I’m curious about the dream states. What can we learn from our dreams?
Aaron: You can learn a lot from your dreams. Your dreams reveal what’s happening in the unconscious. When you understand what’s happening in the unconscious, and it’s not entirely wholesome, you can attend to it. When it is wholesome, you can nurture it.
The first step is to remember the dreams, to begin to either record them or write them down. When you make the decision to honor your dreams by thusly awakening enough, then learning accelerates. I tell people to use a tape recorder like this and have it set so all they have to do is press the pause button, talk about the dream for a minute or to, turn it off, go back to sleep. An hour later, record another dream. Talk for a minute; turn it off. In the morning, listen to it. It will bring back the dreams in vivid detail.
You’ll find as you commit to that, you remember the dreams more and more. Eventually, you can lay aside the recorder and you remember them. And then you spend some time in the morning reflecting on the meaning. What is this dream telling me?
A friend came to me a few months ago with a dream. Very vivid dream. He was not sure whether to stay in his job or whether to move to a new job. His job was secure and had a good income. It didn’t excite him, but he felt secure in it in this time when so many people were losing jobs. He had a family to support. He had the possibility of a new and somewhat risky job, but one that he felt confident could develop in wonderful ways, and within which he could do much good in the world.
So we talked for a while and I asked him to try to bring it into his dreams and see if his dreams would provide him with an answer. He sent me an email the next day and described a dream in which he saw himself sitting in a pile of shit, literally, and he could not get out. He was just sitting there and it was messy and stinky. And then a door opened and a hand attached to loving energy reached in and said, “Do you want to come with me?” And he took the hand and just left the shit behind and walked out into brilliant sunlight. So he said, “It’s pretty clear what I need to do!”
Your dreams can be very helpful, very clear in that way. So you learn to trust them. You also eventually may learn lucid dreaming, which is when you are trained to be aware that you’re dreaming. Then when a message, for example in that kind of dream, sitting in the pile of shit, right there in the dream state one notes, “This is a dream.” “What would I need to do”—maybe the door didn’t open immediately or the hand didn’t come out– “What do I need to do to get myself out of this? Where is release from this? I intend to release myself.”
And then in the dream you may find yourself getting up and walking out. Perhaps the person in that situation does not have an alternate job offer yet, he just knows the present job is a bit shitty. So he has the dream, he sees that there is a doorway, opening to a field of vast light and joy. He says, “Yes, I invite this.” And then the intention invites the new job. As long as he was attached to the security and comfort of his old job, he was not inviting new possibilities. But within the dream state, with the lucid dreaming, seeing there is an opening, “I intend to invite that opening,” then maybe the next day the newspaper comes, falls open on his desk with the perfect job written there. “Aha! That’s it!” He wouldn’t have read it the day before because he was holding himself back in his present job. But now there’s the intention to get out of the stinky place he’s in. Where does he want to go? Not into another dark hole but into the light. So he moves forward into it, and he invites it.