Dreaming. What a mysterious, profound topic. We speak of dreaming as a state of consciousness producing visual activity while our bodies are in R.E.M. sleep. We also speak of our Dreams, as goals we strive to achieve. Day-dreams are flights of the imagination we take while awake, that may help us to envision the fulfillment of our desires and can help us problem-solve in a non-directive way. Thomas Edison reportedly never really slept; he took catnaps for around twenty minutes at a time to stimulate his creativity and productive dream activity. Lucid dreams allow us to be aware while we are dreaming in a manner that can help us achieve visionary truths, prophetic visions, or to answer questions we are striving to understand. And some speak of “waking dreams” as a form of synchronicity: when an outer event or situation can be interpreted as one would interpret a meaningful dream symbol; bearing a meaningful message.
I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky;
then I awoke.
Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly,
or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?
Zhuangzi’s famous riddle reveals a paradox about dreaming. This paradox unifies all of the facets of dreaming mentioned above. If our outer life is as much of a dream as our nightly dreams, which quantum physics and many mystical religious traditions tell us it is, what does that mean for us in terms of what we can do with dreams to fashion “Better Endings”…(or, not)? Dreaming—whether in our waking life or while ‘sleeping’—is imaginative and constructive. It can allow us to also “de-construct” what might only appear to be fixed or predictable. If we can DREAM something, we can in one manner or another bring that dream into our Reality.
Have you ever awakened from a nighttime dream and felt disturbed about how it ended (or you awoke before it was complete)? One very effective “dreamwork” technique you can use is to go back into that dream and either finish it as you would prefer for it to end, or change the ending! So, here is a connection to our principle of Better Endings. Dreams are the very fabric that our lives are made of. Since you are ultimately the Dreamer of your own life circumstances and conditions, this means that with free will and focused imagination and creativity, you can create the life of your dreams. Well, we do anyway, so we might as well aim to fashion the life we choose to live. Working with our dreams—outer ones and inner ones—brings amazing opportunities. If we can change how an ‘inner dream’ ends, by means of our creative imagination, we can also bring about Better Endings in outer circumstances and conditions, here and now. I do not mean to say that everything is possible, since the conditions we have already created in our lives due to longstanding habits or even genetic predispositions will not quickly or easily “dissolve” just because we dream that they will. Even so, envisioning more positive conditions may lead us to insights or practitioners that can help us to heal or change our habits over time. We are still subject to the constraints of the world we are in, but we can always effect changes in our conditions and attitudes.
This week I invite you to DREAM of Better Endings! And as always, I welcome all of your insights and stories! Poems, random thoughts, artwork, lyrics…all are INVITED!