Is it a Run of Bad Luck or Is It a Test? The Dreams Will Tell.

Tests of faith produce perseverance.

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When a string of bad things happen to us that we did not bring on ourselves, we might attribute it to bad luck or bad timing. Have you ever thought that it could be a spiritual test which might be like an initiation bringing you to a higher level of spiritual consciousness?

If we are to grow significantly in any endeavor, no matter if it is in a sport or an academic area of expertise, we need to constantly be tested. The same is true in the spiritual life. All the great saints and Jesus himself (Luke 4:1-12) were put to the test at some point in their lives. These tests often marked the reaching of a state of maturity that enabled them to witness to or practice their particular calling.

If you were put to a spiritual test, how would you know it?

Sometimes a random string of negative events is just that. How we react to it can exasperate or strengthen us—a lot depends on our response. Even random events can serve the effort of spiritual growth. However, sometimes we are faced with challenges that are truly meant to define us and bring us to the next spiritual level. In this case, how do we know that it is a real spiritual test and not just a random string of bad luck?

Dreams can literally tell us when we are being tested or when we will undergo a challenging set of events that will serve as a training camp of sorts. I am reminded of a dream I had a couple of years ago where I dreamed that I was summoned to a table of people with a certain calling. However, before I could join this table and be given the “goods” to work at this calling, I would be put to a test. The ensuring couple of years proved to be profoundly challenging with work endeavors that represented my work passion all shutting down. If I did not have this dream that set these very disappointing episodes in the context of a greater scheme, I would have despaired all together and perhaps have given up on work that expressed my passion. In another dream about twenty years ago, I dreamed that I would be put in a training program that would bring me to an “Olympic level” of ability. The subsequent years of learning from my dreams and events in my life that went along with the dream learning certainly had that effect whereby I significantly developed my abilities to work with dreams.

Getting insights into where we are on our spiritual journeys is just another way dreams can be of great help, making on-going dreamwork an important tool for those serious about spiritual growth.

Part II, Intention, Gratitude and Faith: Recipe Ingredients for Transformation

Recipe for Transformation

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In my previous blog, I stated that the road to spiritual transformation is essentially an inward journey that intimately connects us with our body, minds and spirits.  Intention, gratitude and faith are the ingredients that invite miraculous changes on this transformative path, changes that cannot be achieved by just following the rules or doing some other conventional practice.  Why is this so?

The reason is that these traits prepare one for the emptying of self, the total letting go, the kenosis that is ultimately required for transformation.  The emptying of self can be made in countless little decisions or in one major gesture whereby there is a willing and loving pouring out of one’s self, the using of all one’s resources and the expending of all one’s energies to undergo a transformation.  It calls to mind one of St. Paul’s statement in 2 Timothy 4:6, “I am being poured out like a libation; and my time of departure has come.” (NOAB, NRSV)  Jesus’ own life was said to be one long emptying of self for the sake of others.

Intention

Intention sets the choice of the individual and indicates in what direction all energies will be utilized and expended, if necessary.  Usually navigating the spiritual path asks a great deal of clear-sightedness, resolve and determination from the seeker.  Setting a firm intention will martial these qualities to serve the journey.

Gratitude

Gratitude has a way of opening and expanding the heart, tuning one to the frequency of higher consciousness energy.  It also has a way of making the person buoyant in the face of adversity.  It raises one up rather than pulling one down.  Gratitude can therefore raise a person above the fray, allowing for peace and well-being.  It is absolutely essential in allowing the person to “let go” with peace of mind.

Faith

Faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1, NOAB, NRSV)  It is a type of visionary knowing that instills confidence.  Without faith, one can do nothing involving risk and change.

Applying Intention, Gratitude and Faith to Our Spiritual Practices

Because intention, gratitude and faith are so important, it is very helpful when they are consciously brought into our spiritual life such as in prayers, dreamwork and meditation.  Intention sets one on the particular path.  It is very useful to intend dreams that ask for a specific piece of information or guidance.  It is good training to ask for things needed in prayer.  Faith is thereby deepened when we get answers to prayers and dream requests.  We find we have a give-and-take relationship with divinity.  Gratitude opens us to positive energies on the path because a grateful heart enriches meditation and life by connecting us to higher energies.  And believing all our requests and intentions will be heard and our gratitude appreciated opens the visionary pathway for the change that is to come.

Vulnerability as Seen In Dreams

Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.

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We often don’t “feel” our own vulnerability due to the defensive and denial power of the ego; however, dreams show us when we are vulnerable and this can be a great aid in spiritual development and in generally taking care of ourselves.

The Franciscan friar and spiritual writer, Richard Rohr, states in a very insightful book I heartily recommend, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, that vulnerability “…may be the only start for any true spiritual journey.”  Noticing when we are vulnerable and how our dreams portray this state can significantly help us become aware of how vulnerability affects us individually.  Dreams can often also gives us clues on how to do deal with this state, all of which will contribute much to our spiritual growth and well-being.  Dealing with a vulnerability dream may be the first step to living a deeply spiritual life that is is marked by a profound sense of inner strength and well-being.

Dream Images of Vulnerability

Common images and themes found in dreams that may relate to vulnerability are:

  • Appearing naked or scantily clothed in a public or inhospitable environment.
  • Being lost or wandering in a strange setting
  • Breakdown of one’s vehicle
  • A wounded or diseased body part
  • Losing one’s wallet or purse
What Can Be Done
  1. Instead of forgetting or ignoring these upsetting images, reverence them as profound symbols with messages telling us to take care.
  2. A great way to mine the richness of the dream is to notice and appreciate these images by asking ourselves how they relate to what’s going on in our current life. For example, a loss of a wallet containing an ID card may relate to a sense of losing one’s identity, making us vulnerable to others’ control.
  3. We may even pray about the image, seeking guidance or healing about the issue. If insightful guidance comes, act on it!
  4. Observe if there are helpers in the dream. How are they helping?  Are there persons in one’s waking life that are helping in a corresponding manner?  This may also give clues to nature of the vulnerability.  Are these helpers spiritual in nature, such as a guardian angel?  Also, consider that these helpers may be aspects of oneself such as some talent or skill that could resolve a situation where one feels uncomfortable in waking life.

My new blog on a call for Spirituality: Three Women at the Tomb

Justifying one's own behavior

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Recent political events have made me question how a so many voters in a so-called Christian country could vote for a candidate who is more unprepared, unqualified, unsuited and uniformed than any presidential candidate in our nation’s history.  I can understand the need for change, a need for a new way of doing things.  But why didn’t they select a candidate who represented the highest of their hopes and spiritual ideas, and not the worst of their prejudices and fears?  I was stunned that so many people were willing to compromise principle in this election.  That is very similar to the rise of Adolph Hitler.  Does the end justify the means?  Apparently so, just as it did in the worst of the fascist and communist purges.

One has to ask why so many so-called Christians voted this way in the US and in pre-war Germany.  Was it the way they were trained in the Christian faith to be faithful servants to an organization and not to Jesus himself?  Jesus was a radical who was opposed to violence and treated everyone equally.  He was against the accumulation of wealth. It is no wonder the pope sent such an urgent reminder to President Trump.

When Christian Americans were voting, where was the spiritual depth to see that HOW WE DO THINGS IS AS IMPORTANT AS GETTING ORGANIZED AND GETTING THINGS DONE? The soul is in the how, not in the doing.  I have started a new blog that issues a call to get spirituality as found in the true model of Jesus out of the shadows and bring it front and center to shine real light on Christian action.  Please visit my blog https://3womenatthetomb.wordpress.com/.

Dreams of Spiritual Transformation

Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening

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Big changes in life are usually easy to detect.  We all recognize when there is a need to change a job, or a desire to get married.  There are external and internal catalysts that tell us it’s time to make a change.   We no longer feel the job is right for us or we meet a special person who awakens new and wondrous feelings.  We go ahead and make the decisions that set in place the change, and change happens.   We get a new job or we get married.   Our lives are transformed.   We judge the success of the change by the outcome of the new job or marriage.

Monitoring Spiritual Transformation is Often Not So Simple

On the spiritual level, the need to make a change, as well as the ability to monitor the success and degree of change is often a lot more subtle, and may take years to notice if we lead a busy, work-filled lifestyle.  The catalysts for spiritual change, especially the profound and life altering changes at the soul level, such as the need to live for a deeper reason, or a loss of feeling comfortable with the way things are can bring on rich, insightful, and even guiding dreams that help one through the often difficult challenges and obstacles that happen later in the process of spiritual transformation.  Dreams help us get prepared for the shift at the soul level.

Dreamwork Helps Monitor Spiritual Change

Doing dreamwork over a long period of time has many advantages, and one of them is the ability to see one’s own spiritual transformation take place before one’s eyes, over a period of time, presently or imminently—before it actually manifests in waking life.  This can be especially helpful if one is going through a long, dark period when no glimmer of hope for change seems so on the horizon.

This transformation can be seen in dreams by symbols and stories of change.  A symbols doesn’t have to be obviously spiritual or religious, but the dreamer will make the association if it is.   An important symbol in the dream may actually morph and change shape, showing the type of transformation that will take place.  A process taking place in the dream may symbolize what the dreamer will go through.  Voices may actually tell the dreamer that change has taken place, or will take place.

I am reminded of a recent dream I had where I parked my car and walked off, only to return to find that my old car had morphed into an amazing new car that had a special feel to it.  Someone in the dream scene told me that I had parked my car in a “zone of transformation” so that caused the car to be transformed!  Previously in the past couple of years, I had dreams of my old car having brake and tire problems—even being blown up, all of which seem to reflect the many spiritual challenges I faced at this time that related to making my way through life.  This transformational dream related to my car certainly lets me know that all those challenges are leading to change!

Integrating the Kundalini Experience into Christian Practice

Christianizing Kundalini

The Cross and the Seven Chakras

A kundalini awakening, the release of the primal life force or mother energy, from the base of the spine and moving upward to the brain, is a human phenomenon experienced by some throughout the world but only fully recognized and studied in the Hindu culture as a process of spiritual transformation.   Therefore, when it happens to non-Hindus, it can be a confusing, troubling and even devastating event wreaking havoc in people’s lives, especially in those who do not seek out the awakening or understand its profound spiritual, emotional and physical meanings.   Moreover, kundalini is often misunderstood or misdiagnosed by doctors and psychologists, adding more suffering to those who live with often varied, bizarre and intense symptoms following the experience.

For a devout traditional Christian who finds out what has happened to him or her, it can be even more shocking because the experience is not articulated, promoted or condoned in the Bible or Christian teachings.  A reading of the lives of the saints, however, will tell us that many saints experienced kundalini symptoms on their spiritual journeys.

“Christianizing” Kundalini

A kundalini event, and the changed life that comes after, can be integrated into Christian practice and can greatly inform and aid the believer in spiritual, psychological and physical healing.   When kundalini energy works in the body, it works at the cellular level to cleanse the body of everything that doesn’t belong there—from negative thought patterns to illnesses of every sort.  It is a matter of believing something profound is going on and accepting a process that can at times be painful and disconcerting.  The ego’s defenses weaken by its onslaught, and eventually wear away.   What can the Christian do to bring this process into a Christian framework?

  • Many spiritual gifts will come with this event such as visions and the ability to see auras. Use these gifts to help you along.  For example, when my kundalini energy opened, I had a vision of Jesus standing by me, bringing peace to me during those first frightening symptoms such as intense migraines.  I knew instinctively that something spiritual was happening to me.  I was not “sick.”  I also received the gift to intuitively diagnose physical conditions.  I was told in dreamtime to use this whenever I encountered strange sensations in my body.
  • Therefore, If Jesus or a saint or angel appears, pray to this spiritual being to be your guide in working with the energy so that you may be transformed into the person you are meant to become. Your spiritual guide will provide guidance and support.
  • Pray using energy and healing concepts that blend Hindu and Christian beliefs, if you feel comfortable doing it. An example is my version (others have done something similar) of the Lord’s Prayer, written to show how the points of the prayer coincide with the seven chakras, or energy centers, of Hindu teachings.  Click here to see sample.
  • Do dreamwork by
    • Keeping a dream journal and reflecting on the dreams recorded. Dreams will let you know much about the purpose and the process of your kundalini experience.  They will let you know of the ups and downs, the flow of the energy and the progress you have made in working with the energy.  Also this website contains a number of articles on working with kundalini energy such as Symbols for Kundalini Energy in Dreams: Volcanoes.  Click on “Kundalini in Dreams” under the Topic menu to your left to find these articles as well as other related blogs in “Dreamwork and Christian Practice.”
    • Before going to bed, prayerfully request a dream that will guide you by asking for a certain dream to resolve a specific, stated issue related to the kundalini.

Read about others’ experiences.  I highly recommend a book by Philip St. Romain called Kundalini Energy and Christian Spirituality that describes not only his efforts to deal with the energy but also his attempts to integrate his understanding of this energy into Christian theology.  I have written a short online book digest for this book called Pioneering Christian Kundalini that can be found at The Intuitive-Connections Network website by clicking here.

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!

Dreamwork Is Essential for Spiritual Growth

The dream is a door in the soul to the cosmos..

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While it has been said that neurosis is a cry of the soul wanting to be heard, there are various positive ways that our souls speak to us, if we take the time and the effort to pay attention.   One way is intuitive insight.  Perhaps another is reverie when we are relaxed and allow our minds to meander without control, being fed by stirrings deep within us.   Another very important way is dreams.  Freud called dreams the “royal road to the Unconscious” for a reason.  These night time scenarios are the most direct and readily available means of receiving undiluted messages from the soul.

It stands to reason then that anyone who is seriously interested in spirituality and the care of the soul would take dreams seriously, but sadly this is often not the case.  There are plenty of people who try to follow a spiritual path and ignore their dreams altogether!  Even many psychologists who are in the field of “the study of the soul” don’t take their own dreams seriously or use dreams as a therapeutic method.  The most common reasons given are that dreams are hard to remember, or are weird and hard to figure out.  An often not-stated reason is that dreams can be frightening and disturbing.  Also, some religious people of certain persuasions feel dreams may be the work of the devil despite the fact that the Bible recounts numerous stories where people used dreams to listen to God.

There is in Western society and in Christianity in particular, an abiding distrust of the Unconscious that has not encouraged us to explore our dreams—something not shared by our ancient ancestors and indigenous peoples who all took dreams seriously.  We need to reclaim this respect if we are going to mature spiritually in a truly holistic fashion of mind, body, and spirit.

Get to Know Your Dreams

If dreams are strange and so frightening, it is perhaps like anything else we fear: it is a fear of the unknown that can be remedied by getting to know what we fear.  One gets to know one’s dreams by making the following intentions and following through with them:

  • Take dreams seriously.
  • Tell yourself you will remember your dreams.
  • Write or record them in a dream journal. Review them on occasion.
  • Reflect on them for several levels of meaning rather than seek a quick and superficial answer.
  • Consider that every dream has a spiritual meaning.
  • Consider everything in the dream as representing an energy within yourself.
  • Make associations between things and people in the dream with those in your waking life at the moment.

Doing these simple tasks of dreamwork on a regular basis will provide a profound portal to the soul, teaching much about the soul and what it has to say. You will come across an amazing, undiscovered country and you will have practiced a very effective spiritual method!

Can We Make the Term Priestess Respectable?

A prietess is a woman who helps others connect to the divine.

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While surfing on Pinterest I saw a definition of priestess and realized that I am truly one, along with some amazing ladies I know.  It is what I have been attempting to do ever since I began teaching dreamwork and meditation years ago.  Here is the definition:

A priestess is a woman who helps others connect to the divine so that they can heal and/or actualize their soul’s path.

I have found it interesting that women priests in the Episcopal Church are called priests and not priestess.  Perhaps the term resonates with witchcraft, and the wild things beyond the control of civilized constructs such as organized religion.  For sure, the term is connected to what the Hawaiians would call mana, or power.  Such power, no matter if it is a force of nature, or a force of our own souls or the force of a divine power, is indeed outside the control of humans.  Yet, this energy is what drives real spiritual enlightenment, healing, growth and conversion.  It is what religion is truly all about.   In resurrecting the term priestess, we can perhaps also bring back, or let back in again, the sacred life-giving energy that is needed to rejuvenate a person or a congregation.

I think all great priests, men or women, truly act out their calling when they serve this sacred function of connecting people to the divine, especially in a highly personal way such as attending to the needs of a dying person, doing spiritual direction, or healing a community conflict in such a way that it brings out the best in everyone.   However, nowadays,  sadly, emphasis is usually put elsewhere so that people are first more readily to identify priests as the performers of rituals and homilies that may or may not inspire and functionaries of religious organizations, not much different from a corporate CEO.   No wonder people, so many people, have a hard time finding life in a church!

All people hunger for an experience of the sacred.  Perhaps it will take priestesses to do the job, if the priests (male and female) don’t measure up to the job.  If this is the case, organized religion perhaps can expect to see a decline in attendance.

Biblical Symbols Appearing in Dreams

Biblical symbols can appear in dreams.

Moses and the Burning Bush. Image via Pinterest.

For persons who practice recording their dreams faithfully over a long period of time, an interesting observation may be made. It certainly happened to me. I noticed that many of the symbols in the Bible had a way of showing up in my dreams! If you keep a dream journal I suggest you review it for symbols in the Bible and review that symbol in relationship to the Biblical story to see what inspiration comes up. A profound and surprising spiritual meaning may surface—and you might have an epiphany of your own. To give an example, here are some Biblical symbols that have occurred in my dreams over the years and some of the meanings I ascribed to them after being influenced by the Biblical setting of the symbol.

An Object Mysteriously Burning (The Burning Bush: Exodus 3: 2-4)

Dream: I see a chair in my living room that has caught fire and is burning yet it is not burning up. It exudes a beautiful glow. I am amazed.
Reflection: I am readily reminded of the Burning Bush that amazes Moses and suspects that something within me has “lit up,” and won’t be consumed, bringing new energy with potential new awareness and insight. In the ensuing years, I was indeed the witness to profound insights and new energy.

A Pillar That Points the Way (The Pillar of Clouds by Day and the Pillar of Fire by Night: Exodus 13: 20-22)

Dream: I go to see the boss, quickly, in a business-like way. I see a black pillar before me as if it is leading me in the direction I need to go. I state my case to be able to move on. To show acknowledgement of my request, I am gifted with a necklace of oval shaped beads: black white and aqua.
Reflection: The boss is not my boss in waking life, giving me clues that this dream has a deeper meaning than just my work life. I recognize the pillar leading me as a symbol in Exodus that leads the people through the Wilderness so I suspect this has to do with my spiritual life, and I am being led. By stating I want to move on, I am showing that I am ready to move in a new direction spiritually. The gift of the necklace, a symbol for the throat chakra of communication suggests that I will be given a gift in communication such as writing or speaking. The colors of white and aqua are the traditional healing colors. I conclude I will be given a gift that involves healing. Indeed, over the next several years I was both healed in many different ways, and given the gift to heal others when called to do so, both in writing, speaking and touch.

I could give many more examples. It makes me wonder how much archetypal symbolism common in dreams is contained in the Bible, drawing us deeper into ourselves as we read the passages just as the dream symbols draw us deeper into ourselves as we reflect upon them.