I was hesitating around some writing, doubts swarming. That night I dreamt of a man I’d known many years ago. Not a long dream, but a moment of seeing him in a way I’d never seen him in waking life. People near me were saying his name over and over with wonder and excitement – and I felt this too. He was a young man or teen, glowing with vitality. I woke up smiling and feeling encouraged.
I didn’t know this person well. He’d passed away long ago. I remember he had an unusual way of looking at the world and speaking. He was kind. That’s what I recall about him most – his kindness and vulnerability, and the way he was always himself, even when people scoffed at him.
When such figures show up in our dreams we may ask.. why him… why her? What is this dream presence inviting me to feel? We may have a chance to see the person in our dream through the eyes of the soul, a deeper remembering.
In my place of hesitation, this encounter was healing medicine. His presence as the boy with his glow of aliveness helped me feel the part of myself who can express from the heart and let go of how it’s received in the world. The voice of doubt grew quieter.
What about this voice, the voice that says No – don’t open your heart, don’t speak, don’t reach out, don’t sing the song, your painting’s no good, you’re no good — or they’re no good, if we tend to blame others. Most of us know this voice of conditioning, the tangle of thinking that grows from the wounding we all carry. This carries a different flavor and story for each of us.
Living through this time of COVID-19 may strengthen our intention to live with more heart and imagination than these thoughts would allow. The fleeting nature of life is a felt sense we are living. We may long to turn away from the voice that can keep us shut down and live from the deeper places of soul, alive in our dreams. We move among these places all our lives, and the path is not linear. But working with dreams can deepen our awareness and influence our choices.
In a dream from years ago I’m in a room with tables where people are eating. I feel apart, unable to join the conversation around me. A young woman stands up at a nearby table and invites us to listen. She speaks in a passionate voice that fills the space. I see her through eyes of conditioning and react with judgment.. how loud she is, how rude. I stay isolated in my thoughts and stories, safe from feeling and vulnerability. I miss the encounter.
This place felt painful to work with, and my ego resisted. It’s not easy to let go of the stories we’ve told ourselves for years. Many dreams over time may be needed to help loosen these. What I didn’t know yet was how much pain and desire and longing for connection lived underneath my well-worn story, and how much fear I felt around expression.
As in this dream, we may be so identified with our conditioning that it feels part of us. As dreams help us separate, the constricting voices begin to appear outside us in dreams. These are important moments to feel.
I’m crawling on the floor with a teen girl, following a baby boy, naked or in a diaper. I feel great love for him, and feel closely connected to the girl. He’s toddling into the next room where people are. We are touching his skin and going with him. A voice is saying “you should never do this, never touch the baby, it’s bad.” I hesitate, then see the girl touching him, feel her doing the opposite, so I keep doing it with energy. I feel the power of the girl strengthening me. As we touch his skin a feeling goes into our bodies, and I feel a powerful love.
…Never do this, never touch the baby, it’s bad… How clarifying are these moments when we hear the critical voice for what it is and can turn away. The girl in the dream, an imago of soul, models this and encourages me to “do the opposite” of the voice. She does not engage with the voice of conditioning but moves from a place of feeling. As I follow I feel this powerfully.
A recent dream connects to this moment for me. I’m standing with many others, gazing at a night sky crowded with shining stars. An older woman gives me an order: Say these words. I move away from her and begin to sing. No No don’t sing, she says. You have to say the words.
For a moment, I sing anyway… I keep singing. I feel my voice moving into the stars, which feel alive. I feel awe and wonder, a sense of something larger. Then I falter, stop singing, and feel lost. You may know this place.
But we can return to our moments of soul, whatever this is for us. As I practiced this, another dream came: a woman is near as I sing to a girl, and gazing at us with love. I feel this now in my waking life, unexpected and real.
We can return to the moments that nourish us, to our sacred encounters. This is the invitation of our dreams, at the heart of Natural Dreamwork. As we cherish these moments, they can deepen and come to life in ways beyond our imagining. In dream after dream, with a great and generous love.
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 through phone or Skype. Learn more about her work at dreamwellspring.com or on our About Us page.