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.

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Where Do Dreams Come From?

 Through dreams, the body is a conduit of energy from many sources..

Dreams Come From Many Sources

Dreams can be so flighty and ephemeral and yet so profound and weighty.   It makes one wonder where they come from in the first place.  The answer is that they come from many places inside and outside the body.  According to the quote to the right, Edgar Cayce says they can come from the body, mind and the soul.  This is so because of the amazing nature of the body itself.  The body is a conduit of energy and intelligent information at three levels: physical body, mind and soul.  It can not only send messages about itself to us, such as when we feel pain in an arm, it can also send messages from what is happening in our environment such as when we read information on a billboard.  But more than this, the body can be a receptor and sender of information purely on the energy or spiritual plane—as in cases of intuitive understanding such as mental telepathy and remote viewing.  This is so because the body is connected to the wider energy field in which it lives and can pick up messages if the person’s intuitive receptors are open to this form of communication.

While sleeping, the ego’s strong filtering system of weeding out strange and frightening information is also dormant with its guard down, making the dreamer much more open to receive messages from body, mind and spirit.  For example, the soul can send its messages of value and purpose to the dreamer much more easily than when ego is saying, “I’m afraid to do that!”  The body, itself can send messages to the dreamer if it feels like it’s usual messages of pain are being ignored as when a warning dream of needing to see a doctor presents itself.   Or the mind may send messages of a solution to a problem that the dreamer’s waking mind just can’t grasp.  This is why dreamwork is so effective for keeping in tune with the needs of the body, mind and soul.

Working with Dream Themes: Living in a Place unlike Your Actual Residence

A very common dream is to reside in a home or apartment that is not actually the place you are living in at the time of the dream nor is it any place you have ever lived in. When I first started writing down my dreams—when books about interpreting dreams were not so readily available—I often wondered what this dwelling symbolism meant. One month I would be living in a tiny apartment with too many roommates and several months later I might inhabit a Victorian mansion filled interesting artifacts and ancient treasures.

It was not till later I came to understand that for me, my dream dwelling often represented aspects of my psychological state at the time of the dream. For example, the dream of living in a tiny apartment with too many roommates suggested I was perhaps trying to deal with too many people and their problems in my waking life. Or perhaps I was trying to take on too many parts of myself at the time!

The dream of the Victorian mansion filled with interesting artifacts suggests that there are interesting and valuable aspects of me that I’ve had for a long time but have not yet discovered or appreciated. A closed golden chest in a dimly lit room might represent something in myself I just need to examine to discover its worth.

A key to understanding dwelling dreams is to consider that every part of the dream represents some aspect or energy within yourself. So ask yourself questions about the dwelling and ask how this would relate to something in your waking life such as:

  • Where is the dwelling? Is it by the seashore or on a mountain? If by the seashore, the location suggests a place close to the ocean of Unconsciousness, a place from which life and food come. If on a mountain, it suggests a place where inspirational and spiritual insights can be gained.
  • What does the interior design of the dwelling remind you of? What is the mood of the design? When have you had a feeling in your waking life that reflected that mood?
  • How are the rooms furnished? What do the decorations and furniture remind you of in your waking life? A room of one color such as red might reflect chakra symbolism. Because the first chakra is often depicted as red, a red room might mean that this room is representing a situation your first chakra is dealing with, such as survival and getting along in the world.
  • Is there a problem or issue in one of the rooms? What is the problem and what does it remind you of in your waking life?
  • Are there others living in your house? Why are they there? What is your relationship to them? How does this scenario relate to people and situations in your waking life?

An interesting and perhaps enlightening exercise is to review your dream journal and discover how many different dwellings you have lived in over the last year.  How do they relate to the many psychological states you have experienced during that time? Have you “gone up” in the world? Have you inhabited houses from different parts of the world? Happy house hunting!

To buy my user manual on working with dreams or to check out dreamwork mentoring, please visit my website at www.healingdreamgarden.com.

 

Working with Dream Themes: Health Information in Dreams

Caduceus - Medical Symbol for Healing

Caduceus

One of the important functions of dreams is to inform us about our state of well-being, and this includes information about our physical health in additional to emotional or spiritual health. It is not surprising then that when we start to remember and record our dreams we will begin to see references to health and health issues, literally or symbolically in our dreams. Two such health related dreams are those 1) warning us of a health issues or 2) telling us when things are fine. Here are two examples from my own life:

Dream Example: Blood in My Stool

An authoritative voice tells me that I have blood in my stool.

On hearing this voice, I immediately woke up. Naturally, this aural dream which presented only as a voice saying these words frightened me. I was due for my annual physical exam in a few days so I made it a point to tell my doctor about the dream. My doctor took the dream very seriously and gave me a stool sample card which I took home and over the next several days I collected stool samples. When the results of the tests came back, sure enough, it was found that I had blood my stool. I was immediately scheduled for a colonoscopy. I apprehensively waited for the day of this dreaded test but before the test was blessed with another dream:

Dream Example: Getting a Good Result on a Colonoscopy

I am in a medical setting and a doctor is giving me a colonoscopy. I can see the progress of the camera in my colon on the monitor. He says everything is OK!

This dream brightened my spirits. A little while later, I had the colonoscopy and was awake enough during the procedure to see the monitor, reminding me of the dream and test result. At that point, I was quite sure I would get a good result. And sure enough, I did!

I found it interesting that my dreams coincided with both test results, even though they showed different outcomes.

For more information, visit my website: http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.

Indications of Growth and Progress in Dreamwork

When my students do dreamwork (the recording and working with dreams to learn something from the dreams) on a regular basis, what I sometimes get asked is this: How do I know I am making progress in working with dreams?

This is a good question, because unless I am working with someone who knows a lot about dreamwork such as a dream mentor, the answers may not be all that apparent, especially in the beginning. However, in the long run, progress will definitely become more obvious because of the positive changes the dreamer will see in his or life.

Indicators of progress in dreamwork can be seen in the following:
  • Dreams become more vivid and easier to remember. A beginner usually has difficulty remembering dreams. Just having the intention to remember dreams will often prompt the dreamer to remember his or her dreams. Need help in remembering dreams? See Tried and True Tips to Better Remember Your Dreams at http://wp.me/p45aiq-5B
  • Dreams seem to “come” when one needs or wants them. Just making the intention to do regular dreamwork or participate in a dream class will often encourage the psyche to offer the dreamer a sudden outpouring of dreams.
  • Discovering that dreams do respond to requests for information and wisdom with appropriate insights. Asking for a particular dream (Dream Incubation) and getting a helpful answer is truly empowering for the neophyte starting the study of dreams. It’s like meeting a powerful helper for the first time. This experience gives the dreamer confidence to ask for more help from dreams. For information on incubating a dream see Ask and You Shall Receive: Incubating a #Dream at http://wp.me/p45aiq-71
  • Experiencing a lucid dream. A lucid dream is one in which the dreamer feels like he or she is awake and aware in the dream, all the while knowing it is a dream. Conscious choices can be made within the dream.  One feels one can create the dream.  Like dream incubation, this is an empowering to the dreamer.  Lucid dreams can be also be requested for or intended in order to heal, problem solve or gain information.
  • Experiencing healing, a solution or guidance in a dream or through information received in a dream.
  • Discovering and evaluating what contributions dreams have made. After recording dreams for a significant period of time, one can go back and review dreams to find how they related to events and experiences in waking life during that time. This can be an eye-opening experience of discovery when one sees that many dreams do come true, show the processes and transformations one is going through in life, and support and nurture the dreamer from a deeper source.

The Importance of Dreams for Recovery of Soul Loss

Dreams: A Pathway to the Soul

Dreams: A Pathway to the Soul Image via Pertash Koul

Do you feel out of touch with yourself? Do you feel that your culture is shallow and vapid? You are not alone. In 20 Diagnostic Signs That You’re Suffering From “Soul Loss,” Lissa Rankin, M.D., states that this is a very common malady in today’s world. She says not only individuals suffer from this but so do cultures. In my opinion, religions, and in particular, churches can also suffer from it. Whenever we, whether individually or collectively, have lost sight of what animates us, what makes us come alive or what drives us, we suffer from a form of soul loss.

Dreams and holding on to a dream are some keys to recover the soul’s enlivening power in our waking life. Dreams come from the soul itself and speak for the soul and its needs. It is no wonder that so many individuals suffer soul loss when they don’t value their dreams and don’t make an effort to remember them or work with them. Institutions lose soul when they lose sight of the founder’s vision or dream for that organization. This is particularly true of religions and churches which become social clubs or babysitting stations for kids when the ties to a deep spiritual connection have been broken or not promoted among the followers.

Therefore, a remedy for recovering from soul loss is studying about dreams, learning both how to work with them and learning from them:

Individually, this means keeping a dream journal and doing dreamwork on an on-going and consistent basis.

Collectively, this means studying and learning from the dreams and visions of the founders. Institutions can recapture their original dynamism by going back to the basics, to be once again inspired by the founders, learning what defined the organization and why it was started in the first place.

Dreams and visions are all about purposes of soul and how soul presents itself in the world. What is your true dream? In that you will find your true inspiration.

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?

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!

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?