Sunday, September 18, 2011
Honoring Dreams - Dreams Require Action
Thinking about what more I can share with you about my dream play experience, I had a penetrating glimpse into the obvious. I really need to emphasize how important “honoring a dream” is.
Of all the great teachers I’ve read and had the privilege to study with, Robert Moss stands out as the champion of “taking action" as a dream practice. I know others feel it is important, too, but with Robert it’s a must. One of the threads he’s woven into his Active Dreaming model is the valuable indigenous people’s teachings about listening and responding to dreams in conscious life, what Robert calls, waking life.
Robert has written extensively on this topic, so I refer you to his books for more information, or of course, to the DVD series that Jim and I produced of Robert presenting Active Dreaming, “The Way of the Dreamer with Robert Moss.” http://www.psycheproductions.net/
People who live/lived much closer to Nature than we do now as a culture had lots more time on their hands for introspection. Not necessarily because their lives were less stressed than ours, (try hunting and gathering for a living) but because they didn’t have or need our distractions. You know the phenomenal amount of hours the average American man, woman and child watch television. The lack of sleep that afflicts many and the “hurry sickness” to quote Robert again that infects our conscious lives. Who has time or energy for dream work? Well, that’s why I call it dream play. It’s like sex, if you can make time for it and enjoy it, you don’t regret it.
It’s not that I’m saying do whatever you think your dream is telling you to do, say, fly, beat up your boss or go to church naked. Honoring a dream is about:
1. Listening. Paying Attention. I just heard the old song, “Elusive Butterfly of Love” by Bod Lind, which is about a love struck romantic chasing his beloved into her dreams through his. (Hmmm, sounds good to me). I use this example though because he’s obviously tuned in to his dreams, even though he’s telling her not to let his flitting in bother her, it’s just a dream. When I go to sleep, I know I’m going somewhere; I’ll be doing something. Sometimes I “incubate” a specific direction by asking for a dream about a desire or need, but when I don’t, I still know I’m going on a dream, just like when I get into my car, I’m headed somewhere. With dreams it’s a bit more of a free fall, so my poor Ego/Persona have to ride in the back. What part of me is driving the car? Well that’s part of dream play. Paying attention to each person, animal, place and thing in a dream is the gateway to dream play and to honoring our dreams.
2. Recording, Journaling. I’ve posted some ideas on recording dreams previously, so I’ll refer you there, (http://litadreaming.blogspot.com/2009/12/thing-about-keeping-journal.html http://litadreaming.blogspot.com/2009/12/starting-over.html, http://litadreaming.blogspot.com/2010/01/some-dream-games-and-meet-my-cat.html).
Here I want to emphasize the pleasure of this exercise. Your dream journal becomes your book of life. It contains stories that you’ll grow to love and see as part of who you are. All it takes is developing the simple practice of saying NO to anything before you say YES to your own need for introspection and communion with your best SELF and Guides. Taking 15 minutes for yourself first thing in the AM and reciting your dream story into your journal is not only honoring your dream, it is honoring your soul. Robert is fond of sharing the Native American teaching that “dreams reveal the secret wishes of the soul.” It goes without saying, that to dismiss this connection may be unwise.
3. Engage and Dialogue. Re-enter Once I record my dream the stage is set for however my intuition and imagination wish to engage with my dream; for my dialogue with it.
There’s myriad ways, I’ve often posted about my favorite, which is dream re-entry;
Robert teaches, “A dream is a place.” Boy, is it ever! As in waking life, sometimes it’s a pleasant journey, just for fun and sometimes it requires courage and assistance from dream allies or perhaps waking allies, but it is always rewarding. ALWAYS! You can do stream of consciousness writing or drawing or dancing or singing; whatever you feel moved to do, you are in a dream dialogue and you are seeking to bridge the gap between waking and sleep, the two portals we enter and exit daily that are equally part of our existence on this planet.
4. Gratitude. In gratitude to my dream, I consciously honor it in my waking life by acting on its message or manifesting its symbols . I may share it with a person who was part of my dream, for whatever reason, for their sake or mine. I may write about it, creatively or here on my blog. I carry it around with me for days, turning around in my thoughts, letting the symbols dance in my mind’s eye until it reveals something of itself I’ve missed. I once retired my car because two consecutive dreams warned me of an accident. I’ve walked into a future work interview my dream predicted with the confidence that this job was mine, with the dream dancing happily in the back of my mind. It takes building a relationship with your dreams to know just how to honor one into waking life, but just like with a lover, the whole ride from first step forward is a great pleasure. The biggest difference would be that dreams don’t go sour on you; it’s a love that will last a lifetime, perhaps beyond.
5. Disclaimer. Active Dreaming is a direct, accessible approach to building a dreaming life for just about anyone of any age. I do think that who the person is and what their intentions are matters. If you serve Love, your dreams will guide you. If you seek to do others harm, perhaps you’ll dream up neat ways to do that, too. For instance, Bin Laden claimed to have heard instructions from his god in his dreams. I think Hitler spoke of a few of his own. Of course, as with the corrupt rulers in any culture that does value dreaming, dream claims (that can't be verified) can be a handy way to justify your bloodlust to the masses. The Middle East has an ancient tradition of dream lore. But, without hearing the whole true dream, you really don’t have the whole picture. We choose to open our souls to the guides that are available to us in life; we need to choose well with our hearts, and then our dreams are completely safe, even when they are nightmares. If anyone feels consistently disturbed by their dreams, there are wonderful dream counselors and teachers that can help.
This is a longer than usual post, and I still have more to say, but I’ll stop for now. If any of this evokes thoughts and questions, I’d appreciate hearing from you. That way I can extend this dialogue more concretely into waking life. Bright Dreams!