River of Dreams
I realize that some of you are saying “I never
dream,” but sleep research centers across the country have
proven that everyone dreams, every night! The sleep state called
REM (for Rapid Eye Movement) is a necessary phase of a night’s
sleep, and it is during this stage that the researchers wake people
and find that all of them are dreaming. The challenge is to bring
the memory of that dream into daily consciousness.
HOW TO REMEMBER
Before we get into the nature of dreams, let’s review some
good tips for remembering them (since we are all having them).
Edgar Cayce recommends three simple things:
1. Give yourself a pre-sleep suggestion;
2. Don’t move the body upon waking;
3. Record the content or impressions right away.
we are “falling asleep,” as we like to call it, we
are actually moving from our outer conscious mind to our inner
subconscious. The subconscious is always amenable to suggestion
(one of the keys to hypnosis). If, as we are entering the subconscious,
we are repeating a suggestion to remember our dreams, the subconscious
takes that suggestion to heart. However, the body is mostly physical
and if we move it too quickly upon waking, we will jump straight
out of our subconscious into our outer daily consciousness and
lose the dream. Therefore, we must resist moving the body upon
waking. Linger in the twilight, between the outer mind and the
inner -- or, as the Egyptians described it: between the land of
the living and the land of the dead (sleep is the shadow of death).
Here we will find our dream content and imagery.
THE IMPORTANCE OF DREAMS
From Cayce’s perspective while in deep trance, he saw how
important it is to record our dreams and interpret them or comprehend
the forces causing them. Such understanding would bring a much
bigger vision of life to the outer person than could be gained
with only outer study and application. Dreams, he said, can bring
warnings and opportunities that would otherwise be lost. In fact,
he said that nothing occurs in our lives that is not first foreshadowed
in our dreams! A journal beside the bed is his recommendation,
though some of us have successfully used tape recorders (not a
good idea if you sleep with someone -- too noisy).
THE NATURE OF DREAMS
What are dreams? Cayce answers: “Dreams are of different
natures, and have their inception from influences either in the
body, in the mind, or from the realm of the soul and spirit.”
Therefore, one of the first steps toward interpretation of a dream
is to identify what is the influence behind the dream: Is it the
body, the mind, or the soul?
Cayce says that the most common influence impelling dreams is
“mental development.” Our subconscious (mind of our
soul) and our superconscious (mind of our godly self) are attempting
to correlate events and decisions with eternal, spiritual ideals
and purposes. On one occasion Cayce modified the word correlation
to “co-relation of subconscious and superconscious forces
manifesting through the developing mind of the entity.”
Generally, the feeling that accompanies the dream reveals how
our soul feels about events, decisions, or conditions.
Beyond correlating, some dreams reflect conditions in the body
that need to be cared for; some deal with opportunities that need
to be seized; others are non-physical experiences in other dimensions
of life that help us expand our consciousness. In some dreams
we break the time barrier and see far into the past or even into
the future. The subconscious mind is like a bird high above the
road we are traveling; it can see around the next bend of our
path and review the distant roads we’ve traveled and forgotten.
Dreams are multidimensional. It is this very quality that makes
them so difficult to understand. They have a language all their
own; a language of imagery, symbolism, and sometimes bizarre activity.
As all who have studied their dreams can attest, dreams are often
difficult to interpret and understand. But humanity has received
life-changing insight and guidance through dreams. From biblical
journeys with God to modern scientific breakthroughs, dreams have
played a major role in human experience.
HOW TO INTERPRET
When it comes to interpretation, Cayce always said that the best
interpreter of the dream is the dreamer: “You interpret
dreams in yourself. Not by a dream book, not by what others say,
but dreams are presented in symbols, in signs.” It is important
to recognize that the dreamer is our inner self. Therefore, the
best interpreter is our inner self, so we should obtain the interpretation
while still in or near the dreaming self. Trying to translate
a dream later with only our outer, three-dimensional self is very
difficult. It did not dream the dream. We will do much better
if we keep the body and outer self still as we awaken, and get
the dream and its meaning from the inner self.
Here are some quick steps toward better interpretation:
1. Watch your mood upon waking. This will give you the best sense
of whether the inner self is happy or unhappy about conditions.
2. Get the gist of the dream first, details second. Jesus once
observed that we tend to strain for gnats while we are swallowing
camels. The big picture, the overriding theme, is much more important
for us to grasp than the details.
3. Understand that the subconscious may use exaggeration to get
our attention. It’s like the joke of how to get your mule
to do something: first, you hit him as hard as you can to get
his attention. In a similar manner the subconscious gets our attention:
exaggerated activities and shocking imagery will do more to get
our attention than sweetly whispered instructions. Therefore,
don’t let the dramatic exaggerations overwhelm you or cause
fear. In fact, the bizarre image or activity is likely the key
to interpreting the entire dream.
4. Dreams are usually symbolic. They speak in imagery that represents
more than literal appearance. Like good parables or novelettes,
they tell a story that has a deeper meaning than the details.
Often they use figures of speech. For example, if I told you that
I really put my foot in my mouth while talking with someone yesterday,
you would know that I did not literally put my foot in my mouth.
Dreams speak in the same manner and are best interpreted as you
would figures of speech.
5. Finally, nothing will help us get better dream guidance than
using dream content in our lives. Create an action plan for each
dream. Ask yourself, How can I use this dream in my life today?
Even if you are not really sure of the dream’s meaning,
attempt to use some portion of it. In this way your inner self
will be stimulated to bring more insight and guidance through
the dream channel, and it will become clearer and more relevant.
In the Book of Job it is written: “God speaks once, even
twice -- though man regards it not -- in a dream, in a vision
of the night, when deep sleep falls upon man, in slumberings upon
the bed. Then God opens the ears of humans, and seals their instruction,
that He may withdraw man from his [selfish] purposes, and hide
pride from man. He keeps back his soul from the pit, and his life
from perishing by the sword.”
Budget time for swimming in the river of dreams. They guide us
to the shores of paradise. Sleep is a shadow of death and the
life beyond this world. To live in dreamy sleep is to know heaven.