us, in a way that we can relate to. This is also why there are for example so many fairy tales around the world that are based on similar principles – that make sense to us, whereas the stories may differ greatly.
Archetypes are a big reason why many of our dreams are similar in nature, such as being nurtured by a mother (the nurturing mother), or being tricked by someone (the trickster).
An archetype that often shows up in my own dreams is the Wise Old Man. I love when this happens! To me he symbolizes that I’ve activated a wise and intuitive part of myself, and that I feel protected and cared for.
The Wise Old man is actually a quite common dream figure. The specific archetypal image of the Wise Old man will vary – depending on the culture in which he shows up. A Hindu may see him as a guru, whereas a Christian may see him as Jesus, or a certain saint, and a Buddhist may see him as a monk or as Buddha himself. For me personally, I see him as an old Tibetan man.
By looking at our dreams a bit closer, we can identify recurring themes, and become aware of unhealthy behavioral patterns we may be stuck in. The first part of healing is to become aware of what we’re doing, and why we do it.
If it’s a positive archetype, it’s a wonderful gift to have in our life. If it’s more negative in nature, it’s important to understand why we have attracted this behavior into our lives. Because as long as we’re stuck in an emotional pattern,we will keep attracting similar situations over and over until we get the message.
The best way, in my view, to work through an archetype is first accepting that it’s in our lives. We will never be able to run away from something that is part of us. Then it’s a matter of understanding why we have attracted it, and surrendering to what is. We need to learn to live with the tension. To surrender is a beautiful step, because this is how we develop compassion and love for ourselves – including our emotional reactions, and archetypes.
Living each day with love in our heart, will help lead the way in a healthy direction of soul growth.
With Love & Gratitude, Anna-Karin, xo
Anna-Karin Bjorklund, M.A., MFTI is a joyous writer and inspirational speaker, and the author of Dream Guidance: Interpret Your Dreams and Create the Life You Desire! She is also a Therapist in Newport Beach specializing in Dream Analysis, Anxiety, Public Speaking, Stress, and Couples therapy. She loves sharing her passion for dreams and soul growth with audiences near and far, and has made expert appearances on Fox & Friends, and the Steve Harvey TV Show on NBC, and been interviewed by Money Magazine, Daily Worth, Marie Claire UK and other media outlets.