Where do you want to be five years from now or further down the road of life? What is your Life Dream? Or do you prefer to land where you arrive at, trusting life to carry you along? Living in the Now and being grateful for everything in the Present is of course tremendous and very important! Yet it is also okay to keep in mind what this bubble of the Present may unfold to. To me I believe true Nowness is an Awareness that unifies Past-Present-Future; that is, it is a Mindfulness that transcends Time altogether. From this perspective, living in the Now is like having a 360 degree viewpoint; you can see how you have arrived in this Moment and also what Its array of potentials are in many directions.
So, where do dreams (including nightly dreams, “waking dreams”, and daydreams) fit with this idea that you can brew the Now to unfold into your most desirable Future potentials? Dreams can reveal not only the conditions we are currently ensconced within but also the possibilities and even probabilities available to us from Here. How? Often dreaming seems to take its own course so that you need only to be attentive to receive the messages of your unconscious promptings. But it is always a good practice to ASK what it is you wish to perceive or understand through your dreaming.
I have shared before about how I used active contemplation and nightly dreams to show me the future potentials associated with my “big move” from Buffalo to Phoenix 35 years ago. I was relocating to enter a graduate program in Anthropology at Arizona State University. This was a major transformation of my life since I had grown up in eastern states and most of my immediate family was in New York at the time. To help allay my uncertainties about moving to such a foreign environment as the Southwest desert of Arizona, every night for a year before retiring to bed I sat for a half hour active contemplation in which I posed a specific question of my inner guidance and then went to bed, expectantly anticipating that in my dreams the answer to that day’s question would be given. And, it was! In that year’s dreaming I met people I would meet in Arizona in clearly prophetic dreams. I was shown situations that would unfold once I arrived there. In all, my dreams confirmed for me that this relocation was a necessary spiritual move in my life; that it would not always be easy yet it was definitely the path I was being called to fulfill. Those dreams served me well; for years in Arizona events would unfold that I had been prepared for in “the Dreaming”.
A major move in a new direction is worthy of taking your time to ask inwardly about its potentials and then to Dream…whether in nightly dreams or in ‘daydreams’, which are after all a kind of active imagination. I believe that when you meet your inner awareness or Inner Guidance actively, It will bring you the inner Knowing you desire or need. My general formula for working with Inner Guidance through dreaming I call A.C.T.:
ASK and then Access your dream (e.g. write it down in a dream journal or tell it to a loved one on waking);
Contemplate the message of the dream;
TAKE ACTION that is portended by the dream in an appropriate context.
All three of these phases are important for what we might call Active Dreaming, especially the middle step: contemplating the meaning of the dream that you receive. Sometimes it takes several dreams over a period of time before the message or meaning becomes clear to your inner awareness. If you act too impulsively based on your first thoughts about what sort of action is appropriate, you might miss important qualifications. Let’s say you dream (or in a waking dream see a license plate, e.g.) that says simply ARIZONA. That does not necessarily mean that you should pick up and relocate there (presuming you are not there already). It might be a symbolic image for you to consider rather than a place to move. What do YOU associate with Arizona, you might then ask yourself? Maybe you traveled there once as a child and it reminds you of your Grandfather who took you there and now he lives in a nursing home in New Jersey! Maybe it is time to visit him. See? You are the best interpreter of your own dreams, but you must cultivate your inner awareness to arrive at an interpretation that “fits” or that “rings true” with your Higher Wisdom.