What It Means to Commit to Dreamwork

Recording dreams regularly will provide many insights not otherwise available to the waking mind.

Recording Dreams

Dreamwork is the practice of regularly recording and reflecting on one’s dream in a conscious and applied manner with the intention to learn from the wisdom of dreams. It is not an easy task. In fact, it is probably one of the most challenging projects a person could take on, and yet, possibly one of the most rewarding.

Freud said dreams were “the royal road to the Unconscious.” Connecting to dreams is a direct method to connect to the Unconscious, the deepest part of you. So if you want to really get to know yourself through and through, doing dreamwork is one of the best ways to do it.

By committing to dreamwork, you are giving permission to the Unconscious to inform your waking life, bringing new and often challenging insights into a consciousness that is often protected from this greater reality by a tough Ego that wants to be safe, secure and in control. Often, the interests of Ego and the interests of Unconscious are at odds. This means:

  • You may experience conflicting values in situations where your ego has learned to adapt, appease, turn a blind eye or, conversely, be overly critical and your Unconscious is suggesting a bolder, risky or more loving response.
  • You may be presented with information about a situation you would rather not know. Dreams often can see the bigger picture and give information you do not pick up in waking consciousness or they may portend events in the future that may be hard to accept.
  • Dreams may show you how powerful you can be if you forgo your fears and act on your dreams. Dreams may show you doing things in dreamtime you are frightened to do in your waking life—but in dreamtime accomplish with ease, grace and sometimes with the help of angelic beings. This is why the phrase “If you can dream it, you can do it” is so true. It’s like the holographic prototype model has already been tested in dreamtime, proving to you it can work.

By committing to dreamwork, then, you are committing yourself to be open to another level of awareness that calls you to move beyond the constraints of Ego limitations and into a world of limitless possibilities. What can be more exciting than that?

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Reflections on Which Dreams May Manifest in Waking Life

Dreams can help keep us healthy.

Hippocrates of Kos taught about dreams indicating illnesses.


If you faithfully keep a dream journal you will notice, over time, many things and events that you dream about come true in waking life. It may be the sequence of events that particularly manifest or it may be that you see a person in dreamtime you never met before–but several months after the dream you meet that person in waking life. Then there are some dreams that don’t appear to have any relationship to current reality or seem so bizarre and surrealistic that it doesn’t seem they could ever be making a true statement about anything.

This raises the question of how do you know if a dream might manifest in waking life? From nearly forty years of dreamwork, I have made these observations about my own dreams. You might see if they apply to your own.

  1. Very realistic dreams tend to manifest in waking life. If I have a dream that is realistic and probable, i.e., I am driving my own car and not some fantasy car, then it probably has something to do with manifesting something in waking life. For example, any physical ailment which I knew about ahead of time in dreamtime presented quite literally and showed up later on a medical test as when years ago I had a dream in which a voice said I had blood in my stool. A medical test actually concurred with that even though a later colonoscopy proved it was nothing to worry about. This rule applies also in cases where the symbolism is present but there is a clear resemblance such as dreaming of having overflowing pipes and end up having diarrhea. This is possible because there is a close proximity to the symbol and waking reality. In fact, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said much medical and diagnostic information of this sort could be gained from similar dreams.
  2. Somewhat surrealistic or unrealistic events may be relating events in the far off future. Years ago I had a series of dreams in which I was traveling around Hawaii with my brother. At the time I was living in Massachusetts, and so the possibility of this happening seemed a little far-fetched. The island’s scenery was stylized in my dream, not being typical of a specific place on any of the islands. Yet, as I read my dream journal years later, I found that after I moved to Hawaii, we did travel around the island of Oahu as we did in the dream, and we shared certain concerns that showed up in those early dreams.
  3. Very surrealistic dreams tend to be making a statement about the interior world of the dreamer. Really bizarre, odd or unusual objects in places they don’t usually belong, such as a rare or extinct species of owl in a refrigerator, are most often aspects of the dreamer and need to be looked at as such by asking, “What about me is like this owl?” or “What about me is like the refrigerator?” In this type of dream, I personally have not seen a close or frequent connection to events or objects manifesting in waking life such as opening the refrigerator and finding a rare spotted owl perched next to the orange juice.

Working with Dream Themes: Dream Lovers

Lover as Muse

Gustave Moreau, Hesiod and the Muse (1891)—Musée d’Orsay, Paris

Meeting and possibly making love with a very attractive person in a dream is a quite common dream theme, no matter whether it is someone we know in waking life or a mysterious lover who only populates our dreams. In the dream, these encounters are often marked by passion, beauty, and wonder so vivid that upon waking we feel driven to act on the dream—no matter if the person is someone in waking life who is unavailable, a poor choice or someone we don’t know or haven’t even encountered yet!

The importance of the dream is not so much the person referred to but the energy that is evoked in the dream. Powerful energy does, indeed, need acting upon and that is what the dream is asking us to do. However, before going and doing something foolish or regrettable, the thing to remember is that the dream is all about the dreamer. That highly attractive and lovely soul you are encountering is perhaps an aspect of your own loveliness or quality, and it is that which is asking you to recognize in yourself!

Example:

In the dream you are falling for a writer who is physically attractive and highly competent as a writer. Before you go associating this person with someone you know who is a writer, you might ask yourself: Have you thought about becoming a writer? Do you have writing skills you haven’t developed? If so, this dream perhaps is telling you that the profession would be attractive to you and that you would be competent at it! It is like your muse inviting you to this possibility.

If you actually know a writer in waking life that you think this dream symbol represents, you may want to pursue the relationship in real life if the person is available emotionally or otherwise. That person may have a lot to teach you about writing and life itself. The good news is that if this person is a jerk in waking life, or is married with three kids, or you are married, you can still nurture that wonderful energy by recognizing that it is part of you—you can value it by learning about the craft of writing, starting writing, and getting feedback on your writing. Your love will blossom to fruition with the development of a whole new aspect of yourself and you will have avoided a possibly disastrous relationship!

Working with Dream Themes: Dreams of My Father

Dreams of the Father

Dreaming of One’s Father

The appearance of the father in a dream is one that is loaded with significance because of the rich and deep associations, perhaps very negative or very positive, with our experience of having a father. My own long relationship with my father was one of the richest (full of ups and downs) and best and most supportive in my life so this week when I had the unusual occurrence of two dreams about him around the 8th anniversary of his death I decided to take a closer than usual look at this powerful dream symbol.

Look for Personal Associations

I first looked at my personal association the father symbol. Reflecting on this symbol made me realize first and foremost the supportive and caring association I had with my father. So his image in the dream represents for me caring and supportive energy that is near me now, even though he has passed.

Look for Conventional Associations

I next perused various dream dictionaries for the usual explanations of the symbol of the father. Depending on the dream dictionary, there were often many and varied meanings ranging from the father being a symbol of power, authority, and the law to being a harbinger indicating difficult times were coming and that one should seek wise advice.

Reflect More Deeply

When I research various meanings like this, I consider it a form of brainstorming. I am not ready to accept the answers I find at face value. I just want to see all the general associations with the father out there, perhaps coming across some I haven’t seen before. While doing this, I look for any of these to have a meaning that resonates with me, an association that might feel like it has a meaning tailored for me in my specific dream. I ran across one such meaning I hadn’t seen before and it resonated. A dream about the father, in Arabic and Islamic traditions, and found at http://dreamingthedreams.com/meanings/Father/ means help for a waking issue will come from sources one doesn’t anticipate.

Stick to the Feelings in and Generated by the Dream

This meaning was valid specifically for me because it connected the feelings in the dream and those generated by the dream with what has been going on in my life. In both dreams, my father was feeling confident and happy. He wasn’t trying to warn or help me, which means that part of me in the dream that is represented by my father is apparently happy and satisfied! This is odd because recently I have made a risky career choice my father wouldn’t necessarily have approved of when he was living, which is resulting in a situation where I need help but from sources I can’t imagine. I have tried all the usual solutions and sources I know of and none have yet worked; however, other dreams of mine indicated that help will come—even though the source was not revealed. When I read this last interpretation of help coming from unexpected sources, it tied all the meanings and feelings together and comforted me.

Building Self-Respect through Dreamwork and Intuitive Meditation

What do I rely on to get respect?

Where Does Self-Respect Come From?

5 Signs You’re Not Respecting Yourself by Vironika Tugaleva  is a good article about the negative behaviors that can pull us down, indicating that our self-esteem is plummeting. If these behaviors become habitual patterns they can be very self-destructive and undermine our relationships with other people.

Usually these behaviors manifest because, for any number of reasons, we are not in touch with our true self, and so don’t respect who we are.  Dreamwork and accessing intuitive insight are great tools that can counteract any tendency to disrespect ourselves because the on-going practice of these exercises can lead to a healthy awareness of who we truly and uniquely are at the deepest emotional and spiritual levels. These exercises tap us into the root of our being and nourish us with information that gives the bigger picture, the grander vision and the substance of things. They can also give us specific answers to problems and concerns we may have. Instead of being buffeted around by the questionable and often enslaving pressures and opinions of those around us, we are fed by healing truths that are custom made for each of us in a way that meets the problem at hand while preserving our innate goodness and integrity.  The end result is that we can behave in a manner that is worthy of respect, both from others and from ourselves!

Example: When I start to feel jealous of someone’s life, thinking it is better than mine, I can ask for a dream will give me guidance on how I can get more out of my own life, being very specific in the questioning to indicate what makes me jealous of someone else and what I might need to fulfill my own life. Asking for a dream to help resolve an issue is called incubating a dream (Ask and You Shall Receive: Incubating a Dream), and it can become one way to work through an issue.

The same can be done by an intuitive meditation such as the Inspired Heart™ Meditation. Prior to doing the meditation I can ask for insight to come. During the meditation I observe the breath and quiet the mind. I then make a heart connection, and receive the insight that comes.

No matter if I work with a dream or in a meditation, the occasion may become a turning point in my life that encourages me to face my feelings, and work towards resolving my issues based on information I have received from a profound inner source and not someone’s opinion or outside pressure. With regular practice I will find that such empowerment will lead to a healthy self-respect. I will come to experience that I am a Child of God, fed and cared for by divine sources, and placed on this earth for an important purpose that only I can serve.  What better basis for self-respect can there be?