Saturday, November 26, 2016

Wake up and dream

A dream is a wake-up call. It takes us beyond what we already know. In ancient Egypt, the word for "dream" was rswt, which also means an "awakening". There are “big” dreams and “little” dreams, of course. In big dreams, we go traveling and we may receive visitations. We travel across time – into the future and the past – and we travel to other dimensions of reality. This is reflected in the words for “dream” that are used by indigenous people who have retained strong dreaming traditions and respect for dreamers. Among the Makiritare, a shamanic dreaming people of Venezuela, for example, the word for dream is “adekato,” which means “a journey of the soul”.
    Most societies, across most of human history, have valued dreams and dreamers for three main reasons. First, they have looked to dreams for contact with a wiser source than the everyday mind – call that God, or Nature, or the Self with a great big Jungian S. Second, they have looked to dreams as part of our survival kit, giving us clues to possible future events we may want to avoid or enact. Third, they have known that dreaming is medicine, in several important senses. Dreams show us what is going on inside the body, often before physical symptoms present. When we do get sick, dreams are a factory of images we can use for self-healing.
    How do we become more active dreamers?
     Let’s start with baby steps. Many of us in the contemporary world have been suffering a prolonged dream drought. You want to end the drought and renew your connection with your dreams. So you set a juicy intention for the night – “I want to have fun in my dreams and remember” or “I open myself to healing” – and make sure you are ready to record something whenever you wake. Be kind to fragments. Even a wisp from a dream, a sense of color, a snatch of a song, can be a great beginning.
    Next, recognize that you don’t need to go to sleep in order to dream. Through the play of synchronicity and pop-up symbols, the world around you will speak to you in the manner of dreams if you pay attention. And there are treasures in in-between states of consciousness, especially in the hypnagogic zone, “the Place Between Sleep and Awake” as Tinkerbell calls it in the Disney version of Peter Pan.
   To get active with your dreams, you need to keep a journal and you need to develop the practice of sharing your dreams with others in the right way, and of taking action to bring energy and guidance from the dream world into everyday life. I have invented a powerful technique for dream sharing that we call Lightning Dreamwork. It’s quick, it’s safe and it’s fun. It provides a way for us to hear each other’s stories, provided helpful feedback and guide each other to take action to honor our dreams. We can learn to do it in minutes with a complete stranger or the intimate stranger who shares our bed and may be the hardest person to talk to about sensitive things. We learn to talk to each other in a really interesting, lively way that helps us to open a safe space to share dreams and other intimate material where we’re not going to be intruded upon or told what things mean. We can offer each other non-authoritarian feedback and guide each other to action to embody the healing, guidance and energy from our dreams and life stories. Dreams require action.
     Next, we want to develop the practice of conscious or lucid dreaming. The easiest way to become a lucid dreamer is to start out conscious and stay that way. I teach people to travel, wide awake and conscious, through the doorway of a remembered dream to explore the dreamscape more fully, resolve terrors, solve mysteries and follow roads of adventure in the multiverse. Dream reentry, as I call this, is another of the core techniques of Active Dreaming, my original synthesis of shamanism and dreamwork. 
    It's important to understand that our memory of a dream is not the full experience of the dream. A dream experience, fully remembered, is its own interpretation. But even a very detailed report is missing many things that went on. By learning to go back into the space of a dream, we can recover more, and we can continue the dream story, sometimes overcoming a dread, solving a mystery, or bringing things to a happy resolution.
    Dream reentry is not that hard. In dreams, we are usually in a certain space, or a series of settings. We could say (as the Egyptians did) that a dream is also a place. If you have been to a place, you can go there again. You can talk to a character inside that space, or try to brave up to a dragon, or open a sealed door, or find out whether the car accident you dreamed is symbolic - maybe something to do with your job or your marriage - or maybe a literal accident you may be able to avoid by harvesting details and acting on that information.
    In the workshops, we use shamanic drumming to fuel and focus the journeys, and we learn that dreaming does not have to be a solitary activity. We can travel with one or more partners and our shared experiences become first-hand data on the reality of other dimensions.
     Let's wake up to the fact that the world around us will speak to us in the manner of dreams if we learn to play more attention. As Baudelaire said, we are walking in a forest of living symbols. In dreams we step through the curtains of our ordinary understanding and enter a deeper reality. Through synchronicity, the forces of a deeper reality come poking through those veils to bring us awake.

     Dreaming is a discipline. It’s fun and you get to do a lot of the work in your sleep but to get good at it – as with anything else – requires practice, practice.

For much more on the practice of Active Dreaming, and what a future dreaming society will be like, please see Active Dreaming: Journeying beyond Self-Limitation to a Life of Wild Freedom by Robert Moss.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

If you are brave and want to face reality, look into your dreams. Dreams will lead you to what you are afraid to accept. Dreams don't lie and they will lead you to the truth and also help push you beyond yourself.

I have been journaling my dreams for over 40 years. Dreams have changed the direction of my life.

I pray that during the desert days that I will move beyond my egocentricities and fly away into the full spectrum of humanity. My life depends on it.