Dream Gates

Dream Gates

Dreamwork, the antidote to the League of Fear and Contempt

posted by Robert Moss

- dream sharing Mosswood May 2014Why do so many adults in Western society deny that they dream or insist that dreams do not matter?

These attitudes are partly the work of societal pressures, and of the authority we have assigned to two kinds of authority: those who have aspired to control our inner lives and those who have suggested that we have no inner lives that matter. I am speaking about the strange alliance between forms of established religion that fear direct personal experience of the sacred, and scientific reductionists who deny both the sacred and the validity of such experience.

For centuries, the church applied crushing weight to deny the validity of personal experience in the worlds of spirit. Personal revelation is always perceived as a threat by religious monopolies. Carl Jung, the son of a Protestant minister who had lost his faith, observed that organized religion exists to protect people from a personal experience of the divine. Hopefully, we and our churches will evolve beyond the need for such defenses. In these things, there is simply no substitute for personal experience.

If fear of dreams breeds witchfinders, it also spawns reductionists, who are perhaps more deadly (or at least more deadening) because they invoke scientific jargon in a society where “science” is widely presumed to have all the answers. Turn a certain kind of scientist loose on the dreaming mind and you will soon be informed that dreams are hallucinations spawned by the wash of chemicals, or nonsensical clutter triggered by random neural firing. Such findings are usually reported without a single reference to the researcher’s personal experience of dreaming, which speaks eloquently about their value.

There is all the difference in the world between a genuinely scientific approach and scientism, the dull ideology that denies the authenticity of what cannot be quantified and replicated under laboratory conditions. It is scientism, not science, that is the enemy of dreaming. True science is hungry for fresh data and new experiments, ready to jettison theories that our understanding has outgrown, ever alive to the possibility that the universe (like the dream source) is putting bigger questions to us than our best brains can put to it. It is no accident that the pathfinders of modern science – Einstein and Pauli, Kekule and Bohr, even Sir Isaac Newton is his day – have been dreamers and practical mystics.

Dreaming is a path of direct experience of the greater reality, whether we call that the sacred, or nature, or the multiverse. Dreamwork – sharing dreams in the right way and helping each other unfold their messages and take appropriate action to embody their energy and guidance – is everyday church. Let’s step from under the sway of the League of Fear and Contempt. Let’s break the mental padlocks installed by those who have tried to get us to keep our dreams sealed in a locked basement.

 

Dream sharing at Mosswood Hollow. Photo by Robert Moss.

Adapted from Conscious Dreaming: A Spiritual Path for Everyday Life by Robert Moss. Published by Three Rivers Press.

Traveling dream souls of indigenous peoples

posted by Robert Moss

- ChiquitosIndigenous peoples recognize multiple aspects of soul, with different destinies after death and different degrees of mobility during life.

Thus the Chiquitano believe a human has three souls, called the shadow soul, the blood soul and the breath soul. During dreams the blood soul (otor) can wander a little, but must stay close to the body.

The shadow soul (ausipis) can make longer journeys, leaving the body and the blood soul far behind. In the morning, it returns and give the other two souls an account of its adventures. It’s these long journeys of the shadow souls that account for big dreams in which the dreamer enters other realms and other times; they may visit the future, or go to the plane where souls that have not yet been born gather and prepare for their descent into bodies.

There is danger in these long journeys, because hostile non-human beings called obois try to catch the shadow soul in invisible threads and coax or force it to consume a drink that will trap it in another domain. The light and smoke of a cigar are believed to be helpful in defeating these attackers.

“Chiquitano” – derived from Chiquitos, Little Ones  – was a name imposed by the Conquistadores on a number of peoples of eastern Bolivia and Mato Grosso amalgamated by the Jesuit missions in the seventeenth century.

Source: JürgenRiester, “Curanderos y brujois de los indios chiquitanos” in Revista de la Universidad Boliviana “Gabriel René Moreno” vol, 16, nos 31-32 (1972).

Image: Alcides d’Orbigny (1831). Public Domain.

Rumi-nation

posted by Robert Moss

- Rumi angelA quick way of getting a message for any day is to open a book at random and see what is in front of you. The fancy name for this process is bibliomancy. The favorite book that has been used for such purposes in the West, for as long as we have had printed books, is the Bible. Abraham Lincoln used his family Bible – the one on which Barack Obama took his oath of office – to get messages in this way, including second opinions on his dreams.

On the Connecticut shore, leading a training for teachers of Active Dreaming, and enjoying the gentle waters of Long Island Sound, one of my travel companions was Coleman Barks’ exquisite edition of The Essential Rumi. The poems here are not literal or near-literal translations. They are versions of translations by scholars from the great 13th century Persian poet of visionary experience and direct encounter with the Beloved of the soul. I was looking to Rumi, as mediated by Coleman Barks, for my morning messages.

When I opened the book at random, I got Rumi’s parable poem of “The Three Fish”.

Your real country is where you’re heading, not where you are.

There’s also this excellent counsel for the spiritual road traveler:

When you’re traveling, ask a traveler for advice,
not someone whose lameness keeps him stuck in one place

The next morning, I turned to Rumi again, and was thrilled by his evocation of the nearness of the Guide, the one who is never hidden from us except by the many ways in which we hide ourselves from him.

We’ve come to the presence of the one who was never apart from us

Then we begin to feel the afflux of a greater power. We are more than we are, in our little everyday selves, stuck in the grooves of habit and self-limiting beliefs:

When the water-bag is filling, you know the water carrier’s here.

Encouragement for any day to open to the presence of  a greater power and to take the creative risks that draw the Greater Self closer.

 

Art: Seated Angel, Iran, 1575-1600, Opaque watercolor and gold on paper. From the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Lent by the Art and History Trust LTS1995.2.72

Enter lucid dreaming like a sleeping tiger

posted by Robert Moss

- sleeping tigerChen Tuan (871-989) was a celebrated Taoist sage who lived a secluded life in mountain caves in China, where he created kung fu and a method of conscious dreaming. He was an ardent student of I Ching. He reputedly wandered the country in disguise, and sometimes provided warnings of impending events such as the flooding of the Yellow River.

Legend has it that Chen Tuan, won Mount Hua  – sacred to the goddess, and a center of Taoist practice up to the present day – at a chess game. Chen Tuan, beat Zhao Kuangyin, who later made good on his promise to deliver the mountain if he became emperor of the Tang dynasty Emperor, which he did in 960-976. Chen Tuan presided over a revival of Taoist practices, and is especially famous for his dream practice. There is a cave at the Jade Clear Spring Monastery where he lived his later years, and today it is a shrine with a statue of him in the classical dream practice pose (lying on right side, right hand supporting the head, like a sleeping tiger). His followers claimed he would lie in this position for days or even months while he flew about  in his dream body.

He taught that to dream well, we want to develop the practice of shifting attention from the physical to the subtle.  For neophytes, this is best attempted when you are not so tired you’ll just crash. Preparation includes releasing negative thoughts and  emotions and bodily complaints. There is a Taoist technique for that which centers on directing an “inner smile” to complaining parts of the body.

When we dream, the Taoist master taught, we enter realities beyond the physical. The core practice is to remain conscious as you relax your body in sleep position. You issue yourself a “sleep command” directing where you intend to go and what you intend to do. And you arrange your body in bed in the posture of a sleeping tiger.

The instructions for that can be given as follows:

Lie on your right side. Extend your left arm along your left leg. Your right hand may be cupped over your right ear, or tucked under the pillow. Bend your right knee. Leave your left leg  loosely extended. This posture shifts breathing to the left nostril and this is believed to activate right brain activity, facilitating strong visual and intuitive experiences and smoothing the way to states of brainwave activity associated with dreaming or meditation.

This posture is not unique to Taoists; it has been widely adopted and recommended in many dreaming traditions, sometimes as an ideal posture for entering death. The Buddha, at the moment of death, is depicted in Asian art as lying in the posture of the sleeping tiger.

Like tigers, a dream master may take plenty of “power naps” in the course of an day. This was a preferred technique of Chen Tuan. He would keep visitors waiting while he grabbed fifteen minutes in the sleeping tiger mode.  Chen Tuan is revered in Taoist tradition as “Ancestral Teacher”. He liked to call himself  Fuyao Zi, which means “one who soars high through the sky”, like a dragon or flying tiger.

 

Sleeping tiger posture.

Previous Posts

Dreamwork, the antidote to the League of Fear and Contempt
Why do so many adults in Western society deny that they dream or insist that dreams do not matter? These attitudes are partly the work of societal pressures, and of the authority we have assigned to two kinds of authority: those who have aspired to control our inner lives and those who have sugge

posted 6:10:51pm Sep. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Traveling dream souls of indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples recognize multiple aspects of soul, with different destinies after death and different degrees of mobility during life. Thus the Chiquitano believe a human has three souls, called the shadow soul, the blood soul and the breath soul. During dreams the blood soul (otor) can wande

posted 4:16:01am Sep. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Rumi-nation
A quick way of getting a message for any day is to open a book at random and see what is in front of you. The fancy name for this process is bibliomancy. The favorite book that has been used for such purposes in the West, for as long as we have had printed books, is the Bible. Abraham Lincoln used h

posted 4:58:36pm Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Enter lucid dreaming like a sleeping tiger
Chen Tuan (871-989) was a celebrated Taoist sage who lived a secluded life in mountain caves in China, where he created kung fu and a method of conscious dreaming. He was an ardent student of I Ching. He reputedly wandered the country in disguise, and sometimes provided warnings of impending events

posted 12:21:15am Aug. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Smellie's school of dreams
He was the first editor of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and his racy style and talent for aphorisms made it an immediate popular success. He was a friend of the poet Robert Burns, who described him as "that old Veteran in Genius, Wit and Bawdry.” Scientist, writer, master printer, natural phil

posted 10:50:13am Aug. 20, 2014 | read full post »


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