4-8-00 23:34:26 -0400 (EDT)
During childhood I had a couple very vivid dreams which each repeated over the course of a year... the first roughly during my 3rd year and the second during my fourth. I also had visions which were so vivid that I remain uncertain whether they actually happened or whether I dreamed them. These were all spiritual in nature. The first repeating dream was a nightmare.
I'm uncertain what my family's attitude toward dreams is. Nothing like dreaming, sex or religion was ever discussed. I'm quite sure, though, that no one in my family viewed dream analysis as capable of making you any wiser. I'm dead sure no one thought they could be clairvoyant or that they could be messages from a higher consciousness.
The whole environment in which I was steeped felt the same, I believe. My parents were math professors. Neither disbelieved in the metaphysical entirely. My father told me that certain mathematical equations and certain beautiful scenes in nature were proof of the existence of God. He also said that he believed that when you died, you were dead. I think perhaps my mother believes in an afterlife. She now attends the Congregational Church.
I had a dream just before I started graduate school which made no sense to me, but it was so vivid, I wrote it down. Four years later, when I experienced a crisis, I realized the dream exactly described what happened to me in advance of it happening. This somehow brought relief, but although I have always been very spiritually oriented, I couldn't quite believe that I wasn't reading something into it.
Apart from that one dream, I didn't remember any dreams except for those in early childhood. And then in my mid-30's, I started remembering them again. This time, they clearly had an archetypal tone... there were symbols and baptisms and an energy about them. I took note, but didn't really get hooked until I had one dream about a person in my life who I was feeling a lot of pain around. He was represented in the dream as a tree. I was sure of it, because the tree felt just like him. Using that as a starting point, I started analyzing everything around the tree... what each image in the dream must represent, and when I was finished, I realized that some mind which was wiser than my own ordinary waking consciousness had understood my situation perfectly and had compassionately shown me a way out that I had not seen on my own... in this peculiar language of symbols. Furthermore, by doing it through the medium of a dream, it had shown me a path to another dimension which intrigued me vastly. I also recognized what a resource it was in dealing with my life. And it also raised so many questions about the nature of mind and matter and my presence here that I wanted to explore.
Until this experience, I didn't really think about it. I just couldn't remember them, so there wasn't any data to go on. After this experience, I viewed them as a tool for learning the nature of reality and as messages from another consciousness providing me with a different and usually wider perspective on myself. I questioned whether to view this dream world as on a par with the waking world, albeit with different characteristics, and after examining them and learning a bit about their structure, I finally decided that that was the best way... that is to see my actions in the dream world as having consequences as living on and influencing others, as capable of coming back to me in some form. I viewed the beings in my dreams as both within me and on a par with my ordinary limited self.
The benefits are numerous - life is much richer, more mysterious. I learn both about my own situation and the nature of reality. I enjoy interpreting them. Sometimes they are predictive and make my way through certain difficult experiences easier. Dreaming is very important to me. I regard what happens at night as just as important as what happens during the day. Indeed... I guess I see it as more informative... it's like going into the teacher every night and bringing my questions and concerns and having them answered... not always in ways I immediately understand, but with time things grow clearer. My interaction with them changes all the time as I learn more. I have a lot to learn about the symbol realm. I see, for example, that certain themes follow a mythological path. I'll dream two snakes for a period of time, and then come across them in various myths all over the world.
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