"Without embracing and leaping into the unknown, there would be no discoveries. There would be no human race." -- Sarvananda Bluestone
On one hand, you could say author Sarvananda Bluestone has a pretty dreamy existence watching the snow melt up in Woodstock, New York, writing successful books about dreams, omens, and personal transformation.
But once he starts talking, you realize he's quite preoccupied with the edgy existence of today's average American. The public's paranoia is not something that rests comfortably with him and his most recent book--while actually about the dreams we have in our sleep--includes some ideas that might assist people whose nightmares are closer to the surface now with war looming and the nation on alert.
Bluestone, a Ph.D. historian by training, had finished his research and started to write "The World Dream Book: Use the Wisdom of World Cultures to Uncover Your Dream Power" on September 11th. In fact, he was trying to write the chapter on nightmares when the planes hit the World Trade Center.
A loved one lived in New York City and had actually seen the plane rip into the first Trade Tower. Bluestone reports how she, like everyone else, tried to carry on afterwards. But within ten days, her nightmares started: she dreamed of men with bombs, of losing her mother.
In the meantime, out in the country, Bluestone (who writes his first drafts longhand in a comfortable armchair with a writing board across it) was gazing out his windows, feeling blocked. "I couldn't write anything for awhile, and then it hit me that I had in recent years detached myself from the goings on in Bosnia, Africa, the Middle East. I had somehow lost touch with what was going on in the world. Those people just didn't exist. When this touched me I just began to cry. At that moment, once I had connected with my heart, I was able to write again."
A lot of us felt similarly, at the time, that we had somehow fallen asleep. So it strikes Bluestone as a fine time to be attending to our dreams. Dreams keep us honest. In fact, keeping good records of our nightly musings and then discussing them with others is a wonderful way to stay connected to the world at large, he says. It is also a great way to awaken compassion and get fear dislodged.
Interestingly, out of the hundreds of cultures he has studied to better understand how dreams are interpreted worldwide, ours is the only one that must provide its dreamers with strategies and techniques for remembering dreams at all. "There's tons and tons of material available about inducing dreams in other cultures. But remembering them is not the issue. Only in Western culture do we draw a sharp line between waking and dream consciousness." It is interesting to note also that many followers of Islam assign a truth value and sacredness to dreams that is alien to Westerners. We are engaged in a clash of dream realities.
Now is the time to go in, not seal out, Bluestone says. "When you're not staying in touch with your dream consciousness, you're losing touch with half of yourself. You are losing touch with your heart. Dream consciousness is a very much needed element right now. We need to listen to what dreams are saying, and let them, the dreams, speak."
Saddling the Night's Mare
It is the feeling of helplessness and powerlessness--the certainty that no matter what we do, we are doomed--that is most characteristic of nightmares. There is no question that our dream feelings of powerlessness can emanate from our experience in our waking lives. It follows, then, that as we feel more empowered in our waking lives, we will feel empowered in our dreams. But it can work the other way as well. If we are empowered in our dreams, so are we empowered in our waking lives. The border is permeable and the traffic goes both ways.