Working with Dream Themes: Signs of Endangering Creative Potential

Dreams are like blooms in a garden.

A Pick from the Healing Dream Garden

After working with dreams for nearly forty years, I know that even the worst nightmares contain a kernel of hope or healing.  The following nightmare took me a long time to understand.  I had several repeats until it finally “hit” me what this dream offered as its healing insight.   The dream took a while to sink in perhaps because it chose as the motif of one of my greatest fears: hitting a person while driving.  To make things worse, in the dream the feeling of hitting a person was so realistic—as if it really did happen.

Dream

I am driving very slowly because I sense some danger.  Then, a group of kids surges in from the left.  I see a young boy of 4 or 5 years old either fall or lunge into the left front of my car.  Although I slam on the breaks, I hear the thud of something hitting my car.   A shock wave of raw realization explodes from my chest as the force of emergency breaking flips the car on its side, throwing me on to the ground.  

Stunned, I jump up and grab the child my car struck, looking for injuries.  He has a little welt on the right side of his forehead, but otherwise seems well.  A huge sigh of relief surges through me and I embrace him in my arms.  I see his mother, the other kids and his father at a distance.  Oddly enough, they just look at me and smile.  They do not seem to be worried so much about the child as about me.  Somehow, I know that they won’t take this matter to the police.  

On waking the first impulse was huge relief from the realization that this was just a dream!  Then, the fear arose that this might be an event which will happen in the future because so many of my dreams, especially the realistic ones, often manifest in the material world just as I dreamed them.  I reviewed the dream, looking for clues to indicate this wasn’t such a prophetic dream.   While the dream was extremely realistic, especially the feeling I had when hitting the child, there were elements that seemed symbolic.  For example, I noticed that in the dream my car was red.  I don’t own a red car and probably wouldn’t buy one since I find the color too intense to look at for long periods of time.  So I decided that this dream wasn’t prophetic of actually hitting a real child and left the dream alone.

For a long while, and after several repetitive dreams which clearly were begging for attention, I finally summoned the courage to look at this dream.  I chose to use the dreamwork paradigm of everything in the dream as being a part of myself.  The young boy in the dream, because he was male, represented something work related, and because he was young, represented creative potential that was still developing.  The age of the boy indicated a work related project that has gone on 4 or 5 years.  I thought of my creative and meaningful work in teaching dreams which had gone on for about 4 or 5 years.  A sinking feeling in me told me I was hitting on the correct interpretation.  At the time, I indeed felt like this child of my creative labors had taken a hit, not by anything deliberate on my part but just because of the choices I felt compelled to make as I tried to earn a living. Each time I had this dream of hitting a child, I was considering putting my major efforts and energy into taking a well-paying but less than desirable job that would meet my financial needs.  However, in doing so, I would endanger the growth of this child.  The guilt, grief, and horror were rising to consciousness.  Fortunately, the kid’s parents, perhaps representing my higher self, were telling me not worry.  They understood.  Indeed, when reflecting on this dream while still in bed, a voice from my intuition said in a gentle but informative way, “Don’t make a big deal of this!”  Just getting this message provided an odd counter balance to the guilt, grief and horror.

While the child took a minor hit, it was OK.  After I felt the child was safe and comforted, I wondered how I would upturn my car to get on my way again.  Now, the real problem was how to get back on track after such a near disaster.

Since then, I noticed that every time I considered taking a paying job rather than taking the financial risk of continuing to do the creative but less financially reliable work of writing, teaching and life coaching, this dream of either hitting or nearly hitting a child would repeat itself.  My dreams were telling to trust more and continue to nourish and not endanger the creativity within me. Later, as if to confirm my interpretation, I dreamed of three children telling me they want to take me some place I considered special.  It gave me hope and made me realize that failing to nurture my creative endeavors would be as traumatic as hitting a child.

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Working with Dream Themes: Returning to Work

Healing Dream Garden

A Pick from the Healing Dream Garden

Background:

Several years ago, after taking a five-year hiatus from full-time work, I felt I was ready to return to work.  Going back to work later in life is not easy, but in my case I have been blessed with terrific energy, motivation and good health and so I wasn’t worried about that.

At this stage, however, I was not ready to grab the first thing that came along.  Obviously after 37 years of working, there are many jobs that have the “been there and done that” or “at my age, I don’t need to do that…” feel to them.  Hopefully, over the years I have learned to work smarter and could apply any experience I’ve gleaned by choosing, getting and keeping a suitable job.  When I applied for several significant jobs, I was well received in job interviews and knew I could eventually land the one I best suited for me.

My psyche must have been preparing me for this event because I had some powerful dreams which seemed to be work related, expressing my anxieties about what to do, being up to working full-time again and the effects of my efforts to go back to work but some were telling me that the prospect of working would not be a problem.  Here is one of them.

Dream:

I own a large house (not the actual one I was living in at the time of the dream.)  A young, healthy worker comes in the house and says he wants a room to live in.  I say OK, and tell him he can take the right front bedroom.  Before I know it, there are two other young, strapping men just like him who are living in the room.  I go over to investigate and find the number of workers has jumped to about 20.  It was really a full house—full of all the workers.  I tell one man to write down their names so I can keep track of them.  He does.  I notice that the room has suddenly expanded to look like the inside of factory.  Something in me wonders if this is really still my house?

Reflecting on this dream using the dreamwork method that everything in the dream represents a part of myself, I could see that the house was my psychic home, and that the men (who usually in my dreams represent work-related issues) were energetic, healthy and ready to work.  They just needed a place to stay.  I found the dream comforting, letting me know I had the energy of much ready “manpower.”  But something in me asked, “Is this really me? Do I want all these men here?  Is this my responsibility?”  The dream raised more questions than answered them but I knew I was capable of working.  The real issue might be found in limiting the amount of work I take on.  The dream gave me confidence.

Visions: A Form of Healing Intuitive Awareness

ANGELICO, Fra Annunciation, 1437-46 (2236990916)

Mary’s Vision: The Archangel Gabriel

During times of crisis, especially when serious health related issues are at stake, the occurrence of visions or other paranormal phenomenon is not as unusual as one might expect. Many people have been led to believe that seeing a vision either indicates saintliness or insanity—not a comfortable point of view to hold when an angel drops by! As a result, people tend to be very cautious about sharing their experience of visions. However, I found that quite a number of average people have visions. In my classes, many students recounted seeing visits by supernatural beings like Jesus or angels or the presence of a comforting divine light. For the most part, these experiences come at traumatic or life changing times in someone’s life.

These phenomena can be thought of as expressions of pure intuition, healing energy that breaks through when the veil between this world and other realities is made thin by the magnitude of a mind-bending reality a person is facing. The reality to be encountered can be traumatic such as life threatening surgery, a sexual assault, or death of a loved one. However, it may not necessarily be negative. It could be something profoundly wonderful such as the gifting of a special and life changing calling as Mary experienced with the visit of the Archangel Gabriel who heralded her role to be the mother of Jesus.

At these times, visions come to tell the distraught person that the overwhelming reality encountered is not all there is and will not have to be born alone—that something more abides giving comfort, love and insight. In Mary’s case, she was told she had found favor with God and that the power of the Most High would overshadow her.

Edgar Cayce: 4 Approaches to Nurturing Personal Spiritual Development

Edgar Cayce on Intuition

Edgar Cayce circa 1910

Edgar Cayce was one of the groundbreakers in the early 20th century that encouraged average people to take spiritual growth beyond following the rules and knowing the teachings of an organized religion, and make it their personal responsibility. Some of the teachings he advocated that support nurturing the spiritual development of the ordinary person can be seen in the following approaches:

  1. Each person must find his own way. No matter how educated a person can become in a religious tradition, each person must find his or her own path to the Divine that is unique because it is based on a personal experience of the Divine in daily life. It is the purpose we are put on earth. While Cayce stated that Christ was the pattern for all mankind, all religions pointed to the way and that each person could find the way if they modeled their life on the loving Christ-like life, no matter what religion they practiced. Gurus, priests, and teachers can only do so much and ultimately one must rely on personal experience, intuitive insight and making choices in keeping with one’s Ideal.
  2. Be part of a reflection group where all are equal. In order to grow spiritually it is very helpful to be part of a small group which gathers for mutual support, spiritual reading and reflection. In these groups, each person has an equal say to freely question and explore, trusting in the truth and personal experience to guide. There is no “leader” to impose either a presence or a certain teaching. Rather, a facilitator provides guidelines and keeps the process going.
  3. Insist on the importance of the average person remembering and learning from dreams as a means to his or her personal spiritual growth and development. In the early 20th century western culture, dreams were suspect – something the average individual was not encouraged to dwell upon by religious leaders. Very few understood the value of working with dreams, and fewer still were truly knowledgeable in doing so. This cultural attitude is seen even today in the huge number of people who can’t and don’t want to remember dreams. However, Edgar Cayce thought that everyone had to take responsibility for their own spiritual journeys and dreamwork was necessary because it was a dependable way of connecting to the soul and its journey. Waking life tends to distract us from our real purpose as it imposes its own demands that are often different from the soul’s demands. As Henry Reed, Ph.D. says in the Edgar Cayce Guide, Awakening Your Psychic Powers,  “a dream is an experience of the soul.” Learning from our dreams helps us understand what our soul is feeling in the human realm and what it wants us to do to grow towards the divine.  Through dreams we come to know our souls.
  4. Provide dreamwork guidelines that can work for the average person. On the official Edgar Cayce website, Keven Todeschi , Executive Director and CEO of Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. and Atlantic University, writes that Edgar Cayce provided “average individuals with guidelines for working with what has become one of the most practical approaches to dreams.” http://www.edgarcayce.org/are/edgarcayce.aspx?id=2255.  Among these guidelines were the ideas that only the dreamer can interpret his or her own dream and that one’s deeper consciousness is impelling the dream, driving it forward so that we might better understand our life in this world in relationship to our soul’s purpose.

6 Health Related Benefits of Keeping a Dream Journal

Rod of Asclepius2

Rod of Aesclepius

Since the days of the ancient Greek healing centers called aesclepions, dreams have been associated with health and healing.  Keeping a regular record of your dreams will clearly demonstrate the special relationship dreams have to health.  It will produce many health related benefits to include:

  1. The revealing of your personal symbols, themes and processes that relate to healing and health. You will better understand how your psyche images and presents health related information to your waking mind when you see the repetitive appearance of certain symbols. You may see a physician or health care worker reappear over and over or you may be given a profound symbol for a disease you are facing. The symbol may hold the key to the healing.
  2. Having a recording of patterns of healings, diagnoses, and warnings of diseases and ailments. As you learn to recognize your symbols for these events, you will see the congruences between the status of your health and the dream symbols.
  3. Seeing that certain ailments may be healed for you in the dream. Dream healings can come as a gift given. You may told in the dream that a certain issue, perhaps one you didn’t even know about, was being taken care of. If you were not in the habit of remembering and writing down your dreams you would not even be aware of the healing process going on without your intervention.
  4. Gaining deep insight into specific health issues over a period of time. The symbol of a particular ailment may change over time, reflecting the change in the ailment itself—for better or worse that may help the dreamer better deal with the ailment.
  5. Giving clues as what will be the outcomes for certain choices. Dreams will often present scenarios that can and do come true in waking life.  So when an alarming dream happens, it is important to write it down, reflect on it and learn for it. For example, a friend of mine had disconcerting repetitive dreams about being arrested for drunk driving. While he is a moderate drinker, there is probably little likelihood this will happen but certainly the warning is there to help him make good choices about drinking and driving. And if he should make a wrong choice, this dream could very well come true. Also, because dreams can have multiple meanings, I told him his dream might actually be about something else entirely. Only he could know for sure.
  6. Accessing information that gives me choices. Therefore, the power of dreams is not so much that they can look into the future; it’s that when remembered, they give us the opportunity to make a different choice than the one we made in the dream— if we want to. They give us a chance to test drive a decision before it pans out in real life. From a lifetime of recording my dreams I have found that all major issues in life seem to be “worked through” with a choice made in dream time prior to my need to make that decision in waking time. It’s like there is a program that has been set by a decision I have already made in dream time that will manifest itself in waking life. Having all my dreams written down lets me go back and see how an issue, especially a health related one that I am facing now, got resolved earlier in a dream. If I liked the way it turned out then, then I can resolve it as I did in the dream. If I did not like the outcome, I can simply make a different choice as I did in the following instance.

To learn more about dreams, visit my website: http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.