Saturday, December 3, 2016

Nine keys to living consciously in the multiverse


1

The only time is Now. All other times - past, present and parallel - can be accessed in this moment of Now, and may be changed for the better.

2

We dream to wake up. Dreaming is not fundamentally about what happens during sleep. It is about waking up to a deeper order of reality. Dreaming is a discipline; to get really good at it requires practice, practice, practice.

3

Treasures are waiting for us in the Place Between Sleep and Awake. The easiest way to become a lucid or conscious dreamer is to spend more time in the twilight zone between waking and sleep, or between sleep and waking.  Tinker Bell told Peter Pan to look for her in the Place between Sleep and Awake. This liminal state is a place of encounter with inner guides and transpersonal visitors. It is also a place of heightened psychic perception and creative breakthroughs, where it is easy to make connections that escape the daily mind.

4

We live in the Speaking Land, as the First Peoples of my native Australia say. Everything in the world around us is alive and conscious and will speak to us if we are paying attention. Navigating by synchronicity becomes very simple, even irresistible, when we stream into this mode of understanding.

5

To live well, we must practice death. We bring courage and clarity to life choices when we are aware that death is always with us, and that we should be ready to meet it any day.

6

We must feed and honor our animal spirits. A working connection with them gives us immense resources for self-healing.

7

We have a guide for our lives who is no stranger. He is always with us and does not judge us. This is the Self on a higher level. When we rise to the perspective of the Greater Self, we are able to make peace between different personality aspects, including our counterparts in other times and parallel realities.

8

We are at the center of all times. The dramas of lives being lived in other times and in parallel realities may be intensely relevant to understanding and navigating our current relationships and life issues. We can learn to reach into those other lives to share gifts and lessons. We can dialog with our own older and younger selves within our present lifetimes.

9

We must entertain the spirits, starting with our very own – the child self, the inner artist, the passionate teen, the animal spirits, the creative daimon.


Adapted from The Boy Who Died and Came Back: Adventures of a Dream Archaeologist in the Multiverse by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Claiming the gift of nightmares


Dreams are not on our case; they are on our side. This is one of my personal mantras about dreams and (yes) it applies even to nightmares.
     In my personal lexicon, a nightmare is not only a "bad" or scary dream; it is an interrupted or aborted dream. We are so frightened we run away. We wake ourselves up and try to slam the door on the dream experience, hoping that it is "only" a dream and can't get out and come after us.
     This is a very foolish strategy. The challenges we face in dreams are challenges that are being presented by life itself. If we learn to confront the underlying issues inside the dream space, we may be able to prevent those issues from blowing up in our regular lives. This may require us to take action in waking life, based on what we have learned in our dreams; but we will lack the essential data required for appropriate action if we have left the dream broken and abandoned, behind that door we are trying to keep shut.
      Common forms of the nightmare include:

The nameless terror.
The intruder.
Being pursued.
Being attacked by a wild animal.
Suffering an infestation of bugs, spiders or bats.
An unwanted encounter with the dead.
Being attacked by vampires, demons or zombies.
Being overwhelmed by a giant wave or a twister.
Being in a plane crash or an auto accident.

You probably have your own version. We have different lives, different characters, and different styles of dreaming (another reason why you will never find the full meaning of dreams by looking them up in a dream dictionary). My own least favorite dreams are ones in which I am stuck in a place where I don't want to be.
     Whatever the content of the dreams you flee from, the Rx is the same: try to learn to confront the challenge on the ground where it is presented. This requires firm intention and some degree of courage. You want to learn to go back inside a dream you fled and try to clarify and resolve what is going on there. You can accomplish this through the dream reentry technique explained in several of my books, including Conscious Dreaming and Active Dreaming.
      You want to give a name to that nameless dread. You want to know whether the plane crash was literal or symbolic and, either way, what you need to do to avoid it. You want to establish whether that dream intruder is someone who could literally break into your house, or a disease that could invade your body, or an aspect or yourself - maybe even your Greater Self - that is trying to get your attention. If you are scared of dream vampires, you want to think about who or what in your life may be draining your energy; if your dream house is infested, you need to know whether this reflects a condition in your body that may need medical attention.
       I think it's like this: our dream producers are constantly trying to alert us to things essential to our health, wholeness and well-being. When we ignore these messages, they resort to special effects to get our attention. If we persist in ignoring the messages, the problem the nightmares reflect is likely to show up in our regular lives. Nightmares are a gift in the way that a smoke detector going off in the middle of the night - when there is a real fire hazard - is a gift.
       Sometimes we find that what we are fleeing in dreams is an aspect of our own power. When I first started living in rural New York, I dreamed repeatedly of a giant bear that came into my bedroom. He did not menace me, but he was so much bigger than me that he scared me. Finally, I told myself (as I would now counsel anyone) that I needed to go back inside those dreams, confront the bear, and discover why he was in my space. When I did that, the bear caught me up in his great embrace and showed me that we were joined at the heart, reassuring me that when I needed healing for myself or others, he would be there. I later learned that the bear is the great medicine animal of North America, and he has kept his promise.
       I have worked with several people challenged by cancer who fled from sharks in their dreams. When they agreed to swim in those dream water through conscious dream reentry, they were able to claim the shark as an ally in healing. The shark, an impeccable killing machine that rarely gets cancer, is indeed an extraordinary ally in healing cancer. But to claim that kind of power, we are first required to brave up.
       In summary: the best remedy for nightmares is to summon the courage and the necessary guidance and protection to go back in, face the source of the fear on its own ground, and stay with the experience until you achieve resolution. If reentry is no longer an option (because the dream is mostly gone) do things that help you to spit out (literally) and shake off (literally) the negative legacy, ground yourself with the good Earth - and make it your intention not to succumb to dread next time. What we most fear is often what we most need to face,

Art: "Shark Woman" by Aniela Sobieski.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Breaking news from the Other Side


Anna dreamed she visited a friend who had recently died. He handed her a mobile phone with just two keys, green and red and told her she could call anytime. Nothing simpler – hit green to call, red to disconnect. Anna was delighted to discover that the departed now have speed dial.
     It seems that the communications technology of the departed keeps pace with innovations down here. Since the invention of the telephone, phone calls from the dead have been a familiar feature of many dreamers’ nights. One woman got a call from her mother, who had recently passed, in which her mother said, “I can’t talk for long since I just got here. I’ll have more phone privileges later on.” The dead send email and texts and their voices come through in podcasts in contemporary dreams.
    This all helps to facilitate contact since it indulges everyday expectations about how people keep in touch with each other. Back in the Victorian era, contact methods were different. The newspaperman and psychic investigator W.T. Stead, reporting back to his daughter after he died in the wreck of the Titanic, described a communications center on the Other Side where “travelers” were trained in hand-carrying messages to the living, where necessary by focusing their energy in order to produce the clear impression of a face during séances. Stead dictated a wonderful little book, The Blue Island, through a male medium that is one of my favorite sources on the Western afterlife.
     By my observation, contact with the departed, especially in dreams, is entirely natural (and would be quite commonplace, if we were more awake to levels of reality beyond the physical) for three reasons. Our dead may still be with us. Our dead come visiting. And in dreams, we go traveling in realms where the dead are at home.
     I’m using the word “dead” here the way the Irish do. Our dead are usually alive in our dreams, because indeed they are still living, "dead" only in the sense that they have left their physical bodies behind (though sometimes they are not aware of that). Interaction with our dead – again, especially in dreams – has been, in all cultures and all times, the principal source for the human belief that consciousness survives death.  
     Our dead are a constant source of breaking news, whenever we are tuned in. They give us news flashes, ranging from personal health alerts to next year’s headlines. The departed are not trapped by the illusion of linear time. If they have cleared old business and have an interest in helping survivors to do better, they can be very helpful guides in pointing out possible future events, and what we need to do to shape those events for our health and well-being. One of my personal markers that there may be unusually important information in a dream, especially relating to the future, to health, and to life-and-death issues, is the appearance of a departed person I trust, including beloved dogs who once shared my life.
    There is breaking news from the Other Side that may be even more crucial for a fully-realized life. Through our encounters with our departed over time, we learn about transitions and alternate living situations in the afterlife, the nature of reincarnation, and realities of the soul.
    A breakthrough moment on the roads of the afterlife is when a departed person discovers that he or she does not have to retain the same appearance they had when they checked out, which is often a broken and elderly body. Dreamer after dreamer reports the joyful surprise of encountering Mom or Grandpa in the body of a good-looking, energetic young person of about thirty. Such encounters are already an important education in the nature and malleability of one of the subtle bodies, or vehicles of consciousness, that survive physical death.
     I asked my friend Wanda Burch, the author of She Who Dreams, who tracks these things as closely as I do, to report on what she has learned through successive visits with her departed parents in their changing living environments on the Other Side. Here is part of the narrative she generously contributed for this piece:
     “My dreams of my father and mother's evolution have been entertaining and confirming of a great new life. In my favorite, I visit my parents in their new house. My mom looks younger, wearing smart little outfits from the days when she was dating my dad. She leads me to a beautiful pool that looks like a natural lake lined with stones, with lily pads in the water. I praise the beautiful house, and my mom says that my dad always liked my house and wanted one like mine. ‘But I don't have a house like this,’ I tell her. ‘You will,’ she says smiling. Then my mom drives off in a junky old car like the one they had in my youth. ‘Does she really need a car?’ I ask my dad. He tells me ‘No, but she enjoys it and there’s no harm in it.’
     “A few months later, I dreamed my dad was checking in on me to tell me he was moving on. I see a charming farmhouse set among pastures and fields of crops. I know this is one of many residences for my parents. I find them and join them in a car. My father shows me that he now has his own driver and then invites me to come with him inside a lodge where he has been receiving instruction, some of it – he says – involving ‘my things.’ These include early religions, dreaming, and exploration into spiritual matters.
    "He shows me charts of the heavens and points out stars and constellations, giving me lengthy and exciting explanations about the influence of the movements of the heavens on our lives and on our dreaming. I see a jumble of stars which he says he has just discovered. Humans have not been able to see them yet because they are too many light years away; but he is working with someone – I have the feeling this is an astronomer on earth - who will soon develop the technology to see them.

     “On the way back to the farm he shows me shops, including book shops filled with new books, not yet written, on wellness and spiritual development. We continue on to the farm where my mother settles into a comfortable routine. I turn and see my father coming toward me with arms wide open, ready to hug me. My father was not a hugger, but he is now. He tells me he is going away for awhile but I can still get in touch with him if it is important. He leaves. My mom, after an initial feeling of panic, settles down and seems fine. She loves her farm and farmhouse and tells me she needs to do some tidying. We say good-bye and I awake seeing her waving to me and smiling.”
     Over the years, the number one reason why people have shared dreams with me is that they have had an encounter with a departed friend or loved one that has touched them deeply. The most important thing we can do for each other in this respect is to offer confirmation and validation that these experiences are real - and then to reassure each other about a great truth that often goes unspoken in our counseling rooms and even our churches: healing and resolution and mutual support are possible, across the apparent barrier of death.
     So dying definitely need not mean hanging up on those near and dear. It seems an increasing number of people in contemporary society are taking that notion a bit too literally. Funeral homes report a steady increase in the number of clients who are being buried with their cell phones. When Manhattan criminal defense attorney John Jacobs died in 2005, his widow buried him in a Paramus NJ cemetery with his cell phone and continued to pay the monthly phone bill. She had his cell phone number carved on his headstone so others could keep in touch too. W
hen she and others called, they got his voicemail, promising to get in touch as soon as possible. Dream phones offer live conversation, and you don't get a monthly bill.


Tuesday, November 29, 2016

My little dog prepares me for his death and coming adventures


This is a story about everyday practice, the kind of practice essential for active dreamers. It involves the importance of keeping a journal and of going back into old journals and seeing what "old" dream reports may tell us about what we need to know now. It involves precognition. It concerns how dreams rehearse us for death, in this case the death of a beloved animal companion. Most important, it reminds us that dogs love us no matter what, in every world.
    This morning I reopened a travel journal I was keeping in 2012. I regretted that I had failed to transcribe many of the reports, since my handwriting is almost indecipherable, even to me. Fortunately, the journal contained many sketches, and these helped to guide me to what might be most interesting for me today.
    I smiled at a little drawing I made on March 5, 2012. It shows me following my little dog Pepper through an underground concourse. We are somewhere near Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. There is a sign that reads "Avenue of the Americas", indicating a staircase leading up to Sixth Avenue. This is an area I used to frequent in my earlier life as a bestselling thriller writer. One of my publishers had offices in that area, and I was on NBC's Today show in the studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza several times.
    In the drawing, I am dressed for wet, blustery weather in hat and long coat. The remarkable thing is that my little dog is trotting ahead of me. He clearly knows where he is going. He seems to have taken the lead and may even be playing the guide.
    I noted in the brief dream report that accompanied the sketch that I was "moved" by the dream that it left me with a sense of "wonder". My feelings stemmed from the contrast between the condition of my miniature Schnauzer in the dream and his situation in regular life. Pepper was very old. His senses were failing. He was nearly blind, could hear very little, and even his sense of smell was attenuated. He had trouble walking and controlling his bowels. Yet in the dream, he is in his prime, and even better than that.
    I wrote these questions in my journal: Who is Pepper in the dream? What are we doing in NYC?
    On the night of the dream, I was in Hawaii, leading a workshop on the Big Island. I wondered when I might next be at Rockefeller Center. I checked my events calendar and saw I was scheduled to lead a weekend workshop at the NY Open Center at the end of June, but the venue was downtown and would not ordinarily bring me to Rockefeller Center.
     I ended my journal report with this motto, or bumper sticker:


Keep your senses in NYC

     Three months later, Pepper died. Then I received an invitation to do an interview for Sirius XM. As I made my way to the radio network offices in Rockefeller Center, I remembered that Pepper had guided me through these passages months before. They gave me a badge at reception.  It read "Sirius Visitor", which delighted me because I have often felt like that. I drew my own version with Pepper in the headshot. I found this, too, in that old travel journal from 2012. I'll keep digging!
     Pepper has appeared again, in my dreams and in those of family members, always in fine form, sometimes clearly acting as a guide and night watchdog. If I have to thread that underground concourse again, near those places of power I once thought I knew, I hope he will be looking out for me. I am glad to know that he is also with me, and those I love, on the roads of the Otherworld.




Notes for practice:
1. Keep a dream journal and review old entries.
2. Pay special attention to dream locations.
3. Recognize that dreams may be rehearsals for coming events, including death.
4. Be prepared to meet guides in many forms.

5. Remember that dogs love you no matter what, in all worlds.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Seeking the sacred guide and healer through dream incubation


Dream incubation has been a preferred way of seeking life direction in most human cultures as far back as we can trace. If you believe that, in seeking dream guidance, you are approaching a sacred source, then you will probably use some form of prayer or ritual as you seek help from that power. 
     In the Greek Magical Papyri we read this invocation:

Sender of true oracles
while I sleep send me your unerring skill
to read what is and and will be
.

     If we have a big request, it is important to ask nicely. Aelius Aristides, an ancient Greek orator who walked very close to his god – Asklepios, the patron of dream healing – used to phrase his requests as follows: “Lord, I ask for the guidance (or health, or resources) my body requires to serve the purposes of the soul.” A human who asks that way might hope to engage the support of a power behind the scenes.
     The journey to a special place – the shrine of a saint, the tomb of an ancestor, a sacred mountain, an ancient tree – has often been part of a full-dress dream incubation. 
     But in our hurried everyday lives, we can make all of this simple. Are you in need of life direction or a solution to a problem? Are you willing to turn to a source beyond the obvious ones? Then approach the night as a place of possible encounter with a power that can answer your questions and help to heal your life. If you are a person of faith, you may start by praying for guidance of healing.
     You may find it helpful to do something to make your sleeping area more of a sacred place; for example, by foregoing sugar and alcohol for a few hours before sleep, by lighting a candle, and/or by using a special fragrance or placing a little mugwort sachet under your pillow.
     Now you want to set your intention for the night. Make it as simple and clear as possible, and avoid composing a laundry-list of needs and wishes. You can make your request large and spacious:

I ask for guidance on my life path
I open myself to my creative source
I ask for healing

Or you can make it quite specific:

I would like guidance on my job interview.
I ask for healing for my friend in hospital.
I would like to see what will happen during my trip.
I want to prep for the exam.
Should I date the guy I met yesterday?

You will want to be ready to catch whatever your dreams give you whenever you wake. This may involve lingering in the half-dream state after you surface from deeper sleep; this in-between state is one in which important messages often come through.
     If you remember only a small piece from a dream, but your feelings are strong and your sense of direction is clear, you are in luck. Sometimes it is easier to read a plain answer from a short, uncomplicated dream vignette than from a rambling epic, and the energy that comes with a dream is often more important than the specific information it contains.
     If you can’t initially see any connection between the dream your record and the intention that preceded it, be patient and learn to use some detective skills. It’s possible that your dream producers decided to give you something they think you should see rather than what you asked for. All the same, it is always worth playing the game of trying to find a link between the dream and the intention.
     For example, I once sought dream guidance on a personal health issue. In my dream, I was racing a car at high speed up through one of those multi-tiered indoor parking lots, slowing to a stop at a fancy penthouse restaurant where a famous publisher was waiting to host me for lunch. I woke feeling marvelous. The dream might seem to have little or no obvious connection with my intention, but I could see a health advisory in my wild ride up through the vertical parking lot, and an Rx in my meeting with the publisher, since for me creative writing that results in publication has always been healing.
    Here is my account of a bigger personal experience, which came when I set the intention of opening myself to a source of sacred healing during the night.

A night of Asklepian dream healing

I set the clear and simple intention: “I wish to be healed.” I add a second statement: “I ask for the health of body and mind required to serve my spiritual purpose.”
-
I stretch out of the bed. Immediately, I see an enormous serpent. It is gray-blue, and could be twenty feet long. I see the dark slits of its pupils, quite close to me, in a head larger than my own. I do not feel fear, but there is a strong sense of the uncanny, the presence of a transpersonal other. I feel this is the Asklepian serpent, a power mastered for healing. The form of the god appears less distinctly, like a living statue. Also the form of a large dog with tall pointy ears.
-     I resolve to let the snake enter my energy field and do anything required for healing. I begin to experience movements of the serpent energy through my chakras, starting at the root center and moving upwards. There are moments of gentle physical pressure or constriction as it passes through some of my energy centers – of slight pressure in the heart, of a little constriction at the throat. The movement ceases to flow smoothly at the vision center, where I had been experiencing pressure and blurring. An experimental probe, not pushing too hard.
     The movement loops down and back, returning to try again. I invoke Light as well, and feel the presence and blessing of a being of Light I know well. I feel a process of healing has been initiated, and will be played out over time, if I allow it to be.
-    All of this has been enacted in the liminal state of wake-dream the French used to call dorveille, which is where much of the work of Asklepian healing (I believe) took place, Now I let myself drift towards sleep, hoping for the gift of further healing in the dreamspace. That gift came in the form of an amazing and energizing sleep dream that connected my personal healing to new creative endeavors, writing new books and bringing them to the world.
-
You don’t want to ask for big messages, let alone big favors, every night. That becomes wearisome to everyone engaged, and can end by trivializing and cheapening the process. On the other hand, I see no objection to putting a simple request like the following one to the dream oracle fairly frequently:

Show me what I need to see 

If you try that, be ready for some shocks! Our dream producers see our needs and issues from a different angle than we do. 

-

Please see chapter 4 of my book The Secret History of Dreaming for a full account of Asklepian dream incubation.

On making the most important book you'll ever read

When a lusty, ambitious young Scot named James Boswell first met Dr. Samuel Johnson, Johnson advised him to keep a journal of his life. Boswell responded that he was already journaling, recording "all sorts of little incidents." Dr Johnson said, "Sir, there is nothing too little for so little a creature as man."
    Indeed, there is nothing too little, or too great, for inclusion in a journal. If you are not already keeping one, I entreat you to start today. Write whatever is passing through your mind, or whatever catches your eye in the passing scene around you. If you remember your dreams, start with them. If you don't recall your dreams, start with whatever thoughts and feelings are first with you as you enter the day, or that interval between two sleeps the French used to call dorveille ("sleep-wake"), a liminal space when creative ideas often stream through.
    If you have any hopes of becoming a writer, you'll find that journaling is your daily workout that keeps your writing muscles limber. If you are already a writer, you may find that as you set things down just as they come, with no concern for editors, critics or consequences, you are releasing descriptive scenes, narrative solutions, characters - even entire first drafts - quite effortlessly. Some of the most productive writers have also been prodigious journal-keepers.
     Graham Greene started recording dreams when he was sixteen, after a breakdown in school. His journals from the last quarter-century of his life survive, in the all-but-unbreakable code of his difficult handwriting. First and last, he recorded his dreams, and they gave him plot solutions, character development, insights into the nature of reality that he attributed to some of his characters, and sometimes bridge scenes that could be troweled directly into a narrative. Best of all, journaling kept him going, enabling him to crank out his daily pages for publication no matter how many gins or how much cloak-and-dagger or illicit amour he had indulged in the night before.

    You don't have to be a writer to be a journaler, but journal-keeping will make you a writer anyway. In the pages of your journal, you will meet yourself, in all your aspects. As you keep a journal over the years, you'll notice the rhymes and loops or cycles in your life.
    Because I am leading teach workshops in Romania, I have been re-reading Mircea Eliade, the great Romanian-born historian of religions. Opening the last volume of his published journals, I found him reflecting during a visit to Amsterdam in 1974 on how a bitter setback to his hopes at the time he first visited that city nearly a quarter-century before had driven him to do his most enduring work. He had been hoping that his early autobiographical novel, published in English as Bengal Nights, would be a big commercial success, enabling him to live as a full-time novelist. Sales were disappointing. Had it been otherwise, "I would have devoted almost all my time to literature and relegated the history of religions to second place, even though Shamanism was at the time almost entirely drafted." The world would have gained a promising, and perhaps eventually first-class, novelist; but we might have lost the scholar who first made the study of shamanism academically respectable and proceeded to breathe vibrant life, as well as immense erudition, into the cross-cultural study of the human interaction with the sacred.

    Synesius of Cyrene, a heterodox bishop in North Africa around 400, counseled in a wonderful essay On Dreams that we should keep twin journals: a journal of the night and a journal of the day. In the night journal, we would record dreams as the products of a "personal oracle" and a direct line to the God we can talk to. In the day journal, we would track the signs and synchronicities through which the world around us is constantly speaking in a symbolic code. "All things are signs appearing through all things. They are brothers in a single living creature, the cosmos." The sage is one who "understands the relationship of the parts of the universe" - and we deepend and focus that understanding by recording signs in our day journal.
    Partly because I keep unusual hours, and am often embarked on my best creative work long before dawn, I don't separate my night journal from my day journal. All the material goes into one book - a leather-bound travel journal, when I am on the road. I try to type up my entries before my handwriting (as difficult as Greene's) becomes illegible and put the printouts in big ringback binders. I save each entry with a date and a title in my data files, so I automatically have a running index.
    Here are some games I enjoy playing with my journals that you may want to play too:

BIBLIOMANCY

"Bibliomancy" is the fancy name for opening a book at random to get guidance on a theme, or simply the quality and content of the day. I often use old journals in this way. For example, one Christmas Eve, after learning that a friend had developed a serious illness and was having other major troubles in her life, I reached blindly into a shelf of 30+ old travel journals, grabbed one without looking at the date, and opened it at random, I found myself looking at a short dream report from December 2003, just over five years before. The dream was about my friend. It stated that she had "accepted Purgatory for a year. This Purgatory is a room in her home that opens into the same realm." I shared this report with my friend, and we began to work with the meaning of "acceptance" and of "Purgatory". I also shared other reports in that old journal on tbe page before and after the "Purgatory" entry, since I have often noticed that when events start to catch up with an "old" dream, other "old" material around that dream can prove timely and helpful. The neighboring entry in that old journal involved ways of delivering spiritual nourishment, which we found highly relevant.

DEVELOPING YOUR OWN BOOK OF SYMBOLS

Tracking how symbols feature and evolve in your dreams and your experience of the world around you will give you your own encyclopedia of symbols, better than any of those dream dictionaries, because the snake or the train in your dream is yours not theirs. While it may open into the archetypal data banks of the collective unconscious, or super-conscious, those links are for you to explore and not to receive on a hand-me-down plan.

COLLECTING YOUR OWN ANTHOLOGY OF QUOTATIONS

When I was an undergraduate, writing book reviews for a local newpaper, I was fortunate to be assigned one of the first English-language editions of the Carnets of Albert Camus. I was struck by how the great French writer was fired up by the quotes he recorded from his eclectic reading. Etched in my memory is a grim exchange in the Carnets from a Russian source. Avvakum, an archpriest, and his wife, are trudging through a frozen waste. The wife asks, "How far must we journey?" "Until death, daughter of Mark." "Then, son of Peter, we must hurry on."
    My own journals are peppered with quotes from all over, from sources celebrate an utterly obscure, ranging from the message I may have spotted in the first vanity plate I saw on a certain morning (BCRE8V) to a spell from the Egyptian Book of the Dead or a "snapper" from Mark Twain.

HELPING KIDS TO JOURNAL

If we are privileged to have access to young children, one of the greatest gifts we can give them - and in the process, ourselves - is to encourage them to record dreams and stories in a boom that will become a journal. I did this with my own daughters. When they were very young, they would do the pictures and I would write the words for them. They took over more and more of the writing, as they got older, until, at age nine, they were keeping their journals by themselves and for themselves. Then the same thing happened in each case. They said to me, in effect: "That's it, Dad. This is my secret book and you can't read it anymore."
   Now that's a journal. The secret book of your self and your soul, not to be shared with anyone without permission, which should not be given lightly.

When life deals you a tough hand, you'll find that as you write your journal, you are practicing spontaneous self-therapy. You may be able to write your way through whatever ails you. There's a great release, perhaps a catharsis, in saying what you need to say in the safe space your journal provides. When you see and state things as they are, you already begin to change them. Keep your hand moving, and you may manifest the power to re-name and re-vision symptoms, challenges and difficult situations in the direction of resolution and healing.
    As you keep your secret book, you'll discover more, and more will discover you. You'll find yourself straying off the tame and settled developments of the everyday mind, into the wilder borders of imagination, where the Big story of your life can find you.

For more games to play with your journal, please see my book Active Dreaming. For a template for keeping a dream journal, please see chapter 7 of my book Dreaming True.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

The education of a dream teacher


The dream world is my home world, and has been from very early childhood.
    I first died in this lifetime when I was three years old. My great aunt the opera singer saw this in the tea leaves but didn’t talk about it until long after. What she did not see was that – as a doctor at the hospital in Hobart, Tasmania told my parents – I “died and came back”. That is still the term I prefer to use of these experiences. I don’t remember much of what happened when I left my body at age three, only that it was very hard to live in a body in this world after I came back, and that I felt that my home reality was somewhere else.
     At nine, I died again during emergency appendectomy in a Melbourne hospital. This time I seemed to live a whole life somewhere else, among a beautiful people who raised me as their own. I came back remembering that other life and that other world. It still wasn’t easy for me to live in the ordinary world, and I was nostalgic for that other world. The gift of these experiences,  and my persisting illness (I had double pneumonia twelve times between the ages of three and eleven) was an inner life that was rich and prolific, and an ability to move between states of consciousness and reality at will.
     At age eleven, I had the vision of a great staff of burning bronze with a serpent wrapped around it that seemed to fill half the sky. Right after that, I came very near death for a third time, back in hospital with pneumonia. But this time, I came back healed, and was able to live a relatively normal life – except that in my mind, the dream world was my “normal”. I later realized that my vision in the sky resembled a giant version of the serpent staff of Asklepios, the Greek god who heals through dreams.

I can’t remember a time when I did not understand that our personal dreams can take us into the Dreamtime, which is about more than the bargain basement of the personal subconscious; it is the place where we find our spiritual kin on a higher level and remember the origins and purpose of life. That’s the way the First Peoples of my native Australia, the Aborigines, see it, and one of the few people I met in childhood who could confirm and validate my experiences of dreaming was an Aboriginal boy. He said of my near-death experiences, “Oh yeah, we do that. When we get very sick, we go and live with the spirits. When we get well, we come back.” He did not think it was extraordinary to dream future events, or to meet the dead in dreams, as I did all the time.
    I had to be fairly quiet about these things, growing up in a conservative time in Australia, in a military family. But as I grew older, I was able to do more and more with the gifts of dreaming. My dreams of ancient cultures led me to my first job, as lecturer in ancient history at the Australian National University. My dreams of possible future events enabled me to avoid death on the road, quite literally, on three occasions.
   Then, in mid-life, on a farm in the Upper Hudson Valley of New York, I was called in a lucid dream – also an out-of-body experience – into a meeting with an ancient Native American shaman, a Mother of the Wolf Clan of the Mohawk people, who insisted on speaking her own language. When I learned enough of her language to understand her, she taught me that dreams reveal the secret wishes of the soul, and the the task of decent people in a decent society is to gather round a dreamer and help her recognize those wishes and take action to honor them, so that more of soul comes into life.
    As I struggled to understand our connection, I grew to realize that we were joined in a trans-temporal drama. The other key player was a colorful Irishman who entered her world in the 1700s and came to rule the Mohawk frontier like a tribal king. She had tried to influence him; she succeeded better with me, though that meant reaching seven generations into her future.
     My initial encounters with these personalities of an earlier time coincided with the death of my father, who returned to me in dreams as guide and counselor for the family. The convergence of these events, and the resurgence of dreams and visions that came with them, led me deep and far in my studies and exploration of the deeper reality. In the liminal space between sleep and awake, a guide who spoke to me in a voice I had learned to trust instructed me that it was time for me to teach what I had learned. I embarked on the path of a dream teacher, for which there is no career track in Western society.





For a full version, please see The Boy Who Died and Came Back by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.


Art: "Serpent Staff in the Sky" by Robert Moss