What is Dream Work?
What is dream work?
Dream work is the process of using your dreams to make the changes in your life that you have always wanted to make, but could never quite figure out how to do it. It requires believing that dreams are a form of communication delivered to you with perfect messages, that they are coded most often in symbols rather than literal narrative, and are designed for exactly the change you need right now in your life. When you believe that dreams contain perfect messages for you, that there are no mistakes in them, then you can allow them to guide you to the path that your life is meant to take.
It is nearly impossible to do dream work if you do not have a belief in an all-knowing Creator. This does not mean atheists cannot do the work. They can simply believe that there is a force inside of them that is much greater than themselves with perfect positive intentions.
I have no idea exactly where dreams emanate from. I have read the research and know that when you are dreaming you are in alpha brainwaves. This means that the brain is definitely involved when you are dreaming, but no one can design their own dream and have it come out exactly as they planned.
Dreams are just too good. They come from somewhere else besides your consciousness. Because dreams are benevolent in nature in that they are always trying to lead you to a positive end, even in very dark dreams, I believe that dreams are like a world unto themselves under the control of a great positive force. They pass through the brain and are completely related to you and your experience, but they are much more out of your control than probably anyone would want to admit.
Discovering that dreams were a perfect message for me, that some other force knew a great deal more about where my life should go than I did was a great shock to me. It left me feeling quite bewildered. After all I am an American and naturalized Canadian. Free will and independence flow through my veins. Culturally I never wanted anyone else telling me what was best for me especially not a force that I cannot see.
I first started to notice some unsettling things about dreams when I was doing personal change work with a number of clients. By this time I had already discovered how to decipher the meaning of the symbols and started playing around with solutions as if they were mathematical puzzles. On the day that a person would come I would start getting clues in the dreams about their issues and how they related to me. Then I would do the dream work on myself before they met with me. They would start speaking and telling me about their issues and I would be nodding my head because it was as if I had already heard what they were going to say beforehand. It was a bit spooky for me because culturally I didn’t want someone else telling me what to do. I was, however, so much more prepared after I did the dream work that I continued to let it happen.
The results were just too good when I did dream work to not give up my own minor will to a higher one. I couldn’t compete. It was just so much better. If you are uncomfortable with using the word God or the idea of God in your daily life, which is quite common because of the abuses of religion in the world, you can find another term. Jung used the idea of collective consciousness, which is very helpful to many people. Buddhists don’t often use the word God either because the spiritual experience for them is inward. The important concept in doing dream work is that there is a power much greater than yourself that knows best where your life ought to be headed. If you are an American like me or have suffered at the hands of oppressive people, giving your will over to a greater one is no easy matter. This is not giving up the ability to see truth with your own eyes nor have a strong will to accomplish what your inner life wants for you, nor even negates creating your own vision. Discernment is a highly valued quality that everyone should have.
When you do dream work in the right way, you are going to get extremely powerful messages, and when you actualize the messages into positive processes, your life will change in ways you never imagined possible. It does, however, require a certain amount of submission and your priorities will most definitely go through a radical shift.
What makes dream work different than most change-type programs?
Dream work is based upon the belief that lasting change occurs when you take the variable of free will or choice out of the initial processes. Free will is given over to the dream dimension to choose your life path. This is because the dream world is connected to the Creator’s spirit which is much more competent in the choosing process and is a greater guarantee of a positive final outcome. Here is an example. Consider the following dream from a woman from Chinese background.
“I was walking along a path and then I came upon a two-story house which I decided to enter, but when I got close to the house a man appeared out of the second story window with a rifle and began shooting at me. Then I had to run and hide.”
In the dream world a house is a symbol of the self because it is where your being resides. A path is a symbol of your life journey. In this dream this Chinese woman is on her life journey and decides to enter a self where a man is going to shoot her down. Being shot down means being put down or belittled. Notice also in the dream that the man is on the second floor shooting down which signifies that he feels superior to the woman and can say whatever he wants. The problem she has is in the choice she makes because, like most women in her culture, she believes that she has to enter a self where men are superior to women and have the right to belittle others mainly because they believe that they are superior as if they are the gods of their houses. A man’s intention is to kill the spirit in the woman so she comes under his control.
She entered the self where she is going to be belittled by men and die spiritually because she felt like she did not have any choice in the matter. In real life that is the type of marriage she is in mainly because most Chinese women are in that type of relationship where they feel that they have no other choice than to be inferior. The long term lasting solution to her problems is also housed in the dream just as the problem is. If she knew how to do her own dream work, then her life would be on a brand new path because the solution is right there. The dream says that the choice she made in her life has extremely bad consequences, death to her soul. No doubt she took the choice because she didn’t believe there was another solution. Without going into a lot of detail the dream is asking her to consider a solution that is 180 degrees opposite to the choice she made when she entered into that relationship. The dream wants her to consider taking the life path where she regards herself as equal to others. When she accepts the solution, then she can begin the longer-term inner work that is also an aspect of the dream work. Her journey will be fraught with fear because that is the emotion she mostly feels right now. If she continues along the path, her life will transform itself in wondrous ways.
For most people who come from Asian culture it often just seems like there is no solution. The ego then makes the wrong choice because it is incased in fear. It chooses to live in the house of belittlement where you always see yourself as lower and less capable than others, especially men. Submission to a higher authority allows you to choose the only viable option, equality, and then beckons you on a great adventure toward that end.
Dream work always allows you to make the right decisions about the final end and then invites you into a process of discovery and change. Most people make decisions based upon fear because they are not educated in the ways of the spirit, of the true self.
When you look at the above dream, you might ask yourself about the man. How did he make the decision to be a god of his own house treating others with disdain? What is his fear? It is quite simple what his fear is, which is the fear of most domineering relationships. If you have to control someone by putting them down to try to kill their spirit, then you are fearful of being in a positive relationship where there is mutual love and respect. You are fearful of true spiritual intimacy. Instead of the choice that the Creator would have him make, the man chooses power and the addiction of being a god over intimacy and equality. His life will forever be full of loneliness by remaining aloof. His only true choice is intimacy, a path he will not likely choose immediately.
It is fairly easy to argue that most of the problems we are having in the world with the woes of the economy are based on men trying to be like gods rather than seeking what the higher self would have them be, which is to be more intimate and equal with others. It can also be argued that a great deal of women who enter the work paradigm end up copying the bad models that men set of trying to be god-like. They are often worse because they are about as far from their true selves as a person could ever get. The true self is guided by higher forces. Dreams show it the way. When we act from our true selves rather than our fears and selfish desires to be god-like, then the world and everything around us gets better. When you try to be a god, you may end up with a few more toys and land, but you also create a lot of devastation and misery like chopping down all of the forests.
When you do dream work, you first go through the process of finding the various meanings embedded in the metaphors of the dreams. The second step is to find the solution to the dream if it is negative in nature like the one above. The solution is a 180-degree shift from the direction the negative emotional states keep you in. The final step is to make the internal shift from the negative fear-based pattern to the very positive permanent energy. In dream work you do not do the choosing. The dream chooses your path and your solution. This is what makes it the perfect choice for you.