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Current Update as of June 14 2003

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Dreams are Letters from the Soul
Discover the Connections Between
Your Dreams and your Spiritual Life

Dreams are Letters from the Soul
(Crown Publishing)

Book Summary by VerDella Denwiddie,
Atlantic University

Picture a meadow on a partly cloudy day. Picture a tree in the meadow just beneath the clouds, on the partly cloudy day. Picture a sunbeam bursting through the clouds to hit the top of the tree on the partly cloudy day. Picture the feeling, warmth; or the energy, food; or the light, illumination, which the tree experiences from the sunbeam that bursts through the cloud and hits the top of the tree on the partly cloudy day. What have you got?

You have just seen, in a manner of speaking, the way in which we communicate with our Creator, the Creative Force, through the dream world. The tree represents individuality, the meadow, the waking world. The clouds reflect individual and collective thoughts and belief systems. The sun would be the Creative Force and the sunbeam would be the seemingly individual but really collective soul of the world's collective being. The sunbeam is the channel through which the Creator nourishes, heals and lights our way, the vehicle of our relationship with the Creative Force. And what of dreams, where do they fit? Well, according to Connie Kaplan in a book whose title well befits its main course, we sleep in order that we may return to the universal consciousness that is the soul. While there, the soul imprints our mind with messages designed to remind us of our true nature of spiritual oneness with the Creative Force. Dreams are how we decipher these imprints, our metaphorical understanding of who and why we are. But there is more. Once we learn to witness and honor the meaning of our dream space, we realize that we are not just pupils in this school of life, we also teach there, and create there; and, we literally save the planet there. In the dream space, through spiritual awareness and self-less participation, the collective vision of the awakened world happens.

The most common type of dream often addresses the dreamer's personal interactions in the day-to-day world. This seemingly mundane level can be called personal dreaming. At this stage we may witness our concerns, confusions and "split" personalities on any given issue. These dreams may show us running naked through our boss's office to challenge the secretiveness in the workplace of our waking world. These dreams give us our nightmares to highlight our deepest fears or unbridled indulgences. There is a danger if we take them too literally.

If we observe closely, we can see that our evolutionary journey is mirrored back to us at this stage. Guilt, emotional dysfunction, even self-hatred are among the trappings with which we must come to grips. Our first reaction to these revelations might be to cover our nakedness and hide from ourselves. However, we should remind ourselves that dreams are often how we interpret the soul's letter, not the letter itself. We should try to see the truth the letter intends to reveal. Often, the truth is that the guilty feelings mask a lifetime of confusing dictates from our parents, teachers, religious instructors and peers. They do not reflect our deeper understanding and they hinder our journey into spiritual consciousness. If we can acknowledge, embrace and love the cruel contradictions within us that these dreams reveal, we can become the compassionate beings we are meant to be faced with such mirrors in waking life.

This seeming mundane level of dreaming is the critical first step to moving beyond the belief that we are separate beings, to recognition of our spiritual oneness with other beings both like and unlike ourselves. Personal dreaming often continues to some degree throughout the dreamer's lifetime. However, the more we validate our dreams (and this may mean nothing beyond acknowledging their worthiness in our lives) the more likely we are to experience a higher level of personal dreaming, psychological dreams. At this level, our dreams may mirror our deepest castrations in order to help us "purge" the turmoil that lies within us. The author dreamed that she was two people, one leaning across a table or couch while the other image of herself shoved a double-edged sword up her anus. She awakened in a cold sweat, fell back asleep and dreamed that she was practicing a martial art and that the movement of her hands created a beautiful light pattern that was the same color blue as the garments often pictured on drawings of the Virgin Mary. She recognized the warning from her soul that she lived in two worlds, a split that was detrimental, but that she had the power to create a new (virginal) energy field if she chose to do so. The author warns that dreams are best not interpreted alone, suggesting that one should form or participate in dream circles, or should work with a therapist. Unconscious fears and excuses may block someone from clearly seeing what their soul would reveal, and new insights are always helpful.

Lucid dreaming is a type of psychological dream. In lucid dreaming, we become aware that we are dreaming and that we can change the action and the outcome of the dream events and even create entirely new events. There is a danger in wanting to control or "fix" these dreams, often to the detriment of ignoring the underlying meaning. Lucid dreaming may be likened to a struggle between the ego self and the true self. The ego self is fearful and wants to control the dream's outcome. However, if the true self resists the ego's drive to control, relinquishing the will to the greater design of the Creative Force, it has an opportunity to learn detachment from the outcomes of one's creations. Knowing that we can control our circumstances, yet choosing not to do so, prepares us observe our waking-life circumstances which greater detachment. We can then make more objective decisions in choosing whether and how we control their outcome. Lucid dreaming can also offer the opportunity to observe recurrent patterns in our lives, as another member of the author's dream circle reported. As a result of merely observing that her "fear" pattern was coming out again, the woman gained critical insight and moved within the dream to a transformative level that decreased subsequent fears.

Lucid dreaming offers the opportunity to know that there is a deeper level of "reality" than that we thought was "real" while dreaming. Another circle participant saw brutal war scenes while in the lucid dream stage. In this case, recognition that she was dreaming did not lessen her sense of outrage over the events. Perhaps the purpose of lucidity here was not to rewrite the script, for brutality in war is only too real. The soul's intent may have been to help the woman develop compassion by raising her level of consciousness. Likewise, in our waking world, there is a deeper reality from which we participate in the creation and the circumstances of our world. We can mimic the lucidity of the dream state, becoming at once dispassionate and more compassionate as we witness from every viewpoint the complex nature of humanity. Lucid dreaming is an opportunity to practice wakefulness.

While the first stage of dreaming is directional, goal-oriented, with a more masculine feel, the second stage is spherical, spiraling and receptive. We develop fortitude in the first stage and we discern and integrate information about the dreamer. In the second, we learn to access and decode information that lies beyond our individual awareness. Here, the dreamer has the opportunity to stop self-indulgent beliefs and practices by realizing the collective nature of the dream world; here, trust develops. These dreams include the telepathic (information about something that is happening or has just occurred), clairvoyant (awareness of an immediate future possibility), and prophetic (awareness of a distant future possibility). Many people fear such dreams. If something "bad" happens, are we not somehow responsible?

Note that the second stage of dreaming is not necessarily about doing anything. It is about expanding our awareness of who we are and what we are capable of doing. Of course, there are times when one may change one's plans or suggest to another that he or she does so, in reaction to a particular dream. However, know that if one chooses not to, or cannot intervene, and the foreseen event is not favorable, perhaps the choosing not to or the inability to act is itself part of the fabric of the event. The author recounts a dream in which the car she was driving hit a bridge and she and the other occupants fell to certain death, as did a second vehicle filled with teens who she did not know. However, the occupants of her vehicle got out of her car unharmed, while those of the second vehicle looked alive but moved in a mechanical and seeming unconscious fashion towards a distant house. The images were so vivid she at first took the dream as a warning. The next day, however, she learned of a tragic traffic accident, involving only one vehicle, a car filled with five teenagers. All were killed. The author believes that her dream was a gift that allowed her to witness the death of the teens' bodies and the survival of their souls. Perhaps the purpose of that "awful" dream was to increase the author's faith, or it may have been a shamanic journey to point them towards their next destination. In any case, there was nothing to be done.

Prophetic dreams may involve an entire community or large segment of the population. They seem to increase during periods of group stress. The author reminds us that such dreams focus on only one of several possible outcomes, based on the present actions. Prophetic dreams, when negative, make the dreamer feel responsible somehow for the potential reality and a need to share the vision, particularly when the dream suggests a way to avert the impending calamity. The author warns the dreamer to be responsible in both interpreting and voicing the information conveyed by such dreams. The dreamer should not interpret the dream alone and should apply spiritual guidance, including prayer, in deciding what should be said and to whom. It is also important that the dreamer speaks of possible events and possible solutions, not of absolutes. There are no absolutes in the world of constant change.

Third stage dreams are transformative, and include healing, teaching and oracular dreams. Healing dreams are not limited to a physical "cure," but more often entail emotional resolution, acceptance of death to the body, or recognition and integration of the whole-ness of one's nature. This stage of dreaming is a sacred marriage of the first two stages, a coming together of our direction and goal-oriented dreams with our receptive dreams. Characteristic of third-stage dreaming is that the dreams seem to be given to the dreamer, rather than created by the dreaming self. Here, we often meet guides or high spiritual beings, or receive messages for the self or someone else that seem to come from beyond the self.

And now we come to fourth stage dreaming. It is here that the now fully integrated and selfless person can "work," through the dream world, in complete service to others. The author calls these "philanthropic" dreams. Most people would reach this stage only after years of spiritual work, both in the dream space or in waking life. However, any one of us can catch a glimpse of this profound level at one time or another. In fourth-stage dreaming, we become the embodiment of the two energies which were wedded during the third stage; the Mother/Father being. The danger at this stage is to withdraw from the world for we have become lucid to frailties of life; yet, it is here more than ever that the mystic should become the voice, the doer for those still trapped in the web of confusion and uncertainty.

Characteristic of entering this stage of dreaming are ceremonial dreams that welcome us into divine order, the level of full consciousness of the collective soul. We may also experience shamanic dreams where we seem to incur great difficulties and dangers to help save another being. I say seem to incur dangers because the true shaman recognizes the ego as the false self and knows that the real self is never in danger. One may also experience phenomenal dreams, where the lines between the dream and waking life are blurred. You may awaken with sand under your fingertips after dreaming of a performing a daring rescue on a beach. Or, others may claim to have seen you somewhere you know you were not. A wise elder whom the author describes as her spiritual mentor told her that clients of his have reported seeing him in their dreams or waking life. A couple on the verge of divorce both witnessed him coming into their bedroom one night, waking them and counseling them to try to mend their marriage. He added that he is never aware of these travels. The last level of fourth-stage dreaming is called soul dreaming, for the dreams here are too deeply immersed into the spirit for recall upon awakening. We may sense that we have been used in someway by the collective soul, and we awaken feeling refreshed and renewed. These differ from restless, dreamless nights by the seeming ability to rest well but briefly (5-6 hours) and to awaken with a sense of accomplishment. The author knows but one person, her mentor, who seems to be consistently at this level of fourth-stage dreaming. But we can each sense having been there at times.

Our sleep time is not merely a time for decreased consciousness and rest. It is a time to awaken to collective conscious of the soul, to commune with our Creator. Our dreams are letters from the soul, intended to show us to who we truly are. Let us use them to help us become truly awakened, that we may be used to awaken others.

Connie's book, Dreams are Letters from the Soul, can be ordered from Amazon.com by clicking here

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