How do you define a “dream”?
A dream is a wake-up call. It takes us beyond what we already know. Dreams are the language of the soul, and they are experiences of the soul.
There are “big” dreams and “little” dreams, of course. In big dreams, we go traveling and we may receive visitations. We travel across time – into the future and the past – and we travel to other dimensions of reality. This is reflected in the words for “dream” that are used by indigenous people who have retained strong dreaming traditions and respect for dreamers. Among the Makiritare, a shamanic dreaming people of Venezuela, for example, the word for dream is “adekato,” which means “a journey of the soul”.
- You write “Dreaming isn’t just what happens during sleep; dreaming is waking up to sources of guidance, healing, and creativity beyond the reach of the everyday mind.” What do you mean by that?
Too often we go about in waking life in the condition of sleepwalkers, following schedules, trying to fit in with other people’s expectations and deadlines, out of touch with the deeper meaning of our lives. Dreaming, we find our inner compass and the larger story of our lives, from which we can draw courage and clarity to make better choices when confronted with everyday challenges.
The wake-up call may come in a sleep dream. It may come in that liminal state of hypnagogia when we are drifting between sleep and waking; this is a marvelous space for creative discovery, when we can make connections that escape the ordinary mind, as I explain in my Secret History of Dreaming. We may receive the wake-up call in the midst of everyday life, through the play of meaningful coincidence or a pop-up symbol from the world about us; navigating by synchronicity is the dreamer’s way of operating 24/7.
We can learn to travel into the dream world wide-awake and conscious, in the way of the ancient shamans, as I teach people to do in my Active Dreaming approach. In this way, we can journey to places of healing and guidance in nonordinary reality and bring back gifts. In my new book, Dreaming the Soul Back Home, I explain how we can develop the skills of lucid dream travel to find and bring home parts of our vital energy and identity that may have gone missing in life, so we can be whole and strong.
- Why is it important to work with our dreams?
– We solve problems in our sleep
– Dreams coach us for future challenges and opportunities
– Dreams show us what the body needs to stay well – and get well
– Dreams hold up a “magic mirror” to our current actions and attitudes, helping us to take an objective look at ourselves and make wiser choices
– Dreams are a creative studio where we develop new ideas – as inventors, scientists, writers and world-changers have always done.
Beyond all the above, dreams put us in touch with our BIGGER story and our larger purpose.