[Dreaming] is no mean art: for its sake one must stay awake all day. ~Friedrich Nietzsche
I was looking for a quote about dreams to start this article off. The only ones I found with the search word ‘dream’ in it were about accomplishing goals. I think that says a lot about how much we don’t value sleeping dreams. I settled on the quote by Nietzshe and substituted ‘dreaming’ for his word ‘sleeping’.
I have been noticing and recording my dreams since I was 10 years old. It began with a recurring dream that was very uplifting and left me horribly sad on walking, discovering I was back in my ‘other’ life. This event began my conscious investigations and ruminations that dreams meant something more than an entertaining interlude between waking and waking. As our everyday ordinary reality is important in that our interactions in the world directly affect and reflect our developing maturity and ultimately our emerging spirit, I felt our dream lives must be important too.
Thus began my explorations into the multi-dimensional self. Several years before this, though, I had a waking event that would inform the rest of my life. It was not a dream, but it wasn’t ordinary reality either. I have been tuned in to the ‘other dimensions’ since I was a toddler. The only difference between me and most other people is that I never discounted this event, or my dreams. I also did not share them with anyone, knowing instinctively how important it was to keep them safe, preserve their power.
We know so very little about ourselves and the world which we inhabit. Our journey is to discover this bright being that has been hidden by logic, acculturation, education, religiosity, social standing, peer pressure, and material ambition. It is possible these powerful influences do not quite hold the same dominion over us in the non-material realms. Only when we die will we discover the folly of ignoring these realms: we will be as unequipped to successfully navigate them as a newborn would be chairing a corporate board meeting.
As many of us have experienced, all dreams are not created equal. There are dreams that are the anticipation, worry or rehashing of the daily trials of our lives; things we are not at peace with that plague us on a surface level, very close to our waking reality in other words.
When we sleep we travel without our physical form, similar to post-death. How far we venture forth determines our experience – the thing we call dreams. Many never venture far, but stay close to their waking lives. But it also depends, I’ve learned, on how willing one is to seriously entertain the idea that this waking existence is only a small fraction of our lives. When this threshold of adventure is crossed, all bets are off on being able to make sense of what we experience when we sleep. And even when we are adept at dream recall, the farther we travel the less we may remember, because it is so very foreign and our comprehension will be compromised.
Around 2004 I made a list based on my experiences in the dream realms of the different layers or dimensions in ascending order (with waking reality being the densest). I do not claim anything for this list, but that it was my interpretation of experiences.
- Waking Reality
- Worry Realm
- Realm of the Dead
- Symbolism Realm’s buffer zone
- Realms Similar to Waking Reality, but subtly different
- Realms Quite Different to Bizarre
- Largely Unrecognizable and Untranslatable Realms
- Gobblety Gook – too far out for cognitive processing
There are many theories of what dreams are, how to make sense of them, etc. What has developed in our western culture as the answer is Jungian symbolism. I feel this can be helpful in the first couple dream realms, but not all of them by any stretch. As with worry dreams, when we stay close to our physical lives during sleep, symbolic interpretation is only relevant where things are familiar. With practice we can feel where those boundaries are.
I also have experienced that where my waking focus was, that was the realm I would travel to time and again. It seems that when our waking mind resides predominantly in fear and worry, that’s where we will go when asleep. If we are freely exploring life, and are very open minded about the concept of ‘reality’, we can really get somewhere in these locales.
I suggest that this is an important consideration when exploring dreams. We can so easily be persuaded that what we experience, as in waking reality, is all that exists. But if we periodically shift our focus to different concepts, studies, or lifestyle practices, our dreams will mirror the conscious mind to some extent. The more willing we are to entertain ‘high weirdness’, the more visas we obtain for our dream passport.
In the spring of 1996 I began having dreams that I termed “Big Dreams.” These not only had a profound emotional and psychological impact on me, and had bleed-through in a curious way to my waking reality, but also presented the highly entertaining component of linear memory within the dream world, and threads of linear experience remembered as real within waking life that logically could not be contained therein. These dreams, I suggest, cannot be subject to symbolic interpretation, but are clues to the fact that somewhere within us lie other ‘realities’ as real and as important to us, maybe more so, as our waking lives. Here is where the veils thin and dimensions as realities, not just theoretical physics, become a fact through experience.
Dreams are very personal to each of us. It may not be wise to share them indiscriminately. It diminishes the energy the dream holds for us when we refuse to own this dream life and allow others to pick through it, offering their opinions. I have explored other’s interpretations of my dreams. While they might sometimes have been insightful on a mundane level, they always felt ‘surface’ and insufficient. In books, nothing I dreamt was ever covered – very frustrating during my very early investigations.
Letting someone else tell us what our dream is about is like allowing someone full control of our waking-life decision-making process; or fully believing a psychic reading without allowing for the free-will component. One becomes a passive observer rather than an engaged, passionate participant. Like many instances in life, we give our power over to another because it is ‘easier’. We all have the ‘expert’ or ‘authority’ issue, and that authority is never us.
Another aspect to dream life that I have noticed over the years is the Soul Circle. I believe we all continue to reincarnate in groups that will be supportive to each lifetime spent here. This Soul Circle can be composed of those with whom we spend time in waking reality. More often than not, the group is those with whom we interact only in the dream realms whether these are actual people we know about or not. We may never meet in waking reality, but we have loving, helpful relationships with them nonetheless.
And then there is the interesting experience of dropping into someone else’s life to experience that in dreamtime. Much confusion around past lives arises when we feel it is our past life rather than embodying and experiencing another’s actual life through the dreamtime realm. As the poet says, “Ain’t it funny how they’re all Cleopatra when you gaze into their past.” We need to explore more, be open to other concepts of what may be happening and be prepared to not know the answer – ever. Always keep the Question open.
I wonder if we can begin to accept on a collective level that we have a very different existence than we’ve been led to, or dare, believe? Can we entertain the notion that once we get out away from our ordinary reality, move through the buffer zone of symbolism, that that world is as real and important as this waking one is to us? Where we learn, grow, experience and work hard to become more of who we really are? And if we are fortunate, then put into practice those lessons in waking reality, integrating the two (or more) worlds with our being, enlarging our life. And perhaps the reverse is true at the same time.
I encourage you to record your dreams (narrative and image) and become the engaged participant. Learn your personal symbolism over the years and explore the lands beyond these waking and symbolic realms. It is really worth the time, energy and effort. The secret wisdom of dreams may not be easily apprehended, but it is the right-brain journey of discovery that is important and ultimately useful rather than the left-brain smugly being able to interpret, categorize and catalogue yet another dream.
Our lives are lived in dimensions with which we are wholly ignorant. I feel it is important to consciously engage with this aspect of our lives specially at this crucial turning of the Great Year Age.
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