Dream Questing, Vision Questing, or simply working with your dreams, is a necessary part of any Spiritual growth.
Many things approach us from the unconscious and subconscious realms, and an understanding of how to enhance, and interpret such messages or visions is both essential and necessary if we are to grow transpersonally or Spiritually.
There are many methods used for enhancing dreams, or vision work, and it is my hope to outline this information and give you general guidelines to assist you on your Journey.
Dreams have never really been fully understood, they remain a great mystery. There's an uncertainty as to where dreams actually come from, or how they reach us.
In the Native American and Shamanic traditions, there are differing thoughts and belief structures about dreams, some believe dreams come down to us from the heavens, while others believe they come from deep within.
No matter how they approach us, or where they come from, the importance is to gain an understanding of them, and an ability to work through them.
The greatest part of the mystery is that people rarely, actively respond to their dream life.
For many, dreams are not even remembered after waking, unless they are particularly horrifying or powerful in some way.
This can be a great loss, especially in view of the fact that we can have as many as five different dreams in any one night, and still wake remembering nothing.
Responding to our dreams, and making a commitment to dreamwork, can lead us to become more outwardly conscious, and therefore more responsive to life in general.
The way to start remembering dreams, is to keep a journal of dreams, or dream diary. As soon as you wake, before you have time to forget, write down anything you can remember from your dreams of the night just passed.
Once this has been done, you can begin to take steps to *actualise your dreams, *(putting reality into dreams), and use significant ways to re-enact, or re-experience some of the dreams.
By doing this we are able to approach life from a vantage point, rather than living life simply in an outer sense, (i.e. the normal functions of everyday living), we are able to approach the day much more centered, harmonized, from a base somewhere deep within our inner world.
Working through our dreams using some of the various methods outlined below, can lead us to be more responsive to life. This is simply because we are able to approach daily life with more awareness of the possibilities which may be presented to us during that day.
Whatever the problems, which may present themselves to us in daily life, they may well have been worked through already in a dream scenario. Choices, which have to be made, may well have been rehearsed in dreams.
As we work with Dreamquest workshop material, and live our daily outer lives, we become more aware of how experiences, which present themselves to us daily, may well have been evoked by a significant dream or vision, and we are able to approach it with a much more balanced outlook due to the dreamwork we have undertaken.
Dreamwork, Vision questing, gives us the wonderful opportunity to rehearse that which could occur in the physical world for us at any point in the present or the future, it also renders it possible to understand much easier, things which may have occurred in our past. To the Shaman, Seer, these are the 3 worlds of his universe, the Underworld, the Middleworld, and the Upperworld, to the psychologist/psychiatrist, these are the 3 realms of the unconscious, Lower unconscious, middle unconscious, and superconscious. The diagram below, better illustrates this.
Whether dream experiences present themselves to us in reality or not is immaterial, it is the experience itself which brings knowledge and wisdom, and helps us to view and approach any life situation from the point of balance we have built in our inner world.
In dreams and visions we are able to work through scenarios which may well be very difficult for us to even approach in reality. We are able to travel distant continents, perform feats of great courage, travel through various universes, indulge ourselves in wild sexual experiences, meet new and exciting people and achieve great fame and fortune.
Dreams hold endless possibilities for gaining life experience, and as any dreamer, visionary or seeker will express, there are times when the experiences are so real, in outer world terms, that it becomes difficult to determine what is real and what is dream.
Indeed, if we view the whole thing Shamanically, all are experiences of the Soul, and as such are as real as each other.
Opportunities are multi-fold and dream experience can help us make the very best of every life situation which may occur in the outer world, due to the fact that we have already experienced it, or rehearsed it, in our Dreamworlds.
Whether we approach Dreamwork from a scientific point of view, i.e. the schools of psychology, psychiatry or psychosynthesis, or from a more esoteric, spiritual point of view, is irrelevant, in effect they are one and the same.
To the Scientist, dreams may well be psychological entities, products of a persons mental process, and to the Shaman, prophet or seer, they may well be the spirits of old friends and relatives. They may well provide us with the ability to view the realms of our unconscious, or allow us to travel the distant realms of the Otherworlds free of the restrictive Earthly body, but whatever they are, however we view them, they are deep and moving experiences which can and do govern the way we act out such experiences in reality.
The most apparent point in Dreamwork is that many times in our lives, outer events coincide with dream events in very meaningful ways. This could mean there is some great motivating force which creates both the dream and the life experience. Is it relevant then, whether the spirit of a guiding friend or relative, which appears to us in dreams, is purely an image trace, a memory, or a guiding archetypal image within the psychť, or an actual presence of energy which still exists after a persons death, spirits or guardian Angels, which choose to visit us through our Dreams.
From a personal point of view, and as a student of the mysteries, I have no need to question it, each have their valid viewpoints. Dreams are full of possibilities, and the more we open ourselves to dreams, the more possibilities present themselves. They are an everflowing source of inspiration, a well spring of awakening and insight, and a deep and potent source of enlightenment.
Many may say, the dreamer has lost touch with reality, constantly dwelling in a world of fantasy and illusion, perhaps it is more likely that the dreamer lives more on the edge of hope and expectation, knowing each day presents new experience, hope and optimism. There is no need to fear becoming so heavily involved in Dreams that we can no longer determine fact from fantasy, Dream from reality, for both the dream and the dream work, can be a very grounding experience.
I would like to return to the Diagram of the three worlds, or realms in Diagram1, and further enhance the similarities between the schools of psychology and psychosynthesis, and the more esoteric schools of mysteries.
We have discussed approaching life from the wonderful new vantage point of balance deep within our inner world, this point of balance, focus, is central to spiritual teachings.
In many, if not all ancient spiritual teachings, the truth lies within the point of balance. This is quite logical in many ways, for if we move away from the centre, we become influenced by one or more of the outer influences and therefore become unbalanced, so the centre is a place where we can view everything with an equal opportunity, a unifying centre. If we approach anything irrationally, it is said we are out of balance, so where in actuality does this balance lay, and how are we able to reach it?
In his book, 'Psychosynthesis, a manual of principles'. Prof. Roberto Assagioli speaks of this Unifying centre in this way.
"When the Unifying centre has been found or created, we are in a position to build around it a new personality, - Coherent - Organised - and Unified."
This is actual psychosynthesis, which also has several stages. He goes on to speak about the purpose to be achieved by psychosynthesis, and how it should be realistic and in line with natural development and says;
"A genuine ideal model, has a dynamic creative power; it facilitates the task by eliminating uncertainties and mistakes; it concentrates the energies and utilizes the great suggestive and creative power of images".
Where better than in our dreams are we equipped to eliminate uncertainties and rehearse things, making mistakes without great loss. When we incorporate dreamwork, we actualise the dreams by concentrating on the energies and we are able to utilise the great and suggestive power of our dream dynamics, or images to make better our daily life, hence to psychosynthesise ourselves to a new and better personality.
In comparison, the esoteric, Shamanic approach through meditation, guided meditation and vision questing, leads us through realms where we can rehearse life and empower the images to aid us in the improvement of daily life.
Both schools use the ancient teachings of the circle to portray the unifying centre.
Carl G Jung, (Psychologist), spoke also of the power of the circle as being one of the most powerful and significant of primordial images.
Primordial images, he explains, are balancing or compensating factors which correspond with the problems life presents in actuality. He speaks of the images as deposits representing the accumulated experience of thousands of years of struggle for adaptation and existence and says;
"Every great experience in life, every profound conflict, evokes the treasured wealth of these images and brings them to inner perception; as such they become accessible to consciousness only in the presence of that degree of self-awareness and power of understanding which enables a man also to think what he experiences instead of just living it blindly."
So we see that by using Dream re-entry, (one of the methods to be explained), we can think, even act out, rehearse, what we experience, and thereby open our eyes to life.
Jung discovered the primordial images in his study of Alchemy and World Religions, I myself have uncovered many similarities of symbols and images in many traditions, most of which incorporate the circle and its centre being the point of balance, the Unifying centre.
The Shaman travels his universe to seek enlightenment, this universe is wonderfully depicted in John Matthews' book 'The Celtic Shaman' (Element books isbn 1-85230-245-3)
It shows the three tiered universe,(as in Diagram 1), of the Upperworld, Middleworld and Underworld, all of which are connected by the great central Tree. Its branches reach High into the Upperworld and its roots deep into the Underworld. All are encased in the single shell of a hazelnut from where, according to Celtic Mythology and legend, all wisdom and knowledge comes from.
The simplified drawing of this diagram, as we have shown, becomes strangely resemblant of Assagioli's digaram of the Unifying centre. Further enhancement of this diagram shows us infinintely more.
We can see striking similarities between the diagrams, many books are available on the psychological aspects of Consciousness, for our part we shall remain with the more esoterical aspects of Dreamwork, both lead to transpersonal development.
As stated earlier, wherever our dreams come from, scientifically speaking or spiritually, they become so closely linked that it becomes simply a matter of perception, the way we choose to perceive them.
What is important however, is that we recognise our dreams as a guiding, inspiring influence and develop a skill to work with them to very best of our ability, thereby enhancing our approach and understanding of all things.
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