Dreamwork & Meditation: Experiential Practices to Access the True Self

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

Recording Dreams: A Form of Dreamwork

In a Spiritual Book Club I am facilitating, the members selected a very profound and experienced-based book by John Welwood called Toward a Psychology of Awakening.  At the start, Welwood makes the point that his Christian upbringing (and it is my personal opinion, many of our Christian upbringings) did not provide experiential practice for realizing our true natures even though there was wonderful ritual and music.  As a result, Welwood, like me and many in my generation, turned to Asian religions and other sources for insight.  Even today, I personally believe this is the primary reason why serious seekers are not attracted to the mainline Christian religions: there is often too much emphasis on the organization, joining it, being a member, and contributing to it—when what people really want is an experience of the divine!

In studying Buddhism at the graduate level, I was fortunate to have mentors who were well versed not only in meditation but also in working with dreams.  For me, it was primarily through dreamwork that I first developed a spiritual methodology that gave me a deeply meaningful experiential access to the spiritual life and its healing.  Later, through meditation, I experienced the power of intuition and other states of consciousness that inform one of the wide and awesome nature of our true being.  With such experience, the scriptures, rituals and music had all the more meaning!  I could personally relate to the stories of salvation and God’s presence in our lives.  These no longer seemed like myths and fairy tales.  Religion was no longer about following the rules or joining a group but about living a rich experience-based life with fellow seekers.

I think that if Christianity is to thrive, it will have to incorporate experiential practices such as dreamwork and meditation into regular activities such as bible class and Sunday school.

Advertisements

The Call to Change As Seen in Dreams

Dreams call us to change.

Don’t sleep through your dreams!

Recently, American public life has shown how accepting so many people have become to the low moral standards both in themselves and in the public figures they elect.  One wonders how far it will go before there is a momentous push in the other direction, when a huge number of people finally say “Enough is enough” and wake up and take a stand.  Seeing the need for change in oneself and in society signifies growth in awareness.  Where does this perception first come from?

Dreams Call Us to Change

One of the primary functions of dreams is to call us to our truest and best self—and this is often at odds with what the ego wants.  Our conscience often speaks most clearly in dreams, unfettered by the ego’s desires.  One could say that our guardian angel appears in dreams in various disguises to help us on our way.  When we are going down a path not meant for us, a dream will let us know—assuming we are paying attention.  If we don’t make an effort to remember our dreams or take them seriously, we could miss this message all together.  Sometimes I think so many people ignore or don’t want to remember their dreams because they inherently know that their dreams might be calling them to take a road they are not taking in waking life, such as standing up for what is right.

Examples of Dreams Calling for Change

Many years ago I began a relationship with a man whom I enjoyed being with for his charm, intelligent conversation and good looks.  I knew I was probably getting more involved with him than I should because I really wasn’t in love with him and had no plans for a serious, long-term relationship.  One night I had a dream of Big Bird, the TV character, standing in front of me wagging his finger in disapproval.   While this was in no way threatening, but actually a little comical, it sent me a strong message to change and get out of this relationship.   A bird is often a dream symbol for the soul so to have a big bird, my higher self, communicate something like this to me was a real “wake up call.”

Another similar dream occurred when I was extremely angry at the breakup of another relationship, almost to the point that I didn’t recognize my feelings but were engulfed in them like a fish is in sea, taking it all for granted.  During this time I had a dream of a funny little man dressed in black who spoke to me in a stern and commanding voice, saying “Don’t be so angry!  You nearly missed coming down with a serious disease!”  That dream really jolted me awake, and made me also realize there must be a relationship between negative emotions and illnesses.  I vowed to let go of my anger, realizing my health was more important than indulging in negative emotions, with the result that my life has continued for many years with great health.

How are your dreams calling you to change?

Are You Pissing? Anger as Seen in Dreams

Dreams help us repond rather than react.

Image via Pinterest

Anger is often a feeling that is suppressed, especially by women, because it may not be considered socially acceptable for woman to display, express or channel anger in ways that men can.  This is often true in Asian cultures.  The need for such courses like Anger Management testifies to the difficulty of recognizing and controlling anger in a healthy manner.  Uncontrolled, reactive outbursts of rage and anger from a seemingly calm and collected person suggest anger has always been there but it has been denied, hidden or used in a passive manner that is not so obvious.  This lack of expression of anger can lead to serious consequences, especially if the pent-up rage explodes in a violent or abusive manner.

Dreams are A Good Way to Spot Hidden Anger

Dreams can alert a person to hidden or denied anger, so that the aware dreamer may be less susceptible to being victim on his or her sudden, uncontrolled outbursts.   If the dreamer actually dreams of acting in a violent or angry way in a dream, this is a sure indication of anger growing in waking life.  These are obvious signs that the dreamer needs to get in touch with his or her feelings before this behavior manifests in waking life.  When the dreamer is aware of his or her dream content, the dreamer has a better chance of expressing his or her anger in a creative, constructive way rather than a violent or abuse way by reflecting on the causes of the anger and doing dreamwork such as talking about the anger to supportive persons.  A creative response to an anger-filled situation can bring healing both to the dreamer and to others involved.

Other Signs of Anger in Dreams

Dreams of going to the bathroom, or needing to go, indicate there are negative energies that need to be released.  Dreams often use puns to get their message across.  Dreams of peeing or “pissing” use a common pun to suggest the dreamer is “pissed off.”  If you dream of pissing, ask yourself what you are pissed off about in your waking like.  You might also check the predominant color in a pissing dream.   If you are in a particularly bright red bathroom, your anger may be related to first chakra issues like survival because red is the color most often associated with the first chakra.  Are you angry about not getting a good job—or losing a good job?  If the urine in your dream is bright yellow, it might mean it is related to the third or power chakra which is associated with the color yellow.  Could you be angry about feeling helpless in a frustrating situation?  Peeing a bright yellow stream might also mean that like in waking life, you are not getting enough fluids or nutrition (support) to clear out your negative waste—in other words you may feel you are not getting enough support on issues connected to your anger.

Watch your dreams.  They can be your best friend for helping you keep your head–and help you respond in a healthy way.  They tell you much about your emotional state and leave you much better prepared to deal with difficult situations in constructive and creative ways.

Treating the Symptoms of Kundalini Clearing Energy

Essential oils and herbs can help with kundalini clearing symptoms.

Image via Pinterest.

Many people are fascinated by kundalini for its many health and spiritual benefits.  It is known that the energy improves health, promotes longevity and gives paranormal gifts like ESP, the ability to see auras and angels, etc.

For those who actually experience a kundalini awakening, they often do receive these benefits ; however, what they are most often faced with is the profound clearing of negative energy that can take place over a long period of time—energy that often is released with uncomfortable physical accompaniments of “clearing” through bodily processes such as loose bowel movements, nose and chest congestion, headaches, and a host of other discomforts that may last a brief or a significantly long amount of time.

While you are undergoing such a clearing, you may think you have come down with the flu or have caught a cold.  One way to tell this isn’t so is that you actually don’t look sick!  Quite the contrary, you may have a glowing look of health as the body actually rids itself of the negative energy that has been held in memory in the body’s cells.  While you feel off, a good thing is actually happening in your body.

In my experience, at times like this, one should not take the usual stomach, cold or flu medications for these events—this will only add to the substances the body will need to discharge.  It is important to drink plenty of healthy fluids such as water to help with the clearing and try to take it easy by not adding any unnecessary physical activities.  I have found that essential oils and herbs may help ease the symptoms a bit.

What are some other ways to know you are experiencing a clearing and not a cold?

Because so few people in the medical profession understand kundalini, most people with kundalini clearing symptoms will be diagnosed with a cold or the flu, and the usual medications will be prescribed.  Here, the person with the symptoms has to make the final call as to what is actually happening to him or her and decide how to use the medication and if it really helps.  Sometimes, I have found that the medication doesn’t actually work because a cold isn’t what is causing the problem.  While not wanting to challenge the authority of the medical profession, fortunately, there are other ways to get accurate information on a phenomenon not usually recognized by the health professions.  Dreams and insights obtained from intuitive meditation can give you the correct diagnosis, especially if you have learned to trust these avenues of information.  For example, if you have dreams of needing to use the restroom, this is a clear sign you have negative energy that needs to be released.  Also, asking for a dream to give a specific diagnosis to your ailment is possible.  Just make the prayer or intention to have such a dream before you go to bed.  Or before you enter meditation, ask for inspiration that will provide the answers you need.  You may be surprised how helpful your dreams and insights can be!

Spicing Up the Chakras in Dreams

Spicing Up the Chakras in Dreams

Image via Pinterest.

In Healing the Chakras in Dreams, I stated that the condition and work of the main seven chakras can be reflected in dreams.  For example, if one dreams of urinating in a bright red bathroom; it could indicate that one is clearing anger about survival issues, or “pissing” in the realm of the first chakra which often manifests itself through the color red, especially when survival issues are at stake.  Through dreams, we can become more aware of the state of our chakras and do something about healing them.  The color in dreams give clues to the chakras because each chakra has is its own color.  Note the color and you can recognize the chakra and issues of that chakras.  (See Healing the Chakras in Dreams for the color correlations.)

One of the ways we can heal chakras is to feed and spice (energize) them, and this can also be done in dreams. The reason is that dreams essentially convey healing energy from centers of energies beyond our own energy field such as divine energy and the energy of loving people.

One way to tell if your chakras are being fed is to dream of eating.  If you dream of eating really delicious-looking, healthy food such as bright colored veggies, it could be a sign that your chakra energy fields are being fed.  For example, last night I had a dream I was digging into a big dish of some beautiful red and green peppers.  In fact, I did eat some red and green peppers the other day and found them to be delicious.  No doubt that inspired the dream.  What the dream was trying to tell me was exactly that:  the activities of my life (and perhaps choosing to eat healthy food was part of it) were feeding the energy of the first chakra (which is red) and the heart chakra (which is green.)  I do know these are two energy centers seemed depleted recently due to challenges and setbacks, so I certainly could use a boost in these areas to keep me confident and courageously open-hearted in my day-to-day endeavors!

Accessing the Inner Healer Through Dreams

Dreams of doctors can be referring to the Inner Healer.

Image via Pinterest.

A good argument can be made that there is a healer within each one of us.  The evidence lies in the fact that for most of our lives we are healed of many colds, sores, wounds and other conditions without the help of any specific medication which actually cures the ailment.  Our bodies have an interior intelligence that knows how to heal and works wonderfully well when we cooperate by providing enough rest, a nutritious diet and exercise.

Where does this power to heal come from?  What activates it?  Can we work with it other than getting rest, good food and exercise?  The answer is yes!  Dreams let us work with this healing energy in very creative and effective ways because they present us with the images, sounds and processes we can use to interact with and engage the energy used in healing process.  Dreams offer us symbols of the various kinds of energy that animate us at the present moment.   We only need to 1) look for symbols, sounds and processes related to health to literally see how our healing energy is working within us now and to 2) engage those symbols so that they give us specific insights.

Symbols of Healing in Dreams

The obvious symbols are physicians, nurses, aid workers, first responders, clergy, nuns, psychologists and social workers.  Whenever these figures appear in a dream, you can be fairly sure the issue of the dream is health related, either of the body, mind or spirit. Other symbols might be spirit guides that are related to health such as St. Michael or St. Blaise, the patron saint of throat conditions.  Still others might be bandages, ambulances, sirens, healing ointments and even snakes, which were associated with Aesclepius, the Greek god of healing.

Sounds of Healing in Dreams

The dreamer may hear a voice which says “You have skin cancer on your back,” or “We will heal the pain in your stomach.”  These voices often speak with a tone of authority and knowledge, and I have found them to be very reliable and accurate over the years.  They offer specific diagnoses, advice or deeper explanations for a condition that the dreamer may or may not know about.   They should be taken seriously, and a waking-life physician should hear about them if the condition is serious.

Healing Processes in Dreams

A dream may indicate a series of events that will show the way to treatment and recovery.  An outcome may be presented.  If the dream is nightmarish, as dreams often are prior to surgery, hopeful symbols or events may be presented among the scary ones which encourage the dreamer to go through the healing process, even though going may be rough.

When a healing symbol, sound, or process is presented in a dream, it is important to write it down, reflect about it in the context of the whole dream and other dreams that occur in the general time frame.

Actively Accessing and Engaging with the Dream

One accesses information from a dream by not only reflecting on the dream but also asking for a dream that will give specific answers about a previous dream.  The dreamer may choose to ask for a dream that will allow him or her to learn from a symbol, sound or process that has appeared in a dream.  For example, the dreamer may ask for a dream that will let him or her talk to the doctor who previously appeared in a dream, and perhaps find out why the doctor appeared or what additional information the doctor wants to give the dreamer.  If the dreamer had a dream about a having a certain disease, the dreamer may ask for a dream that will give a treatment.  The key is to ask specific questions relating directly to the dream in question.  Try it yourself, and you will find yourself interacting with your Inner Healer!  While this approach is not a substitute for seeing your doctor, it can greatly help your doctor find out what’s wrong, and may save you money.

Dreamwork: An Art of Interacting with and Learning from Inner Wisdom

The soul can be a guide if we let it.

Image via Pinterest.

Dreamwork is the practice of working with dreams to learn from and interact with them.  This can include keeping a dream journal of important dreams, reflections on the content and feeling of dreams, use of various methods to better understand them, and applying the information obtained from them to enrich our lives.  When done over a period of time, the practice can be life changing and transformative as one comes to see before one’s very eyes the insights and eventual healing taking place within the dreamer.

For a person new to dreamwork, some claims made by dream experts can seem unreal, such as asking for a dream that will help with a specific issue.  Most people don’t know that you can ask for a dream and expect to get a response which can be creative, insightful and healing.  For most people, inspiring dreams, like intuitive insights, are seen as flashes in the pan—a great fortune when you get them but not the type of thing you could ask for or intend.

One of the things that gives me great satisfaction as a dream minister and mentor is to have a person I am working with report that they asked for a dream and actually got an answer!  Usually they tell me this with awe, wonder and the joy of discovery in their voice.  It is so empowering to the dreamer, and that person can readily see the long-range value in a practice that could help them for a lifetime.

Intention, Gratitude and Faith: Recipe Ingredients for Transformation

Recipe for Transformation

Image via Pinterest.

Many try to live a good life by following the rules and expectations of a religion, family or society.  This practice may indeed bring a “good life” in more ways than one but it is not the primarily what is called for by Jesus and other great religious leaders.  It’s not what they wanted for us.  They wanted what in Christianity was called a metanoia, a change of heart that leads to complete transformation of mind, body and soul—or as some writers call it, the Great Death.  This is not the death of the body, but the death of our former ways of looking at the world which created the negative habits and practices we previously lived by.  It entails a change of identity, a death and rebirth while alive in this body that precludes turning back.  It is transformation at the highest order which entails a great deal more than obeying rules.

Setting Oneself on the Road to Transformation

Assuming, however, that one makes the choice to move beyond following the rules to undergo the transformation, how does one do it?

A very good way to set oneself on the road to transformation is to develop a profound relationship with one’s own mind, body and spirit.  The Kingdom of Heaven is within, as they say.  Therefore, it stands to reason to look here for transformative blessings.  For many people, the Kingdom within is the last place one would look for healing and growth because of the anxiety, depression, confusion, etc. that many people feel on a daily basis.  Yet, this place of often questionable turmoil and striving is the very field of play.

Progress on this inward field can be made by working with dreams, which Freud called the the Royal Road to the Unconscious, along with regular meditation and prayer.  It helps greatly when these practices are done with:

  • great intention to heal and subsequently manifest my true self at its deepest level,
  • gratitude for the many gifts that have been given
  • a profound faith that this transformation and any attendant healing will take place

My next blog will further discussion on why intention, gratitude and faith invite miraculous changes on the transformative path, changes that cannot be achieved by just following the rules. Please click here to see Part II of this blog.

Projecting feelings on to others

Working with Dream Figures: Taking Back Our Projections on Other People

Projecting feelings on to others

Quote by Carl Jung. Image via Pinterest.

It is very common to dream about friends, family members and any other type of person we come into contact in the waking world.  Sometimes, these people can greatly affect us either in negative or positive ways such as generating within us feelings of extreme loathing, fear, passionate longing or intense admiration.

It is important to know that how these people affect us in waking life and what they mean to us are often projections of what those people mean to us in dream time—often an phenomenon that may or may not be true, and may not all reflect who those people really are.

Dreamwork Can Make Us Aware of Projections

One of the great advantages of working with dreams is to help make us conscious of the projections we place on other people.  If we are aware that what we think or how we view a person may be a projection that should be investigated, we are removing one more blind spot in our field of awareness and allowing another person’s true self to speak to us.

A Useful Dreamwork Method:  Viewing Everything in the Dream as Part of Myself

The dreamwork method of first viewing everything in the dream as part of me allows to me reflect on what each person in the dream means to me.  Seeing each person as representing a type of energy within myself allows me to ask questions why this person generates strong negative and positive feelings, especially when I see how this dream person interacts with other parts of myself in the dream.  I can begin to see a very lively drama that may have very little to do with what is going on outside and has a lot to say what is happening within me.  I then may be able to view the person outside in a different light, and with more objectivity.

Unfortunately, for those who do not do dreamwork or even remember their dreams, they can be subject to being driven by unrecognized energies operating in dream time.  In other words, it is like they are being programmed and don’t even know it.

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.