Monday, March 2, 2015

The Unconscious and Dreaming

I’m working with a wonderful student in a Master’s program who wants to do her final project 
on understanding the unconscious. Good luck, right?  I love working with motivated students  because their curiosity sparks and deepens mine.

I first met the unconscious when it hit me upside the head in dreams. As a  college senior, I experienced a whopper of a dream I titled Howling Mary; it was a powerful, precognitive, archetypal, life-mapping dream. I watched it unfold in waking life one unanticipated event after another. After this jaw dropping demonstration of the power of dreams, I embraced dreaming as a spiritual path and never looked back.  

I believe that cultivating a dream life amounts to living two lives (at least) at once, sort of double bang for your buck.  Dreams hold up mirrors to us reflecting what we need to know, nudging us towards what we need to do, prompting us to follow our own understanding and connect with our own vast souls. A dream practice can turn you from a passive persona in your waking life to a full-hearted, courageous creator of your own life in any realm. 

There are many bridges like dreaming into the unconscious, which is good because it’s better to experience the unconscious than to theorize about it. As Robert is fond of quoting from Mark Twain, "I don't want to learn about the moon from someone who hasn't been there."  Twain was a very strong dreamer and often referred to dreams in his writings.

In this new millennia, “psychology” (study of the soul) is transcending rigid objective and mechanistic paradigms. An example is the growing field of NDE, OBE, Lucid and other Dream studies.  For me, Active Dreaming offers expansive tools for inner exploration in a framework that's easy to learn and to teach, but all roads that lead Home are valid.  Each person knows their true north.
Develop your own dream practice and your ear is always to the ground of your Being, listening for what comes through. Dreaming is a bridge between waking and spiritual realities.  It's extremely personalized, only the dreamer can say what his or her dreams mean, but it's also universal. Around the world and across time, we all participate in a multiverse through dreaming. One dream can teach us that there is nothing to fear, not in life or in death. We're in a time of huge paradigm shifts and perhaps through our dream gates, help is on the way.  

Consider that dreaming isn't a left brain, simplistic, this or that, analytical brain kind of experience.  Dreams take place on another level of reality; they adhere to different rules, and come in many different varieties.  All dreams aren’t the same; life impacting dreams don't always come in neon. Often it’s those throw away or icky dreams that turn out to be valuable. 

When we say knowledge is power, we may be referring to consensus definitions of knowledge and of power.  But knowledge and power can also mean inner knowledge, Wisdom, and spiritual power, Love.  Mystical knowledge (spirituality) as the ancients taught,  is found in other dimensions, in dreams, visions, nature, meditation, prayer and near death moments.

Religion and spirituality aren’t the same thing; religion demands I follow rules and believe things that can prove detrimental to my soul. Religion often demands I give up my curiosity, my private search, and adhere to somebody else’s good idea about God. Spirituality, however, knows me for a spark of Divinity and asks me to act accordingly.  

One of the most wonderful things about Jesus is that he always challenged the establishment (but still listened to his mama).  What’s not to love about the guy? The kingdom of god is within; he wasn’t kidding.  But the god preserved on clay tablets is not the same as the living god/goddess of each soul. Your god may not be for me.   If you threaten to hang, quarter or behead me for following my own intuition and spiritual connection, I think you have anger issues. Vive y deja vivir.

Dreams are the royal road to my own unconscious and beyond.  Experiences in my waking life and in my dream life count equally and are the sum of my/this life experiences.  Following my dream life on a regular basis, and honoring the dream lives of others, has taught me many things that make hope possible. Isn't that why we have faith in "God?" 

I always make a small disclaimer about developing a dream practice alone because there are times for some when dreams are snarled in private nightmares rooted in traumatic waking experience. Thankfully, there are more and more healers in traditional and non-traditional roles, who can help a traumatized person rebuild that inner bridge. With time and support, may we each find our way back to center. 

The contemporary conversation on the nature of “Consciousness” is exhilirating. Does "that which we know to be ourselves" die with the physical brain or is our true nature non-physical, non-local, a spiritual reality.   And what about the Unconscious then, if Consciousness is non-local is it the same as the Unconscious? Is Consciousness a part of the whole that is the Unconscious?   Is it a matrix where each spark of consciousness glows forever?  These questions are from new frontiers.  It's an exciting time to be an explorer.

 “You are not just the drop in the ocean. You are the mighty ocean in the drop.”