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4.7 out of 5 stars
Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth
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129 of 131 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2001
Before "Inner Work" I had read a few other dream interpretation books all of which basically described certain recurring dream images and labelled them with a limited definition: basically they were the "Teacher's Edition" to understanding your dreams with the answers in the back. I never understood how an image, say a snake or falling, could be interpreted in basically the same way by so many different people. Johnson explains why you can't. Images are personal and have to be interpreted by the dreamer and Johnson describes how to use "active imagination" to not only figure out what your dreams mean but how they can help along your life journey. This book really helped me tap into the "invisible" part of my consciousness and make practical, healthy changes in my life and prayer. His comparison of archetypes (universally shared images) and personal symbols was most appreciated. Complex ideas are explained in a way that any neophyte to dream analysis can understand and apply to your own life. Johnson explains how to make practical and physical changes by conversing with your dreams.
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70 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on January 7, 2014
In my efforts to understand and deal with my child's nightmares, I have found respite in Robert Johnson's Inner Work. I have trusted his books for some time because he has a gift for using Jungian principles and keeping things simple. By using archetypal comparisons rather than personal anecdotes, his approach to teaching you how to explore dreams is direct and unbiased. He offers an overview of necessary terms and reminds us (quoting from Carl Jung) that "God speaks in dream."

This book does not claim to be the ultimate book on dream analysis but it gives you the tools to explore your unconscious in his 4-step to Active Imagination. His approach to understanding symbols empowers you to make your own definitions and associations, rather than telling you what they mean universally, because everyone is different - and that is so the case with my daughter.

If you are looking to develop the understanding your mind at sleep, this is a great introduction. I would also suggest The Nightmare Solution for other approaches on working out your dreams and We, He, and She by Robert Johnson.
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145 of 154 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 1999
One night I had a dream that I was a pitcher on a softball team. My older brother was playing first base and yelling abusive things about me like, "Get him out of there! He don't know what he's doing!" I went to pitch the ball, drew my arm back and saw someone standing between the pitchers mound and home plate. He had on a ball cap and was standing with his head down so I couldn't identify who it was. I couldn't pitch with him there. That is where the dream ended. The following evening I decided to follow some of the suggestions from Inner Work and see if the identity of "the man in the way" would be revealed. I went back and relived the dream. At the point I was ready to pitch the ball, I stopped and walked up to him. I asked him to reveal to me who he was. He slowly raised his head and I found myself staring into my own face. I realized form that experience that I was "standing in my own way!" I asked myself to move out of the way, and went back to pitch the game. Previously I had thought it was the messages embedded in my psychic memory from verbally abusive types, particularly my older brother. This work revealed to me where the problem really originated. Since this work I have been able to return to school, recieve a degree in Fine Art, and am now embarking on publication of a book of my artwork. I have moved out of my own way as a result of the suggestions from this book. I highly recommend this for anyone wishing to resolve specific problems in their life. I gave it 5 stars. See them here *****.
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94 of 100 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2001
Everyone, I'm told, has dreams during sleep whether they are remembered or not. Some people dream in color (I do), others in black and white only. Robert Johnson's book on Inner Work is just that, a book that is a guide to finding and communicating with the inner self - the true you. Our lives are so fragmented today, we are all encouraged to "multi-task" - housewives frequently talk on the phone while doing the dishes, busy executives shave while driving; other people type on laptop computers while flying to a destination. I believe that some of our time-saving measures are cheating us out of living in reality - of enjoying this present moment.
Robert Johnson encourages his readers to take the time to establish communication with the inner self, to find out what obstacles exist to accomplishing life-goals; to discover the steps that must be taken; to deal with underlying fears; to strengthen foundations and build new bridges to deeper levels of the unconscious self,and then release the energy that needs expression. It truly is a journey of Inner Work.
I am still in the process of reading and working through this book. I'm sure it'll take a while longer, but it's been worth every bit of the time I've spent on it. I am changed, I am different, the quality of my life is richer, and I am definitely more in touch with who I am, with my current existence and presence.
This book is a must for anyone whose life has whirled into the outer limits. Take the time and do it properly. You have everything to gain.
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97 of 105 people found the following review helpful
It is difficult to imagine how powerful this small book is. Granted, it is probably most appealing to intuitives and introverts, like myself, but for us, it is like manna from heaven. Johnson has such a gift for putting things simply. The book can be read quickly but may well take a lifetime to permeate your consciousness. As a professional astrologer, VisionCoach and expert Tarot symbolist, one of the most frequent questions I am asked by old and new clients is this: "I had this dream, Nancy. What does it mean?" In spite of ongoing research on my part, personally leading dream groups and reading the new books that come out each year, I always return to Johnson's classic. He's said it all. I think "Inner Work" is, quite simply, the best book ever written about dream interpretation. Each of our dreams is as personal as our fingerprints. If you are an extravert, you may not dream often or you may dream the kind of dreams that are just processing the minute business of the day. At least once in awhile, though, even the most extraverted of us has a Major Dream, a dream that wakes us with a cold sweat or a warm pulse. What does this mean? What is communicating here? Why to you? And why NOW? Johnson's book puts all these questions squarely back on your own shoulders for answerung, for ... inner work!! But don't worry, he doesn't just drop you off in the middle of the nowhere without a map. This book contains all the information you need to become an expert at interpreting your own dreams. This is important because, as the great Swiss transcendental psychologist Carl Jung wrote, "God speaks in dream."
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2003
This wonderful book is clear and practical, and really goes to the point. It instructs you and helps you at two levels: first it explains how our dreams and imagination function as a link between our conscious and unconscious lives; then it goes on to instruct the reader on how to learn from this link and how to build a fruitful and lifelong dialogue between these two spheres of being. In order to achieve the latter, the author shows us, with clear examples, the way to understand our dreams and to use our imagination and so find the wisdom that we all have inside. Although this all sounds like any other self-help book, here the author never means to sound witty, empty or artificially triumphant. He promises nothing and makes sure we understand that what he is telling us is nothing new: many cultures use these same methods for the psychological, spiritual well-being of people. But we happen to be living in a time and culture that have lost the sense of inner life.Reading this book is like listening to the words of a loving teacher, who knows things because "he has been there before".Well-written and packed with no-nonsense spirituality, without losing touch with the world where we live or our common sense.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 21, 1999
I was relatively new to dream interpretation and Active Imagination, when this book was recommended to me by some therapists. It is the most comprehensive book I've read on the subject. In simple language with detailed examples, dream interpretation is made easy with Johnson's 4-step approach. I've gotten more out of my dreams with the help of this book than with any other book I've ever used. It is simply FANTASTIC! You MUST read this one!
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Quotes from the book:
"The conscious mind is but a cork bobbing on the sea of the unconscious mind."
"It is through dreams that the unconscious mind speaks to the conscious mind."

If those quotes hit you hard, then this book is most definitely for you.

"Inner Work" is by far the best do-it-yourself dream analysis book extant. No image dictionaries, no rules that apply to all situations, no guides to symbols... as it should be. We are as different on the inside as we are on the outside. Johnson is widely regarded by Jungian analysts as a master of dream work and active imagination. Since I started this book my life has changed enormously. Dreams are no longer just video dumps of the day's activity mixed with meaningless images and symbols; they are masterpieces of symbolic communication.

Make no mistakes, the work you will do as a result of reading this book is hard, and it requires much moral courage. If you have that and the discipline to do the work, you will be richly rewarded: your life will change for the better. You will grow, you will integrate the unconscious with the conscious, and you will live a more fulfilling life than you otherwise could have ever lived.

My Amazon books about money: A Return to Abundance, Book 1: Money and happiness, abundance and prosperity, money and the unconscious mind: a mythological, psychological, historical, and family of origin look at money & its power
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 23, 2004
I have previously read only one book on dream interpretation and think this one is excellent. I've always steered away from dream interpretation because I thought they were too mental for me. I am by nature an intellectual and caught up in daydreaming most of the time anyway. But Johnson tells me to bring feeling and body into the interpretation process, and that I like.
He also warned against passive daydreaming concerning any real person for they will feel something over the collective unconscious. Compared inner work to marching around the walls of Jericho -- conquering a psychic center might take years of persistent work.
All in all: simple and concise. I recommend it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2011
Jung showed that the ego, the conscious portion of our psyche, is not the absolute king of our mind. In our unconscious we have archetypes and complexes that, when the ego loses control, act as if they possessed our bodies. We can call them, metaphorically, our demons.

The great mythologist and disciple of Jung, Joseph Campbell once said: "My definition of a demon is an angel who was not recognized. Rather, it is a power which you denied expression, and you repress it. So, with all of its' energy repressed, it starts to grow and becomes very dangerous".

Would you like to talk to your demons, understand them and turn them into angels? Using the method of active imagination, developed by Jung, you can. How?

Inner Work is a book by Robert Johnson that I emphatically recommend. He is a Jungian analyst and a prolific writer, capable of turning some of Jung's complex concepts into a book easy to understand. I appreciate Johnson's writing so much that I have read all his books.

Inner Work deals with dream interpretation and active imagination.
Johnson explains active imagination in his simple and easy style. Only this section, covering half of the book, would be enough to guarantee five stars to Inner Work, but the chapters on dream interpretation are just as excellent.

Do you prefer a demon on your back or an angel by your side?

Roberto Lima Netto
Author of "The Little Prince for Grown-ups - A Jungian interpretation", to be released shortly by Amazon
rlimanetto@hotmail.com.
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