Do you remember or have you recalled disturbing dreams that leave you feeling ‘troubled’?
The thrust of much contemporary life has created a kind of vacuum of meaning and experience as regards the vital living experience of the soul and the psyche. Cultures around the world and throughout time have understood that dreams are a prime source of spiritual wisdom and practical intelligence that instruct human belonging and vitality. The more we ignore and devalue our dreams, the more urgent and even troubling their voices become. So-called “bad dreams” come to us to get our attention. They hold within their dramatic images the very energies that we need and desire for creating fulsome and fulfilling existences. Through sharing and discussing dreams, we learn from the symbolic, sometimes literal and always metaphorical language they use to communicate with us about how to find healing, transformation and an ensouled path.
As you age, move through life, and witness the changes in the world and with the climate, do you have a sense of longing for useful spiritual practices that might aid you in bringing your gifts to bear in your own life and in community?
Inner work, paying attention to our dreams, honoring the creative and vibrant gifts of being, and the imagination as these appear in folk myths, breath work practices, painting practices and shamanic disciplines, while seeking potent questions as to what it is that is asked of us as living beings who dwell on the earth at this time, are all aids towards creating and maintaining vital, whole and useful lives, deaths and communities. Especially during and following the period we call “midlife”, priorities begin to shift and a deep desire to “be seen” and also to give back to life arise as we approach our own dying time. It becomes essential at this time to cultivate everyday practices for learning about and rediscovering a useful sense of purpose towards being alive and for how to “die well”. As we grow old, and our own death becomes more apparent, the very real limits and expansive opportunities of living and dying seek to instruct us. Dreams and connected potent forms of reflection and praxis can help us question the values we’ve adopted for traveling this far through life even as these may begin to unravel and fall away. How might we find a true source of real wisdom that we can trust and draw upon?
Do you find that the so-called solutions to life’s problems, the tried and supposedly true paths of therapy, counseling and conventional knowledge only have so much to offer as regards addressing the ever-returning challenges of being human?
Individually and collectively, as a culture, we seem to keep applying the same techniques and technologies in an effort to “solve” the challenges and trials of being human. How much of what we do comes from a deep, inner sense of living, felt authentic authority? Is it possible that the experience of being alive asks more from us than that we view life and death as problems to be fixed? What if there were practices that we could engage in that could teach us how to learn to be, rather than always seeking to “do something about it”?
Have roles and identities seemed to shift and change as you’ve sought to negotiate the thresholds of your life? Do you have a sense that some deeper purpose might be available to you, but you’re not sure how to carry it forth?
In our dreams, every night when we go to sleep, we are shown creative, vital, soulful and unexpected possibilities for our lives and the life about us. We often miss these guiding and instructive messages of wisdom due to a lack of knowledge around how to read and receive symbolic realities. It’s so easy for us to mistake the occurrences in our dreams as either meaningless or nonsensical. However, work with the metaphors and vital energies in our dreams reveals the depth and wisdom of the Divine as it personally and universally comes forth inside each one of us. In the psyche and the soul reside deep and vast sources of ‘native intelligence’ that may support and guide us through each new passage or crossing we encounter in the making of a vital life and well-wrought death.
Is it possible that we are here to learn how to be human, and that being who and how we are is a life’s work, rather than a guaranteed “given”?
Why does it appear to be the case for most if not all of us that we are faced with unending obstacles and challenges along the shifting by-ways on this road of life and death which we find ourselves traveling? Is existence some kind of cruel set-up? Or, are we perhaps accustomed to thinking about our lives from a skewed perspective, as if the world owes us something simply because this is where we dwell? Doesn’t it make more sense to consider that we may be here to learn some things that can serve more than just ourselves, and that we might also be asked to seek to give something valuable back to life for the simple gift of being allowed to be here and to receive so much from so many, so often? Whether you’re vegetarian or ecologically savvy, how much life goes into supporting your own continuation for the duration of just one day?
Have you had at least one meaningful dream or vision, which later “came true”? Do you know that dreams are wildly meaningful, but lack the company of others and tools to support the benefit that dreams come to offer?
Most of the people I’ve asked, say that they’ve had what we call ‘dreams of the future’. Almost all folks have had at least one dream that they know has deep and profound yet practical wisdom and guidance within it. Many of us push our dreams to the back of the closet because we don’t bear the tools of learning or the support of others we need to make the fullest use of our dreaming encounters and to honor them for who and what they are. The more we work with and share our dreams, the more we see that they often prepare us for what’s coming up and also report on major events in our own and our community’s lives. We spend one-third of our lives asleep and at least six years in “The Dreaming”. It’s well-known and demonstrated that we can make practical and profound use of dreams and learn many things from working with them alone and, especially, with others.
Isn’t it about time that we remembered how to recognize Nature as the great living garment within which we are woven, as vital, soulful threads, rather than some dead object outside ourselves that needs to be tamed, controlled, “conserved”, “resourced” or dominated by our supposedly superior human intelligence?
Working with the often overlooked tools of the imagination, dreams, breath, music, storytelling, painting, poetry and any truly creative discipline, we begin to recognize that we too are nature, and that not only are we alive and here on the earth to take – we are also here to give. As root practices or arts, dreaming and breathing, music-making, story-carrying and all other authentic, deep spiritual tools reveal to us how the level of actual connection that we share with the world, with each other and with genuine spirit and soul realities is much greater than we’ve been led to think and feel. The living, symbolic, energetic quality of our multi-faceted existences may be apprenticed to through engaging in vital practices such as dream-sharing, breathing, sound healing, soul painting and shamanic journey work – all arts that seek to show us more about who and how we are by revealing immediate truths through direct experience. Such engagements ask that we ‘test them out’ in order to verify what may or may not be true or useful to ourselves and the other living members of the commonwealth here on Earth, engaged in the real work of becoming human and co-existing with the rest of creation.
Do you remember having disturbing dreams that feel like they have important information for you, yet are so troubling that you think you can’t tell anyone else about them?
Having worked with dreams for many years, we can say that everyone, at one time or another, has what we could call “difficult dreams”. Contact with many diverse dreams and dreamers shows that each and every dream comes to serve the overall wholeness of each one of us. We release and free up vital energy in discussing our dreams with one another and realize that we aren’t the only ones to have such dramatic experiences. Our “bad dreams” speak in the language of symbol and metaphor to grab our attention and they reveal the negative way in which we may have learned to view the very energies that are missing within us. Dreams augment our view of the world and our own beings in order to free us up to be able to create and maintain a soulful, whole understanding of who and how we are and can be. Please come in and learn more about how to creatively respond to such dreams for the making of an enriching path towards vitality and wholeness.