Friday, February 25, 2011

The Magical Mind of Dreaming

Trish and Rob MacGregor host a stirring blog, Synchronicity. Here's their link:

In yesterday's post, "Synchronicity and Magical Thinking", they address the conventional belief, based on some branches of science, that anything but left brain, rational thought is unfounded in "fact" or "reality".

As usual, their post got me thinking about how this prejudice applies to dreaming.

There are people who dismiss dreaming, as they dismiss intuition and imagination, in the service of a left brain only existence. All I can say is, "How's that working for you?"

Remember the yin and the yang of Chinese philosophy? The idea is that all life's many opposites are in a constant harmonic dance that keeps life in balance.

Rational thinking, presumed conscious thinking, presumed sane and ordered and predictable is one mode of our brain function. The other is where the dream mind takes us constantly, into the realm where nothing is predictable, or ordered, but somewhat insane. "I had the weirdest dream" is a common preamble I hear when someone tells me a dream.

The "magical" dream mind doesn't play by the rational mind's rules, nor does it have to; experience shows dreaming to be incredibly effective at delivering personal benefits to the conscious dreamer. Right brain thinking is a different stretch for the old neurons, but to get the most out of our underused noggins, and scientists tell us our brains are under-employed, we need to think outside the left brain box.

As Trish points out, many great inventions, many innovations in thinking that have benefited humankind were the direct result of the magical thinking of amazing people, like Einstein and Jung. I highly recommend Robert Moss's book, The Secret History of Dreaming, for one wonderful example after another.

My point is, it's not, either we're rational, conscious, productive beings or ninnies. We're rational, waking, conscious AND intuitive, creative, dreaming beings. We're both; our mind, when used as a whole, provides both avenues, both experiences. It's up to us to balance that flow of information for personal and communal gain.

Opposites aren't mutually exclusive. We don't need to deny that men are valuable to esteem women just as much. We don't have to have one skin color to know what it means to be human, and we don't have to live just one aspect of our lives on this planet. The waking, conscious life is great; but so is the dreaming life with it's windows on the unconscious, or as Ursula LeGuin would call it, inner space.

Now given all the information and all the images out there, it's my personal soul mission to judge for myself what I think, feel and do; I don't need an authority to tell me what to think. Science is a wonderful profession full of great practitioners, but come on, it is no final authority. In order for it to be successful, it has to be in flux, in discovery mode. We can assume that what they proved yesterday will prove different tomorrow. It's up to each of us to make choices about truths based on what we know from our own experience and what we believe from others. So who died and left anyone in charge?

I write this blog to offer others what I've learned by playing in the magical thinking realms of dreams for so long. This type of thinking may come easier to me than to someone stuck in a rational paradigm, but that doesn't mean that I can abdicate my need to exercise left brain judgment. It's both, we can do both. Isn't that wonderful?

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