Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Big Dreams

Across time and cultures, teachings on dreams place them in categories, or levels; most simply put,there are Big dreams and more ordinary, everyday ones.

Big dreams also have different categories. For instance, there are Collective Big dreams, like when Carl Jung, in 1913-1914 described his dreams of blood flooding Europe and of frozen barren lands. He knew a collective catastrophe might be their meaning; World War I broke out soon after.

The longer you pay attention to your dreams, the more you'll discover your own personal Big dreams. In my dream repertoire, my personal Big dreams are markers of my soul's journey. My first I had as a child of 5 still living in Havana, Cuba. My second was a dream trilogy just prior to my graduation at 21 from the University of Rochester, N.Y. Unfortunately, I only remember one of those dreams clearly. I was 27 the next time. There were a series of dreams that prefigured a future love affair that I never in a million years would have predicted. That proved a stormy time in my life, but one dream in that magical series of dreams I had stood out so much that I actually wrote it down at the time. It's probably the dream that initiated my passion for dream journaling.

The title of the dream is, "Let Me Tell You My Story."

The dream's story involves many classic Jungian Archetypes: the hero,the journey across the desert, finding sustaining waters. It's the end of the dream that's most magical to me. After enduring many tests, my dream Self, now in my own form, is walking up one side of a mountain. As is possible in dreams, I'm not scaling sheer rock cliff, I'm just slowly walking up to the flat knoll at the top. As I crest the edge, so does the man I love, from the other side, facing me. We step towards each other at the same time and I say to him, "Let me tell you my story."

To me, it's a classic Jungian individuation dream. I join with my Animus, my soul mate, on the mountaintop after surmounting all obstacles to proclaim my life story, my spiritual journey, my individuation. Remember Ecclesiastes saying, "Naked came I into this world and naked I shall return?" For me, this always means that despite all the love and connections we make in our lifetime, we will be dancing out by ourselves, one by one, naked, except for what we can take with us, which is every soul lesson we've mastered.

This Big dream became a source of strength for me, a personal parable that took me through many years of changes. When I had to make choices at that time; the dream helped me choose to care for myself, to do what was in my best interest. In showing me some of the hardships I'd have to endure while presenting the ultimate success of my journey, the dream gave me a road map and assured me I was on the right path. In the end, I didn't get my man,or at least, that man, but I came into my Self.

Each of us has a story. I wonder if when we cross over, when we die, there will be those waiting to hear our stories, not to judge us, but to acknowledge our journeys on the earth plane and welcome us Home.

Big dreams are great gifts from the dream Source, whatever you believe it to be. For me, they are the channels that all my teachers and guides on other planes use to assist and instruct me, and that those who love me on the other side of life use to stay in touch and support me.

This drawing is an awkward attempt at portraying the last scene in "Let Me Tell You My Story." I drew it now, these many years later to honor a recent dream I had where I discover many forgotten dream sketches among my journals. In my dream, I'm delighted because I can use these to illustrate my blog.

As with most dream drawings, there's an element that surprises me. In this one it's that I'm holding hands with my Love. After so many years, this makes me feel that all is well and all is forgiven. I didn't mean to draw the figures holding hands. That's what I love about dream drawing.

Big dreams don't tell me just what I already know. Big dreams are initiations into my life's true path. They become the road maps I need to stay on course and get there. They help me realize, as in the illustrious words of the Rolling Stones, "You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Kiss

What's in a title? In Lightning Dreamwork, developed by Robert Moss, one step along the road to dream understanding is to give each dream a title, as if it were a story.

Dream titles become like little soul tattoos that help you access a dream memory or recognize the serendipity in your life. I usually title my dreams after I'm finished relaying the dream story in writing in my journal. Most of the time, the title just wells up in my mind and I write and underline it at the top of the page. Usually the first thought is the best. When we edit our dream stories and titles, we cheat ourselves of potential healing revelations later on. Unconscious material made conscious in dreams takes time to sink in.

So a title is wonderful shorthand for the essence of a dream. The other day, one of my dearest friends was telling me her dream. She titled it, "The Kiss." I immediately felt a flutter of excitement; there's a dream whose only record I have is a dream painting I did of it on a seashell. I painted my picture, dated it and titled it "The Kiss." So we both share that little tattoo; I listen eagerly to her story.

My amazement grows as I recognize in her story, if it's my dream, the power of Divine Love,archetypal Love that is unconditional and eternal. If it's my dream, I realize that my dream self is displaying an archetypal capacity for Love in all it's dimensions: erotic and all-inclusive, non-judgmental, forgiving, all accepting - the quintessential experience of Love. There's a wonderful "Home" in her dream that reminds me of those dream locations I keep on the other side as my "Homes", my sense of center and security. Symbolically, these places speak to me of my Self; literally, they're places I can always re-enter at will, when need or desire propels me there. They are places of great comfort, wonder and Love. So, if it's my dream, The Kiss, becomes a portal to the many levels of Home in my soul and a bridge that connects me to those I love most deeply.

A great gift of listening to other people's dreams is how often they spark wonderful feelings born of my own dreams in me; dream thrills are totally re-livable any time their energy gets re-ignited. Sometimes, all it takes is a title.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The In-Between

I have a dear friend who’s been asking me wonderful questions about her wonderful dreams. She's a very strong dreamer, (I really try not to be jealous). Recently, she's experienced heightened consciousness in her dreams. She feels as if she’s in an in-between state, between waking and dreaming, just as awake as when she’s conscious. These sleep/waking experiences are new to her; she's excited and curious about them.

In one dream, she’s walking in what seems like an in-between world. She says it's as if she's walking through a bright, sunny yellow mist or fog,a place of light, very pleasant. Another person is with her, a person she likes. They’re walking side-by-side, talking. She has a feeling of great elation and joy that stays with her after waking.

I told her that if this is my dreaming and these experiences are mine, I would value them. I know I would re-enter the dream again, not by trying to go back to sleep, but rather by relaxing, closing my eyes and letting the dream replay in my consciousness. I see myself re-entering the dream and revisiting the events, letting myself dream them forward. I learned this practice from Carl Jung's Active Imagination and Robert Moss’s Active Dreaming techniques . It's similar to shamanic journeying; all it really takes is the imagination of our childhood and the willing suspension of disbelief that we regularly apply to watching movies, etc. You're entering a daydream; weren't you good at that once?

In groups, I've learned to use Shamanic drumming to help create a mild trance state that can quiet the left blabbing brain. You can use a favorite piece of music, preferably one without lyrics and with a calming effect. Neither is essential; if you come back supercharged from a dream, going back can be quite easy. My favorite time to reenter a unique dream is immediately when I wake up from it. If a dream rocks my socks,the energy is hottest right then; the dream portals may not have closed completely.

A good dream experience is like a good orgasm, except it lasts a lot longer. Physics and Metaphysics agree, we create our world through our conscious and unconscious willing. If so, it’s important to to use my imagination to will my own good and the good of others. A dream like this is a gift and I'll imagine myself back in it again and again until the energy is gone and a new dream gives me a new portal. If I don’t re-enter on waking up, then I’m going back any chance I get. (I’ve had great dream re-entries as a passenger on long trips; it’s not a recommended activity while you’re driving).

Back to my friend’s dream, if I know myself to be in an in-between world, an in between state, you can bet I’m going to look around when I re-enter and gather any details I might have missed. I listen to what the person I'm with is saying, what I’m saying; I see what we’re doing and continue in any direction I desire. A rule of the dream world is that you control everything; there's a creative way out of every dilemma and an eternity to enjoy what feels good.

Another thing that comes to mind about this in-between is that I might literally be visiting a place between life and death. I know people get the heebie jeebies thinking about their own death, but most of us have lost people and animals we love. The in-between of the dream world is possibly where we continue our relationships with them. If dreams allow me to cross back and forth and if my loved ones there share ideas with me and give me comfort, why shouldn't I rely on this in my waking life? These are gifts for the soul; it's hard to live without a happy soul.

Perhaps places we visit in dreaming will help us prepare for our own deaths. I have the memory of a very special dream that gave me an amazing script for my exit from this life. I don't know if I'll share the whole dream, but it involves a bridge of moonlight on water. What an image,right? I hope that when it's time for me to go, I can access this dream portal to soothe my journey across. So, why wouldn't I cultivate that image while I'm alive by re-entering this dream from time to time, making sure it's strong and clear for when I need it?

Sometimes dreams like my friend is having get labeled "lucid dreams" or "OBEs", (Out of Body Experiences); there's a lot of fascinating literature about it all. I don't think there's any substitute for allowing yourself to experience your own dreams intimately; eventually, portal after portal will open and shiny new experiences will thrill you.