Please see the posts of the previous two weeks for my opening remarks about writing a description of your dreams and how to begin the process of interpreting your dreams.
This week I am continuing my comments about identifying the basic emotional tone of a dream.
As I noted last week, after you finish the process of writing out your dream take a moment to see if there is an over-riding emotional tone to the dream. Not all dreams will have a prevailing emotional tone to the dream. Some dreams may offer a specific message or guidance about some path you are being encouraged to take or some path you are being encouraged not to take. I will write more about those dreams in another post.
But many dreams do have a strong emotional tone such as anxiety or a maybe even a strong sense of fear, or being deeply embarrassed by realizing you are naked at work, or being unprepared, or very late for an important meeting, or neutral, or happy, or aggressive, or deeply sad, or just plain confused.
There are other emotional tones I have only recently identified or understood. For example a feeling of frustration or incompleteness, or feelings of loss and separation, or a feeling of being powerless, or a fear that you are in a life and death struggle for survival.
Here is where the meditation practice kicks in.
During the active hours of your life as you labor to meet whatever challenges or responsibilities you have in your life, be mindful of the feelings that arise within you.
With clear mindful awareness begin to see feelings as they arise within you. These feelings may be a response to something outside of you. Or, they may be a reaction to some memory or a thought about some future activity you are considering.
Look carefully at the emotions that arise and observe them as they pass.
You will begin to see that many of the feelings you have during the waking hours are very similar to at least some of the feelings you have in dreams. It is just that the feelings at night are more concentrated and more vividly displayed. They also may be feelings you ordinarily do not think of yourself as having, but which surface in the more open environment of the sleeping and dreaming state.
The first stage of the awareness process is to simply observe the feelings during waking hours without judgment. It is enough simply to observe and note the feeling, “Anger has arisen within me or, “Fear of not being prepared for work or school has arisen with me,” and so forth.
Over time, if you persevere with formal meditation practice, you will gain a wide range of skills with mindfulness, concentration, insight, right effort, and wisdom. With this strength and skill you can begin to limit the escalation of challenging emotions and supplant them with one of the cardinal virtues.
A more detailed awareness of dreams will give you insights about which emotions you are being called to work with. Greater skill with meditation and mindful awareness during waking hours will give you the skill and discipline to work with challenging moods and emotions as they arise and have impact.
Calming the fires of challenging emotions during the waking hours will allow the dream imagery at night to deepen and to shift to other themes that are both more satisfying and creative.
Skilled dream workers talk about Lucid Dreaming where you are aware you are in a dream and have the ability to shape the dream as it unfolds.
One way to approach the practice of Lucid Dreaming is to practice what I call Lucid Waking.
To be fully awake while you are awake and to gain a measure of skill with molding emotions and actions during the waking hours of life. The heightened awareness and advanced skills of this Lucid Waking process will make Lucid Dreaming more possible and more creative.
More next week.
What dreams are you having? Do you feel you have a clear interpretation of those dreams? Please feel free to send me an email or call. We can set a time to speak.
I would like the chance to do more with this theme of helping people see how meditation and dream interpretation can work together to real benefit.
Will Raymond Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” and Host of Meditationpractice.com
will at meditation practice dot com (written out to limit spam)