I hesitate to address dreams, and their value, because by my own admission today, dwelling on the contents of consciousness is counter productive to transcending the very consciousness that enslaves us and anchors us to our limited perspectives of who we are. In other words, analyzing dreams is, for the seeker of liberation, in all ways a backward looking process, because it implies fascination with the individual’s mind and perspective, which fascination, obviously, obscures escape from that limited perspective. It perpetuates, and even embellishes the error that creates our misery in the first place. On the other hand, to the individual who is mired in the confusion of worldly living, during that confusion and the fear it generates, it is helpful to unscramble the messages that the mind sends in an effort to try to unravel its own confusion. With the help of a more enlightened guide, dreams are a very excellent method to climb out of the misunderstandings and confusion. Indeed, in the Hindu tradition, there is even a path called svapna which is essentially guidance by the “Guru” of dreams, or in other words, dreams are a legitimate guru or teacher. That of course is not foreign to our western psychology. Certainly, in my own process, while I was unaware of this method of instruction at the time I used it, I spent many years under the guidance of the svapna path. And in the end, it cleared out much of the underbrush of that jungle of individual consciousness.
While unraveling my dreams in the 1960’s, I kept a journal of these dreams, to which my counselor addressed his interpretations. Being trained in Jungian analysis, his interpretations were ideal for my own spiritual process, because the approach was positive and archetypal, for which my own particular dreams were ideally suited. I had dreams of floods, huge catastrophic fires in buildings through which I ran, swimming underwater, living underwater, psychedelic waterscapes and landscapes through which I walked or swam, struggles with underwater beings, and huge battles between invaders, both human, and monstrous, and myself. I also, in contrast, had dreams of angelic beings, living in tranquil snow capped mountainous lands, filled with light, peace and bliss. My flying dreams were particularly vivid and realistic, and I delighted in those dreams, and looked forward to them with great relish.
There was a period when my dreams were difficult to differentiate from “reality” in the waking world. While I always knew what was a dream and what was waking consciousness when awake, during many of my dreams, they were so realistic that at the time I would question myself as to whether I was in a dream, or not. Even going to such extremes as moving an article on a table in anticipation of waking to see if that article had been moved. It was an exhilarating time, because it broke through the barriers of “real” and “imagined”, and consciousness was full of brilliant colors and sensations, similar to real life in exact replica, except that the laws were broken, and the emotions elicited by events far more strongly felt and experienced than in real life. Bliss was excruciatingly blissful, love in both its sensual form and its more transcendent form, unbelievably overpowering and fulfilling. Looking back over these dreams so many years ago, I am convinced that what I was experiencing was true, full feeling and emotions, without any buffers. In other words, dreams were, and are, an uninhibited world of vision, sensation, and feelings, and more than likely is what we, as human beings, without all the cultural conditioned baggage we carry with us, are designed to BE, prior to that conditioning.
It also convinces me that our real world is inner, and not outer, and that it is only because of compliance to the “real world’s” authority that we relinquish this great panoramic world of inner consciousness that is available to us. Maybe what the dream world brings us is ALL of consciousness, without the limitations of separate existence, and thus is filled with all possibilities and intense delight in those possibilities. Of course, there is not much room in the mundane world of getting and spending to allow for that self-indulgent enjoyment, and thus, those who pursue it are more often than not considered “odd”, or even dangerous, depending upon the expression of that indulgence.
With that said, of course, the dream world is also “limited” in many ways, in similar fashion, to that of the “real world”, in that it contains “an entity” which either considers itself separate, and therefore vulnerable, just as it does in the “real world”. This undoubtedly generates a particular uniqueness to each dreamer’s dream, based on her pre-conceptions of who or what she is. It is significant, I think, that I dream considerably less than I did those many years ago. Indeed, my dreams, when I have them, are now re-hashing of the previous day’s events, and not nearly as interesting as they were then. Occasionally I will have a pre-cognitive dream, in archetypal fashion, but what use are those; you can’t do anything with them anyway! When you begin to realize the “enemy is me”, and nothing other, you tend to lend less credence and emphasis on the “enemy’s” presumed importance, naturally. Or at least, if you are trying to get out of the prison, you do so.
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