Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Dream Work

It is free, it is fun and even entertaining.  It also be a catalyst for change inwardly.  It can move what were heavy loads to your waking self.  I am talking about the dream self. Yes, that mysterious part of you that you might look at a little askance and wonder what is up with that denizen realm within. 

If you want to relate better to who you are deeper down and do some good work in the process, taking a look at the dream realm might be a great bet for you. Why?  It is such a rich bed of possibility, and it is one that really doesn't get mentioned very often.  Truth be told, we just don't tend to feel like we have much to say in that world.  It's that "other" world of us.  A mystery.  But this need not be. 

Try to look at it this way and start seeing things from your dream self. So hop into your mind and imagine you are floating in dreamland in a sea of creative juice as time expands and contracts and consciousness is more mobile.  As you look at your waking self, what do you see?  Probably you see the day to day activities, yes.  Work, coming home, dinner, the evening.  Over and over until the weekend.  The weekend is like a break in the schedule.  You see all the parts that make up the waking self such as the emotions, the mind, intellect, and ego. Ego is a bit of an interesting creature.  In dreamland, ego is slumbeing for the most part, so perhaps its a mystery to you.  That's right; ego is most often out of the picture in deeper realms of sleep.  To your dream self, it is a mystery, perhaps even an anomoly.  Isn't this a bit like how you view the sleeping self?  So come on, now, why was it you thought doing serious dream work was a silly thought? 

To start, I am going to tell you what has worked for me over a long time frame.  Some of this came to me through other sources. I tried them, and many of them worked. 

The first technique to try to get the ball rolling is suggestion.  You simply think to yourself before you fall asleep that you want to DO something in dream.  Whatever it is, it is up to you.  Maybe it is overcoming a fear, or some issue that has been bothering you.  With the dream self so invested in bringing you dreams that run through these things already, you have an instant connective to dream you didn't realize you had before.  What works best I have found is to not just plop down in bed but relax, take your time, and then when you notice that your breathing has changed to a deep slow rhythm and you feel the beginnings of your awareness slipping off into that slope into dream, start with your suggestion.  Speak clearly in the center of your mind and be specific about what you want to do in dream.  Do this a couple of times if you wish.  I see multiple suggestions as akin to planting seeds.  If you plant enough, you are bound to get something that germinates.  "I want to deal with what's behind my anxiety with work right now." is a very good way to word things.  You don't have to have any sense of what the answer is.  In fact, it might help if you simply remain in the dark for now.   This signals to other parts of yourself that you are ready for those other parts of you to step forward and help with the heavy lifting.  It may also be that your suggestion is more specific such as, "I would like to begin resolving the anxiety that I have about work."  It all depends on what it is you want to accomplish.  See, what you think and say inwardly matters. 

Another technique that has worked very well for me has been a suggestion that I heard mentioned by Lynn Andrews on a decades-old interview with, I believe, New Dimensions on NPR.  Back before the internet, this was one show I would tune into on Sundays from time to time to hear the most interesting interviews from people in spiritual, mystical and self help disciplines.  IN this interview, Andrews said that you should say to yourself before going to sleep, "Ego, I am going to go to sleep and I want you to slip into dreaming with me and just stay asleep.  I am going to wake up in sleep and for now I want you to remain quiet for now.  I am going to use dream as a springboard into other work...."  At least, it was very close to that, even if my quotes manage to misquote her exactly.   The result that very night was that I DID indeed wake up, lucid and fully aware within dreaming.  I was pinching myself! 

Another technique that you can use in consort with these that I have just mentioned is great for helping to condition the soil of your awareness and can make a difference in better results later, which is to stop what you are doing during the day and simply remind yourself what it is that you are wanting to do in sleep.  Do this quickly and without spending time belaboring the idea.  Just plant the seed for now.  That is enough.  You can do this a couple of times each day, in the early morning, at mid day and then in the evening as you are having dinner.  No need to be obsessive about it, just keep it light and keep your mind open.  Another technique that can help is a little of what I did in the beginning of the article, which is to see things from your dreaming perspective.  Turn the tables on yourself some.  Shake things up.  This can help to break you out of old cognitive biases that serve to hold you back.  Cognitive biases are beliefs that limit what you think you can or cannot do.  If you thnk you can't, then it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy, for surely you are sending the signals to your subconscious self that you can't. 

yet another technique that has similar effects is to stop yourself in the middle of the day or at random times and ask yourself " I dreaming?" When you do this enough in waking, you can more easily carry this into dreaming, especially if it has become something of a habit.  I suggest (ahem) using these and all the other methods for at least five weeks.  It is possible to get results on the first try, which has happened more than once for me in the past, but I have also had results that have developed over time.  Factors that can have an affect on dream recall and lucid dreaming are how rested you are before going to sleep as well as your diet.  Try different meals in the evening, for example.  Instead of heavier foods, go a week eating lighter foods with a lot more fresh vegetables, fruit, and eggs.  Sometimes that can be just enough to break your body out of a pattern it may be in physiologically.  If you need protein, consider a salad with a lot of mung bean sprouts, which are very high in protein, and then have an omelet.  You might consider throttling back on how much wheat you eat.  Believe it or not, but allergies to wheat are more common that most people realize.  the allergy itself can be mild but go unnoticed.  People who have gone off wheat have noticed greater clarity and less fuzziness and better physical strength and less stomach trouble.....they just never realized the low level yet persistent effect that wheat has on the body.  So shake things up in the body temple, too, and see if it helps to shift things some for you.

One good method is to awaken at about four in the morning for a brief period, but then go back to sleep.  Often, in my experience, I am through with the deeper states of sleep and am a  lot more "shallow" into dream and closer to waking.  When this happens, it is easier for my waking self to be more aware of what is going on in this still fairly relaxed and deep state of awareness.  Of course, if you are a light sleeper, you may not be able to get back to sleep. Use it only if it will work for you.  If it does work, you can plant more seeds and suggest that you go back into sleep in order to do dream work and then let yourself slip into dream again.

Another technique is to speak in the language of the subconscious self, which is in symbols and images.  When you think about your dreams, do you ever notice that sometimes you will have an experience or be in an environment in dream that feels highly charged emotionally?  or maybe you feel as though someone in a dream represents something that is really inside of you, like a feeling of some kind?  In the same kind of way, you can write your own symbolic script and speak to your subconscious in a way that it can relate to.  i think it;s less that the subconscious only KNOWS symbolic language as it uses this language to convey information to other parts of you.  Regardless, though, if you have an issue at work, you could imagine yourself walking up to work and seeing  a big scary monster that you then embrace and then find the monster becoming you and then being transformed.  When you do this, you are signalling a desire to integrate this emotional issue into your being in a different way.  You are ready to face the monster and melt it into you so that it is no longer a problem. 

Sure, the act of being able to come to lucidity by sheer will alone might be elusive to you, but look at it this way; you wont ever know how until you try.  When you try, you practice, and when you practice, you get better.  if you can com at this with the attitude of patience and open mindedness, I think you will find your results will happen much more quickly and you also give yourself the flexibility.  If you do this work and you do not have any discernible results, try this one trick: instead of waking up and going " didn't work" say instead "I guess there is a long queue to get into the problem resolution place of dreaming.  I will be patient and wait since dream is having to finish up some old business first."  If you can do this, you do not create cognitive biases that serve to limit you by thinking "I failed, this isn't working..."  Consider a different story and feel into that as a very real and valid possibility.  Keep your mind open, but consider there are more reasons for why it did not work the first time then your just not ever being able to get this right.  There is a genie in you and sometimes that genie has a lot on its plate.  Give it some time, and be persistent.  I think you will find that these methods will be very helpful to you. 

Now another method is to allow yourself to slip into that very deep relaxed moment and simply begin imagining what it would be like to deal with whatever it is that you are wanting to deal with in dream.  Pretend as you drift that it is happening.  As you slip into dream, you are already headed in the right direction. 

Now, the other part to all of this is to consider that you may have dreamed the answer but you don't remember.  Consider the likelihood also that you dreamed the answer but do not yet understand it for what the images are trying to tell you.  Keep a journal of your dreams if you can and write them down along with your subjective feelings that are tied to the imagery.  It might just be that the answer is there, but you have to get to that place of realizing it for what it is.  You might just have more to chew on still in order to "get" the memo from your deeper self.

I wish you all the success in your dream work.  If you consider it to be a rich bed of activity and possibility, life will tend to conspire to make it align to your expectations.  It might just be that a lot of dream which is so mysterious is that way simply because we THINK it is so. 

And now, it is time for me to go do my own dream work!  Sweet dreams!

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