The next stage though was to extend my height, and this took enormous effort of will and body. I made active swimming motions and climbed, but only held altitude with great and constant concentration. With further practice still, this clumsy mode of flying was left behind as I leamt to use pure motivation or will to lift me into the air and carry me easily and gracefully wherever I wished. At this stage my flying was swift, mobile and without struggle’ (Jason V).
The example illustrates how much will, effort and learning can be involved in flying in dreams. This aspect of flying connects with the gaining of independence and the expression of one’s potential. We are all born into a certain paradigm or ‘reality’. At one time, part of the ‘reality’ for most Britons was that anyone without a white skin was a heathen or savage. At other times the reality’ has been that anything heavier than air could not fly. Meteors did not exist because theory discounted them. And so on.
To break free of such paradigms and from the gravity’ or hold our parental and social authority has on us to find a measure of emotional and intellectual freedom, takes the son of will, effort and learning depicted.
Flying expresses also the dealing with our internal influences which hold us down, such as self doubt, anxiety, depression.
Example: ‘I was flying. I felt nervous at first that I would fall down, but not afraid. I soon became confident and felt very happy and wanted the sensation to continue. I was lying over a building, could have been a small church, crematorium or graveyard but did not feel afraid or upset. When I woke I lay in bed and tried very hard to keep the feelings with me and, for reasons unknown, I do not wish to forget it’ (Mrs SM). In flying, Mrs SM is finding a way to look at death—the graveyard—which gives her a different viewpoint, a different feeling reaction to it, and she doesn’t want to lose that precious newly learnt view. In their maturing process some peo- pie learn to see their thoughts and emotions as things they expenence rather than things they are, and this brings the sort of new viewpoint seen in the example.
Example: ‘I was in a building with a group of people. I was being chased and suddenly flew up in the air to escape my pursuers’ (Michael O). Learning independence, and the ability to make decisions despite what others feel, may be done by ignoring our own feelings. This may be achieved by always keeping busy; never having quiet moments alone; filling empty periods with entertainment or company; smoking, drinking alcohol, taking sedatives or tranquillisers; ngid positive thinking. Then, as Michael does in his dream, we fly from issues we are pursued by instead of resolving them. This may lead us to the extremes of being either rigidly materialistic, or as rigidly ethereal. In either case we lose contact with everyday human issues, and may begin to have the escape-type flying dream, or an out of body experience.
Example: 41 knew I could fly. I picked up one of the young women I felt love for and flew with her.’ Laughingly I felt like superman, and flew easily’ (Simon W). Flying alone occurs most frequently, showing the independent aspect of flying. But because it often involves our positive feelings of pleasure, flying may depict our sexuality, as above, especially aspects of it expressing freedom from social norms and restraints.
Example: ‘I was floating atop a tree near houses and a rising walkway. I was saying to people around the tree that I had found something wonderful. Reaching out my hand I told them they could join me if they accepted this possibility in themselves. Some thought it was a publicity campaign, but were enjoying the spectacle.
A few reached out and were immediately with me, until there were about six of us, men and women. We joined hands, experiencing a most amazing sense of well-being. Then we slowly and effortlessly flew to a great height, leaving a trail of coloured smoke which could be seen for miles. It was to demonstrate the triumph of the human spirit. We then descended and were going somewhere else to show others’ (Margareta H). Transcendence is also depicted by flying.
The tree is Margareta’s personal life. She is at the growing tip, transcending, leaving behind her past. Being high in flight, on a hill or mountain also represents the action of seeing our life as a whole, having a sense of our overall direction and destiny, our essential self. This frequently gives rise to the drive to give of one’s best to others, as Margareta does in leaving behind a sign—the spire of colour.
Some researchers believe flying dreams often precede lucid dreams.
See lucid dreams; out of body experience.
See also Hill; mountain. Idioms: fly by night, flying high; send flying.