Last night I dreamt that the leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin, was holding the world hostage with big negative weapons, and that I was in the middle of it all being threatened and used by him in an attempt to get what he wanted. All I could think about was that we had to find a way to rid the world of his scourge. I also had a dream where I went from moments of closeness with others to being in the house of a really negative relative that I somehow had to appease. As soon I did that, I lost the closeness.
Why did I have these dreams? There were a couple more, which I lost memory of.
My inner being was being shown that I have a tendency to focus on getting rid of the negative in the world, rather than focusing on getting to a very positive end. I have a fear, like so many others do, that someone like Putin is going to ruin things for me. Then I focus on what I can do to get rid of the Putins (negative figures) and lose total focus on what the positive goals are. I get tense in the body and then it drains me. I wish I didn’t have to admit to this. I wish that by now in my life I would be more focused on positive ends, but there it was clear as day in my dreams. Putin is alive and well in my consciousness. I don’t even read or watch news more than a few glances here and there, but still he is present.
What to do?
First I need to realize that getting rid of the negative in my life is a losing strategy. The winning strategy is to visualize the positive end that I am trying to go for, which is to help people move their lives forward, relax, and then do a lot of action towards that end. Detaching from getting rid of Putin is no easy matter. The process is to ignore him, see the positive end. I can see people getting along together in the world and move toward it, or I can see everything being destroyed and then tense and be paralyzed. I often do the latter. The fear paralyzes and it is sustained by a negative vision of the future based on negatives in the past. Ignore the negative. Focus on the Positive End.
What can I do today that makes the world a better place? How can I get closer to others?
“I have been given the homework assignment to ask several people what they know about, how they would describe/what are characteristics of human nature/ identity?”
Here is what I responded to her.
True identity is based on one’s virtues. All of who you truly are is in the invisible realm like courage, trustworthiness, generosity, love, compassion, etc.. Since people are dual-natured, that is, they are a spiritual being in a physical body, most people identify themselves at least partially in a physical way. The core of identity is spiritual because, even something as clearly definable as whether you are male or female, goes away when you leave your body and go onto the next world. It is always best only to ever think of identity in spiritual/process terms. Also people have a tendency to identify themselves according to their ego such as their fears. “I am ADD,ADHD.” We are not our egos. We are our true selves. When we believe that we are our egos or our physical things, then we act out of them, such as acting out of fear or anxiety and preventing ourselves from really getting into things fully.
Human nature is completely positive. The egos play a big part of life, but they are not who you are. They are temporary, but a lot of people, because of scientists and doctors, e.g., tell you that you are your ego.
When you are given a negative label or a disorder, you can immediately dismiss it as a part of who you are even when certain people want you to wear or keep that label. Negative labels are not helpful and they are not who you are. You are all positive.
I have stated this theme many times in the past, but it is worth repeating again because the culture gives such a different message. Negative emotions, even though they feel negative, are actually only doorways to higher levels of positive energy. The culture wages war against negative emotions so that they will go away. It is why so much prescription medication is given when a negative emotion appears. If you feel down, reach for a pill, feel up again, repeat endlessly. I am sure I could get into some kind of trouble about going against prescription medication. It has its place, but it isn’t the be all and end all. Trying to make negative emotions the enemy and then get rid of them in anyway possible is the root of the drug crisis. What I have learned over many years of dealing with negative emotions in myself and others is that if they can just be seen as communication, as messengers that something needs to change inside, then they do not have to be seen as an enemy, but can be viewed in a more friendly manner. Mind you, when you are scared out of your tree from a nightmare, or have runaway anxiety, or are really depressed, they really do seem like the enemy. They are not. They are there to tell you that something needs to change, something new needs to develop inside of you. It is a lot easier to take this view of negative emotions as friends if you believe that growth is an eternal process that we continue our whole lives and beyond. Negative emotions just tell you where you are stuck, what needs changing.
One of the most difficult messengers to deal with is the negative emotion of grief primarily because it takes your energy levels really down into depressed states. What is the purpose of grief? Grief tells you that you have suffered is some kind of loss which is often quite obvious like the death of a loved one, the loss of physical capacity, being fired from your employment, or failing an important exam. Grief holds the memory of the loss partly because you have to realize that the game is over. If you don’t accept that the current situation is over, then you cannot move onto to a more empowered state. It can last for a long, long time. The first time I got fired from a job,I was left me in such a down state. I held the memory of the loss so closely. It was very shocking to me what happened. What I have learned over the years in dealing with grief, especially after having been fired on three different continents, is that when you are in the grief state, your ego mind does not want to remember the positive abilities that you have. It wants to hold the loss by making it intensely felt so that you will not get back into the game again in another position somewhere else. It keeps the memory of the loss alive in your mind so that you will not doing anything “stupid” like finding another job where you might get fired again.
The first step in becoming empowered after loss is to realize that the message of the loss is that you have some incredible abilities that have already been developed whose memory you need to reactivate. When you can remember your abilities in an enhanced manner, then it gives you a lot of empowerment to do what you do best already. The struggle is to let go of memory of the loss, which is your ego protecting you from bad happening again. There is actually no such a thing as an assured protection from loss. There is no internal insurance policy that you can get to keep it from happening again. It is going to happen to all of us. You cannot prevent it, especially is you live a life on the cutting edge where people are entrenched in old ways. Letting go of the idea that you can protect against loss allows you to understand that empowerment is the virtue you need, to keep getting back up, and keep getting back in the game. It is easy to give in and then take an antidepressant. Remembering what you are good at already and then doing it all over again in a new place or situation is the message of grief. This is what it is trying to do.
But it also has another trick of its sleeve, which most people do not know. When you hold the memory of the loss strongly so that you don’t have to get back in the game, then it also imagines some kind of false hope so that you do not have to deal with being more empowered. The false hope really is an attachment to a possibility that is never going to happen. In the third world, for instance, the people that fire you are often corruptly in “bed” with the people you can appeal to. You can hope that something bad is going to happen to the people who wrongfully dismissed you, but is going to go nowhere. There is no outward recourse. There is an inner recourse which changes everything. The inner recourse is to let go of the imagination, remember your positive strengths and then to feel really up or joyful about them. When you are up about what you already have, the empowerment gets fully energized like rocket fuel so that you can get to new heights.
Rather than go on and on about this which is a vast subject, I am going to write some simple steps in dealing with grief.
Recognize that when you are depressed it is usually about some kind of loss that you have suffered. Name the loss and when it occurred.
Say to yourself that the grief is holding the memory so that I can get to an empowered state, but first I have to let go of the protection from having losses again.
Make a list of your positive abilities and think of times when you used them positively.
Ask yourself what false hope you have about the loss that is hindering you from feeling up. Let go of the false imagination.
When you get to an empowered state, new opportunities will open.
Be patient with big losses like the loss of a close family member or friend. They take longer.
Today I was working internally with the negative emotion of disappointment. It is the feeling inside that lets you know that your expectations or goals are incorrect, but there is a process that you do that is working and needs to be continued. If you hold onto wrong expectations, you end up down and depressed, but if you hold onto the process that works and continue the process, it will produce a lot over the long term. For instance, you can be very inclusive and supportive, but work in an environment where the leadership is selfish and recognition-oriented. Expectations can easily go awry in such an environment because the leadership can act in ways that are destructive to positive outcomes. When you let go of the expectations of leadership to do positive things, then you can keep focusing and doing your own inclusive and supportive behaviors that will eventually lead to the downfall of the selfish leadership.
Disappointment and grief are closely related to each other because they both make you feel really down and take away a lot of your energy. The difference between the two is that grief tells you something is over, whereas disappointment tells you that despite the poor results, you are still in process or in the same arena. Grief wants you to remember all of the positive things you do, but makes you realize that there is a new playing field where you are going to apply what you can do. Disappointment tells you to stay where you are and keep doing the positive. If you get fired, for instance, from a company, then you are in loss, and have to find a new place, whereas if you have a major setback, it means you have to keep doing what works in an up manner despite the setbacks.
The problem with both energies is that they bring your physical energy down. The way to get back to up energy is to remember positive successes using your positive abilities and then acting on them.
Recently one of my good friends sent me this dream.
Last night I dreamed that you and I were running in this big race in some kind of beautiful national park with a whole lot of people. We were going along and I got forced into running through this kind of landslide area and I somehow got lost and found myself running on a super highway where a car went out of control and was skidding sideways right for me. It stopped just short of hitting me. I walked past the car wreckage and went to cross a big road but it had an arroyo pouring down it, so I had to go another way. I felt so far off track and lost and then I saw you. You were all sweaty and exhausted and really trying to get your breath. And then we were like,, “okay, let’s go”. We were both still in the race!!
What I love about this dream so much is that it can be applied to actual racing like actual running, and it can be applied to the big race you are in in life. This dream explains the process we all must go through on our true life path. In the first part of the dream, like the first part of the big race of life, you find yourself in beauty and awe. This is where you are totally enamored with what you are doing and feeling wonderment with each step.
Then, without notice, you are thrown into extremely difficult life tests and challenges. These tests develop all kinds of inner qualities like determination, resilience, problem-solving, trust, and faith. At times you want to give up because, like in the dream, you feel so far off track and alone. While the dream is a matter of minutes in sleep time, in real life what the dreamer is experiencing is years of being in challenges. The amazing thing about her is that she never gives up. She is slowed, but still remains faithful to her path.
When she sees me, who is equally exhausted, it is like the synergistic energy of two people being in the big race together, energizes us. We have been through the worst of it, but now we are back in the race with a lot more acquired abilities. It makes being successful so much easier.
No one ever really asks for these challenges that come to us. We would all prefer an easier road, at least one that didn’t have so many emotionally wrenching times, but when you are on the other end of them, together with a fellow traveler who has also experienced great challenges, the road ahead and the race is extremely bright.
By far the category of dreams that I have read and answered the most over the years of doing dream work has been those that are related to being attracted to another often ending up in bed with the person. You can be happily married, but then one night you are having sex with your ex in a dream. Or if you are a heterosexual person, you might find yourself in bed with the same sex, or vice versa. Attraction in a dream or in real life is a tricky thing.
The most important piece of dream interpreting advice that I am going to give here is that whatever you experience in the dream world in terms of attraction to others should not be acted on in the real world. Do not do it! You are going to have learn to use the quality of self-discipline both in your dream life and in your daily real world life around the idea of attraction if you are ever going to truly grow as human being. When someone appears in your dream like an ex-girlfriend or boyfriend and your heart feels so attracted that you just want to contact them immediately and be with them, don’t do it. Here is why. The person that you are dreaming about is not the real person that you used to be attracted to. It is an image of attraction and they often show up to be much better in the dream world than they ever were in real life. This is because the dream world is trying to show what their inner positive energy is like strength or kindness or enthusiasm so that you will develop that energy in yourself. If you would act in the real world on the dream as if it meant that you should be with the person, then your life is going to end in a disaster. If you work on yourself to develop the qualities that are represented by them in the dream, then your life will completely work and get so much better.
Here is the basic law of attraction that material science or material culture has not learned. Attraction, who are what you are attracted to is very malleable. It is not fixed, just as your character is not fixed. Being stuck in the way you are attracted is deadly if you are attracted only physically.
In some of my previous posts about New Year’s Resolutions I was trying to emphasize the importance of starting small with new habits and activities so that they can be maintained for a long period. This post is about a type of dream that dis-empowers action making you hide away in a small self.
Being raped in a dream is a metaphor for someone who has a lot of ego-materialistic power exercising it in a negative way on someone else. It is a huge fear of the defenseless in this world and the ultimate form of controlling others. When the fear of being raped is present in a dream, that person appears big in comparison to your own self, often more than one person. If you have had a dream where you were raped or being threatened to be raped, it means that someone has used negative power against in the past to render you helpless. It could be, but does not necessarily indicate that you have been physically violated. It means that negative power is a perceived threat in your mind, and when it is a perceived threat, it makes you feel small, controlled, and usually wanting to hide away. Indeed the purpose of a person using power in a negative manner is make others feel small so that they can feel big inside. Ultimately they are extremely small and undeveloped internally, but the use of power over others becomes an addiction.
The fear in the dream means that you are ready to develop the opposite quality that the dream is presenting. You are being called to start developing your own positive powers. The best way to think about it is that you are being called upon to develop your own empowerment to do things that better the world. What would your life be like if you had extremely positive power to better the world?
There are two things you have to assess in real life when dealing with this type of fear. First, what is the actual fear in your current outer life of a negative power harming you? If it is there and it is real, then proceeding forward with empowerment requires a huge amount of wisdom. If you have an oppressive work situation, for instance, any type of major empowerment on your part will be a perceived threat, and then action could be taken against you. It is important, in this kind of situation, you take measures to protect yourself and your family. If there is no perceived outer threat, then you can begin to let go of big fear feelings, and then start to see yourself with new positive abilities.
Usually the first capacity to want to be developed internally is the ability to connect closely with others, to see the positive in others, and to have a loving connection. This is because having social capital is one of the main requisites for getting anything truly positive done in the world. If you have positive connections with others, it is easy to get things done. People who use negative power have huge issues with closeness. It terrifies them. Social capital makes it easy.
The hard part about doing this kind of change is the ability to make the big bad wolf (bad person with negative power) into a little squeaky mouse, and then make yourself into a big positive force. The key is to test the waters with small actions like writing positive messages to friends or visiting someone who is ill so that they can feel cheered up.
Remember that being assaulted in a dream is a message to develop your empowerment.
What is the right method, when your soul feels a craving, a deep desire inside of you, to make a leap, take a jump into the wild unknown? The forest is overgrown and the path has disappeared. How do we find our way?
There is only one sure and true way, and that is go deep inside of you, into the place that most fears the change and ask yourself: What is my soul the most hungry for? What am I longing for? Craving for? What would I give myself if I had all of the time in the world, an endless supply of money and a never ending source of energy? What would I be doing right now with my life? What changes would I make?
When you can allow the quiet voice inside of you, your soul whispers, to begin to speak to you, you will find an endless amount of guidance that wants to pour out into your life. Your soul is hungry for change. It is hungry for moving you on to the right path. It desperately wants to tell you.
Let your heart open up to this new form of guidance and trust that whatever you hear and feel is exactly what you need to do. As you do this, your life will open up for you in endless ways and new possibilities will dance on your door step. The jungle path will light up and your true path home, to your self and your inner light, will glow with such brightness that it will instantly and completely heal those around with its brilliance.
If you want to have success with your New Year’s resolutions, the simple rule is to start by only making resolutions for one day at a time. If you want to exercise more, make a modest goal today and do it. Then tomorrow you will be really pumped because you achieved a resolution yesterday. The next day set another goal for that day. If you miss a day or get ill, just start again the next day or when you feel well. After a couple of months you will be able to set goals that go further into the future, but avoid being grandiose (thinking too big). Stay small like doing something for your neighbor. It is no use having a big vision if you are weak with small positive acts which most of us have a lot of avoidance about. Star SMALL.
This is a video of my son-in-law, my grandson, and I jumping into a pool that is about 5 C/40 F. Resolution: Do things I would never do!!!!
Imagine that you are in the midst of dream where you are about to be crushed by a tsunami or one that you are being chased by a fierce lion that is about to pounce on you. For most people who have this kind of dream, waking up from the dream is a big relief. They are happy to have it over or, in their words, happy that “its just a dream”.
In the outer world (the material world) the dream is a representation of the inner world. If the dream were a physical experience, death would occur in the dreaming process. Because it is a representation (a symbolic depiction of an inner state), there is no need to be uncomfortable with it. Obviously, in the above two examples, you experience fear in your mind and in your body despite the fact that you are asleep. For most people just having that feeling go away in the immediate present is a big relief. This is what most people do to help children go back to sleep after a nightmare or when they imagine something negative in their room like a witch. What if you could wake up from a dream with a lot of terrifying images and say to yourself, “How great was that dream that it brought so much fear to my awareness!” “Now I can finally get somewhere in my life!” “Thank you for bringing me that fear because now I know I can get to the energy that will solve the dream and make me so much more competent.”
It is possible to love terrifying dreams if you know the secret of negative emotions. The secret to loving the negative dreams is that they give you valuable insights and information about where your inner being wants to grow and transform. Being comfortable with your dark states, your negative emotions, helps you get to the higher state that your inner being is trying to get you to. How do you do it and what happens if you don’t? If you do not do the inner work to help actualize the new potential being stimulated by the dream, then the what you saw in the inner world will manifest in the outer world. It may not be an actual tsunami or an actual lion, but it will certainly be the negative appearances that those negative energies represent. For instance, a lion could represent a fierce and abusive person coming after you, and a tsunami could be like a wave a negative criticism like what happened to Meaghan Markle from the British press after she married into the royal family.
The dream world warns you ahead of time and, at the same time, reminds you of what fears you already have, where your weaknesses (your darkness) lies. The important thing is simply being “ok” with having the fear, that there is no shame in it. For a lot of people this can be a huge obstacle because most cultures socialize us to deny fears or try to put them aside. The dream tells you that you have it, so the best approach is to first say to yourself that it is OK to have the fear, and that it is going to be a big doorway to my transformation.
You might be saying to yourself, “yea sure, Richard, nicely said, but it is just too scary to face.”
The first step is to put some mental/emotional distance between yourself and the fear. During the nightmare your mind and body experience everything, but if you are going to transform the fear into a positive asset, you first need distance so that the feelings lose their intensity. The easiest way to begin the distancing process is by recording the dream on paper or through an audio recording. It is always very surprising how much fear can be lessened by expressing it. Keeping it in seems to make it more fearful.
The next step is to make a statement to yourself like this. “I am having the dream and experiencing the fear so that I can develop a new capacity inside of myself.” “It is OK to have the fear.” “The fear is my friend because it is going to lead me to new development.”
The third step has to do with finding the capacity that the fear is leading you to. I usually tell people to make a statement about their fear. In the tsunami dream I would ask what is the big negative wave that you are fearful of in your life. They would probably say that I am fearful of a big wave of negative criticism or gossip. If you know that the fear is a big negative wave of criticism, then you can figure out what the capacity is that their inner being is calling them to, being a big wave of positive encouragement to others. It is not good enough to think about the goal of the dream as making you aware of how fearful you are of criticism and then try to lessen the fear. Being a positive force of encouragement and support of others allows you to have a powerful impact on other’s lives which betters all of humankind.
Step four is about finding out the kind of coping behavior that the intensity of the negative emotion causes. It is always a variation of flight, fight, or freeze. In the above dreams, depending on your personality, you could do all three. Most people are in the flight mode which makes them hide from being out there and doing positive things. The reason it is important to identify the behavior is because it will change when the fear changes. When the fear transforms, you can give the new capacity goals and tasks to do with its new energy like finding 5 people to encourage each day.
Most people start to need outside help after step our to change the actual negative energy inside especially when the dreams bring up trauma from abusive experiences or experiences of abandonment. The important thing about being comfortable with your negative dreams and emotions is that they are leading you to a positive place where you are going to benefit the rest of humanity. How you get to the new capacity after you recognize it can be a complicated process depending on the past experiences. It is good to seek outside help.
In the last post we looked at individual symbols as stationary objects such as a bear or a lion or a mountain. In this post I am going to show you how to understand behavior so that you can see how important it is for a dream.
Suppose that you have the following dream. ” You are yourself in a dream walking in a large field of flowers.”
This is a very simple dream, and when you understand the behavioral part it can have a profound affect on your being and your ability to carry out your purpose in life. The field of flowers represent the quality of inner beauty. The quantity of the flowers shows you the value of being surrounded in beauty. Walking in beauty, the behavioral part, shows you that the spiritual realm is asking you walk your path in life in a state of beauty, which can mean being able to see the positive in all things and be with them. If you would have smelled the flowers first and then walked in the field, the dream would be telling you to first stop and admire the beauty, and then to see the beauty in everything you do in your everyday life. The flowers tell you the quality you need, while the walking tells you the behavior.
It is not quite the same when the dream is negative because your behavior in a negative dream comes from your ego which only has the choice of flight, fight, or freeze. Consider this dream. ” Godzilla is terrorizing your neighborhood, and you are running for your life.” Godzilla represents the object of your ego’s fear. It represents a big powerful person who is totally acting in a tyrannical way out of its reptilian brain. Your behavior is to flee as fast as you can as a way to cope with the fear. In a negative dream, which are by far the most common, the first step is to transform the fear. To do the transformation you have to first find the positive energy that your higher wants to develop, and then you have to change the behavior. A lot of people try to change the behavior before developing the quality, but that approaches only works temporarily at the best.
If you consider Godzilla to be a tyrannical force for evil or self interest, then what you need to be is a positive force for the benefit of others. In the real world you have to be cognizant first of whether the fear is an actual threat or an imagined one. If it is a real one like living in Nazi Germany in the early 1940s, then you have to use a huge amount of wisdom when being a positive force for good. If it is an imagined fear, then you have to do all of the work necessary to get rid of the illusion and replace it with a positive image of you being a force for good. The behavioral difference in a situation where you are being chased by Godzilla versus being a force for good is quite remarkable. With Godzilla there is only one choice and that is to run and hide. When you become fully embodied as a force for good, then your behavior has infinite choices. The behavior changes from restricted to being open and free.
Every issue in life has a negative emotion that gives it fuel to operate and then also has a coping behavior. Transform the issue and negative emotional state first, and then infinite possibilities will show up.
In this post I want to tackle the challenge of how to get meaning out of the things you see in the metaphoric world of dreams. Dream dictionaries have their place, I suppose, but in the 30+ years that I have been dream interpretations, I have rarely opened them, and found them mostly disappointing.
Defining characteristics. Each object or action in the world has a defining characteristics that helps us differentiate one thing from another. If we did not have differentiation, everything would just be one big bright light. When the sun’s white light breaks through the prism of the earth’s light, then we see the whole spectrum of color such as blue or green or red. Without the prism we wouldn’t see the great diversity. When I am faced with a new symbol that I have never seen in a dream, I ask myself what are its defining elements? What makes a bear different than lion, or even one room different than another in a house.
Taking your time in the beginning. When symbols first started coming to me, I used to write the thing down and then figure out what was unique about them. Doing a search on the internet is often helpful especially with animals.
Make the spiritual world connection. If you think of flowers in general as being defined by their beauty, then having them in a dream allows you see that you need to work on your own inner beauty or how you see the beautiful spirit in others.
Here are some examples.
Bear: A bear is characterized by its size and strength.
Inward meaning: Inner strength or empowerment
A ship in a storm: This is characterized by the intensity of the weather coming at an object that is much smaller in size.
Inner meaning: Being steady or steadfast in the facing of overwhelming tests or difficulties
A dark alley: This is a narrow path where it is difficult to see where you are going
Inner meaning: There is a path that is limited and negative.
Try some of the following:
In the next post, we will look at behaviors that go with the symbols.
A dream is an experience you are having where your spirit leaves the world of time and space for a period while you are sleeping in order to inform you more clearly about how to transform your life in positive ways that will benefit others. It can be either positive or negative or both. It is a very valuable tool in the process of growth.
While dreaming is one way of receiving spiritual communication there are certainly many others. For instance, meditation and reflection are doorways to receiving guidance and communication that are extremely valuable in one’s growth. Oftentimes, things happen to us in the outer world that can also serve us in our growth. This is the process of treating an outer experience as if it were a dream. To understand and benefit from the outer world being like a dream, it is first helpful to realize that when we are living a physical existence, we are also living a non-material or spiritual existence simultaneously. It is actually simpler than one might imagine. For instance, imagine that you are driving in your car to work in heavy traffic. The outer experience is going slower than on days when there is less traffic. The inner experience could be agitation, impatience, tranquility, or patience. The two worlds exist together.
If the above experience were a nighttime dream, then you might think that the purpose of the dream was to teach you about being tranquil or patient in a situation where you couldn’t get somewhere in your life at the speed you would like. When it happens in real life, you can do exactly the same. In this manner everything becomes a chance to develop something inside of you. Try some of the following things to see where you might need to grow if it happened to you.
You run out of gas in your car. (you run of energy in your life)
You sprain your ankle.
A dish breaks
You are caught in downpour without an umbrella.
You lose your keys.
There are two realities to every experience. For instance, there is the physical healing of your ankle, and then there is the spiritual ankle, which is helping you to achieve stability as you move forward in our lives.
There are basically three steps to any personal change in your life.
1. Remembering the strengths that you already have.
Growth is building a process that relies on the foundation of positives that you already have. It is helpful to make an inventory of positive strengths because these are the foundation for your current success.
2. Having a vision of the next positive quality that is calling your in your life.
You can consider that your being is always desiring to get to a higher place, to be more capable so it wants to push you to develop new things like patience or courage or firmness or compassion. When you have the vision of the new quality, then it is possible to work daily on it until the quality becomes a part of you.
3. Working systematically through the issues that are brought up in you to get to the new vision of yourself.
This part is mostly about learning how to transform negative ego states such as fear and anxiety, anger and shame, to positive ones. Issues tend to have presenting negative emotions that have a structure in the mind that drives behavior that is either fighting or fleeing or freezing.
Dreams come in at all three levels. They can tell you what you already have, where you are headed, and what is the negative energy that you are facing. The first two categories tend to play out in positive dreams, while the last one is more negative. When you read the metaphors correctly, then dreams can be a great resource for rapid change.
Since a great deal of science in the modern world is based on the concept that human beings are apes with a larger brain, much of what comes from dream research is limited in its ability to facilitate change. For instance, the approach used in some of the research in dealing with disturbing dreams like recurring nightmares is to treat the nightmare in the same manner that a doctor might treat cancer. The goal is to get the dream to leave so that the person can get back to a state of equilibrium and feel more positive. The problem with these kinds of approaches is that they do not take you forward to the new vision of the new capacities. They take you backward.
When you regard human beings as spiritual in nature living in a material body, then you come to understand that when the new quality is developed the body tends to get into a higher equilibrium when the new capacity is actualized. When you are having a nightmare or a negative dream, it is important to understand that the dream is just presenting a negative story so that you can understand what you have to overcome.
The classic cases of recurring nightmares are often played out in people who have been to war, but not everyone who has been to war, even when they have been in similar circumstances to someone who has a lot of nightmares replaying war scenes, will have those kind of nightmares. If you have are reliving war every night when you go bed, it simply is an indication that you have not learned yet how to be at total peace or calm. Someone who does relive the war probably has enough peacefulness for their lives to proceed in positive ways. This is a pretty simplified explanation of a far more complex transformation process, but you can see that if you know that you need to work on the capacity of peacefulness, this can be a great asset to your growth. If you are just trying to get rid of the nightmare, it means that you are trying to get back to a state of being before you went to war which is impossible. The war has already changed you. You can not go backwards. Healing and change is never a backwards process. It is always forward looking.
If a person can learn to love the negative dreams as if they are positive, then real growth can be amazing. When someone sends me a nightmare, I say to myself literally, “How great that this person got a nightmare. Now they can change. Now they are at the doorway of great change.”
Saying to child that it was a just a dream negates their whole emotional experience in life. Negative emotions are doorways to tremendous growth. Comforting a child when they have had a nightmare and then understanding that the dream was important for their growth and needs to be addressed is a more positive way to deal with the child’s life challenges. The witches and monsters and crocodiles are real. They are expressed as metaphors, but they show what is happening in the child’s emotional life that can be a doorway to their growth.
My mother’s house was always immaculate. She made sure that every public space was spotless. There were almost no weeds in her yard. Her parties were a show of excellence in food preparation. It was not an easy house to live in because messes were largely not permitted. In order to keep her standard so that it could be impressive to visitors she was always on the look out for the things out of place. If things were not immediately put away or if there were specks of dirt on the floor, you heard from her in no uncertain terms. It was same in terms of her children’s public behavior and appearance. She never scanned for the positive. She was looking for the think out of place so that people could regard her positively. She believed in the importance of appearances. Even when you would work really hard to pull out all of the weeds in the garden, she could find the ones you missed and comment on it.
There was however a place in her home that had the quality of dishevelment. That was the place where she did her creative work. In our early days she had a sewing business in our home with her cousin where she created amazing gowns for women. The room was never that organized or clean. In later years it was the room she set aside for painting. Both rooms were, in a sense, out of harm’s way. They were not privy to the public. I remember entering the room a few years before she passed and thinking to myself that the rest of the house was for show so that she could get recognition on how beautiful her home was, but where she was actually herself, relaxed, and positive was in her painting room. It had a basic organizational structure, but it was relaxed about being spotless.
I guess I am a slow learner because it was when I was half way into my sixties that I recognized this about her. She was fabulously creative, but also stuck in her public side that needed to be perfect in appearance. My childhood mostly felt the sting of the dark side, the constant criticism, the endless obsession on what was wrong. I was so anxious to leave home at 18 that I made the grave mistake of going into a military academy that was even more obsessed than my mother about appearances. When I started to complain about their methodology, she defended them fully which drove a wedge between her and me that was never fully healed. The Air Force Academy was like my mother on steroids. They were so obsessed about the smallest piece of dust that when they found one in your room on inspection day, it was as if you assassinated the president.
Needless to say that after escaping my mother’s home and the Air Force, I was open to a different approach to life. I was not against cleanliness or self-discipline. Criticism and nit picking just didn’t work with me. Even in the psychology classes at the Academy they taught that finding the positive in others was way more effective that criticism, but, as is present in most countries, criticism or pointing the finger of blame does not die easily. It is still hanging on because it is so much easier and here is why.
The research in working with children and in marriages indicates that when you criticize or make negative corrections, it takes five positive comments for a person to feel encouraged. In other words criticism is so powerful in its negative effect on people that it takes a huge effort to get back to feeling encouraged and motivated to go forward. What seems to happen is that criticism has an immediate effect on getting a person to do what is asked, but it leaves them tense, remembering the negatives, and afraid to be adventurous and curious. The Baha’i Writings indicate that criticism is what leads to people to apathy and estrangement.
My mother became a very prolific painter in her life, but she had an extremely difficult time showing her work to anyone. She too was terrified of criticism, of being regarded poorly. Had she been encouraged in her early years she probably would have become a famous designer or well known artist. She was learning Chinese brush painting after she was 85. I suppose that a lot of us have the two opposing energies in us, one that is wildly adventurous and creative, and another that is looking for every little thing that is wrong with whatever we do. The urge to self criticize and to criticize others is a huge negative force in human beings, but it is very destructive.
Encouragement is based upon the ability to find positives qualities in others and then acknowledge them. When you see orderliness, patience, compassion, or courage, among thousands of other positive qualities in others, and then acknowledge the qualities, it strikes a positive chord, a vibration, in the other person’s soul that gives those qualities something like an electric jolt so that they can operate more fully in the world. It is absolutely remarkable in its power. Criticism does the exact opposite. It suppresses the energy of the qualities. They go into hiding.
People that get into leadership by way of criticizing others often appear like they have strength and answers because they are so good at making others look so poorly. What they are actually very effective at doing is stopping progress because they create a culture of hiding. It takes far less energy to get someone to hide away than to get their positive qualities out there and functioning. When a person needs accompaniment to have a new quality, like a woman who has been in an abusive relationship, they need constant reminders, constant calling out of the name of the energy that they need. If the need is for inner strength, it will not stick by saying it one time. It takes constant repetition of the remembrance of the energy and constant working through the presenting obstacles. Then gradually the energy that was just in a potential form, becomes manifest in their lives.
Often a person comes to change work with zero energy in a certain ability and little faith that it can become a part of who they are. They may even describe themselves as a “not”. I am not the type of person who can talk freely in public with others. I am not the type of person who can be calm and inward. Encouragement is like a doorway to a new identity. Even if you have no positive energy emanating from a certain quality like generosity or friendliness, believing that you have it in potential and then acknowledging the potential is a huge charge to the spirit and the first doorway to applying it in real life.
If you want to have a big effect on people’s lives in a short period of time, there are a few things you can do immediately.
Walk in your neighborhood and spend time acknowledging the positive qualities in things around you like when you see a beautiful flower or the colors of the leaves.
Make an effort to find something positive in everyone you meet.
Acknowledge the positive qualities in 5 people each day.
Completely ignore the negative in others and refrain from making any negative comments to others for a certain time period each day. (e.g. morning to noon, or noon to sunset) . This is a hard one to apply if you are a serial criticizer. You will have to do it gradually.
Nightmares by definition evoke fear. This means that when you are facing that big snake or being bitten by one, the negative emotion you are feeling is FEAR. It is not anxiety or shame or guilt or grief or any other one. It is fear. To be good at changing a nightmare into an asset you need to be good at working with fear inside of yourself.
The first thing you need to know about fear is that it has a past. You cannot have fear unless you have had an experience where the fear developed. And just because you are dreaming about a snake biting you does not mean that you have had a negative experience where you have been bitten by a snake in the past. You have to remember first that dreams are mostly based upon metaphorically language. The snake is a symbol of someone or something that happened in the past. You are not born with the fear of heights or of being attacked by a bear or being burned. Fear is based upon an experience that is interpreted by the ego mind as threatening. It tells you that there is some part of your life where you do not have the resources to fully deal with what presents. So instead of being capable, the fear in your ego mind tries to get you to run away or fight or even freeze as a way of dealing with the threat. The dream simply tells you that you are in need of growth. A nightmare is a big message.
What is particularly interesting about a nightmare is the intensity. It makes you pay attention and stays in the memory easily. A lot of other dreams fade as soon as you awaken, but nightmares tend to stay with you. So how do you deal with it?
Realize that when you have a nightmare it is for the development of a new process that you have probably not done a lot of work on previously. It means that something positive wants to come into your being so that you are a much more resourceful and competent person. With that in mind set aside some time to process the dream. It is well worth the effort. It is also important to realize that dreams tend to come to you as a kind of premonition, that if you don’t deal with the fear, then the negative will show up in real life. You can turn a potentially trying situation into one where you have a lot of competence.
Write the dream in a journal or notebook so that you have access to it. Writing something in journal has a way of giving yourself distance from it which will lessen some of the fear. It will not get rid of the fear. It will just take some of its negative power away as you do the processing. If you find that it puts you into a really negative spin that you cannot get out of, then it is best to seek some help from people who are experienced in working with fear.
Identify the primary negative metaphors and what they make you do in the dream. For instance, if you have a dream where there is a poisonous snake, then the snake is the metaphoric image you have to deal with. It may cause you to freeze or to try to kill it or run away from it. If you are in a house that is on fire, then the fire is the primary metaphor that is critical to understand.
Identify what the negative metaphors stand for in the real world. For instance, a poisonous snake indicates that there are poisonous people in your life that are filled with jealousy attempting to take the easy way out in life. A bear chasing you is a symbol for a negative power source that is about to attack you. This can be hugely challenging so if you arrive at this step and have no clue, you can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you identify what the metaphor represents. This is a very important step because it gives you a profound level of understanding before you do the actual transformation. Although it is not enough to just identify the meaning of the metaphor, it is a key step in going forward.
Identify when the first occurrence of the fear experience was in your life. This is also a good key for understanding more profoundly what is happening to you in your life when you have the fear. The age and the circumstances give you indicators of what to do in the change process. A lot of fears beginning when people were very young living in their dysfunctional families or when they began school or had their first relationships. If something happened, for instance, when you were five, you will be acting like a scared five year old when facing the fear.
Find the positive energy that is trying to open up in you. It is always the opposite in a positive direction of the fear image. So if a snake is trying to poison you, which means that there are poisonous people in your environment who are doing things in a negative way or behind your back to harm you emotionally, then what you are trying to open up to is sweetening people’s lives or encouraging people in positive ways. If you are being chased by a bear that has a lot of negative strength, it means that you need to develop positive strength and empowerment to do positive things for the betterment of others. Just like the metaphor this can be challenging to find out what is supposed to open. You can ask me if you are stuck. email@example.com.
Identify if the fear presents a real danger in your life or is mostly imagined. If you have snake-like people in your environment doing negative things, it is not propitious to just start being sweet and encouraging to others even though that is what is unfolding. You also need to take steps so that you are protected from the venomous people and then gradually implement the new process in areas that are safe. If you are in an abusive relationship trying to develop empowerment, the abuser will have the upper hand, so you need protection and wisdom in gradually unfolding the new capacity. It will take time. The rule is to protect yourself and find safe ways to develop the new process. If you have been to war and have nightmares about it, but now you are out of the war zone and are safe, your mind will still believe that you are not safe. You may be learning how to create peace between people, but your ego mind is going to make you believe it is not safe and it will find ways to make you feel like it is a fight. The rule is to go slowly and in an ecologically sound manner. Take your time in developing the capacities. Start by doing them in small ways.
When you begin seeing the new ability such as creating peace between people and there is no longer any fear, then your behavior will have a lot more choice to it. It will not be ruled by flight or fight or freeze. You will have more positive choices.
Develop a modest plan with small steps and implement it. It will be the feedback you need to take the next steps.
in the next post I will introduce what to do with some other types of dreams where fear is not the primary negative emotion and some techniques on how to deal with the ego mind so that your true mind can function better.
When you wake up in the middle of the night because you have just had a terrible nightmare like a poisonous snake ready to sink its fangs in you or you are about to fall off a huge cliff, your heart is usually racing and your mind may feel some relief that the dream was not real life. Most people just want to get to a place of calm again after a nightmare, and then return to some kind normalcy hoping that the dream does not reappear. The goal of this post and one’s following are invitations to view nightmares or other negative dreams as your best friends because all the nightmare is actually trying to communicate to you is that you have a fear that needs addressing, and the reason you have the fear is that your inner being needs a new capacity that is as yet not actualized.
Most of what we call Western medicine is based on the idea that human beings are apes with a larger brain. This means that when there is a disturbance in the system, the purpose of medicine is to get you back to a state of equilibrium. It works in many cases like when you break an arm or leg and have it reset, but when the concept that we are animals with a large brain goes into the area of disturbances of the mind, going back to an old equilibrium isn’t all that effective. It would have you try to completely forget about the nightmare, maybe take something to calm you down, or have you practice meditation. The idea is to get rid of the disturbance because it is the enemy that causes your life to be rattled.
When you start with the belief that humans are spiritual beings living temporarily in a physical body, then the whole world of negative emotions and nightmares become so much more interesting and friendly. A nightmare awakens a huge amount of fear in the dreamer. Suddenly you are faced with a situation where you have no inner resources to deal with the challenge in front you. Your mind goes on alert and sends impulses throughout your body to fight or flee from the terrible situation. So why is that a good thing? Why would I ever want to make friends with a nightmare or any other negative feeling I might have? The fear is just the messenger. It is not the enemy. It is just sending a message that there is an aspect of your life in which you are completely incompetent and in need a huge development. It lets you know that you are at the beginning of a very long process of growth.
What is even friendlier about a nightmare is that if you do not take steps in your transformation process, the nightmare will repeat itself over time. It will just keep letting you know in whatever way it can that you need more development, more new capacities. It will not pass you onto the next grade level in life because of seat time. It will make you face the fear and change until the very end of your life and probably beyond this one. A negative dream or a nightmare is your best friend because it provides the message of where the friction is in your growth process, where you are lacking. How great is that? You can go to bed at night and wake up the next day with messages about what growth is needed.
If I have a dream with a big snake ready to put its fangs in me, and I feel a lot of fearful feelings, it simply means that I am at the beginning of the process of learning to deal with poisonous people who are full of jealous energy so that I can give out positive energy to myself and others around me. A nightmare says to you that you are at the beginning of a new process, not the end or not even close to the end. It is humbling, but also exciting because it means that with a substantial amount of inner work you can develop whole new competencies. It is an invitation to lots of great growth.
How else am I going to realize that I am incompetent with poisonous people and difficult situations unless I get the negative messages? There is another way you get messages. You get messages in real life. The advantage of a nightmare is that it lets you know ahead of time that you need this ability and that if don’t develop it, you are going to get hammered in real life. That is why it is your best friend. It is like a phone call letting you know what is up ahead. Snake people!!!!
If you can treat anxiety, guilt, jealousy, hurt, shame, embarrassment, disappointment, sadness or anger as friends who want you to develop new capacities, then the process of your growth is going to greatly accelerate. If you fight the feelings and try to get rid of them by material means, then regression happens. Your hurt is your friend. When I have a dream and it has fear in it, I just say to myself, isn’t this great? I love fear because I can work it and transform it into a new ability. They come to me at night in my dreams. I welcome them in and then give them a cup of coffee in the morning as we work through them. It is like I am on one end of the couch and they are on the other. We are both drinking coffee chatting over the steps to get to the transformation. When I come to an understanding about the messages and change them to positive energy, it is like the negative emotions sets its coffee down, thanks me for the visit, shakes hands, and quietly walks away.
I have a good relationship with the negative emotions because I know that they will give me good info. I cannot imagine a life without the kind of friction that they bring.
In the next post I will talk about the steps in dealing with a nightmare or other big negative emotions that come your way. See you then.
If you are a lawyer and you go into a courtroom to argue your case, you need the ability to show the judge or jury that you are right and that the other side is wrong. You may have to do endless hours of research and craft brilliant thoughts to get the desired result. If you are brilliant scientist or computer programmer, you need to have a strong mind that is capable of problem solving and long sequences of thought. If you work on a farm or in construction, you often need to put in intense physical labor that requires sticking to an outcome under great difficulties. If you are a surgeon or a dentist, you may have to be able to do very delicate and intricate work that requires great dexterity and flexibility in a dynamic situation. If you are an endurance athlete, you need the ability to keep going despite the pain you may be feeling in your body.
What happens to a lawyer or an endurance athlete or surgeon when they are no longer in their work space, when they shift from a work environment to more social environment like their family? What often happens is that the energy that made them so successful in the work environment, is the exact energy that makes them a major failure in their home life. Why is this? It should be painfully obvious, but many professionals and blue collar workers seriously make the mistake of using the same energy at home that they used at work. It is pretty obvious that parenting or your relationship with your spouse is going to go miserably downhill if the household becomes a courtroom or an operating theater.
Why do people do it? Why would a lawyer run the home like a courtroom? Lawyers are successful by clearly defining that the are right and the other side is wrong. However, we know that in a relationship being non-judgmental and compassionate are important energies to have for the thriving of closeness. It means that when lawyers leave the courtroom, they need to shift energy to a completely different side of the energy spectrum, which has neither right nor wrong. It is like being on one planet that has a certain type of gravity, and then suddenly finding yourself on one with a much different gravitational force. At one moment you are making a judgement and doing everything in your power to hold onto your argument, and then at the next you are being ask to have no judgement. Or what about engineers? They have to pay attention to great details so that they do not make mistakes. Their work, like an accountant, requires sorting for errors. So when they come home and parent as if they are an engineer or an account, they start looking for all of the things wrong in their children so that they can be corrected. It is not wonder that children of engineers often feel unloved. Parenting requires the ability to see the positives in others and nurture new abilities. It is not so much that children have weaknesses, but more that they have undeveloped capacities.
Lawyers can think that if you tell a child or a spouse that they are wrong and here is the evidence to prove it, that the child or spouse will suddenly want to change and do an instant transformation. What most often happens is that resentment builds up with the lawyer not being able to figure out what when wrong.
How then do you become more flexible with multiple energies available to you for various situations in life? The first step requires a measure of humility. Humility allows you feel perfectly at peace with not having already developed certain abilities. It recognizes that we all have infinite potentialities that are going to require the rest of this life and beyond to develop. We are, in other words, a constant work in process. Without humility you are left with feeling like you should have already developed abilities that you have never worked on before. Most people have difficulties in relational processes like being non-judgmental because it is not part of school curricula.
The second step, which is closely related to humility, is that life does not give you a choice about what to work on. You must surrender to the requirements of your life rather than arrogantly thinking you can choose to work on whatever you wish. Surrendering means that if you need to set clear boundaries with firmness because of the abusive nature of what is coming to you, then when you develop firmness, your life will thrive. If you do not surrender to its development, your life will just give you more difficulties of your own making.
A lawyer who is a parent must surrender to the process of developing nurturing abilities because that is what is going to make the family thrive. It will be uncomfortable. It will be filled with fear and anxiety and all kinds of challenges, but the rewards will far outshine the alternative.
Steps to developing the Uncomfortable energy.
Find out what part of your life is in the most serious need of change.
Make a commitment to learning about the new energies you need to be successful in that area.
Start to get comfortable with the negative emotions that arise in the process of developing the new abilities.
Think about the new area of developing like you would getting another degree from a university and then dive in.
As I am writing this post the news of the day is that 12 children have been killed in a Texas elementary school and many more will be casualties of an unnecessary war in the Ukraine. As my small part to achieving world peace I wanted to write more specifically about the process I use in the dream work so that the world becomes a better place. The promise is that if you get the message of the dream and make a transformation in yourself, the world gets that much better. We all want the leaders to do their job, but it is obvious that they are failing miserably when a leader of one of the most powerful countries in the world prefers blood and death over peace and prosperity.
In the dream I am being attacked by every type of vicious, larger than life snakes.
Snakes can attack you in two ways, by injecting venom through fangs or be constricting you like a python. For the sake of this dream we can start with the venomous types. A venomous snake represents people in the environment who use vicious criticism often behind one’s back, to secure an undeserved advantaged for personal gain. The venom that is spread is usually based on a lie, but is told in such a way that others, especially those with authority, believe it. In one particular job that I had the practice was so common that it could be considered institutionalized. If you had ability that was actually beneficial to the work community and used it, you were viewed as a threat. To keep a person with ability from advancing the leaders’ practices included blowing up small mistakes so that they looked huge, and believing what was ever told that was negative about the people with ability. These practices are the venom because the people with authority can use them to weaken positive action toward higher goals.
In most cultures the reaction to venomous leadership is to fight back with criticism or rational proofs to counter the erroneous charges. It simply doesn’t work. Being on the victim side leaves one powerless and depressed. It happened to me often.
What we know from the years of doing dream work is that an animal has two natures in dreams, because human beings have two natures. The dark side of the snakes is what is being manifested in the dream. It creates huge fear, which makes me depressed. The goal is to get to the positive energy of a snake. There are many positives aspects of the snake, but to keep things simple, I am just going to name just one. Snakes have the abilities to shed their skin. In spiritual/emotional turns this is the ability to let go of the negative things that have happened. In this case it means letting go of the vicious attacks. Letting go is not necessarily an easy process to learn. If you are a creative person doing new things and experimenting with new possibilities, then criticism is going to come because mistakes are inevitable. There are thousands of advantage predators looking for an easy kill. When you are competent in letting go, you don’t even hear the vicious criticism. Instead you hear waves of internal encouragement and see positive signs. You are like Thomas Edison inventing the light bulb trying to find the right filament by having a willingness to fail time after time. President Obama used to say that if he had listened to Fox News, he would have thought of himself as the worst person of all time. (He knew how to let go of criticism).
Most vicious snakes are afraid of the unknowns of the future, afraid to play with possibilities and be creative. They are like Donald Trump’s campaign of Making America Great Again, which is short for let’s go back to the past and pretend everything was so great then so that we can hide from the fear of the future. The point here is that MAGA’s people are going to criticize and attack because they are really good at it. They are not going to the world of possibility and creativity. To deal with them best is to let go of their criticism and attacks. In outer terms it means not engaging in the attacks in any kind of defensive way. Inwardly it means turning the volume of the attacks off while turning on a lot of positive encouragement to go ahead with creativity and innovation.
The dream teaches me that if I am going to be creative and innovative in making the world a better place or as was the case in making classes for students interesting and engaging, then I need to learn how to let go of vicious attacks. When I do so the world changes for all of those students. If I let the vicious attacks stop me, then their world has that much less quality.
The dream recounts the past attacks which had left me fearful and unable to proceed forward in the way I had wished. It gives me a second change to learn a new process and then go forward to make things better. And even when I fail again, the dream world will keep reminding me where I need to change so that I can get to that abundance of creative energy.
Process your dreams and then change the world around you.
When I wrote my book, Dreams for Peace, in 2004, not many people had the perspective on the dream world that I had. The basis of the book is that the dream world, which is one of the infinite worlds of God, has, as its main function to bring human beings into unity with themselves and in the larger world. If we would do the work that the dreams presented, I reasoned, then we could have peace in the world and unity between people. A lot of people in the last 5-6 years had thought that racial and gender and national prejudice were not big issues anymore, and then the issues blew up so that we could get to a higher level of unity. Had we each paid attention to our dreams and done the work that they presented, we would be much further along as a world community. World peace and unity is a process that is inevitable, but we seem to want to drag our feet and hold onto the old power structures and old ways where one side has the advantage and does not want to give it.
To do the work of the dreams so that we can create a better planet, there are a few essentials. Of course, there are a lot more things to add, but this post is only going to identify some of what I think are the basics.
Take responsibility for your own issues. There are enough corrupt business people and politicians in the world for us to all feel quite justified in placing blame for our current situations on others. It is very popular for one political party to blame the other. Certain media outlets have made a fortune in helping people feel free of responsibility of their own situations in life. They are smart enough to know that placing the blame, usually on liberal thinking, gets a lot of viewers and readers, and then a lot of advertising money. The more the blame from media, the less one has to do the hard work of personal transformation to change the mess they are in financially or inter personally. The reason that taking responsibility is such an amazingly powerful process is that it shifts the locus of control from outside of oneself, to inside. Imagine that you had the power to change your life rather than waiting for the leader of your country or leader of your business or whoever else, like your parents to change. This is the power inherent in taking responsibility.
The first step in taking full responsible for your current situation is to be completely truthful about what you are feeling inside. If your angry at a politician, then you are lying about your inner feelings. You probably have a lot of fear, a truckload of fear. Taking responsibility just means that the fear belongs to you. You may have been abused, thrown out of your country, fired many times, or constantly put down. The fear that comes from it does not belong to the abuser. It belongs to you because you are the one feeling it. Being angry at an outside source is just a way of hiding from it. The wonderful thing about dream work is that it allows you to come face to face with the fears over and over again. They keep coming until you deal with them. In the dream world as in all of the spiritual realms, there is no such a thing as hiding. In the material world you can hide from your issues by placing a lot of blame on others, but in the worlds where time and space do not exist, there is no progress unless one faces the issues head on.
Facing difficult issues can be extremely difficult work especially if you have experienced a lot of trauma. When you take steps forward and find it too difficult, you can go for help to work through things. The point here is that all movement toward having peace and unity in the world starts with people taking responsibility. Hitler convinced his whole country that the problems in the nation were from the Jews and from the other countries in Europe. Everyone but the white Germans were the problem. He took no responsibility so he just created a lot of division. Creating division and blaming others goes hand in hand.
2 Find the positives in others and encouraging their expression: After taking responsibility and working through issues to become united with one self, the next step is to find positives in others. It is pretty difficult to do this step if you haven’t done the first step. If you are angry at immigrants or another race or another gender, it is not going to be easy to find the positives in others and relate to the energy. Finding the positives in others and acknowledging them is such a powerful strategy that it is almost impossible to over emphasize its importance. Here is a simple thing to do when you go to a social gathering. Before you walk into the gathering hang up your judgmental, protective self on a coat rack somewhere. Just leave the protective self out of the social gathering for the time being. It is so not useful. Then go around sensing people’s positive energy, and if you have enough courage tell the person what you admire. If you can do this, it creates a bridge between the two of you and multiplies the amount of positive energy in the gathering. If you find that a person is so negative that you cannot bare to be with them, acknowledge that also (to yourself, not the other), and then just leave that energy. It is not important. The more people that you can acknowledge, the more unity will be created. Unity is a web of connected positive energy that grows in power when it is acknowledged. “I really admire the way you can articulate your thoughts so clearly.” “I admire the way you look after others at a social gathering.” There are endless possibilities.
3. Listen to other non-judgmentally. It is hard to know which of the three strategies has the most power, but I can say that this one is my favorite because when I am using it, it opens up huge interesting worlds inside others. When people say to you, that they have never told anyone what they just told you, then you know you are practicing being non-judgmental. If you feel compelled to offer advice when people tell you things, then you are not fully in the non-judgmental world. In the world of no judgment listening is the king and queen. Loving the act of listening without burning to say something important creates the environment for people to do step one, which is to take responsibility for oneself and one’s issues. If you can learn the art of paraphrasing when people are sharing from deep inside of themselves, then they will know you are with them when they are trying to walk their life’s path.
Take Responsibility- Find the Positive- Listen Non-judgmentally
Your world will change. Unity and Peace will abound.
Do you remember your dreams? Reflect on them? Welcome insights
Richard Hastings began doing dream work in 1989, including authoring the book, Dreams for Peace. He has traveled to the U.S., Canada, South America, and Southeast Asia doing dream meetings and personal change work. His approach is solution-oriented, so the participant is provided with an analysis of the dream’s meaning and a solution. He has listened to more than 10,000 dreams so far. Richard is currently living in Vancouver, Canada.
Please join us:
Tuesday, April 12, 2022 between 7:00 and 9:00 pm Eastern
Richard welcomes you to write your dreams ahead of time so you can share with him during the show and he can talk with you about them. If you send the dreams to me, I can screen share during the talk. Or if you write your dreams on your computer, you can do the screen share. Richard also suggests we have ten minutes at the beginning to write some of our dreams. Maybe fresh from the night before!
Feeling imprisoned as if you are in jail is a very common dream theme. Generally speaking when you have a prison dream, it means that you are stuck being controlled by forces outside of yourself. You are jailed inside, while a prison keeper has the key or control to your freedom. It can come from having grown up in in a very controlling household, or experience an overly strict environment in school or in your work. The commonality of the experience is that your own higher self is not the one in control. Who is in control is someone else’s ego or an institution’s ego. As long as you do what you are told, you are fine in life, but the imprisoned feeling comes when you are feeling like your own spirit is confined.
The best solution to an imprisonment dream is to become a metaphoric eagle inside. An eagle flies high and free. From up there it has vision and then a lot of choice. Down below in prison you just think about escaping all of the time from your life or being angry and fighting it. Many people escape through substances or inappropriate sexual experiences hoping to get some kind of relief only to wake up and experience the same thing all over again.
Being an eagle does not mean that you fly away from your current reality. It means that you change the locus of who is in control of your being. You take it away from others negative egos and put it in your own higher self. So if you have a controlling manager or a really restrictive school, you can choose to leave or find the freedom within the environment.
When you choose to stay in a situation that has a conservative, controlling management, there will be spaces of freedom open to you that you may not have considered. When you go to the spaces, amazing positive things can happen. Normally what is open in a constricted environment is spiritual space where the management is most fearful of going. You can ask yourself what the manager/teacher/your parent is most afraid of, and then you can be certain that that space will be open and free.
It takes a fair amount of letting go of the spaces that are closed to act in this kind of manner, but when you do, great things open up. As a general rule controlling people are extremely fearful of getting close to others. They are too busy trying to make sure that nothing bad happens in the outer world so they do not venture into the world of closeness and spiritual intimacy. Indeed, to be very controlling means that you have experienced trauma in personal relations.
This is just one example of how to be free in your life. When you are an eagle, the world comes under your higher self’s control.
In the early 1980s while I was working with a holistic education project called Anisa in Vista, California, I thought that I had arrived at the place where I would stay for a long time including going for a doctorate in education. Two years into the project the founder of the model died suddenly while on a trip to New York. The university made moves to undo the core of the program so a number of us began to search for other places to work. It just so happened that a small First Nations band in Alberta had adopted the model and was trying to implement it in the reserve school. Since they need assistance in the implementation process, we were eager to go to see what we could do.
Anisa is a process-oriented approach to education, which means that besides the traditional content that you learn in school, the model focuses on the processes you need to develop in order to become a competent learner. I had a fairly good grasp of many of the cognitive, perceptual, physical, and volitional capacities of the model, but was extremely lacking in the emotional area and in relating to the spiritual world, which Anisa calls the world of the unknowns. Over time I began to study dreams as well as the processes related to emotional competence. What I learned from my experience with indigenous people is to treat the experience of daily life as if it were a dream. It is what most people who spend most of their time in nature do. For instance, if you were to go out hiking and come upon bear, then just as you would wonder why a bear came into a dream, you could wonder why a bear came into your life that day. In my early years I doubted that a bear could have come to give me a message. Indeed most people growing up in a material civilization cannot have communication with nature, but after a few years, the communication that was opened up to me from the natural world greatly aided my everyday life.
It is difficult in the busy city to get into the mindset or even believe that the natural world is connected to the same spiritual world that gives you dreams each night. There is so much coming at you all at once in the city, that the messages you are meant to get are not listened to or attended to. Indeed people largely believe that nature does not communicate with us in a spiritual manner. When I opened myself up to the understanding that the physical world is a metaphorical experience for the spiritual worlds, then my spirit became receptive. Lots of things came to me.
In my current life I tend to take a moderate approach to what I am suggesting. Much of the time my logical, rational mind is engaged to follow a sequence of thought or figure things out, and then some of the time is more open to what comes to me intuitively and metaphorically. What I have found helpful is to believe that the spiritual world is ever present and always in communication if your motives are pure. It allows for a lot of positive things to come to you that you do not have access to in your conscious cognitive thought processes. Much of our language is geared at separating the physical world from the spiritual world, but there are times when the two worlds seem to be as one, and then they show up in language. People will say things like the dream felt so real as if it were happening in waking life or conversely that the experience in the physical world felt like a dream. The physical world is governed by the laws of time and space, but the spiritual worlds have flexibility with how time and space operates. For instance, in the spiritual realm the end is often in the beginning or shifting from one place to another instantly can easily be done.
How is your daily life like a dream?
Stay tuned for thoughts on how to see time and space in a more flexible manner.
You probably won’t get much out of this post unless you read the the three previous ones. Take your time to go back and study them.
Encouragement as a process is largely centered in the ability to remember positives in the past and hold them in memory for a long time. Having clear access to positive memories puts your being into a highly up-state for doing what you want to do in the present and for making plans in the future. Not having access to positive memories means that something else is there in your memory in its place that is negative.
The largest blocker of positive memories by far is a history of criticism, of being put down, yelled at, minimized. When your being wants to go forward into a positive future and have access to the up-states that positive memories give, if you have a significant history of unprocessed criticism, the mind will not allow full access to positive memories. You will remember negatives and the critical voices. Then instead of being free to act, your behavior will be very conservative. You won’t get where you want to go.
Encouragement is triggered by a positive voice that gives access to positive memories and a push toward the positive future.
How do develop a positive encouraging voice
Review the steps given in Encouragement 3 and keep practicing.
Make a list of the 10 most critical people that have affected you in your life. Then systematically go through each one using the exercise from the previous post. What you will find over time is that the positive voices normally start with another person’s voice and then gradually transition to your own. The worse the history of criticism, the harder it is to develop the positive voice.
Remember to give your new voice some positive goals.
Despite the fact that parents and administrators and well, just about all us, rely heavily on criticism as the main tool in trying to get other to change, the research has consistently shown that it is completely ineffectively. About one in ten people can use criticism constructively. What happens to the rest, to the 80-90% when we are criticized or put down?
Criticism, whether it is written or spoken, focuses the attention of the one that it is directed to on mistakes, weaknesses, what is wrong. The positive intention of the one doing the criticizing, such as a teacher looking at a student’s writing project, is to improve the quality of work. It is hoped that all of the red marks will somehow make the person write better. It is perfectly logical to think in this matter except for one thing. What is that one thing that we do not understand about corrections? If you could understand this one thing, then it might be possible to give feedback that actually works. Most of us just repeat what was done to us. It didn’t work with us, but it is all we know, so we use it anyway.
The one thing that most of us do not understand is that when people are criticized, the ego, rather than the true or higher self, is the first to react to it. If we were more developed and were acting out of our higher selves, then we would rationally look at the criticism and then change what needed to be changed. But this rarely happens. What happens is that the ego responds in a negative matter. Generally it has one of two responses, but it can also react in other energies as well. The two responses are with either hurt or with embarrassment. They both put you in a highly dysfunctional space that makes you either hide away and avoid showing your work at all costs or spurns a fighting response that makes you angered and against the criticism. Either way you are in trouble.
Hurt occurs when you take the criticism personally. You take it into your heart rather than keeping it at a distance and looking at it rationally. It can feel like the person is stabbing you in the heart or pounding you down or running you over. As soon as it goes to the heart, whatever the positive intention was of the criticism, is now gone. The heart feels hurt, takes it personally, and then reacts negatively in behavior. Fixing or remedying hurt requires strengthening the heart or strengthening the love. When hurt is the response, then the person does not have a lot of love for the thing they are involved in. If you have a lot of love for what you are doing as in your heart is full of love for writing, then the criticism can be seen as helpful, you can keep it out at a distance, and decide what to do it with it.
From the point of view of the one receiving the criticism the important thing to do when you feel hurt from criticism is to work on your love for the activity, to open your heart more to it. If you are the criticizer and the person receiving the criticism feels hurt from the criticism, then your work is build love for the activity. And this explains why managers and parents and teachers rely so heavily on criticism. It is much easier to criticize than to build love for an activity. Building love requires a lot of creativity and resourcefulness, whereas criticism is just plain lazy.
What if the response is embarrassment? Embarrassment is different than hurt in that embarrassment makes you feel put down in a way that you probably should have done better. When your response is one of embarrassment, it means that your ability to do the thing you are trying to do is undeveloped. You are new at the capacity you are trying to build. Embarrassment makes you feel down about yourself or your ability which then usually spawns a hiding or fighting response inside. The message of embarrassment is that you are new at what you are trying to do.
If you are the one giving criticism and the person reacts with embarrassment, it means that they are new to the act. How you give feedback is very important. You should be giving at least 5 times as many positive comments as correcting ones. This is based on research. To just criticize is the lazy way. To encourage with positive comments and then precise and nurturing corrections is much more effective. 5 to 1.
If you are feeling embarrassment, then you need a really positive voice inside to remind you of your positive ability to learn and spur you on. You also need to recognize just how new you are to the learning.
Building a Positive Voice Inside
A positive voice inside your head is a gold mine. As was stated in other posts, the tendency for all of us, because our cultures are so ineffective and lazy, is to have negative and critical voices inside our heads. Here is a little step by step to begin the process. In the next post I will help you strengthen it even more.
Go inside and listen to the person’s voice that has been the most negative in your life. Especially listen to the tones and volume and quality of their voice.
Next find a voice inside of you or someone else. The voice should be extremely positive and opposite to the one that was so critical. For instance if the tone was harsh, you would want to pick a voice that is more nurturing and gentle. If it was loud, you would want a softer one with less volume.
The reality for us is that the first voice is our default one. Default means that when we are under stress, it is the one that turns on. Most people have a negative and critical default voice. The goal of the exercise is to make the second voice the default one. It is going to take some practice, but it is definitely possible. Here’s how
You can start with hearing the negative voice in your head, but at the same time your positive voice is standing by ready only turned off. You hear the negative voice.
Then you begin to turn off the negative voice, and at the same time, turn on the volume of the positive voice. You will notice how instantly you feel so much better after you make the switch.
Repeat this 3 to 4 times until you can begin to keep the positive voice permanently.
After you have done it, try doing an activity like washing the dishes or another simple task with the positive voice. Notice how much easier it is to move to the task.
Sometimes when there is a lot of trauma the voice will not last. This is just protection for you so that you will do the deeper work on the trauma. For most people having a positive voice as a default is a total gold mine.
The biggest difficulty we all have in dealing with the way our culture brings us down is that we essentially learn our culture the same we learn how to breathe. We learn our culture unconsciously which means that much of what we do comes without ever having made any conscious choices. There are positive aspects of every culture which do not need to be challenged. In my upbringing in America I was taught the positive value of taking initiative, which is a capacity that is not that common in the rest of the world. It has served me well in all the countries I have lived.
I was also taught that if I didn’t do everything that the school told me to do in the learning process, that I would end up in poverty. It was an unconscious fear that made me feel like I had to achieve at the highest in everything I did. When I had to achieve big in all fields, it focused my attention, as it did on nearly every student, on the areas where I was weakest. My inner voice was mostly self-critical about the poor performance in certain areas. Instead of being highly motivated to go in a direction where my inner self wanted to focus, I was living in fear of not doing well in the weaker areas.
As easy as the solution is that I am going to present here, the unconscious belief of having to achieve highly in all things seems to have been a mechanism by the highly wealthy to keep the work force controlled to serve its desires. You can question that assumption, but it is the only one that makes sense to me. When you can keep a group of people in a state of fear of losing out or being excluded or living in poverty, then you can control the flow of resources to yourself. That seems to be the model that I grew up in and still largely exists. It makes you focus on not having anything weak about yourself, which is impossible.
The solution to the unconscious belief that you have to achieve highly in everything is the belief that we are all unique in our capacities, and development can be highly encouraged in all of us by focusing on the positives. Development is not about having to achieve highly in everything. It is about focusing on the positives in us and the positive steps forward. One of the best examples of this type of encouraging approach happened to me while I was living in Malaysia. I was about 60 years old trying to learn new ways of hitting a tennis ball from what I had learned as a young person playing with different types of racquets. My coach started with giving me a few instructions on hitting a certain stroke. When I hit the ball correctly, he would say, “that’s it” or “great forehand”, etc.. Occasionally he would see something, stop the play, call me over and make a small adjustment to what I was doing, and the return to the drill. At all times the focus was on the positive and reminding me of what I was doing well. He only ever made minor corrections in a matter of fact (as opposed to critical) voice. And he used a lot of humor to make the corrections feel as if it were not the end of the world. My game improved dramatically over a short period.
In the system I grew up in there were very few positive statements, and almost no attention to small, incremental steps. It was largely about high expectations, lots of assignments, and focus on the mistakes in a negative manner.
Once again, the belief that unlocks an encouraging voice inside is the belief that we are all unique and development can be highly encouraged by focusing on the positives.
In the next post, I am going to write about how to change a critical voice in your head. For now it is important to understand that we all have areas that are much weaker than other ones, that achievement does not have to be at an equal level across the board in everything you do, and making small positive gains forward is the best way to go about achievement. It is like a woodpecker pecking away at development.
Coming This Fall in cooperation with the Community Transformation Foundation (CTF). Learn how to interpret and transform dreams into positive capacities. Email me @ firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. All proceeds from training go to CTF.