Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The romance of dreaming

On Valentine Day, romance your dreams. The romance of dreaming is played out beyond your present life and your present world. Through dreaming, as the Irish poet-painter AE (George Russell) promised, "Your own will find you". Someone you loved and lost five thousand years ago may call you to remember that romance, and look for its fulfillment in new bodies that have ancient eyes.
    Yes, I am a romantic about these things. But I am also a practical romantic. I know that we can dream the way to manifest the kind of love that transcends time, and also that dreaming will show us how to do what we love and let the world support us. However, this requires us to develop the practice of active dreaming, which involves not only growing our dream recall and keeping our journals, but learning to clarify the content of dreams and above all taking action to bring energy and guidance from the dream worlds into the physical world.
    One of my favorite teaching stories about this comes from India. It is sometimes called "The Sketcher of Pictures". It goes like this:

The princess (and all women may be princesses, or queens) is dreaming. She dreams of the perfect lover, who satisfies her in every way. The dream streams like silk. It smells like jasmine and honeysuckle.
   She opens her eyes and howls with pain and loss, because although her surroundings are opulent she knows no one like the man of her dreams.
   Her father sees that she is very sad and asks what is wrong. When she tells him it has something to do with a dream, the king summons his wise men to listen to the dream and tell her what it means. They gather in a council chamber, ready to give their interpretations.
    As the princess recounts her dream, a wild man rushes into the room, his hair a white storm about his shoulders. He is a rishi who lives in the woods and cares nothing for the rules of the court. He grabs a piece of paper, makes a quick sketch, and hands it to the girl.
    When she looks at the picture, the princess is stunned. The rishi has captured the very essence of her dream lover.
     Abandoning the conclave of dream interpreters, she runs after the wold man from the woods. When she catches up to him, she begs him to tell her the identity or her dream lover. "Who is he? Where can I find him?" Clearly the rishi knows the man of her dreams.
     Good teachers don't give you everything all at once. The rishi says only, "The map is in your dream." Then he takes off into the woods.
     The princess thinks about it. What does it mean, that a dream contains a map? When she thinks about it some more, she realizes that she was not with her lover among the clouds. She was in a bed in a room in a house in a city in a certain landscape. Though she recognizes none of these places, she has vivid memories of them and feels she would know them again.
     So she sets out on the quest. In an Indian village, they may take hours to tell this part. There will be tigers, of course, and bandits, and deserts and snakes and all manner of perils. There will probably be elephants.
     But let's catch up with the princess at the moment when her quest is almost over, because there on the horizon, after long travels and many ordeals, she sees the city from her dreams. And now she is rushing through those streets the house from her dream, and up the stairs to the bedroom from her dream, where she finds her lover rising from his dream of her.

It sounds like a fairy story, but there are no fairies in it, or any of the gods, demons and others from the rich forests of Hindu mythology. There are only humans, and what humans can do when they learn to make maps from their dreams and have the will and stamina to follow their maps.
    Through the perfume of romance, we receive a lesson in practical romanticism. Do the work in dreamwork. Recognize that dreams require action. Learn - why has it taken you so long? - that a dream is a place. Because you have been there, you can go there again. This can bring you, in this physical world, to place of your dream lover. More often, it will bring you to places in a more spacious universe where you can rejoin the beloved company of your soul, those who love you across time and space, even when you make each other crazy.
   Give a hug to someone you love on Valentine Day. Bring flowers or chocolates if you must. But don't let the day pass without sharing dreams.

Art: Mughal painting of a prince giving wine to his lover


Sandy Brown Jensen said...

Beautifully written and such an intriguing , provocative, and actionable idea.
And that photo of you is priceless ❤️

Unknown said...

Thank You for this beautiful and inspiring gift ~ Amongst other presents from you it will ever shine like pearls and diamonds for our soul.
Love & Light your way