I’m seeing many grapes close up, each shaded green-purple-yellow, plump and gleaming in sunlight. A voice says, “these are like grapes.” Then I realize they ARE grapes.
This dream felt alive for me with its simple clarity around two ways of being, and its dash of humor. The grapes are luscious and real. Yet my mind wants to take a step back. “These are like grapes” is the voice of the observer who stays apart from naked experience.
The presence of the grapes is palpable, and this time the voice fades. But often our thinking moves us away from sensory experience. Our dreams shine a steady light here and help us return to soul, to our true self and what brings us alive.
It’s helpful to know that the root meaning for real is “actual,” and comes from the word for “thing.. belonging to the thing itself.” The actual “thing” is what our dreams invite us to feel, our direct embodied experience through senses and feelings. This is the ground where we can connect to others and to the Other.
Natural Dreamwork is unique in distinguishing this experience, the actual sensory “events” in a dream, from all that blocks or dilutes this: a reaction, a thought, a story. When we slow down and contemplate the sacred images and beings who are alive and present in our dreams, we give space for feelings to arise. We can receive the dream’s healing medicine directly. There is no need for interpreting.
This is the experience of seeing, touching, and tasting the grapes rather than thinking or talking about them. It’s a way to live in close relationship with our own dreams as devoted companions. This rich inner experience can permeate our waking lives and help us see with fresh eyes.
Our souls are most alive in the real, the actual, whether inner or outer experience. But we may learn to hide behind abstractions because our ego feels safe here, more in control and less vulnerable. This is the conditioning that grows early around our wounds. Our thoughts become stories we tell ourselves over and over and confuse with reality. The beauty of dreams is that they show us this contrast in tangible ways we can feel.
An example of this came in a recent dream where I see two friends I love talking in a lively way at a table across a restaurant. When they don’t see me I have the thought: I’m becoming invisible again (an old story). Instead of moving closer and speaking, I believe the story and become more and more isolated. I miss the chance for the sensory feel of human contact and the vulnerability of feeling. This dream reminds me how these fixed stories can become self-fulfilling, a closed loop.
Our stuck places in dreams are painful to see but can wake us up and help us live with more passion. These moments can be springboards to act from the heart, try something new — the opposite of the old story. In my dream session I had the chance to practice walking over and saying hello. This felt tender, vulnerable, and brought up many feelings.
These patterns of thinking will keep coming up for all of us. But our dreams give us stronger paths to return to feeling and soul, ways to practice, to deepen our capacity to be present. In this way we change not the dream itself but our conditioned behavior. This new path can become a template for the way we live.
I’m walking with a teen girl in shorts who is tall with long lanky arms and legs. She says, “I’m really walking on —– street.” I say, “Do you mean you are virtual?” And she says yes. I feel disappointed. I say “so if I touch you, I won’t feel you?” She says “yes, in some places.” So I begin to touch her arms and she’s very solid and real. I touch her legs too and she’s all here. I feel excited and say, “I can feel you!” She looks at me and says, “It’s something in you.” I feel a huge happiness rising up.
I feel a strong sense of the girl’s realness through touch. I can feel the joy of this, her solidity. She is fully here. She’s only virtual when I forget, when I stay apart from this life of feeling and imagination. She is real and I am real. This sacred encounter helps me feel more deeply the realness of other people, how particular and how needed is each soul.
It’s something in you. She lets me know this is a capacity I have — that we all have — to feel what is real as we move from head to heart. We know when the girl- and boy-soul come to life in us, in the way we feel and are in the world. Our dreams offer this opening, and bring us encouragement. Even if for a moment, we taste our soul’s flavor again.
The Pencils Were Polite
The pencils were polite
crept into drawers
hid their naked tips
and embarrassed erasures.
The world outside
with globes of sound.
Poems burst open
Shapes bloomed on a page
curving through sound
whirling in words
thirsty for the sun.
The pencils wake in the dark.
Marian Enochs Gay is a certified Natural Dreamwork practitioner offering a contemplative approach to dreams as a path to soul. She offers individual sessions in person or via phone or Skype. Learn more about her work at dreamwellspring.com or on the About Us page.