The Waking Dream

 

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Am I a man, dreaming I am a butterfly?
or a butterfly, dreaming I am a man?

-Lao Tzu

Life is like a dream, truly! Waking and sleeping are simply different states of consciousness. When you think of the outer or waking life as like a dream, this can help you to recognize that the same principles that operate in the dream state are also happening ‘out here.’  The dreamlike images or symbols you see in your day to day life can offer guidance for some action or direction to take. (Btw the best book I have found about this is The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp.)  So when you are pondering a meaningful question, look around you to recognize serendipitous outer signs and guidance. These are waking dreams.

I remember once, long ago in Arizona when I was a grad student there, I got angry one day. Almost immediately after fuming for a bit, I sat on and broke my eyeglasses. Immediately I saw that was a waking dream showing me how my anger was distorting my vision or perspective. This was a wake-up call. I corrected my viewpoint, quickly!

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So for this second week of the monthly process for this blog this year, I invite you to pay attention to outer signs or waking dreams to help you understand and find answers to one deep question you are considering this month.

My question this month is about how I can revitalize my writing activity. My waking dream is a quote I saw in a recent horoscope: “There is a part of you that isn’t your body, your words, your thoughts, or your feelings. This part of you is doing something mysterious and exciting!”

Reflection:

I usually have been so driven with regards to my writing. Lately I am in a cocoon-realizing that publishing my recent book (see right panel to order YOUR LIFE PATH!) was only a first step and does not of itself accomplish my purpose without more effort on my part to “get it out there.” When I move again (beginning in February and completing by June) I will resettle into the process for continuing this process and completing the second book in the Life Path series. For now I must be content to fulfill my current responsibilities with teaching and preparing for the move.

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How about you? What are you pondering this month? Look around you for waking dreams that can bring solutions, guidance and understanding.

I welcome YOUR STORY and Comments!

Change Your Dream, Change Your Life

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So, what is your current dream-life about? What story does it tell? Who are you in your current story? Who are others? What messages does your dream express? If you were to interpret this dream, what might you learn?

One consideration based on the metaphor Life is a Dream is to ask, Where is this dream leading to; how might this dream story end?

A common dream technique (mentioned in The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp) is to wake up from a dream and if you don’t like where it was going or how it ended, go back to sleep to finish it better, or simply use your imagination or journaling to alter the ending of your dream more to your satisfaction. This may help you to feel better throughout your day rather than carrying around tense feelings from your dream.

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But think about this: if you can change how a nightly dream develops or ends, you can do this with your waking dream, too!  Simply reflect on a situation in your day to day life that is not going as you would like and apply your imagination to creatively envision how you could handle the situation differently and better.  You can also use internal dialogue with someone you are having an issue with, changing how you might normally interact with or speak to that person.

If you can DREAM or envision a more positive outcome, you can act consciously to bring that about, or at very least you can learn to respond better to how the situation needs to be. It is important that you are empowered with this approach; you can take the responsibility to alter your own attitude or behavior in a manner that allows the outer situation to change. For remember, you are the Dreamer!

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Have you had an experience in your life where you have been able to change the outcome of a ‘stuck’ or a habitual situation? Standing back from your life-dream to reflect upon what is happening, as if “life is but a dream” you can interpret, can offer you the distance to apply a more mindful solution; your “recurring dream” can thus be resolved!

Recognizing that your waking consciousness is only qualitatively different from your dreamstate helps to strengthen the link between your conscious and sub-conscious awareness, so you can become more receptive and accepting of important messages coming to you from within. 

I invite your comments and stories!

Your Dreams and Inner Guidance

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Our Better Endings topic for this week is Dreams and Dreaming. Before  presenting a list of prompts for you to write about, talk about or contemplate, let me share a profound—well, yes—example from my own dream life about how we can receive vital inner guidance, support and messages through simply being open to our dreams.

Some 14 years ago I went through a time of deep questioning of where I was at and where I wanted to be going with my life. I called this at the time a “mid-life crisis”. I was 45 and coming up for tenure at my university. I knew I would probably achieve that, but I was questioning whether an academic career was ‘enough’ to truly fulfill my desire to make a useful, creative contribution in this life. My strongest desire since childhood—my Life Dream—was to be an author who might “make a difference”, somehow. I was publishing research findings in academic journals and had published a scholarly book with a small academic press, but  the prospect of continuing along this same trajectory as my sole venue for self-expression and service felt like a dead end. What could I do? Because of a deep spiritual orientation which I had developed since I was 20, I knew I needed to ask for inner guidance and then, listen. I have kept a dream journal for as long as I can remember. So I asked in contemplation daily for weeks for help in understanding this mid-life crisis and what I could do to reconcile my creative and spiritual interests with my academic career.

I received several significant dreams that showed me what my inner desires were about: to be of service in a public way, not to become swallowed up by an institution where I felt I might ‘drown’. Then one morning during that fecund time of transition between dreaming and waking, I saw, literally stamped in bold black letters ‘between my eyes’:

YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY

TO REALIZE YOUR DREAMS,

NOT JUST FOR GETTING BY.

This dream message answered my questions, clearly. It was ‘spot on’ what I needed to know. Of course, it led me to further questioning about what ARE my dreams that I seek to realize, leading me back to creative writing and service as well as to spiritual goals.  Long story short, after accepting tenure, within six months I completed a science fiction novel, having resolved my mid-life crisis by realizing that I needed to find ways to better integrate my creative writing, public service, and spiritual interests with my career, rather than doing one or the other. I then received another clear dream message one morning, while considering what topic I should focus on for an upcoming research sabbatical. This time the dream message was auditory, an ‘inner voice’, that said quite directly, “Life Paths”. So, that’s how I got started doing “life mapping” research which has led to several articles, another academic book, and now finally a mainstream personal development book and self-help handbook which I aim to start marketing in about six months, called LIFE PATHS.

Here is my point for YOU today:

YOU HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY

TO REALIZE YOUR DREAMS,

NOT JUST FOR GETTING BY.

Accepting this message as a ‘waking dream’ for you now, where does it take YOU to?

Okay then, here’s this week’s writers’…and Dreamers’!…Prompts List.  Consider how the following sorts of dreams and dreaming can relate to Better Endings, or about your own experiences with dreams and dreaming :

  • recurring dreams
  • levels or kinds of dreams
  • recurring dream symbols (their meanings to you, how they might change over time)
  • past life dreams
  • lucid dreams (and their messages for you)
  • daydreams
  • waking dreams  (synchronicity or ‘signs’/ messages in your waking life)
  • prophetic (future) dreams
  • past lives or ‘parallel life’ dreams
  • spiritual dreams
  • disturbing dreams (and how you have resolved them)
  • problem solving dreams
  • situational awareness dreams (e.g. how to improve relationships)
  • What is your Life Dream?

I know that many of you are Dreamers. I invite your comments, insights and stories, in any form!