This year’s Natural Living Expo is next week-end, November 15-16, at the Best Western Royal Plaza Trade Center and Hotel, 181 Boston Post Rd West (Route 20 West) in Marlborough, MA.
Admission is $12 which is good for both days and gives you access to many free work- shops. This Saturday- November 15th- at 6pm in Salon “A”, I will be presenting one of the free workshops.
Meditation and Dream Interpretation– a guide to deeper experience.
What is the relationship between meditation and dreams?
Most of us have a wide range of personal issues. For some it might be low self-esteem, a sense of unconfidence, or a tendency to be too hard on ourselves. For others it might be tendencies towards anxiety and specific forms or fears such as how we are judged by others. Many have significant challenges with anger or unresolved issues with loved ones who have died or unresolved issues with our children. And for almost all of us there are various aspects to our sexual life that get played out in dreams at night.
Any of these issues can have a significant impact on our mind and are part of the reason why so many find it difficult to quiet their mind during meditation or in waking life.
Our dreams present little movies about these conflicts to us as a way of saying, “Here is the work you still need to do.” “This is what you need to be looking at.”
Being more aware of our dreams is in some ways just another extension of mindfulness. While most of us are not mindful of our dreams while we are dreaming, taking the time to write a detailed description of our dreams upon waking is an excellent practice of mindful awareness. Furthermore a careful effort to write down the dreams will allow a wide range of memories that are related to the details of the dream to surface into conscious awareness.
In short you will begin to access the deeper layers of memory and the unconscious. This will allow you to resolve personal issues. The resolution of personal issues will allow the mind to settle into deeper states of peace during meditation.
The dreams are a visible layer.
The memories and associations that surface while writing out and talking about your dreams will allow you to peer into the sub-basements of the mind.
To begin with, one needs to have enough confidence and personal strength to face the unresolved conflicts and personal issues. For many this confidence comes from having faith that is deep enough that God or the universe will support them in their journey to the center of the psyche. For others they have a good therapist or spiritual mentor that is helping them realize they are now strong enough to deal with whatever has previously been too much to face. For those who are in the early stages of recovery from moderate to severe trauma it is wise to not try to do too much with dream work unless you are having nightmares. When the time is right you and your therapist can decide to descend into the basement of the mind. But please make sure you have strong supports as you make this journey down the basement stairs.
Secondarily, one needs to have the willingness to see some aspects of self that are troubling or embarrassing.
With this confidence, faith and the right kind of support that matches your personal preferences, coupled with a pure willingness to enter upon the journey, you will proceed to the next part of your journey.
The last piece is a strong commitment to personal honesty.
It is the willingness to face one’s personal issues that allow the dreams to surface and be remembered.
These insights will provide you with clear messages about personal issues that need to be resolved before you can progress to the next level of peace and insight on your journey.
For those who do not remember their dreams there is a simple technique that will work, at least for most people.
Keep a pad of paper and pen right by your bed and as soon as you awake from a dream write down whatever fragmentary image you remember. It may not be much at first but as you keep this up night after night, the unconscious will get the signal that you are ready and willing to face and explore more of the unresolved issues that you may have tended to have kept “under the rug.”
For those who readily remember their dreams, pick whatever is the most vivid dream you remember and write it down with a sense of honoring the dream and your experience with yourself or others in the dream.
As you write it down, be mindful of any associations or memories that pop into your mind as you write out certain details. Put these associations in parentheses and continue to finish writing out the dream. You can come back to the associations when you are finished.
The associations that “pop” into mind while you are writing will generally hold the key to interpreting the dream although for particularly vivid dreams this subtlety may not be needed.
More next week.
Will Raymond Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” host of Meditationpractice.com.
will at meditation practice dot com (Spelled out to limit spam)