Saturday, September 24, 2016
So many theories about dreaming are "psychological" only, they posit mental health reasons why dreams are beneficial, or why there are social advantages to following dreams, but they neglect what the indigenous ancestors of all people knew. Dreams are real experiences. We visit a dream world and those from the dream worlds visit us.
This doesn't preclude other empirically provable effects of paying attention to our dreaming life; dreams can reveal to us suppressed emotions and hold a mirror up to our ego as it navigates the many relationships of the physical world. They definitely have psychological benefits, but I'm way more than meets the I. This I is only one of the potentially many egos I've embodied on this physical plane, lifetimes ago. Dreams invite me to consider all the possibilities of my experiences before and after death. Growing research and literature in many contemporary fields such as physics, medicine and spirituality increasingly points to an awareness that the material world is not what it seems, that we outlive this physical existence in non-physical form. We no longer have to give our heads to Science (material left brain logic) and our hearts to Religion (dogma based spirituality). Dreaming is organic spirituality; it comes from within, as in "the kingdom of god" is within, as Jesus noted. It makes us our own spiritual authorities and encourages us to live a more involved, inner life, as well as a more informed and entertaining waking life.
We are spiritual beings here to experience a physical lifetime for some purpose to be discovered through living this lifetime. What tempers the fear and insecurity inherent in finite physical existence is a knowing, that can come from listening to our dreams, that there is much more to experience than physical reality and that Love is paramount. Love is the coin of eternal life.
This isn't to say that mystical, magical living involves material destitution. But as all good witches and wizards know, intent is everything. Putting all our intent on making it here has its hazards, as does putting it all in a spiritual existence that denigrates the physical, like the patriarchal male priesthoods do. In the best ancient spiritual practices, it is always about balance. Domination is a patriarchal invention. The opposite of domination is balance, sharing and mutual respect.
If we think this is all there is, just as if we're afraid of what might be when we die, we miss the freedom from bullshit that living a life with awareness of waking and dreaming, ego and spirit, can give one. There are so many great teachers out there right now, it behooves us all to learn to dream well so that we can accomplish what our best dreams urge us to do.
Active Dreaming, created by author and teacher extraordinaire, Robert Moss, is the most versatile and accessible dreaming practice I've encountered in my thirty plus years of studying and teaching dream "interpretation" theories and methods. I've used it with children, teens, and adults of all ages. Some important aspects of this practice are: it protects the dreamers authority regarding what the dream means as well as the dreamers privacy; it's not therapy, but it can be incredibly therapeutic; it's an active approach, whole bodied and whole-hearted, drumming, singing and lots of laughter; it fuels creativity, it offers possibilities way beyond cerebral dualities; and one of my favorite reasons for using the tools of this practice to connect people to their dreaming is that Active Dreaming is accessible, simple, direct and clean of dogmatic baggage. The dreamer learns to depend on her or himself for all aspects of dreaming, waking and in the dream worlds; I am only the guide till the dreamer finds "that in dreams, the soul has wings." (Robert Moss, in The Way of the Dreamer.)
The reason to double my lifetime by dreaming actively is that in reality, I'm connecting to my immortal lifeline. In essence I learn to stop seeing this lifetime as a limited time only and to not fear death. What I discover is that I chose to be here in this physical plane now, but I'm not alone or in peril of losing my soul. I may be challenged, but I can't be defeated. I am loved because the essence of all that is, is Love. Love is the energy that fuels everything. And no particular group has the answer to how to live my life; it's up to me to figure it out with the help of dream guidance. When I learn to trust my dreams and not fear them, I've opened the door to my spiritual existence and to the help I need to get through. I've also expanded my life experience, no longer ignoring all that happens in the night, I benefit from far more choice than mere waking experience can give me.
If you'd like to hear a lively discussion of Active Dreaming for creative and expansive living, I have the pleasure of talking with Robert Moss on his international radio show, The Way of the Dreamer, October, 10/11/2016, noon to 1pm EST.