A PRACTICAL GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING OUR DREAMS
We are talking about Imagination this month. So, we want to learn about dreaming and how to receive valuable guidance, healing and riches as we sleep. We want to learn about our dream power and make friends with our dreams.
THE METAPHYSICS OF SLEEP
Let's look at the metaphysics of sleep:
In (Psalms 127:2) it says
"In vain you get up earlier,
and put off going to bed,
sweating to make a living,
since it is God who provides for his beloved as they sleep."a
It is implied here that God's gifts come to us as we sleep. We can initiate our dreaming activity towards solving or working out some particular situation. Dreams can be nighttime teachers. Dreams can also help carry us forward to general creativity, to wholeness and to meaning in our lives.
It is good to remember dreams by writing them down, but dream activity helps integrate, synthesize, and heal even when we don't consciously remember.
BELIEVE THAT YOUR DREAMS ARE OF VALUE
We know that all things start in faith, in belief; so, start by believing that your dreams are of value. Honor your dreams as important. Befriend your dreams. Recognize and appreciate the deeper and divine levels of your being. Practice meditation so that your dreams, as well as your everyday thoughts, are of maximum quality. Establish a spiritual centering or grounding from which both conscious and subconscious mind activity can be expressed. Images in dreams are powerful communications and can be better comprehended and utilized when you are spiritually centered.
In biblical times a dream was more than just a dream. Many believed it was one way the supernatural world communicated with humans. Some people desperately sought these revelations by sleeping in a temple or another holy place. Jews, Egyptians, Assyrians, and Greeks all had professional dream interpreters, often aided by handbooks.
In Genesis 41 it talks about Joseph interpreting the Pharaoh's disturbing dreams. Joseph was a dreamer and an interpreter of dreams; the phenomenal was his field of action. Joseph always stressed that his power to interpret dreams came from the Lord. (Genesis 41:16) Joseph answered Pharaoh, "It is not I; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer."b
The Pharaoh had dreamed (Genesis 41:1-8) "that he was standing by the Nile, and there came up out of the Nile seven sleek and fat cows, and they grazed in the reed grass. Then seven other cows, ugly and thin, came up out of the Nile after them, and stood by the other cows on the bank of the Nile. The ugly and thin cows ate up the seven sleek and fat cows. And Pharaoh awoke. Then he fell asleep and dreamed a second time; seven ears of grain, plump and good, were growing on one stalk. Then seven ears, thin and blighted by the east wind, sprouted after them. The thin ears swallowed up the seven plump and full ears."c
After the Pharaoh awoke, and saw that it was a dream he called for all the magicians of Egypt and all its wise men but no one could interpret the dreams.
But when Joseph was brought he was able to reveal instantly that the dreams predicted seven years of abundance in Egypt followed by seven years of dire famine; and that having two dreams with the same meaning proved that (Genesis 41:32) " ... the thing is fixed by God, and God will shortly bring it about."d
So Joseph told him to set up a nationwide program for stockpiling reserve grain during the fertile years. Pharaoh, not being stupid, appointed Joseph to carry out that plan.
Joseph was wise enough to always go to God for his answers instead of being caught up in dream interpretation books. And we, too, should learn to trust God and our inner promptings.
MEDITATE BEFORE SLEEP
Meditate before you sleep. Use the thought: "God, I am open to Your guidance and healing tonight." Two of the most important parts of your day are just before going to sleep and just after waking up. Meditate; make centered, conscious contact with God at both these influential moments.
I bless the Lord who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me.
I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
my body also rests secure.e
What you think right before going to sleep and just after waking up will set the tone for your whole day. Open yourself to God just before you go to sleep. Then in the morning right after waking up - set your intent for the day. Ask yourself what you want today, whether it be to be happy, or to have fun, or to extend love - then let that be your leading edge into the day. You will be surprised at how well your days go.
KEEP PAPER AND PENCIL BY YOUR BED
Before you go to bed at night make sure that you have paper and a pencil by your bed. Record all you can remember of your dreams in the night or immediately upon awakening. You may use a cassette tape recorder if it is easier. Also, record what is going on in your life currently. Then be sure to date the dream recorded in your journal.
(Joshua 1:7-9) "Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to act in accordance with all the law that my servant Moses commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, so that you may be successful wherever you go. This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to act in accordance with all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall be successful. I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."f
MEDITATE ON YOUR DREAM OR THE FEELING YOU HAVE IN THE MORNING
Meditate on your dream or the feeling you have in the morning. You may pray, "God, help me understand this dream or feeling I have." Then be quiet and receptive. Write down what comes. The ancients call these images and stories, "The dark wisdom of the night." Give the dream a title. Also, try putting the dream into a here-and-now personal way. (For example, I am flying this airplane; it makes me feel free and in charge.)
Genesis 28:12 is about Jacob's vision. As he sank down in exhaustion one night in the wilderness some 12 miles to the north of the future site of Jerusalem, resting his head on a rock, he dreamed that he saw angels ascending and descending a ladder suspended between heaven and earth.g
At the top rung, God himself stood and directly affirmed the promise made to Jacob's grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac: (Genesis 28:13-14) "I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring; and your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth," Jacob awoke, awestruck, and the following morning he anointed his stone pillow with oil, thus setting it apart for God's use, and named the place Bethel, meaning "the house of God."h
The "ladder" represents step-by-step realizations of Truth. These pure thoughts (angels of God) ascend and descend in consciousness. The I AM occupies the highest place in consciousness. The spiritualized thoughts of the mind become the seed and bless all the earth (the body consciousness).
The Lord is constantly in our midst, and we must eventually come into divine consciousness. The mind is startled when it discovers God to be an omnipresent principle. Then comes the realization that the body (house) is the temple of God and that the mind is the gate to heaven (harmony).
In the light of understanding, "the morning", the things that have been our stepping-stones become holy and we anoint them with oil (love, joy, and gladness). Then that which has seemed separate and apart is brought into unity.
KEEP A LIFE JOURNAL
Take the time to keep a life journal. Write down other experiences in your inner and outer life - songs, images, ideas, impressions, "co-incidences," promptings, "the way things work out," remembrances, intimations of things coming to pass, intuitive sensings, life situations which you sense are trying to tell you something. Be aware of what Carl Jung called "synchronicity" - meaningful coincidences. When you start looking for coincidences and synchronicity - you will start seeing it, where before you overlooked it.
BEFRIEND YOUR DREAMS
Befriend your dreams. Have love and patience towards them and what they have to tell you. Be positive towards them. Remember that you made them. They are all a part of you.
It's sort of like the children's book, There's a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer about a young boy befriending the "monster" that came out of his bedroom closet at night.i
Remember, the dreamer, you, is more important than the dream. The dream is just a series of images about who you are and what is going on in your life.
RELATE, DIALOGUE, ENTER IN, BE CURIOUS
With dreams you need to relate to them, dialogue with them, enter into them, and be curious. Ask questions of the dream or people or things in the dream, such as, "What are you to me in my life?" Then enter the silence and listen. You may want to discuss your dream with an aware person, but don't expect anyone (or allow anyone) to interpret what your dreams "mean."
DON'T TRY TO "INTERPRET" OR "ANALYZE" YOUR DREAMS
Don't try to "interpret" or "analyze" your dreams. Get a sense of what's presented. Note any movement or relationship to your life situation. Dreams sometimes draw us backwards or forward, and they are often in a series of installments - like a soap opera. If you can't remember a dream or can't "make sense" of it, the message will probably come again, maybe in a different image or story. Repeated dreams may have an important life message or life myth contained in them that wants to be recognized and lived out.
(Mark 4:26-29) Jesus also said, "The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how. The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head. But when the grain is ripe, at once he goes in with his sickle, because the harvest has come."j
THERE ARE PRACTICAL, PROBLEM-SOLVING DREAMS AND LIFE-CHANGING, TRANSFORMATIONAL DREAMS
There are practical, problem-solving dreams and life-changing, transformational dreams. Practical dreams come mostly out of the subconscious. They help us solve immediate situations, as in scripture in the story of the Christ child.
(Matthew 2:12-15) And [the three wise men] having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, left for their own country by another road.
Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of Egypt I have called my son."k
Transformational dreams come mostly from the superconscious through our dream-making process. They enlarge, improve, teach us love, and enhance our relationship with God and the cosmos. Scrooge's dreams were transformative onesl, in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
GOD'S FORGOTTEN LANGUAGE
Dreams have been called "God's forgotten language." We all dream every night. Dreams are necessary. They carry enrichment, healing, integration, wisdom, guidance, synthesis, expansion of awareness, reconciliation, enlightenment, comfort, and peace. Dreams are mighty letters from God that often remain unopened and unread. Learn to look for, open, read, and understand your mighty letters from God.
Let's end with a meditation:
Settle into your seat, relax, and concentrate on your breath. Let your breathing slow down. Visualize a favorite place in nature that allows you to open up and receive from the bounty of creation.
In the Beatitudes it says "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." So just extend that out to all in our nation in mourning as we see them healing.
Blessed are those in emotional turmoil; they shall be united inside by love.
Healthy are those weak and overextended for their purpose; they shall feel their inner flow of strength return.
Healed are those who weep for their frustrated desire; they shall see the face of fulfillment in a new form.
Aligned with the One are the mourners; they shall be comforted.
Tuned to the Source are those feeling deeply confused by life; they shall be returned from their wandering.
Embrace all of what you feel and allow all emotions to wash through as though you were standing under a gentle waterfall.
Follow this flow back to its source and find there the spring from which all emotion arises.
At this source consider what emotion has meaning for the moment, what action or nonaction is important in the here and now.
Now go back to that favorite place in nature as you accept this nation's healing. Then come back to this place, open your eyes and affirm: And so it is. Amen.
iThere's a Nightmare in My Closet Mercer Mayer
lA Christmas Carol Charles Dickens