_Dreams and Dreamwork
In terms of reaching the state of “on,” how important is it to do “inner work”?
It’s very important, especially if you want to reach this state on a consistent basis. Anything that helps you get a better handle on your thoughts and emotions or brings awareness to the things you are usually unaware of—such as deep-seated concepts and assumptions you have about yourself—is always helpful.
Working with your dreams is one way to do this kind of work; it allows us to become more conscious of our subconscious tendencies and motivations and bring them into harmonious alignment with the core of our being. This kind of inner work is not always easy but the benefits can be profound and far-reaching.
Your inner state is always reflected in your outer world. This point is often difficult to understand or accept, as most people are not able to see the connection between the inner and the outer, between their concepts about life and their experience of life. But when you do inner work, and actuate a positive inner shift, you always experience a resulting change in your outer world. The change may be subtle or it may be dramatic, but there is always a change and it is always for the better.
Working with Your Dreams
The particular method of dreamwork I am most familiar with is Integrative Dreamwork. This method does not involve interpreting the symbols of the dream; rather it uses the dream like a treasure map in order to discover the deeper message it is delivering. Correctly understood, every dream is a communication from our higher, super-conscious mind to intelligent function of our conscious mind. It is a positive directive; a call to take a higher, more beneficial, course of action. The dream we recall in the morning is not true dream, as delivered by our higher self; rather, it’s a “cover-up” and a distortion of the true dream created by our ego. It's the way our ego tries to cover up and obscure the true and original dream. (Bear in mind that the ego always resists the influx of our higher self and anything that threatens its limited version of reality.) In a dreamwork session the dreamer endeavors to dismantle and get beyond this egoic version of the true dream. If he is able to overcome all his ego defenses, and uncover the true dream, and follow its higher message, it invariably brings about a profound integration and alignment of the disparate dimensions of his psyche. And when this happens it opens one‘s whole being to an influx of luminous energy and a overall sense of aliveness and joy.
An Integral Dreamwork Session
The way our ego tries to block and distort the true dream is through fear and attachment to false and limited concepts. In a dreamwork session, the dreamer works to get past all of those defenses. The dream master does not know the original dream but he knows how to get to it; and he can clearly see the way that the ego has blocked it. So, the first goal is to get past these ego-defenses—primarily by seeing that they are unreal projections; and then tohave the dreamer reveal the true dream.
In practical terms, during a session, the dreamer re-enters and recreates the dream in his imagination, and experiences the dream as if it were happening in the present moment. (As you may recall, this approach is the same as that used with Imaginative Recall and Creative Revision. As the dreamer does this he comes upon certain obstacles. To get beyond this obstacles, the dream master instructs him to re-create the dream in a different way. His ego, of course, does not want to do this; it wants to block out everything; it wants to preserve the status quo. So the session usually takes the form of a battle, where the dreamer is fearfully holding onto his ego’s version of the dream, and resisting anything that would change that, while the dream master is trying to get him to imaginatively create another version of the dream, a dream more in line with the one delivered by his higher mind. If all goes well, the dreamer will let go of his falsified, corrupted, ego dream and come upon the expansive wonder of the true dream.
The Difference Between the Ego Dream and the True Dream
Say you are in a dream, being chased by a bunch of hoodlums, who are trying to kill you, and you are running for your life. Well, in your ego version of the dream you believe there are hoodlums chasing you and that they are trying to kill you. The true dream, delivered by your higher mind, is always benevolent and uplifting; in the true dream nothing harmful is ever coming after you. So that’s the first major difference between the ego dream and the true dream.
The role of the dream master is to prompt you to let go of your false, ego version of the dream and get to the true dream. In the case of hoodlums chasing you, he may ask you to stop running, to face these hoodlums, to see what they really want. Do they really want to kill you or are you just assuming that? You’re afraid; you don’t want to stop running. They really want to kill you, you are convinced of that. But how do you know this? Where did you come up with this idea? The dream master knows that nothing wants to kill you; so he works to confront all your false assumptions. At some point you get beyond the fear; the excuses run out and you stop running. You finally face these hoodlums and invariably you discover that they are not trying to harm you, they are running after you to try and help you. And when you no longer fear the characters of your own dream—all of whom represent dimensions of your own psyche—there is an opening, and expanse, an influx of light. You see that the hoodlums were nothing more than a projection of your ego’s fear. When that fear is stripped away, you feel the love and ebullience of your own nature, and come upon the true dream---where no hoodlums are trying to kill you but where a band of angels is rushing toward you to bring you into their loving embrace.
The most amazing thing about dreams is that your concepts play themselves out in real time. So long as you fear something, that thing looks like something you fear (n real life). The moment you don’t fear it, it looks like something you don’t fear. In this work we come with one dream, and one concept of reality, and we leave with another. We come with fear, resistance, and contraction, and leave with the luminous expansion of our being.
Every character in your dream represents an aspect of your psyche; and any conflict between you (the dreamer) and any character or thing in your dream represents a conflict in you. The purpose of dreamwork is to discover these subconscious conflicts and take conscious steps to resolve them.
The dream you receive during sleep is a message from your higher mind that outlays the exact condition of your inner stat. The dream usually relates to a particular issue or concern you have in your life. And instead of trying to figure out what issue the dream is addressing you can shift things around: you can formulate a meaningful question before you go to sleep (written down in very precise terms), addressed to your higher mind, asking it to deliver to you an answer in the form of a dream. This is not necessary, but it can often be helpful in giving you further insight into the meaning of your dream.
A simple way to work with your dreams is to re-enter the dream; but instead of recalling the dream as it occurred,reimagine the dream so that every conflict is resolved and brought into line with the resolution you want. This simple intention will bring up a lot of ego resistance. Your intention is to instill a new recall to your dream while your deeper subconscious, and ego structure, wants you to keep believing in the reality of the old dream. So, there is already a conflict. As you try to re-imagine the dream, you will get a very good look at your inner blocks and resistances—all of which disharmonize your psyche and disrupt your deeper sense of well-being.
To give you an example, you may have a dream where you want something—such as to be with a beautiful woman (or man)—but in the dream you do not get what you want; either you are rejected by some beautiful character in your dream (who may or may not look like someone you know) or be too enfeebled to take the necessary action to get what you want. So, in your waking state you would re-enter the dream and re-imagine the scenario wherein you take the action needed to get what you want. What action would you take and how would you feel taking it? Maybe you have a deep-seated belief that the woman (or man) in your dream—and recall that it is your dream, this person represents a dimension of your own psyche—does not want to be with you, and so you don’t take any action. This is the exact same scenario that plays out in real life. What would it take for you to imagine that such a person would want to be with you? What deep-seated resistances, what deep sense of low self-worth—or the belief, “such a person would never want to be with me”—would come up and block you from imagining this scene? Work with that. Imaginatively overcome those blocks and see what inner and outer changes take place.
Remember, you are at the center of the dream, you have the creative power to shift the dream as you like; there is nothing in this universe that is standing in your way except the hard and fast assumptions you have about your own limitations.