There are three "Only" things we too often dismiss as "only" a dream, "only" a coincidence, and "only" my imagination. They are incredible tools and guides if we will only give them a little room and respect in our lives.
Although dreaming has been central to my life, I did not take the decision to become a dream teacher until I moved to a farm in upstate New York in the mid-1980s. There, I started dreaming of an ancient Iroquois Indian arendiwanen, or "woman of power". This dream shaman reminded me dreaming is all about soul. Our dreams show us what the soul wants, as opposed to the clutter of the everyday mind and the petty agendas of the ego, and it is the duty of decent people in a humane society to create and hold a space where dreamers can tell their dreams and then be helped to take action to honor the wishes of the soul.
As a child, growing up in my native Australia, I survived three near-death experiences that made me very strongly aware that the physical world is not the only reality. The first person able to confirm my experiences, was an Aboriginal boy who came from a tradition that teaches that the dream world may be more real, not less real, than the world of ordinary physical existence, and that our true spiritual teachers--and the nature of our soul's purpose--are to be found in the Dreamtime.
I learned from a dream guide in my childhood that the most important knowledge comes to us through anamnesis, which means "remembering-" the knowledge that belonged to us, on the level of soul and spirit, before we came into this world. Dreaming is the best way I know to practice soul remembering. We live differently when we remember our lives have a purpose, one we consciously accepted before we came here, and the ups and downs of our present lives are part of a bigger story.
Many of our greatest scientists and inventors have been world-class dreamers and imagineers. Wolfgang Pauli, a Nobel laureate and one of the pioneers of quantum physics, said throughout his life dreams were his "secret laboratory." His dreams helped him to pursue an immense life project: a unified theory that would explain that there is no separation between psyche and physics at any level of reality. Its nature became clear to him in his mid-thirties, when he dreamed that Einstein came to him and told him that must accept a new dimension to reality, the psycho-spiritual depth of things.
Dreams have also been the source of great business ideas. Jeff Taylor woke in the middle of the night from a dream in which he created an electronic bulletin board that was lit up with eager job-hunters logging in from all over. He scrawled the phrase "Monster board" on a pad in the dark, then rushed to an all-night coffee shop and roughed out the plan for what became the stunningly successful Internet job agency, Monster.com.
In the language of ancient Egypt, a dream (rswt) is literally an "awakening". For many ancient and indigenous cultures, dreaming is fundamentally about WAKING UP to a deeper reality. This can happen when we are asleep or awake, or in an altered state of consciousness.
An Iroquois phrase that means "I dream" also means "I bring myself good luck". The implication is that if you aren't aware of your dreams, you won't be present at the creation of the events and situations that will manifest in your life.
Our ancestors--in all cultures--were dreamers. By reclaiming our dream life, we reclaim access to ancestral wisdom.
Breaking a Dream Drought
Have you lost touch with your dreams? Is your dream recall limited to fragments lost completely as you hurry off into your day?
Easy ideas to renew your dream relationship.
1. Set an intention for the night: Before you go to bed, write down an intention for the night. This can be a travel plan (I would like to go to Hawaii), request for guidance (I want to know what will happen if I change my job). Or general setting of direction (I ask for healing or I open myself to my creative source). You might simply say, I want to have fun in my dreams and remember.
Make sure your intention is interesting to you. Don't make dream recall a chore.
Keep pen and paper (or tape recorder) next to your bed, so you are ready to record something when you wake up.
Record something whenever you wake up, even at 3am. If you have to go to the bathroom, take your notebook with you Sometimes the dreams we most need to hear come visiting at rather anti-social hours, from the viewpoint of the little everyday mind.
If you don't remember a dream when you first wake up, lay in bed for a few minutes and see if something comes back. Wiggle around in the bed. Sometimes returning to the body posture we were in earlier in the night helps to bring back what we were dreaming when our bodies were arranged that way.
If you still don't have a dream, write something down anyway: whatever is in your awareness, including feelings and physical sensations. You are catching the residue of a dream even if the dream itself is gone. And as you do this, you are saying to the source of your dreams, "I'm listening. Talk to me."
2. Conscious Entry into Dreamspace
You don't need to go to sleep in order to dream. You can enter dreaming from a quiet place of meditation, from the twilight zone between sleep and waking, or through shamanic drumming. (check out my drumming CD, Wings for the Journey). You can take a favorite picture and use it as a personal dreamgate. Imagine yourself stepping behind that line of trees in the landscape painting, for example, and having an adventure on the other side. Or take a favorite piece of music and let yourself flow with it into a series of dreamlike scenes.
3. Play w/Dreamlike Symbols of Everyday Life
It's fun to devote a little time every day to tracking dreamlike symbols in everyday life. It's also very interesting how, when we give more room to studying coincidence and random messages (in the vanity plate of the car ahead, or what comes on the car radio, for instance) we seem to unlock the nocturnal dreamgates and more comes through.
ROBERT MOSS is a world authority on dreams, a bestselling novelist, and a former foreign correspondent and professor of ancient history. His latest book is The Three "Only" Things: Tapping the Power of Dreams, Coincidence and Imagination. Visit: www.mossdreams.com ©2007Robert Moss. Printed with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA. www.newworldlibrary.com or 800-972-6657 ext. 52.