Working With Dream Themes: Being Led Somewhere

Prayer for Guidance

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One of the more common themes we find in dreams is being led somewhere by a dream guide. It may be a person we know, a spiritual being, an old man or an old woman or perhaps it is an animal such as a dog or a dolphin. For the most part, I personally find these dreams rather comforting because they usually come at a time of transition or just prior to transition, when I am feeling rather lost. A key to working with this kind of dream is to ask what the person or animal doing the leading means to me. What do I associate with this person or animal? What are their qualities or attributes? Why would they be leading me somewhere? What in my waking life would have prompted this person or animal to lead you?

Being Led by Thomas Merton

Fairly recently, I had a dream of being led somewhere by Thomas Merton, a well-known Trappist monk who was an inspiration to many Catholics in my generation during the 60’s for his writings on spirituality, Buddhism and peace. He died an early death in 1968 while visiting in Thailand to dialogue with Buddhist monks. A great fan of his, I think I have read just about everything he ever wrote, and around 1980 even considered entering Trappist convent! Then, life took me in other directions and it was a long time before I even thought about Thomas Merton. So when I had this dream, it aroused my curiosity. However, even after some reflection, the dream didn’t seem to make much sense.

It was not until I planned to enter the priesthood training program sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii that meanings to this dream began to surface. While reflecting on what I could bring to the Episcopal priesthood in terms of experience and interest, my strong background in Buddhist studies and my interest in cross-cultural communication and inspiration suddenly came to mind. This is exactly what Thomas Merton was trying to do: bring the wisdom of Asian to Christianity so that we might learn ways to more profoundly experience spiritual truths for ourselves. I began to see this as something I might be called to do—especially working with average people who are not in monasteries to explore their own deep inner resources such as through intuitive meditation techniques and dreamwork. That I felt called to priesthood was just another common ground I shared with Thomas Merton. Now, I would like to think he is smiling down on me and guiding me as I continue on this fascinating and challenging journey!  He knew a lot about being lost on journeys.

So I would ask you to think about the people and animals that have led you in dreams. Where are they taking you?

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

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!

4 Coaching Tasks of a Dream Mentor

Ashlynn Acosta with Dream Mentor

Ashlynn Acosta with her Dream Mentor, Maeve Merton

A dream mentor is very much like a midwife, but instead of helping the mother birth a new person into the world, the dream mentor supports the dreamer who is like a mother birthing of a new consciousness into awareness and action. Dreamwork, when done with the help of an experienced mentor, is an intentional exercise used to facilitate the process, much like a midwife would instruct the laboring woman to breath or sit in a position that will help the birthing process along.

A dream is a symbol for a new awareness waiting to take on life, and it is the role of the mentor to not create the new awareness but just to help it along. Dream mentoring is basically a helping and facilitating role, not a directing role. It is guided by nature’s way of bringing new awareness into our waking world.

Towards this end a good dream mentor will prepare the dreamer to give birth to new consciousness by coaching the dreamer:

  1. To record and remember dreams. For many people, just making the intention to do these two things is a major step in a new direction and often prompts the dreamer to remember his or her dreams. Following through on the choice alone quite often helps people to become more aware of their dreams.
  2. To work with dreams through various kinds of processes such as association, storytelling, improvisation, and re-enactment.
  3. To proactively seek solutions for problems and concerns through dream incubation and lucid dreaming. Instead of just waiting for an answer from a dream, the dreamer can request a specific answer from a dream by asking to have a dream that will provide the answer. Writing the dream down and making the intention the night before helps a great deal to get a good result.
  4. To work in a dream group whereby members can help each other with their dreams or can dream for each other such as is done in Henry Reed’s Dream Helper Ceremony.

For an example of how a dream mentor works, please read or have your children read Dead Men Do Tell Tales, a teen mystery novel. In the story thirteen-year-old Ashlynn Acosta learns how to work with dreams from a dream mentor, Maeve Merton. With this assistance she learns to turn nightmares into problem solving tools, heals grief and helps save a friend suspected of a murder. She has learned skills that will help her for life and set her above her peers in accessing an important inner resource that can be relied upon in time of crisis.

Bringing Gratitude, Caring, Focus and Intentionality to Creative Problem Solving

Ashlynn Acosta Dreams:  Meaningful Symbols Appear in Dreams

Ashlynn Acosta Dreams: Meaningful Symbols Appear in Dreams

 

Dreaming and intuitive work are important tools teen detective Ashlynn Acosta uses to find clues in Dead Men Do Tell Tales because they are intentional and proactive methods used to get a focused result that can be trusted in a rather short amount of time.

This is very different from the way intuitive insight is often handled in mystery stories where the detective may be lucky to get a vague gut feeling relating to the case.  Often the detective doesn’t know why he has the feeling or what the feeling might be connected to in the vast number of variables related to the case.  This gut level method suggests that one needs to sit around and wait for some “Aha” to arrive out of the blue to give understanding to the hunch.

However, Intuition and information from dreams are gifts that are available to us almost all the time when we have an important problem to solve.  We just need to set the stage to receive those gifts, and readers of Dead Men Do Tell Tales discover along with Ashlynn how this might be done.  Here are some prerequisites for making oneself ready to receive intuitive insight, either in waking or the dream state.

  • Be thankful for any insights you have received in the past from dreams and gut feeling
  • Focus on a specific issue that you are genuinely concerned about, either for yourself or someone else.  Studies by Henry Reed, Ph.D., of the Edgar Cayce Institute for Intuitive Studies indicate that intuition works more strongly when used in service to the needs of others.
  • Before meditation or going to sleep, ask or make an intention that you want information about the specific issue.  Be precise as possible about the information you are seeking.  For example, instead of asking how to bring about peace in the world, you would ask what you could do today that would contribute to peace in your part of the world.

An attitude of thankfulness opens your heart out to the providence of your inner resources.  Focusing on a genuine problem with an attitude of helpfulness directs and jump starts the flow of energy in the Universe. Being specific helps control the type, quality and relevance of information you receive.  With the stage set, you can expect to receive useful information and will be one step closer to connecting you to the many gifts that lie within.

Can you work with dreams?

Do you think you are a gifted dreamer like Ashlynn Acosta in Dead Men Do Tell Tales? Take the following poll to find out!

Each of the questions in this poll may indicate how a person’s dream talents manifest in his or her life. Yes, even nightmares are gifts because they have important insights to give us. Dreamwork on a regular basis will mine the jewels that lay hidden in these expressions of dream talent. Which dream talents show up for you?

If you answer “Yes” to most or all of these questions, you indeed possess the gift of dreams! If you are not already doing so, begin the practice of writing down your dreams in a dream journal and use dreamwork methods to draw out their profound insights.