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Dreams as Instructions for Healing
A student wrote in who had recently had surgery to remove a tumor and is currently receiving chemo. A devout Christian, she shared that she uses the rosary in meditation and prayer for herself and others, often ending with a visualization or mental imagery that I had given her.
The student described a dream in which Jesus appears to her dressed in a white robe with a red shawl around him. His arms are outstretched as in the Our Father prayer. He is standing next to a black granite pedestal. In the dream he tells her he is doing penance for either seeking or seeing the face of God.
Then he shows her how he does penance. He holds his right arm outstretched and his hand is in a fist. His left arm is held out at the same height but is bent at the elbow so he could grasp the wrist on his right arm. Once he assumed this position he began to pray.
When you read a dream, you read it not logically, but analogically. This means that you are looking at the relationship between things, noting similarities and differences without drawing conclusions, without seeking endpoints.
Dreams reveal qualities of self. Everything you meet is at first a reflection of self, seen through the mirror of inner life. Jesus is her inner or higher source of wisdom, her inner healer and guide, wearing a red shawl and white robe. The white robe reflects the dreamer’s holy soul substance and is encircled by the red of pure earth, the physical realm.
Dreams reveal how we are functioning physically. The robe and the shawl reflect, by analogy to above, the red and white cells of her immune system functioning very well together. This is a dream informing the dreamer that the healing is progressing quite nicely. Prayer as a healing function is prominent here. Furthermore, the chemotherapy seems to satisfy her support to the salutary effects of prayer.
Dreams reveal what possibilities are available for fulfillment. Jesus is standing next to a black granite pedestal. Granite is an immutable substance, analogous to the tablets in which the Ten Utterances/10 Commandments given at Mount Sinai and the immutable, Black Stone at Mecca honored by Muslims. Jesus is standing next to it, not on top of it. The dreamer paid attention to this point to say that Jesus came down to be human, “a brother” who is at the same level as the dreamer. As well, Jesus comes down to instate himself as a model for living and for healing, reminding us we can become our own healers.
Dreams reveal answers to our current issues. Doing pennance has to do with feelings of guilt and shame. She can’t meet God without cleansing yourself of these errors. The dreamer remembered there were many errors to clear out from the past and present. I incorporated three imagery exercises to integrate into the prayer work from my book, Healing Visualizations, Retracing the Past (p 205-206), Burying the Past (p 197), and Reversing Guilt (p 119).
Next, we reviewed her favorite healing imagery exercise: sit at the base of a great tree that has a strong trunk and lens and roots and luscious green leaves. Grow up with the tree, as to become as tall as the tree. Then become one with the tree. The leaves send their chlorophyll down through the body, removing all toxins and diseased cells. The chlorophyll then comes out of the feet as black and grey strands, getting buried deep within the earth. To practice this exercise yourself, there is a fuller version on my blog.
Finally, the dream revealed the prayer pose she was to adopt to aid her in prayer when doing penance, an answer to a current question in her life. The dreamer came to understand that the dream is as real as waking life. Living as self in the dream life is as real as the self living in this time-space reality. Dream life, analogously, is a reflection of everyday life.