Richard gives very helpful guidance for how to approach learning from your dreams and have them help you understand new potentials for your life.
And so over the years I have watched my dreams. From within 40 years I’ve watched my dreams. And as a teacher of consciousness, I always include some dimension of dreamwork in my retreats. Not necessarily in the shorter ones, but certainly in the longer ones. And I thought I would give you a few pointers about how you can create a way of exploring with your dreams that can be useful to you and help you deepen in consciousness.
First of all, I don’t believe that there is an ultimate or right interpretation of a dream. I believe that when you remember a dream and you try to understand it or you want to understand it or you want to learn something from it, that that relationship of interest in the dream is actually a creative dynamic. And that that’s what’s so important about working with dreams. It’s not about getting it right, it’s about being creative.
So one of the very first questions that can be helpful when you work with a dream– one of the very first ways of orienting yourself, is to simply ask yourself if I hadn’t had this dream, what would I not be conscious of? I heard a dream the other day from a woman in one of my retreats. In the dream, she’s at a train station. The train that she wants to take comes in. And she goes to lift her luggage, but it is so heavy. And as she’s attempting to pick it, up she starts to feel more and more tired. And the train leaves before she can get on it.
And then, in the way of dreams, the exact same thing happens again. She’s on the train tracks– at the side of the train tracks. The train comes in. She goes to lift her luggage. It’s so heavy. She’s so tired. And once again, she misses the train. And she wakes up.
So I asked her, what is this dream making you conscious of? If you hadn’t had this dream, what would you not be conscious of? And she said, well, I’ve been really struggling in a love relationship now. I spend a lot of time talking to myself about why it didn’t work, what I did wrong, what he didn’t do. She said I think that’s the luggage. I think that just weighs me down. I thought that was a really good and deep insight.
If I hadn’t had this dream, I wouldn’t realize how tired this inner thinking, this inner work struggling about the relationship is making her. If she hadn’t had this dream, she wouldn’t realize that there’s a movement in her life that she’s not taking advantage of. There’s an opportunity to step on a train, to go somewhere, to move forward, move onward. But she’s not letting herself.
So ask yourself that question. If I hadn’t had this dream, what would I not be conscious of? And also realize that conscious isn’t just thinking. If I hadn’t had this dream, what sensations would I not be aware of? If I hadn’t had this dream, what way of being in myself would I not be conscious of?
Another dream I just heard was of a man that found himself going in the wrong direction in traffic on a big highway. He had been in the right direction, suddenly he’s drifted over into the oncoming traffic lane. And he’s avoiding the oncoming cars. Then suddenly, he’s able to make the car go backwards really fast. So now he doesn’t have to worry about colliding, but he’s driving backwards. He’s going one way, but he’s facing the opposite direction. And now, as he gets closer to the lane he wants to be in, he’s moving very fast in the wrong direction for getting on that lane. And he wakes up in a panic.
There’s a lot of things going on in this man’s life. And I asked him the question, if you hadn’t had this dream, what would you not be conscious of? It didn’t take us too long to realize that right now, in his life, with so many things going on, no matter which way, what decision he makes, he always feels as if he’s going against the flow. No matter how he tries to take an action, it feels like it seems to backfire. He’s going against the flow.
And when a dream makes you conscious of something like that, then when you feel the sensation that the dream generates, the sensation of stress and tension, anxiety, panic– when you feel that in your waking life, you realize oh, oh, that dream showed me I was going against the flow. OK. How can I stop going against the flow right now? How can I let go into what is?
And in that way, by working with the dream, by seeing what it’s making conscious, in this case, at the level of sensation. When you recognize the same sensation in your waking life, you have a chance to go, oh, I’m going to stop going against the flow right now. A dream showed me what it’s like. It made it tangible and clear, the sensation of going against the flow of my life. Which before the dream, the man wasn’t aware of.
So that question is extremely helpful. See if that helps you go deeper in the work with your own dreams. If I hadn’t had this dream, what would I not be feeling now? If I hadn’t had this dream, what would I not be reflecting on now? If I hadn’t had this dream, what opportunities or choices would I not have thought of or not considered?
Dreams are important. Dreams can really be helpful. I would say dreams can save your life and change your life. So enjoy keeping that journal next to your bed and giving instructions to your consciousness, that when you have a dream, you want to write it down, even if most of the dreams aren’t even important.
Once you get into the habit of wanting to write your dreams down, then when the important dreams come, you’ll be ready. And you’ll remember. And it will be a doorway deeper into yourself. And maybe a doorway that will help you change the direction of your life in an essential way. Thank you.