Symbol for Dream
I am the dreamer and the dreamed
I am the creator and the created
I am the director and the actor
I am all parts of myself in the DREAM
I have so much to say about dreams that I will be writing about them for a long time to come. I will begin by telling you of how I became interested in dreams. In the 1970's, a time when I was experiencing several earth-shattering experiences, I began to have intense and powerful dreams. Many of these dreams were what I call healing dreams. Often, I was lifted out of my body and cradled by some very loving high- energy beings. I believe these beings to be angelic presence's although I am open to the possibility they may be ancestor spirits, spirit guides, or some other planetary presence's. I do know that they were assisting me through a very difficult time in my life experience. Also, that they were a loving energy. Through those dreams and with their loving support and guidance I endured the storm in my life.
What I have learned since then was to view my dreams as friends, sending me messages and giving me guidance along my life path. I think that dreams are a powerful resource we all can utilize on a daily basis to help us move through our lives with grace, joy and love.
The Senoi people as I understand use the dream-time sharing as part of their daily ritual much the way the English and Chinese use the tea ceremony. It is a social sharing that is part of their custom and tradition.
Valuing the Dream
Dreams are stories that our unconscious tells us in order to give
us information about our life, our direction, our feelings and motivations.
They also give us direction and assist our process of self-realization leading to self-mastery.
They are a useful guide and friend on our path of life toward personal evolution.
Working with your dreams is an ongoing adventure. It will open new awareness to you in your waking time. You will begin to look at your waking reality from a different perspective. And, at the same time fine- tune your intuitive nature.
Develop a Real Relationship with the Dream
As with any relationship you need to embrace the other and make meaningful contact. So, it is also with our relationship with our dreams. The mystery of the dream opens to you when you open to it and make it become a part of your waking life. This action in the waking life lets the dream speak to you with increasing clarity and meaningfulness. The dream becomes more and more what one might call "real" to you as you allow yourself more and more intimacy with it. I believe that both inner and outer realities to be so called "real". By enhancing this rapport between your dream time reality and your waking reality, you become more whole and masterful.
I found it important to realize that the dream is a trusted friend. When I allow my fear to get in the way, the message becomes muddied and my rapport with the dream is lost. Fear gets in the way of any relationship. Even though some dreams seem scary, it is only my perspective that sees it that way. For example: I once had a dream that I murdered someone. Of course, this was not anything I consciously would ever do. What the dream was saying to me was that I ended the form in which I related to that person. The action I took in the dream released me from feelings of resentment and anger that I could not allow to fester in myself. When I awoke from that dream I felt liberated. So even horrible dreams have a valuable message if we chose to see it. Stepping into the dream is only scary because it is unknown. It is part of the adventure to be open to that, which is unknown to our conscious self.
Another important point about relating to the dream is to understand that each part of the dream represents a part of the Self, known or unknown. Persons in my dream represent aspects of my own consciousness. And, also, some dreams are telepathic dreams. I can usually tell the difference by asking the dream image in the dream why it is in my dream. If it is a telepathic dream the answer will be that it is a message being delivered. If it is not a telepathic dream the answer will be, see where I reside in you. I have discovered that there are many levels to one dream. Sometimes a dream can be both telepathic and personal. Often they are relaying the same message on different levels.
I have studied many dream theories and the one that I resonate with most closely is the Native American viewpoint about dreaming. After reading a book called Dancing the Dream by Jamie Sams, I felt that I could relate to the whole experience of dreaming in the same way as she described in her book. The Jungian approach to dream work I find useful and informative. Even though it is more intellectual than I prefer, I find most of the information fits with my experience of dreams. I prefer to not get too caught up in analysis and prefer to let the dream be more of a personification than and abstraction.
At times I have had precognitive dreams. That is when I experience a dream and soon after have the very same experience in waking life. I know others have reported dreaming about world events before they happen. I believe this to be real. The way I understand such experiences is that those dreams come from taping into the Collective Consciousness were most dreams come from the Personal Consciousness. In any case we as a collective are part of the same one consciousness, it all depends on our focus of attention.
Approaching the Dream from the Heart Space
I have found that my attitude means everything when it comes to dream work. When I work on a dream that is especially disturbing, coming from my heart space allows me to view the dream in a more objective way. When I was getting ready to leave my former job, I had several dreams about a boss who I did not get along with at all. In these dreams I would wake up feeling extremely anxious because I knew that our conflicting personalities were sabotaging my position and credibility. As much as I tried my relationship with her simply became worse. After processing the dreams from a heart space, I was able to see through the conflict and come to the realization that I was setting up the situation so that I could leave the job without feeling like I was letting anyone down. When I saw that, the whole thing changed and I simply decided one day it would be my last and left the company with grace and ease rather than conflict and hard feelings.
Another part of coming from the heart space when processing dreams is to be kind to yourself. Very often information that is presented in the dream tells us a truth about ourselves that we may not like and or want to see. Jung calls this the shadow. We have both a negative and a positive shadow. The shadow possesses qualities that we have disowned in ourselves. Sometimes these qualities are very positive. They may be something that we would not allow ourselves to be because it made someone angry when we were a child and so we put it away saying to ourselves, "I better not show that part of me to anyone again." The same is true for the repressed negative qualities that we will not allow ourselves to see because we judge them as bad or wrong. The key is to accept unconditionally whatever comes up with kindness and objectivity. Because, whatever we resist persists. By owning repressed information we then have control over what we do with it. In other words, with awareness we have choice. Without it we become victims of it. So, be kind and accepting of your self.
Remember, the dream always tells the truth. For me this is a constant reminder to be truthful with myself. Not too long ago, I became aware that I wanted to punish a friend of mine for ignoring me. My plan was to become so desired by other friends that this one would feel bad about ignoring me. Well, I caught myself before I embarked upon my covert plan, and simply asked the friend why he was ignoring me. It turned out that, he was afraid to hurt my feelings because he had other interests. My plan for revenge certainly would not have changed anything. And, even though I didn't get what I wanted, I felt good for being honest with myself for recognizing how I truly felt.
Dream Themes and Feelings
Over the years many of my dreams have had recurrent themes. These dreams are especially important to me because they reveal some issue I am working on and tend to have many layers of awareness being presented. The feelings of the dream give me a clue as to what issues may be coming to my attention. I have dealt with many emotional issues in this way. One such example is the issue of personal power. Most of my life up until now, I have dealt with my insecurity. From the time I can remember, I have felt somewhat out of the loop in most situations. I often felt I was the odd person out in social situations. Sometimes I even felt invisible. Only recently do I own my own truth and let others know who I am, really. It has been a long journey for me to realize my own worth and value without comparing myself to another person. Dreams have helped me to honor my truth and value my personal perspective especially when it differs from the consensus reality. As a mother and caretaker, I had accepted myself as a provider for the well being of others. Yet, inside of me there was a hunger and desire to break out of my shell and express myself with abandon. I permitted myself to do this through painting. That still left me silent and non-existent in most social situations. I had a series of dream themes about trying to speak and not being able to articulate or feeling frustrated when I was speaking and no one was listening. Then another group of dreams where I was taking charge of my direction and moving forward. A recent dream showed me that I was trying to drive someone else's car from the back seat and I couldn't see the road and I couldn't reach the pedals and I didn't have a steering wheel. The impact of that dream changed my way of being in my daily life because in that dream I got out of the other person's car and told him to drive his own car. It made me see that I was covertly trying to direct another person's life instead of taking responsibility for my own. That has certainly changed because in the next dream I had, I was not only driving my own car but I moved from the back seat to the front seat and even stepped out of the car and moved the vehicle in another direction. This dream was a breakthrough for me and I have not gone back to my former way. Because I naturally empathize with others does not mean I need to direct them. As a result of my change in perspective, those people in my life that want me to direct them have simply disappeared. Another not so pretty observation I became aware of is that I was being covertly manipulative. It was a shock for me to accept that shadow reality. Yet, my acceptance brought me out of it and taught me to focus on myself. I know that I am only responsible for me, and cannot change another person. What I can do, is change the way I relate to that other person. Going deeper still, I became aware of the fact that focusing on someone else kept me from looking at myself. This avoidance cost me a great deal in that it made me invisible to others. No wonder I felt non-existent. If I was not present to me, how could anyone else be?
Ways to Play with Dreams - Take Dreams Lightly
- Remember and Record the Dream- there are several ways to help yourself remember your dreams. I find it helpful to tell myself before I go to sleep that I remember my dreams. I keep a dream journal by my bed so that I can write the dream as soon as I wake up. Some people prefer to record their dreams. A digital recorder works well for them. Any way that works for you is what counts.
- Invite a Dream Guide - This may feel strange to some but it works. You can go into a meditative state before you go to sleep and ask for a dream guide. A part of your consciousness will come forward to help you if you invite it. My guide likes to make comments to me throughout my dream. Most of the time they are comical and I wake up laughing.
- Feel Into the Images and Write Them - what I mean by feeling into the images is to remember them as if they are a fairytale, with all the background music and emotional affects. The images are important and writing them randomly helps to keep you out of your linear mind and into them. Notice colors, sounds, smells, and your feelings about them especially your feelings about the whole dream.
- Write Your First Draft - The first draft is best written in a free flowing way, without thinking too much about it. Just let you pen slide over the page while focusing on the dream images and impressions. I found that this will bring up other associations that might surprise you. Play with it.
- Reflect on the Setting and the Theme - when reflecting on the setting continue writing about the dream. Write about the theme in the same way. Let it tell you a story, let the story emerge from the images and impressions. Make sure not to think too much about it. You can analyze later.
- Find New Ways to See the Dream - as you continue to reflect new images and themes may show up. You want to begin to see new perspectives. I will sometimes ask another person to give me feedback as if it were their dream. Many times a whole new and different viewpoint will take me deeper into the dream meaning.
- Draw, Paint, Act Out, Write a Poem, Or Song about the Dream - This for me is the best part of working with a dream. Some new surprising things usually emerge from this activity and it helps me to lighten up about a dream that may otherwise be dreary. I like to draw cartoon like images or simply make a scribble on a piece of paper while focusing on the dream and see what I can make out of it.
- Archetypes - Using Universal Symbols - Working with archetypes that relate to your dream personalities takes your personal dreams to a broader view. i often will consult the Tarot while processing a dream. These symbols add a perspective and context to your dream.
- Review Your Interpretation Again and Write It - this review is about finding the best fit. You as the dreamer are the only one who can give the dream interpretation that feels right.
- Act on the Dream in Your Waking Life - This step is the most important step because it makes the process of dream work complete. Without this step many dreams stay in the dream time. By acting on the dream it produces change and you begin to embody that change.
I think dream analysis is useful, especially the Jungian approach. I found for myself that it can get a bit overwhelming and too intense. There are many different levels to dreams and many different types of dreams. I find that working with dreams in a playful way achieves the same depth of understanding without the heaviness and seriousness often created when analyzing a dream.
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