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DREAM READING 101: Your dreams reveal much more than your wishes, fears, and undigested strife of your daily life. When you turn your senses away from the everyday world by going to sleep, you enter a different pan–dimensional reality; much like stepping into a living movie experience.
- Read blog posts, Understanding Dreams and Dreams as Instructions for Healing
- Take the group dream class.
- Tune into Dr. Jerry discussing dreams, Colette Aboulker-Muscat and Robert Desoille.
- Read Understanding Dreams
- Buy The Dream Reading CD Set.
- Buy Waking Dream Therapy book.
- Listen to Dr Epstein's How to Read Your Dreams, Part 1 and 2 on Youtube
Your dream is an experience of this non–material reality. It is a place where you peer into the inner mirror of life and see your SELF reflected back to you. The images you perceive are reflections of qualities of you appearing in a form perceptible to your senses.
What does this "book of life" reveal about your unique life? Among the most cogent pieces of information:
- What qualities of yourself are most significant to address at this time.
- How free or enslaved, dependent or independent you are now.
- What possibilities are available to you for fulfillment.
- What’s going on in your body? You may see where a potential ailment is readying to make its appearance.
- Answers to questions you are experiencing as "current problems".
- A gauge to how well you are progressing or healing.
- Portents of the future, i.e., what’s coming for you or others.
- An analogy to our everyday waking life existence.
Remember not to interpret or to analyze your dreams. They are a book to be read, your book of life. To analyze or interpret is to treat them in a cause–and–effect way, i.e., to make logical sense out of what is a non–logical, non–rational, analogical event.
Freud made this error, which has resulted in their not fulfilling his depiction of them as the "royal road to the unconscious." He considered dreams to be a psychotic event that was to be made sense of by applying logical, associative thinking to them. By so doing he missed the point of their primary revelatory nature clothed in the exquisite language of images.
I would caution everyone not to fall into this trap of treating dreams as a psychotic event, immediately losing their beauty and information, thereby giving legitimacy to this erroneous assertion. (More about Freud's errors below).
Dream themes are the same for everyone. There is nothing you dream about that hasn’t been experienced by everyone else. This is what binds us together so that the dream may be considered the shared social language of the world, whereas the discursive languages tend, like the tower of Babel, to divide us and create conflict. Dreams, like images, unite us.
How we live out these themes historically is different for everyone, just like our fingerprints are unlike anyone else’s. Knowing the meaning allows us to make corrections in our lives, as well as telling us what are our strengths, and giving us indicators for how to pursue our life’s aims. Learn more about your dreams:
- Read my posted article The Revelatory World of Dreams
- Purchase my CD Reading the Hieroglyphs of Your Mind
- Purchase my book Waking Dream Therapy
MISCONCEPTiONS IN THE MOVIE “INCEPTION”
In the 2010 movie INCEPTION, (starring Leonardo DiCaprio) two falsehoods were reiterated and repeated: 1) Dreams are not real; 2) we create rather than discover the dream. Several times in the film, a distinction was made between the dream and “reality” of waking life; or ‘in the dream, but in real life.....’
From a conventional view, dreams are not real, so it is natural to place humans in the position of the Creator, and as such the creator of dreams rather than the self who discovers another dimensional reality where messages from this dimensional reality are received and experienced. Understood this way, the dream is your book of life revealed in an image language I term “inner hieroglyphs” (picture language). Dream experience is an act of discover, not one that is created.
RIDDING YOURSELF OF NIGHTMARES
I went to the movies recently and before the film’s showing there were advertisements, one of which was about Honda funding a project about dreams (for some unknown reason). As this was a public announcement, it was disturbing to hear an individual of some note being interviewed who was announced in the accompanying caption as a psychiatrist (which he is not) claim that nightmares are "dreams gone sour." By stating this he was tacitly endorsing something being bad about this sort of dream phenomenon. Since he has no real knowledge about this subject, I think he would have been better served by saying he didn’t know what nightmares represent and bow out of making any comment at all.
Nightmares are events concerning instinctual elements faced in childhood which have not been resolved in adult life. That is, there are eruptions of fearful inner instinctual drives projected outward to appear as though dangerous threats are coming from outside in. When the nightmare is understood in this way you can gain more knowledge of yourself, reflect on these instinctual urges and see how they are affecting your life right now.
HOW TO REVERSE A NIGHTMARE
In addition to this learning experience you can reverse the nightmare to still the reverberation it may be having in your current daytime experience. This is done by using my dream reversing exercise. This consists of an imagery experience in which you close your eyes and breathe out five times counting backward from 5 to 1, each outbreath being a new number (recall from imagery practice each count consists of a full respiratory cycle: out and in). At 1 breathe out once more and see the 1 become a 0 (zero).
See the zero grow in size and become a mirror. Enter the mirror and find yourself back in your nightmare ⁄ dream. Bring with you whatever you need to conquer whatever is coming after you. After doing so, see how you look and feel. Then, step out of the mirror, look in at the newly corrected scene and push it out of the mirror to the right with your right hand imaginally. Then, breathe out counting 5 times from 1 to 5. At 5 see the mirror disappear. Breathe out one more time and open your eyes. With eyes open try to see the new scene on a blank wall opposite you.
If you can see this, hold it for a few seconds then see the image fade and you are ready for the day. Do this once each morning before starting the day for 7 days to reinforce your victory. You can use these days to inspect the corrected scene to see that all has gone well. If not well, then do what you need to do to make the repair. In doing this work you are also repairing the childish urges you’ve recognized as interfering in your life.
Unlike what was said in that Honda mini, mini seminar we can now make lemonade out of lemons, instead of pickles out of cucumbers.
PRECOGNITIVE DREAMS: WHAT DREAMS FORETELL
Here are two examples of prescient dream experiences – one involved mine.
Dream 1: I dreamt about a woman whom I never met in waking life. She was teaching a class. Her name appeared in the dream. It was someone I never heard of, but she seemed to indicate that I needed to be alert to the information she had to give. When I awoke I determined to discover who she was. I asked numerous people if they had heard of her. No luck. She was a college professor so I went in that direction to track her down. The trail led from a university in Canada to two universities in the northwest, finally to a university in the New York area. I found her and discovered she had written an essay on the seven deadly sins in connection to a novel I never read by a famous author. She sent me a copy of her article, which coincided with and amplified my ongoing researches, writing and teaching of the 10 Laws and seven deadly sins of Christianity. The experience boggled my mind. It confirmed for me that: 1) nothing happens by chance, since all is under Divine Providence and is sent as signs, signals, and symbols for us to read, understand, learn from and utilize; 2) a phenomenon occurred that was ⁄ is not explainable by the natural scientific statistical "law of chance."
Dream 2: I was having a long conversation with a student about white and black magicians, how to recognize them and the differences between them. Subsequent to this conversation he had a dream in which he was told to go to a certain section in the book called the Zohar (the Jewish mystical book called The Book of Splendor). The next morning he searched out this book, which he had never read, nor owned. He obtained a copy, looked up the section alluded to and there found a discussion of white and black magicians, and how to discern them. Needless to say he was flabbergasted. I leave you to mull this over and draw your own understanding and wisdom from them.
WHAT ARE DREAMS: COMMUNICATIONS FROM THE INVISIBLE REALMS OF REALITY (AKA DIVINE REALMS)
Simply put, dreams are the language of invisible reality that are made visible to us as symbols. This pictorial language is akin to the hieroglyphs that the Egyptians engraved on their walls of their temples and tombs. They are communications - revelations from other dimensions of reality - reflecting ourselves to ourselves to help inform our lives.
Dreams are real, but have no mass or duration: The dream is a subjective experience accessed in the inner forum of consciousness. Here you meet objective realities as images which are three–dimensional forms, as is true of all objects including those we apprehend in our everyday time–space world. The difference between these two worlds, in terms of image⁄object, is that the inner image has neither substance, nor duration, nor volume, nor mass. It is what the Sufis have called "absolute matter." The dream then brings together subject and object and becomes an experience of unity or oneness, a spiritual moment.
Imagination and dreams are the bridge from "here to there": As a corollary to the role of image as dream is that of image – or more strictly speaking, imagination – as the bridge between this objective temporal time–dimensional space outer reality and the subjective timeless, dimensionless inner reality, the realm of holiness and limitless knowledge. Imaginal experience is the bridge from "here to there." Through imaginal experience we cross the bridge from here to there to discover the knowledge the vast unknown has to offer us about ourselves, spiritual reality, and this world. Once the revelation is gained we cross the bridge to return here ready to take this in–formation and create our out–formation or action in this world. This back and forth negotiated through imaginal practice allows us to begin to understand how the in–formation coming to our recognition as image permits us to make changes in our lives and our habits, embark on creative exploration, and find new avenues for "participating knowingly in change" (a phrase coined by Dr. Elizabeth Barrett).
READING YOUR DREAM: STEP ONE
In spiritual dream reading your dream images are visited as you endeavor to read to your book of life, in the language it is written image. The working axiom in doing so is to recognize that everyone you meet is at first a reflection of you; that is, an aspect or quality of yourself reflected, not as words, but as image. It is these images that are to be read, not analyzed or interpreted. After all, this is your personal book of life.
LEARNING TO UNRAVEL THE DREAM IMAGE
THE MESSY HAIR DREAM - A dream of a young woman: "I am leaving my house and there is gook in my hair." She experienced her hair in the dream as "messy." Through dream reading, even a fragment or small snippet of a dream is enough to reveal an essential core element around which we organized our life. This is because a dream image is holographic, i.e., the part contains the whole. Unraveling the image, we can discover literally the story of one’s life.
I asked her about "messy" and its analogy or presence in her everyday life. She responded that "messing up" has been a characteristic way she would describe a repetitive pattern she was aware of throughout her life. Thus, her messy hair was analogous to her messing up in life. Once revealed, I asked her to return to the dream and correct it by cleaning up her hair with the intention of bringing clarity to her life challenge.
Next time you dream, ask yourself "what is the analogy of the dream element to my everyday life?" Then, go back into the dream and correct the image, knowing anything is possible in the imagination. If you do not uncover the analogy, you may still return to the dream and correct it.
ALICE'S DREAM: SLIPPING ON A STAIRCASE- PART 1
Recall that the basic way to begin reading this communication from the invisible reality we visit after falling asleep is to recognize that what you see is tantamount to looking into a mirror and seeing a quality, trait, characteristic, or possibility of yourself being reflected to you as you peer into this mirror reality: you are seeing you reflected back to you. Thus, what you see is telling you something that is necessary for you to know about that quality at this time.
Alice dreams of a friend named Fred who is climbing a staircase and in doing so slips, falls down and is not able to get up without assistance. Alice feels anxious about Fred’s condition.
Spiritual Point: Nothing happens by chance. So, in the dream of all the people Alice knows, has met, knows about, has read about or seen in the media, Fred appears. He then represents a special something to Alice at this moment in her life.
I asked what quality Fred bears and is reflecting about herself. She immediately shot back that he represents retirement. Fred is retired for the past five years and is struggling to find something interesting and meaningful with all the time now available to him. Alice is now considering retiring and the pressure regarding this change in life has her worried, concerned whether she can stand on her own two feet solidly, a la Fred climbing and falling down. What is she to do with retirement staring her in the face? The dilemma reflects her concern reflected to her in this inside mirror. Alice had suffered a bout of pneumonia throughout the week prior to this dream. What is the relationship of the pneumonia to this dream to Fred (retirement), stumbling, and the staircase? Stay tuned for the next installment. But, first start practicing reading the inner glyphs of your dream in the way I have recommended.
ALICE'S DREAM - PART 2: WHAT DREAMS REVEAL ABOUT CURRENT ILLNESS
You’ll recall in my previous posting about Alice’s dream that I posed questions about the relationship of Alice’s pneumonia, stumbling and the staircase.
Illness as a message: In understanding the meanings of illness we first recognize that the body speaks in a language peculiar to it. We gather this insight based on the spiritual philosopher Martin Heidegger who rightly said that human existence is denoted by two characteristic elements: language; dwelling. Human beings speak: verbally, emotionally, mentally, actionally, bodily. Human beings dwell. That is, at every moment we are living somewhere: in dreams, memory, reverie, fantasy, imagination, hallucinations, delusions, waking life.
How analogy works or seeing in wholes: All of the communications we offer are capable of being read through a process called analogy, what we might term an inner form of logic by which we don’t strive to reach conclusions or formulate syllogisms. Rather, we seek to discover relationships, correspondences, correlations, mirror reflections, seeking to realize a more complete comprehension, a fuller picture bringing various parts into a unified whole. In doing so we gain access to a deeper measuring of human beingness and form a bridge to healing that encompasses our whole humanness – physical, emotional, mental, social, moral – not simply the cure of a symptom, which modern medicine aspires to through its limited, narrow–band array of interventions. This is not to demean establishing "cure" as valuable, but rather to point out the limitations of the modern medical model. The traditional model, derived as it is from a western spiritual foundation of the past 5,000 years, presents a wide–band broad palette of possibilities much truer to human existence. We are much more in fact limitless beings in contrast to the mechanical robotic beings the current model would have us believe. This perspective, condensed as it must be for purposes of this discussion, takes care in an introductory way to Heidegger’s point about language.
Regarding dwelling, his emphasis points up the limitation of psychiatry that has probably done the most to push a field supposedly dedicated to the exploration of the mind to becoming a pill–pushing profession in the main. Spiritual point: every dwelling engaged in by a human being is real and the self who occupies these dwelling sports is living in that particular reality, whatever it may be at any given moment dream, imagination, waking life, memory, etc. The question about any experience we encounter is not whether it is real or not, an incorrect concern by psychiatrists – whether people have proper "reality testing"; are they living in the "real world?" and so forth. Fact is there are no experiences that are not real. Every experience is real! The issue is not that of real or not real. The issue is truth! When someone believes himself to be Jesus Christ the experience is real, but is it true? The focus has to be on that matter, not focusing on trying to bring someone back to "reality." These latter efforts have not succeeded in denting the mystery of mental illness. I don’t see how headway can be made if reality is mistaken for truth. If it continues then we’ll be constantly shooting at the wrong target.
WHAT BODY ORGAN IS CONNECTED TO THE ILLNESS & WHAT IS IT TELLING US? Getting back to Alice’s pneumonia: What may be the analogy here? The lungs reflect internal crying; a desire to be free; a call for help any or a combination of these reflections.
DIRECTIONS IN DREAMS: The staircase going up. The vertical axis represents freedom, freedom from the constraints and shackles of everyday, horizontal life. Directions in dream life speak to possibilities and issues in one’s life. For instance, going to the left refers to the past, to the right the present leading to the future. Alice sees the transcendent possibility – the staircase going up – making its appearance to her and becoming more available when she retires (Fred). She has been interested in spiritual life for many years, unable at this point to fully immerse herself on this path. But, the opportunity now presents itself. She is anxious about it, knowing how it requires a significant change in her life pattern, to which she is accustomed. She can stumble and fall, which is a concern. But, the adult, well–ordered self comes along and lends assistance to the less balanced part of herself. This is an auspicious sign and portent of how things may⁄can go for her as retirement time dawns.
The pneumonia is directly related to the dream: an imbalance occurring physically reflecting what impending freedom might mean, just as the dream portrayed. It is interesting to note how what we yearn for can provoke anxiety and⁄or fear. We all really want freedom, to free ourselves from the shackles of enslavement many, many experience in life. Yet when it becomes a possibility to be realized in front of us, freedom can be a double–edged sword for some. Old habits die hard.
After our collaborative exploration of this dream the pneumonia cleared up quickly. She had been taking antibiotics prior to the dream investigation. She noticed a dramatic shift in this condition. Such understanding as elucidated above does kick the inborn healing potential into its active mode. Yes, we do have the ability to heal built into our birth. Yes, it can be triggered. Dream reading⁄understanding can be such a trigger.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MENTAL IMAGERY AND DREAMS?
A student at my Institute was trying to define with me the difference between a mental imagery experience and dream imagery, particularly in describing these imaginal events out loud in a group setting, such as happens in my group imagery and group dream classes held in NYC.
As we talked, it came to me that mental imagery is an active conscious discovery of a dream in waking life that is brought to birth in conscious awareness as a lucid event. In this process, your will takes your five senses and turns them inward under the domain of the inner sixth sense called “imagination,” which subsumes and transcends them as an inner light piercing the darkness of storehouse consciousness to become aware of this repository of inner knowledge. From that point, this lucid waking dream is received, brought back here to become a direct part of and to inform everyday experience. You are now becoming the active author of your life.
Our night dreams show us what is possible for us right now. We turn our senses inwardly as a “passive” response to the receding of will from everyday experience and we go into a state of quiet repose to enter another living reality, as real as waking life, where we can make contact with another reality and discover what messages are being revealed to us and what reflections of ourselves we can find and read in these precious hieroglyphs – images of truths available to us.
Mind is the link between invisible and visible reality: Both active lucid waking dream imagery (aka mental imagery) and visions of the night (dreams) are elements of the natural and true language of the invisible reality carried to our visible perceptual reality in that channel of communication between the two realities called “mind.” As mind reaches us, the depot for its journey, we receive the communication(s) where we read them, use them and follow their instructions. As the Talmud stated, an unexamined dream is like an un opened letter. Alternatively, we can permit the inner saboteurs, (the inner terrorists) to intercept them, dispose of them and lead us to believe they have no value. This ridiculous notion has been reinforced by those in power (natural science, conventional medicine, standard educational system, etc) who hinder our gaining personal liberation and freedom. Pay no mind to them. Rather pay mind to your inner voices of freedom.
What is Waking Dream Therapy?
Waking dream is a therapy devised by my teacher Colette in which you re-enter a dream while you're awake to identify the significant elements of the dream. For more information, see Waking Dream Therapy: Unlocking the Secrets of Self and watch my youtube video on the history of waking dream therapy.
What to do if You Dream of Someone
FREUD'S MISUNDERSTANDING OF DREAMS
Freud began his inquiry into dreams by stating that dreams are a significant event in the mental life of people. This was a rather “revolutionary” statement at the time. However, he spent the rest of his book misunderstanding and contradicting that statement.
Firstly, he called his book, published in 1900, The Interpretation of Dreams. Dreams are not to be interpreted. They are to be read. Dream life is parallel to waking life and dream images reflect another reality presenting itself to us in “picture” language primarily—one that we can learn to read like any other language.
Secondly, and directly related to the first is his connotation of the dream as a psychotic event that he termed “primary process” thinking. This is a common psychiatric term one used to denote the type of thinking specific to schizophrenic and manic-depressive states.
He went on to say that to understand dreams, they must be translated into “secondary process” thinking, the form of thinking specific to logic in order to make sense out of them. They are not to be read in full glory of their conveyance to us on their own terms, but “denoted,” or reduced, to another language as interpretive words distorting their actual meaning. Therefore, he immediately trivialized the dream such that, over a hundred years later, what he termed the dream as the “royal road to the unconscious” is nothing more special than any other phenomena in a series of “free association”—the primary tool of the psychoanalytic trade.
Thirdly, Freud misunderstood a sign and a symbol. For example, an arrow would be a symbol of a penis. More correctly, the arrow may be a sign of a penis. A sign is where one concrete object stands for another concrete object. A picture of a man or woman on the door to the bathroom in a restaurant is a sing of that particular bathroom. Getting back to arrow & penis: both taken together can be a symbol of masculinity.
Here something visible points us toward the invisible, in this case a quality called “masculinity.” When the invisible realm joined the visible ream the two becoming one is called symbol = sum-together, bol- to throw. The two sides of a symbol (the quantity and the quality) are analogies to one another. For example, dreaming of a wounded heart (quantity), may speak to a broken heart in love (quality). Interestingly, if we turn around all the errors Freud made in “analyzing” rather than “reading” dreams, we find a clear depiction of the spiritual principles embodied in the dream and how to read them.