Are dreams deep, meaningful experiences that can reveal unconscious desires or simply random brain activity? I have been asked this question over and over again. At the end of the day, the truth is that we really don’t know what dreams are or why we have them. The scientist believes that truth is only what can be measured in a laboratory. The mystic believes that dreams are unmistakably the living realm of the Soul. Since I consider myself half scientist, half mystic, I appreciate everything that dreams have to offer us. I thrill with every new piece of information provided by the latest advances in neuroscience. And I know that dreams offer remarkable insight; examining them can unlock untold secrets and reveal to us amazing elements of the human mystery.
Science has indeed proven that we get smarter during REM sleep. In this very active phase, the brain is busy reviewing the data collected during the day and retaining the important stuff as memory. In this way, we wake up smarter than we go to sleep. However, we also become wiser through our dreams. They are where we, I believe, find our Soul.
The language of the Soul is Love and Light. Yet when I tell audiences that I speak to about their spiritual practice that I have no interest in teaching about Love and Light, it usually evokes a surprised response. Light and Love are all there is and truly need no help filling any space and therefore does not require our attention. What does require our attention, however, are the blockages to Love and Light: Things like fear, doubt, worry and the illusion of separation. Dreams are the perfect snapshot to reveal to you where you might be blocking more Light and Love to flow through your consciousness and reveal your Soul to you.
A number of years ago, a young woman in her mid-twenties came to me because she had been having recurring nightmares about killing her own babies immediately after giving birth to them. The images absolutely horrified her and she was convinced that they must be confirmation of darkly sinister associations with motherhood that were worming their way into her consciousness. She was terrified about what this might mean for her potential future as a mother. After having different versions of this disturbing dream for several weeks, she finally followed her friend’s suggestion and set up an appointment with me.
She described the dreams. They were indeed horrific and utterly disgusting. The dreams were bloody, violent and, for her, very frightening. After taking the few requisite moments of validating her repulsion and agreeing that these dreams were indeed disturbing, I introduced her to the universal, symbolic meanings of the two images that were most prominent.
I explained that babies connect to anything new, like ideas, projects, intentions or experiences. This is an easy interpretation to understand. I went on to describe murder as a deliberate death. While this may look at first like a scary image with negative connotations, death is in fact a very positive symbol. It represents the ultimate transformation, as death is the end of one thing, but the beginning of something new. Death is always going to be followed by rebirth.
After she took this in, I asked her if there was anything in her life that looked anything like the new prospects that a baby might represent. She said she did indeed have a writing project that she was struggling with. I encouraged her to say more about that. She explained that she had been working on a creative project and had been throwing out various rough drafts and starting over again. When I wondered if the nightmares might have coincided with moments when she had to throw out a draft and start again, her eyes widened with that look that says – “aha”!
In this woman’s case, the babies represented the precious first drafts she was birthing through her creativity. The gruesome murders were her psyche’s way of expressing the regret she felt over having to reject her creations that weren’t satisfactory. The images were grotesque and horrifying, but had nothing to do with her becoming a murderous mom. However, when wanting to know what the dreams meant, she was unable to separate herself from the feelings that these images brought up. Her emotional attachment to her dream made it impossible for her to see what became so clear to me. In examining them closer, this woman not only had instant relief from these nighttime disturbances, she got a glimpse into her creative process that offered her a profound understanding about herself that went beyond the rational, limited mind.
Dreams are intensely personal; they happen inside of you. They offer unparalleled insight to the depths of who you are and where you are in your journey. They have an intelligence of their own and need nothing from you to do their job of allowing your Soul to express and expand. Paying them even the slightest attention, however, raises the vibration of the entire system. Sharing them with others does this even more so. Responding back with creative expression is perhaps the highest form of honor you can bestow upon them.