Prague, Czech Republic
This is appropriate in a city whose Czech name, Praha, means "threshold".
Whenever I come here to teach, I am made vividly aware of how, when people gather for one of my workshops in Active Dreaming, we stand at the threshold of grand adventures in the larger reality, and of how any dream can open a door to places of healing, guidance and energy.
Last night, leading a three-hour evening exploration of "Dreams of Healing" at magical Maitrea, just off Old Town Square, I was moved by the deep well of memory and healing that was opened by the very first dream shared in front of our lively group of 75 dreamers.
In her dream, a Czech woman comes to the edge of a deep well. She is horrified to discover that a beautiful but very sad young girl is drowning in the depths of the well. She wants to help. To do this, she must lower herself into the well. She loses her grip and falls. Now she is underwater. Her lungs are filling with water, her senses are swirling, she knows that she, too, is drowning.
She remembers her intent to rescue the girl. As the will to do this revives in her, she discovers something amazing. She can breathe underwater. She swims to the drowning girl, grabs her, and carries her to the top.
"First feelings after waking?" I asked the first question I ask, of any dream.
"Is there anything in the dream you recognize in the rest of your life?"
"The sadness. I have often felt I am drowning in sadness."
"What do you most want to know about this dream?"
"I want to know about the well. Why is this happening inside a well?"
"If it were my dream," I said, "I would think of the well of memory, and the well of emotions. This well takes me deep into life memories, and emotions that are powerful enough to drown me if I fail to set very clear intentions in taking the plunge. The well is also a portal, a doorway. In my dream of your dream, the young person who is drowning in the well is my own younger self. This dream has given me a way to reach to her, to connect with her and help both of us to move beyond that overwhelming grief and sadness. I feel that I can use this connection to support my younger self in her own time. I also feel that the connection between us will allow me to bring the vital energy, joy and imagination of my younger self into my present life."
The dreamer was nodding vigorously. Her face had been creased with worry or anticipation earlier; now a lovely smile flowered in her features.
"Such a dream requires action," I went on. "I would do two essential things to honor the dream and to use the doorway that has opened between me and my younger self. First, whenever I find myself thinking about sad things that may have happened early in life, I would consciously project thoughts of encouragement to my younger self in her own time. For example, I can tell her, You'll survive. You'll make it through. I promise you this. I believe that you really can reach your younger self, in this way, folding time. In doing it, though, you must remember not to succumb to the raw emotions of that earlier time. Your mission is to be the rescuer, as you were in your dream."
More eager nods and smiles.
"Next, if this were my dream, I would want to be sure to do things in my present life that my younger self would enjoy. Eat something she likes. Play a game she enjoys. Go to a place she loves. I would want to encourage the child part of me to see that I am fun and I am safe, so that we can enjoy a creative life together in the present time."
Czech edition of Dreaming the Soul Back Home.
I noted that in English there is another meaning for the word "well", as in wellness.
Photo of Prague door (c) Robert Moss