“If I wake from a dream that I am a butterfly, am I a man who has dreamed he was a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?” – Chüang Tzu
Though the dominant Western worldview is that dreams are an insignificant flickering of neurochemicals, many cultures see dreaming as an insightful gateway into that which we do not ordinarily perceive.
Insight into our own toxic patterns, messages from the non-physically living, and precognitive glimpses of future events are just a few of the potentials that the dreamworld offers.
Imagine being human before the comforts of modernity. Imagine life so richly entangled with demands of survival, that every cell in your body recognizes that you are animal. This comes with great joy, but also the responsibility to be alert at all times, even when the body is sleeping.
I imagine great advantages of lucid dreaming for our ancestors, of being able to elusively detach from the physical body to receive a macrocosmic view of the environment, scanning for threats.
The dreamrealm is a place of serious matters across various cultures. Some South American cultural significance of dreams include: being the place of shamanic initiation, being a means of directing a soul into a woman’s womb for conception, and as being a potent therapeutic tool for healing (Cultural Aspects of Dreaming, Kracke).
In this way, the reality of dream life bears an equal significance to this reality.
Though I have always felt myself to be a strong dreamer, a recent encounter of a book titled “Conscious Dreaming,” (recommended by a friend, Sydney) has rekindled my fire for exploring that which is typically unseen.
Taking notes of my dreams, recognizing the patterned recurring themes, and accessing the non-physically living are the content of my current dream work.
Being able to communicate with the “dead” seems morbid, but it’s actually comforting. My mother left her physical body about 3 years ago, but the boldness of her presence demands my attention in dreams.
When she first died, I had been wrought with guilt about not understanding her conditions of diabetes & depression more deeply. In her presence, my energy was constantly drained from my own helplessness, but I ultimately had to accept that her state was of her own manifestation.
Within a few days of her death, I received a dream of reading an e-mail from her…in the most angelic expression of her forgiveness and absolute unconditional love. Now, she appears in dreamworld almost on a weekly basis, more frequently than I saw her when she was “living.”
This is a such a rich topic..and one I will certainly return to, but for now I am so curious about others’ process with dreaming, so please feel free to share!