Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dreaming Key to Self-Reliance

 When people know how much I love dreaming, they tend to share dreams with me.  Then they look at me and ask; what does it mean?  

And there in lies the rub; the truth is, only the dreamer knows what it means.  Fortunately,  Robert Moss’s "Lightning Dreamwork" framework is a fast and easy way to turn the dream back over to the dreamer with a new perspective on their own question. The LD process is an excellent anytime mini-lesson in the power of dreams.

In this dreamplay process, the dreamer  is her or his own authority on the meaning of his or her  own dream. Credit for this understanding goes to Carl Jung and a wonderful modern dreamwork pioneer, Montague Ulman; thanks to them, this approach is honored by many modern dream work models, especially Active Dreaming.    Yet, probably the most frequently asked question about dreams is what does it mean?  It's at least right up there with "Isn't that weird?"

I’ve loved this OT saying from the Wisdom Book of Ecclessiastes  since I read it when I was a teenager; “Naked came I into this world and naked I shall return.”  It’s always meant to me that when I cross over, I will be doing it alone.   That thought never scared me; it’s just a fact of “life.”  What it has always conveyed to me is that I am responsible for that part of me that will exit, my soul.  As I've matured, it's also come to mean that there are certain gains I can make in this life that I can take with me, not the tangible trappings of the physical but the intangible gains of the soul:  How much I love. How much I learn and how much I care.   It also means that the work that I love doing here will be magnified somehow; I’ll have plenty of opportunities to grow my path once I’m dead.  Death isn’t the end so don’t fuss overmuch about getting older.  Just do what you can and stay curious.

Another thing I definitely know now is that in death I won’t be at the mercy of some Nobodaddy (W’m Blake’s brilliant term for the vengeful patriarchal Father God).  I’ll shape my own path in the subtler dimensions, just as I've shaped it here, hopefully with even more will and awareness. As long as I vibrate with the energy of Love, I’ll find each new adventure rewarding.  In other words, everything is up to me and that’s okay.  As it was in the beginning, is Now and forever shall be, right?

One of the best ways to experience what's available in other dimensions is to pay attention to nightly dreams, record them and ponder them.  This is valuable because the self-reliance a dreaming practice teaches spills over into a dreamer’s waking life. Spiritual lessons learned tilting with the windmills of the mind apply to waking windmills, as well.   Every time  I befriend the scary lion in my dreams, (and not necessarily by making it a cute, cuddly pet, either) I find new courage in some aspect of my waking life.  It also helps to see myself connected to a great Spiritual Resource that is extremely personalized to  my experience; I get the images I need, the messages I need, the support I need, freeing me to need less from others.  My connection to those I love improves when I don’t make burdening demands because my needs for security and self-esteem are met.

That doesn’t mean that human love, bonding and community isn’t a beautiful, natural, spiritual reality;  dreaming just helps us bear in mind that ultimately, it’s the soul’s journey that matters and I need to walk it by my Self.  Dreaming makes it so it’s never lonesome, though.  Not only is there help and love from the spirit side, other dreamers, other souls on their own journeys can help us on ours.  Not by telling us what to do, but by lovingly supporting our efforts as we lovingly support theirs.

So, when I say that only the dreamer can answer the question, 'what does it mean?', I’m not saying dreams shouldn’t be shared with others.  On the contrary, dream treasures are constantly unearthed in shared dream work, as long as one person isn’t telling another what to think or do about their dream.  “If it were my dream, I might think this or do that…” is perfectly acceptable because it respects the dreamer while it allows another person to play in the magic of a dream without the ego inflation of playing psychic guru or the unconscious  projection of misplaced good intentions.  

When I learn to travel my own dream worlds confidently and independently, it rubs off on my waking life.  I live my day to day dramas with much more awareness and self-reliance.  I love how Louise Hay constantly tells herself “I’m safe.”  I’m safe because there’s more to me than meets the I (ego), because I am forever; even if I have to suffer something painful or unpleasant, in the end, I’m safe.  My body is like a piece of clothing that I will shed one day in order to go naked into that good night, (and to continue to put a new spin on Dylan Thomas) dance, dance into the Light!  Does that make Now irrelevant and my physical body of no consequence?  Quite the opposite.  It makes Now a treasure and my body my best friend, because I came into the physical to do something, and I appreciate all the time and resources I’ve been given to do it. I especially appreciate all the many doors dreams have opened for me; living both awake and dreaming as fully as possible fairly doubles your existence.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Power of Your Dreaming Mind

Being a full time dream explorer means straddling two worlds.  Not in a split personality way that threatens to dissolve a healthy ego, but as a practice of balancing two realities.   We live in a multi-dimensional universe; physics and modern spiritual teachings agree.  This is most obvious when you follow a regular dream practice, remembering and journaling dreams frequently.  After countless dream experiences have provided significant help and teaching; a person realizes that waking reality is only one side of the existence coin. What we're learning as dreamers is that there is a way to balance these multi-realities so that the most feared hazard, loss of sanity, is not an issue.  As Jesus said, "render unto Caesar what belongs to Caeser." Pay attention to the waking world; take it seriously and do what you can.  But we are visitors here; each of our individual lives is much, much broader in experience and potential if we can accept who we are. We are spiritual beings having a physical experience, and not for the first time.  Every physical experience is rooted in the primal source of physical being, spiritual being.

The option a dream practice offers for living in this reality is to do it with respect, but without seeing it as the ultimate reality.  It isn't.  The ultimate reality is that we are forever and we are evolving.  Towards what; each of us decides.  My vote?  Towards beings who know that Love is the Answer.

I may be wrong.  If I am; I'll find out when I die.  If I'm not, then the best is yet to come!  And although I've reached this conclusion based on my own dreaming experience, countless respected modern scholars teach the same thing.  This is only one aspect of my journey, so I don't need to lose myself in it.  The perspective dreaming gives me is a life line in the fluid ocean of occurence that is physical existence and that life line is knowing that this is temporary - temporal.

The power of your dreaming mind is that it allows you to live life truly large, on many levels at once.  What happens during the waking day is no more or less important than what happens in my dreams.  Through my dream practice I can bi-locate, I can enjoy my waking adventures and I can live wonderful adventures in dreaming realities simultaneously, on a regular basis.  How much would you pay for that technology if Apple came up with it?

We are born with a powerful dreaming mind.  Humanity has always payed attention to dreaming, as depicted in dramatic cave paintings found in the south of France from some 40,000 years ago.  Humanity's dreaming can be traced back through every known ancient civilization; the Egyptians and the Greeks dedicated temples to healing through dreams.  Humanity's connection to dreaming was thrwarted for about the last 2,000 years, for reasons I've discussed before and no doubt will again.  Still, we haven't strayed far.  The gates of dreaming were held open by visionaries like Carl Jung.  Dreaming always brings us home again, and even during the most ignorant of those dreamless years, dreaming offered a portal to sanity to anyone who payed attention.

The power of the dreaming mind is that it requires little to tap into it; it's organic.  Each of us is born with the connection, each of us lives with that connection.  Some have been conditioned to view dreams as delusional and to be ignored, others believe they don't have time in their busy lives to pay attention to dreams, but everyone I've seen open to dreaming, changes that opinion quickly.  All it takes to realize the power of your dreaming is to pay attention to it. When we're acclimated to the "waking treadmill" of work, struggle, stress and entertainment, we can miss the option we have of altering that unilateral existence, if we want to.  Dreaming shines a light on the unconscious forces that drive us, sometimes controlling our egos; it helps us stay connected to our spiritual core, what Jung called the Self or some call the Higher Self.

Dreaming can take us into realms of magic and wonder.  If your dreams disturb you and educating yourself through good reading doesn't dispel that, then seek good professional help.  You'll know it's good help if it connects you to your dreams directly and doesn't tell you what your dream or your life mean.  The best teachers make you curiouser and curiouser; they don't give you answers.

As we experimentally open the doors to a dreaming awareness, we find that there's more to us than meets the I (the ego); we open ourselves to exploring the exhilirating reality of living on more than one dimension at once. Mono-dimensional thinking leads to limitation and depression; multi-dimensional thinking leads to engagement, adventure and hope.

I propose that the power of the dreaming mind is to liberate each of us from slavish thinking and negative projections; what you can dream, can exist in waking reality.  According to John Perkins, one valuable lesson he learned from the South American shamans who taught him is that "the world is as you dream it." The world, Perkins says, is as it is because someone dreamt it this way and others continue to consent in allowing that dream reality.  It just takes someone, or many, to dream it differently and transform what once was to what I want it to be.  That's the challenge of the dreaming mind.  Once we learn to use it; it's no longer confined to dreaming dimensions; it helps us create in waking reality, as well.