If you want to understand the jungle, you can’t be content just to sail back
and forth near the shore. You’ve got to get into it, no matter how strange and
frightening it might seem.
Why do nightmares happen to good people?
It doesn’t seem fair!
Nightmares happen to everyone… if you are human, that is. Even the best people on the planet have them. In fact, I’d bet a million bucks Mother Theresa had plenty of them! Here are two thoughts that will hopefully give you a paradigm shift about nightmares (as crazy as this may seem):
1. Nightmares are your friend
2. There is no such thing as a bad dream
Allow me to explain. Albert Einstein said this is the most important question you can ask: “Is this universe friendly?” After decades of research Einstein found the answer to be an unequivocal YES! If its good enough for Einstein its good enough for me. In other words the entire universe is conspiring on behalf of your greatest good–this would include the obvious blessings and those that come in deep cover… nightmares included.
Think about it, we are not encouraged by the media to embrace death…no! We are encouraged to preserve an idealized “Teenage Dream” (ode to Katy Perry) and to “make it” in the land of the living. Yet, according to mystics and shamans (men or women of power and wisdom) if we can’t embrace death, the shadow, or at least the not-so-pretty, then we can’t fully live. This is why nightmares are so important to understand…and even to celebrate…in the light of day and in the darkest hours of our sleep.
If we dream of the “D” word in our sleep (death), please know that it is NOT A BAD THING! Dreams of death are very common in that it is the job of your subconscious mind to keep you alive and your dreams may be assisting you to process fears of death and dying. Keep in mind that Native Americans believe that the most powerful way to live is as if death were over your shoulder. If you dream of your own death then you may be contemplating the value and impact of your life. Dreaming of someone else dying is about transformation and change in your relationship with them, not necessarily a forecast of a literal death…although it may be. You might also be venting out your fears of losing someone that you love. Often a dream of death represents the ending of a chapter in your life, and a new cycle is about to begin. Allow this dream to inspire you to ponder what aspect of your life may be coming to a close, and how can you more harmoniously participate in the new beginning that is beckoning.
When you dream about someone you love who has crossed over you might feel that you’ve actually had a visit with them…because maybe you have. Pay particular attention to the dream situation they come cloaked in and to the words they convey. These dreams are often literal, requiring a minimum of interpretation and a maximum of meditation. At the very least you can feel grateful for having a connection not only with your departed loved one, but with life beyond your five senses…and all that resides on the other side of the veil.
When I was doing research for the book, I had the Strangest Dream, the Dreamer’s Dictionary for the 21st Century, I came across some startling data about the ways the Iroquois Indians worked with “unpleasant” dreams.
The Iroquois Indians, dating back to 1100A.D., regarded dreams as the secret wishes of the soul and that it was the duty of a caring community to gather around a dreamer, help him or her recognize the soul’s wishes, and take action to honor them. Thus became their social form of dream therapy. They would act out their dreams and were allowed to go beyond the usual disciplined and moral social boundaries. This included making love to another person’s spouse. Such hidden desires were seen as the basis of social as well as individual problems. Allowing the expression of unconscious desires was the Iroquois way of conquering sickness of body and mind.
Upon reading about this I became inspired to create a Dream Theatre, a space for people to express their dreams in a theatrical way…to help them “re-enter” their dreams and fulfill the intention of their dreams. More often than not we are awakened before the dream is able to complete its intention, and thus we are left in a constant cliffhanger…or what we know as a nightmare. What if a nightmare was really just an “un-finished dream?”
I believe the goal of our dreams is to ultimately re-mind us that we are whole, perfect, and complete. What would happen if we could actually extend our dreams to their natural conclusion? If we did this often enough, perhaps we would realize on a deep level that we are victorious, empowered, magnificent beings that are truly capable of creating a heavenly world.
Questions for contemplation, journaling, or a dream group discussion:
1. What is your knee-jerk reaction to nightmares or unpleasant experiences in your waking life?
2. On a scale from 1-10 how much do you believe in the possibility to transform tragedy into triumph?
3. Call to mind a nightmare or a difficult situation from your life and describe it in the space below.
4. Within the integrity of this scenario, describe how you might use “dream re- entry” to re-direct your dream?:
When we transform fear to faith, dissonance to harmony, and chaos to fusion, we are Alchemists of the Dreamtime.