Dreamwork in the Body
Every year when I go to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, my son-in-laws and I do some kind of boys day out where we hike or mountain bike. This year we climbed the Chief in Squamish which is just north of Vancouver. Shane runs a company called Dare to Evolve
He asked me if I would begin writing a few posts that connect the Dreamwork that I do with what he is trying to help people do with their bodies. This is because when you are involved in any type of intense physical activity, the line between what is physical and what is spiritual begin to merge until the two begin to reinforce each other. This post is my first attempt to really connect to the two. Besides doing Dreamwork I am also a physical educator of children so the connection is fairly natural for me.
The connection between the body and dreamwork begins at the moment that you realize that everything that exists in creation including your body is in a kind of benevolent conspiracy to push you into growth in every way. We all know, in the words of the popular culture, that no one gets out of this earth alive. As amazing as we can be with nutrition and exercise and healing sooner or later our bodies go back to the earth. What is left? What is left is our character which is made up of all the great virtues that we have like self-discipline, courage, honesty, determination, fortitude, and love.
Whenever you seek to improve in an area like yoga or martial arts or tennis or running, there are two aspects to the development. One is strictly physical as in increasing your flexibility to do progressively more difficult positions in yoga or improving coordination with tennis. The other is non-physical or spiritual which has a character element to it. In Shane’s programs he asks you to find the virtue that will help you the most in your life as you are doing the exercise because his program recognizes that when develop perseverance, as an example, in your physical exercise that it also easily transfers or generalizes to all parts of your life. Many of us have learned the teamwork that helps us in our work by playing in team sports. It is never just about the physical abilities that makes a team great, but also in the spiritual ability of being able to cooperate together.
You can say that you have both physical deficiencies as well as character deficiencies that keep you from making substantial performance improvements. Given a set of virtues most people intuitively know where they are weak. For instance, if you have the habit of starting a lot of programs but then quitting after a couple of weeks, you are probably strong in enthusiasm, but weak in perseverance or steadiness. What we tend to not be so good at is changing the character weakness and then repeating the same physical patterns even when they have stopped getting results. Because of it we usually run into the same physical problems over and over showing up in our bodies.
How does it work? When you have a weakness in your character, it shows up in yourself by way of a negative emotion, for the most part fear. You know you have the fear because you feel it in your body somewhere. This lets your whole being know that this is an area of weakness that needs to be improved. It is felt as some kind of stress or tension in your body. At that point there is both a character solution and a physical one. For instance, you could be fearful of failing so you won’t ever try new things. You stick with a safe routine. When you do the analysis, you realize that the character trait you need is more courage. As soon as you have more courage, then you can start added new things to your life and to your training, and then you improve. Since the lack of courage is sustained by the tension or stress in the body, a lot of the work to get to more courage is the letting go of the fear.
What about dreams? When you dream at night, it shows you exactly where you need to develop your character for that moment in your life. It leaves out any guesswork at all. For instance, if you were being chased by a lion in a dream, if means that you are fearful of being attacked by a really fierce person. It means that you need to be ferocious when you go after goals if you want to make progress. When you are ferocious, it lets you really attack new projects or things you have to do.