As the Rose Blossoms: The Ongoing Unfolding of a Dream’s Meaning

Cultivate dreams like roses.

Be Sure to Smell the Roses!

Like the pedals of a rose, a dream’s meaning may take a while to unfold, only coming to complete disclosure many years after the dream itself was dreamed. What may appear to be at first a tightly bound and unpromising dream, could be just a bud making its first appearance, and eventually come into full glory it is own season.

Most of us have no trouble remembering a great dream or one loaded with feeling. There are usually three or four dreams that will hold clear in the memory over a lifetime. But in our lifetime we have many thousands of dreams, which for most people, pass by unrecognized, devalued and not learned from. Dream journaling, the practice of recording every dream we can remember, is a significant step to reclaiming the lost wisdom in those other dreams. It is a way of cultivating the unpromising buds and most importantly, it is a way of harvesting the magnificent result.

When we have a dream we remember, most of us will give it a moment’s thought and then forget about it. If we have good memories, or good associational abilities, we might remember the dream when something happens in our waking life to trigger the memory of that dream. Then we might see the connection between the dream and what it might be saying about something happening in our waking life.

Writing down the dream allows us to not only make note of the dream, but it also encourages us to give more than a passing thought to the dream. We can reflect on it and ask ourselves what this dream is trying to tell us about our lives right now. More importantly, it will also allow the dreamer to come back months and years later to see how that dream—one which may have long been forgotten—unfolded and blossomed, and how it manifested over the years, giving perhaps an entirely different meaning than the one first ascribed to it, and giving new insight into a major theme of life’s meaning.

  • There may be a meaning given to the dream at its first appearance, in mid-bloom perhaps some months or years later, and in full bloom when the dream fully manifests itself, sometimes much later in waking life. Reviewing the dream journal at various stages, and making note of the various meanings given to the dream at each stage, gives new and growing perspectives.
  • The dreamer may also note other dreams that may be related to, or be an development of the original dream.

With these dreams as guideposts to see how they correspond to and inform waking reality, inner spiritual growth may be monitored and appreciated. The dreamer can easily see then that one tiny dream may blossom into a magnificent flower or may contain the seeds for a garden of roses, and that deep within us lives the wisdom for living our lives.

To learn more about dreams and dreamwork, visit my website at http://www.healingdreamgarden.com.

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Working With Dream Themes: Toilet Dreams and the Spiritual Journey

Dreams  of toilets are common in dreams.

Toilet: A Common Symbol in Dreams

One of the most common symbols in my dreams over the years has been the toilet. In dreams, I have seen twelve toilets lined up, toilets that are clean, toilets that are filthy, and even a toilet with a lei draping the seat! This morning, I had a dream of attending a presentation where I was told I had a special ability—just the telling me about it was a gift in itself—but not before I had to look for and use the toilet! In the dream I did this and then entered the presentation hall.

If anyone is on a serious spiritual journey, he or she most likely will have dreams about the humble toilet, such as looking for a toilet, using one, or even using one in front of a lot of people. The symbol of the toilet can mean many things but certainly it is tied to releasing toxins, waste and other things that are no longer useful to us but may serve some other fertile purpose.

It is important to ask what the symbol means in your life. In my case, the dream above was telling me I would need to release something before I was ready to receive the ability and the special gift, and that I could do it. The dream is also telling me that in my waking life, I can expect to experience the release of something, perhaps a strong feeling, or a letting go of something I was holding on to before. Almost invariably, it does happen because there is such a strong congruence between what is happening in our dreams and in our waking life. Writing down dreams regularly in a dream journal will allow one to see this deep and intimate connection. And yes, those twelve toilets lined up have come to symbolize my equivalent of the Twelve Labors of Hercules, the spiritual challenges we are given to do in this life. Releasing and letting go is not an easy task and is much needed on the spiritual path. So appreciate your toilet dreams; they may have much to tell you about your spiritual journey.

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: Health and Healing

Caduceus - Medical Symbol for Healing

Caduceus: The Healing Rod of Asclepius

With nearly 40 years of dreamwork experience, one thing I can say for certain about my dreams is that the archetypal energy of healing at all levels, spiritual, psychological and physical has been expressed in myriad symbols, processes and themes, indicating to me that the primary purpose of dreams is to heal and make whole.

The Benefits of Working with Dreams to Heal

Learning to recognize when and how healing is at work within is a fascinating aspect of the study of dreams. It was one of the first benefits I clearly saw from keeping a dream journal. (See my blog 6 Health Related Benefits of Keeping a #Dream Journal.) As I grew more adept at working with dreams, I learned that they could be used to diagnose, treat and monitor the progress of any kind of ailment. Over the years, I learned to request information about a piece of health information prior to getting the specific lab results to verify the accuracy of that test. I have found my dreams to be up to this point in time 100% accurate and I have been doing this for more than ten years. And last but not least, I saw healings take place within my dreams which then manifested in my body.

How to Become Adept at Working with Health-Related Dreams

If you want to become adept at exploring your health from the dream perspective, do the following:

  1. Keep a dream journal and be faithful in recording all the dreams you can remember, even the most minor and insignificant. Many years ago I had an obscure “one-liner” dream which conveyed the cryptic message, “Everyone is working to develop a method of self-healing.” I knew nothing of what this meant at the time but many years later, I saw it would become one the main purposes of my life, and “everyone” referred to all aspects of me!
  2. Read the groundbreaking book by Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., The Healing Power of Dreams, which gives researched information on how symbols occurring in dreams relate to the body and its state of health. She gives many of the commonly occurring symbols for health in dreams.
  3. In addition the to common symbols for health and healing; learn your personal dream vocabulary. (See Recognizing Your Personal Dream Vocabulary.) What are your unique symbols for health, healing and healers that appear in your dreams?
  4. Notice and reflect on all images, processes and symbols relating to health, the medical field, therapists and healers. What are they telling you?
  5. Learn to request specific health information from dreams (Dream Incubation.) (See Ask and You Shall Receive: Incubating a #Dream.)  For example, ask what particular foods do you need to eat to get healthier?
  6. Request healings to come in dreams.
  7. Test your dream findings with your medical lab tests or a doctor’s diagnosis.  If your dream tells you one thing, and a doctor another, get a second opinion.

Many doctors now are beginning to see the helpfulness of dreams in staying healthy.  My doctor always takes my health dreams seriously and so should yours!  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, is said to have learned about the value of dreams and their relationship to health at an asclepion, an ancient type of hospital which was dedicated to the god of healing, Asclepius.  The caduceus, the symbol of medicine which comes to us from this ancient era, depicts snakes wrapped around the rod of Asclepius.

For more information, and consulting sessions and user manual on intentional dreaming and intuitive meditation, please see my website at:  www.healingdreamgarden.com.

How’s and Why’s of Dream Journaling

Dream Journaling

Keeping a Dream Journal

If you are serious about developing a deep connection with your inner self, this task is perhaps the best practice you can do. Keeping a dream journal involves writing down your dreams as they occur. Ideally, this would be just as you are waking up while the dream is still fresh in your mind. So keep a notebook and a pen (or digital diary–there are apps for that now if you can get technical while half awake!) next to your bed. If you are one of those people who can’t seem to remember your dreams, then try keeping a journal of whatever comes to mind that is important to you on a daily basis. For any kind of journaling, keep it simple. That will be the best assurance for encouraging you to be faithful about making regular entries into it. At a minimum each entry in a dream journal should include:

  • The date
  • A title for the dream (this will help you remember the dream as you remember a movie)
  • A detailed description of the dream written in the present tense. Include every color, character, object, background, place, emotional feeling, and emotional nuance. Pay attention to the number of things occurring such as recording if there are 3 books or 2 people. It is important. Find and use a good dream dictionary—one that gives many meanings to each symbol and teaches dreamwork exercises. I like Cloud Nine: A Dreamer’s Dictionary by Sandra A. Thompson.

This practice will usually be all you have time to do on a regular basis. However, depending upon how thorough you want to be, you can do the following:

  • Reserve a section either below or next to the dream where you make a note of any dreamwork done on the dream such as making associations with the dream symbols or make notes on what the dream may be about by using the other dream methods described below.
  • If you have asked to have this dream prior to dreaming it, you should by all means write down the question or intention before having the dream. The point isn’t to be so thorough in analyzing every dream but to keep an ongoing consistent recording of every important dream and even the minor ones, if you have the self-discipline. You can always come back later and do additional dreamwork on any dream if you have done a good job of recording the dream in detail.
  • If you have seen how this dream has helped, you may want to reserve space to add a note about this in the margin or in a space below the dreamwork section.

Also, what appears to be a minor dream to your waking mind can actually end up being of profound importance for the rest of your life, so please pay attention to the very short dreams and ones that don’t seem important. It might not be apparent at the moment, but you will see the dream’s significance in ten or twenty years down the road. You will see that your deeper consciousness is already preparing you for the major tasks that lie years ahead. Also you will want to record dream encounters with healers and guides whose presence you might want to honor later