Because so many dreams concern themselves with the major transitions in life, dreams not only help us prepare for life, but they also prepare us for death. There are grief dreams which prepare us for the death of another person or help us through and after that loss. However, there are also dreams which prepare us for when our time comes.
I am reminded of the dreams of a terminally ill young man. He was a hospital patient with a rare disease and wanted to share his dreams before he died. I was asked to come and talk with him because I had recently taught a class at that same hospital on the relationship of dreams to health and well-being.
When I met with him he had perhaps several weeks to live. He was pale and weak. He thanked me for coming and said he just wanted to talk to someone who appreciated dreams because he valued his own and wanted someone who would not take his remarks lightly. Often it is hard to find people who take dreams seriously, and one certainly doesn’t want to be laughed at or about when sharing a dream. So I told him that I had studied dreams for many years and had taught classes on the subject. I was very interested in his dreams and would be glad to listen.
Dreams of Many Mansions
The young man told me about a series of dreams he had in the weeks before about seeing a city of many gorgeous homes and magnificent buildings. He thought that he would be going where those buildings were and live there. I asked him how he felt about this. He said the dreams were so beautiful that he wanted to be there. He said the dreams made him feel comfortable.
Quite often, images in dreams with remind one of imagery in the Bible; however, at the time, I didn’t connect the imagery of many beautiful homes and buildings to Jesus’ quote (John 14:2) that in…”in my Father’s house there are many mansions…” but somehow, I think the young man did. He passed away a few weeks later. I would like to think he is there in those mansions. Certainly, his dream comforted me, fulfilling another role of dreams: that they often have meanings for others besides the dreamer.
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!
Dreams can give all sorts of advice for those willing to pay attention to them. They can offer clues and even curative treatments for health problems, point out solutions to relationship problems and generally lead us through difficult times. The great dreams provide visions that can provide inspiration and guidance good for a lifetime. One of the least discussed benefits of dreams is that they can help us interpret them so that we are sure to get the right message to help us in the unique spiritual journey that defines each of our lives.
I am reminded of a recent dream I had that I found very enlightening when my life seemed to be going nowhere. I was very tempted to be angry and depressed, thinking everything I’ve done had been a waste. Then, I dreamed that there were many children surrounded by soldiers armed with rifles and assault guns. A voice told me that if I saw these children as being held captive by the soldiers, then I would be in the dark and clueless. But if I saw these children as being led to a place of freedom where they could thrive, I would have the enlightened perspective. The dream was literally telling me how to interpret itself! Of course, I took the children to be the many endeavors I had made over the last ten years to grow my work. It was comforting to know that in this difficult time, the fruits of my labor were actually being taking care of and protected.
Another example of a dream helping me with dreams occurred when I asked for a dream to tell me how important it was to record every single dream since I was in the habit of doing so. Sometime that can get tedious and make for a lot of work. I then had a dream of a wise old oriental man telling me not worry about recording every single one of them. Some are more important than others. As a result, I still try to write my dreams down regularly but I don’t worry if I miss one I can barely remember or has little energy attached to it.
If you have a question about your dreams, why don’t you ask for a dream that will give you the answer?