Most people who are interested in learning more about their dreams are women. Whether it’s culture or biological, women seem to be more willing to explore the murky murk of their dreamworld as well as share their dreams with others.
Why are most men not interested in their dreams? Probably because working with dreams is an emotional process. And, in this society of course, men are trained to remain as far from their emotions and intuitions as possible.
I’m one of the lucky ones, a man who arrived in adulthood with my emotional life still intact. I thank my upbringing for that, especially a father who taught me that it’s okay to cry sometimes and that being a man isn’t just about taking out the garbage and changing the oil, but also having compassion and respect for the people in your life. And most importantly, being a man is knowing what is most important to you and acting from those values every day.
Dreamwork has deepened this process for me, and I’m certain it plays a major role in the ongoing “unfreezing process” of the Western Man.
Emotions and Masculine Vitality
Case-in-point: the dreamwork method of acting recently publicized in the New York Times, raved about by actors Harvey Keitel and Keith Nobbs. These men use their dreams to access a character’s “inner world.” Freud was wrong about a lot of things, but dreams are still the “royal road” to emotionally-charged memories in our lives.
I’ve seen first hand how men are transformed by their dreams, which show them the way to becoming more fulfilled in life and more effective in their work. Working with dreams is one of the quickest way for men to reclaim vitality. The good news is that learning how to recall more dreams is not too difficult once you set the intention and add some good habits to your sleeplife.
The value of understanding emotional triggers as a man is priceless: we become more in charge of our destiny, recognize when we are being irrational, and become more intuitive in the moment. That means making quick leadership decisions on-the-fly, as well as understanding the people in our lives better than ever.
And let me add: men who understand their emotions and the emotions of others are men who have active and satisfying sex lives.
Lucid Dreaming and the Warrior Spirit
Interestingly, a reversal of the fact that most dreamers are women is lucid dreaming, or dreams in which you know that you are dreaming. Men make up about three quarters of lucid dreaming enthusiasts. (Not that men are better at lucid dreaming, by the way! Rather, men show up more to learn lucid dreaming; there are many more lucid women, due no doubt to trends I’ve already outlined). Over the years, I’ve heard some derisive gender stereotypes about this, such as, “Of course men are into lucid dreaming; it’s all about dream control!”
Hogwash. While I know that many men are interested in becoming lucid so they can live out their dream fantasies (just like women do when first learning how to have a lucid dream), I think something deeper is going on here. Lucid dreaming is about mastering self-control, not dream domination. It requires strong willpower and an active desire to forge a new path.
Lucid dreaming is a masculine pursuit not because men “want to control the dreamworld like they control everything else” but because the practice embodies what traditionally was called masculine power: it’s focused, goal-driven, confrontational, and fearless.
No matter your gender, lucid dreaming demands a warrior spirit and a yang temperment.
In this age that seems to only give men two options: being a sensitive new-age guy who is too soft to disagree with, or an emotionally-bereft macho man out to dominate the world, dreamwork offers a third path to masculinity: to know who you are, where you came from, and where you’re going.
In other words, to be a Dreamer.
With Father’s Day coming up, I dedicate this post to my dad, the bravest man I know.