By Ron Masa, Ph.D.
1. Opposites live within us all. I have worked with dreams for decades because they are the most profound spiritual guidance we all have access to each night. WhileI assumethat “I have chosen to work with dreams” the opposite may be true. Was I chosen and then lured by my dreams to serve them for a lifetime? In the psyche, all opposites are true. Dreams reveal to us our hidden sides which can often oppose us (Why else would swearing off Haagen-Dazs or smoking make us crave it even more?) but these oppositions are necessary to make us whole. When young you may emphasize achievement, later friendship may rank higher, but both were always part of you.
2. We are all method actors. Every night, every person is a movie star in an inner drama where we appear in one totally convincing role after another. We spend many hours performing in an endless series of gripping dramas each of which we completely accept as reality at the time. When I am dreaming, it seems completely normal that I live in this particular Yurt or Yacht or Castle that the dream has created for me! “Dreams are real while they last,” wrote Havelock Ellis, “Can we say more of life?”
3. Dreams imply that God likes to think in Stories. Every nightly dream is a parable made to order; a lesson just for us. Some mystics believe that we arestories unfolding in the mind of a greater presence. Waking life is as symbolic as are dreams. The eastern concept of maya means that while our consciousness is real, the physical world it inhabits is only a Waking Dream. This world is like a movie set that allows us to physically experience our spiritual lessons (while trying to hold down a day job!). “All the world’s a stage” and so is every dream.
4. Whoever makes us makes our dreams. Dreams wing from afar to nest in our minds, a personal gift from our Source. Each dream activity blazes neurological pathways which affect our future decisions as if the events had actually happened. Although the bear that chased you last night was “only a dream ,” your real heart was really pounding all the time! This morning, both brain and body believe you were actually chased by a bear, which can affect your point of view in interesting ways.
5. Dreams flow from the Cosmic “arche-typewriter” as a universal language through which we all commune with our Source. Dreams inform our (earthbound) head what our (heaven-seeking) heart already knows. Dreams email to the village idiot named Ego, whatever the sage voices within us want it to know. Jung’s star pupil Marie-Louise von Franz said our “dreams are nightly letters from God.” Are you reading your mail?
6. Every dream is Universal; Every dream is personal and ‘hints’ at specific life details. In the psyche, all opposites are true, remember? Dreams are globally personal. And they seem to know their entire future at the moment of their birth. They enrich and speak to anyone who pays attention, and yet every dream includes some meanings that are totally personal to the dreamer. It is because of dreaming that humans are so much wiser asleep than when awake.
7. Our mind’s connection to the higher self is like a two-way radio. We must stop transmitting in order to receive. That’s why dreams mostly appear in the night while our mind is off duty. First the mouth, and then the mind, must stop talking for us to hear the inner wisdom which operates all day long beneath awareness and emerges in dream by night. We mostly obscure the still, small voice by broadcasting our own reality-maintaining, wall to wall, mental chatter. That ego chatter is often called Monkey Mind.
8. Free will includes how we use our attention. The poet Allen Ginsberg, in teaching writing and awareness, always advised: “Notice what you notice.” Meditation and receptivity quiet the mind and allow us to intuit by day the messages that dreams portray dramatically by night. Observers have written that Aldous Huxley, when asked any question at all, would close his eyes, go to a place of deep inner knowing and return–every time– with a gem of insight. Until we master such focus, dreams are the best training ground we have for hearing the continuous wisdom of the guide inside.
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Ron Masa, Ph.D. taught and wrote about dreams while in private practice for 25 years. Dr. Masa and his significant other, Debbie Hart co-lead the University of Yourself, “Helping You Hear the Guide Inside” at http://www.UniversityofYourself.com.