Bringing Dreamwork into Religious Practice

Jacob's Dream

Jacob’s Dream. Image via Pinterest.

Just like prayer and meditation, working with dreams is a method of spiritual practice because dreams are spiritual in nature in that they speak for the soul.  Just by doing the exercise of recording and reflecting upon our dreams, we are connecting with the spiritual aspect of ourselves.

If we seriously practice a religion, the spiritual practice of dreamwork can be made part of our religious experience by 1) using prayer as part of our intentional dreaming and 2) by referring to the Bible or some other holy writing when we reflect upon the meaning of our dreams. 

Intentional Dreaming

Intentional dreaming is requesting a specific insight, solution or healing from a dream.  This is a very ancient practice that has often been connected to religion.  This practice can be done today by praying to Jesus, God or some other spiritual figure to provide guidance and help with our request before we go to bed at night.

Referring to the Bible or Other Inspired Writing

We can work with the Bible or other holy book to help us understand our dreams.  The Hawaiians have a practice of praying about an important dream to ask for guidance in interpreting the dream.  Then, they open the Bible to a random place and read the passage that presents itself.  They look for a correlation or some inspiration to come based on a combination of the dream and the passage.

Another way of tying dreams to the Bible is to look at the symbols in the dream.  Many symbols in important dreams are also symbols found in the Bible.  For example, I once dreamed of a chair in my living room that had caught fire and burned but did not burn up.  It reminded me of the Burning Bush in the Old Testament.  I reflected on the meaning of the Burning Bush in the Bible as a sign of God’s presence to Moses and wondered if this wasn’t telling me that something numinous was happening in my own life!  Sure enough, a strong and new energy soon came into my life which redirected my spiritual journey.

Still another way of understanding dreams as they relate to the Bible is to learn from any of the many biblical passages where holy people used dreams for inspiration and guidance.  The story of Joseph in the Old Testament and the story of Joseph, the husband of Mary, come to mind as people who relied on dreams to shape their lives.  We can observe how they worked with dreams and do as they did.  Try these practices and see how they enliven your dream and waking life!

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