At the beginning of the dream quest program, I was concerned about the way in which I make decisions. I felt that most of my decisions were based on past patterns instead of free will. This concerned me so I focused on decision making as I began recording my first week's dreams.
While recording the first week's dreams, I noticed two patterns. I noticed that in many dreams I traveled in a vehicle (usually a car, although in one dream I began a time travel trip in a medieval horse cart which later became a car). I also noticed that every dream except one included one or more children.
At the end of the first week I followed the steps in "Meditation One: Focusing the Quest" of the Dream Solutions dream quest manual. As I began to title my dreams and discover what these titles might say about me, I gained many insights: I carry a child around with me. Fear and muck travel with me. I travel without a clear picture. Sometimes I feel like I'm from another country. Sometimes I sell out. And sometimes the spirit world and the material world collide and this rips me apart.
In Meditation One, I chose to work with the following dream:
I am traveling with my son (as he was when still a child). We mistakenly begin to go the wrong way on a one way street. Two black ladies in another car tell us of our mistake and offer to show us the right way. We follow them to their house and get out of the car.
While we are outside someone shoots a bullet into the car which tears a huge hole from the left back seat through to the front right seat and pushes the right side of the car too far forward. We find the bullet lodged in the right front seat. When we get home I want to show others the bullet, but the child (who had now morphed into my granddaughter) has lost it.
This dream seems to say that I am concerned about going the wrong way in life, I have a child that travels with me everywhere, and I am concerned about being torn apart. However, help is available if I am willing to follow it.
When I compared the above dream to my concern regarding decision making, I thought that fear is what keeps me from using free will in a constructive, responsible way. I thought that the child in me needs expression and that this will help me overcome fear. My "Best Guess" solution to these problems included being more spontaneous and humorous in my dealings with others, and attempting to contact the inner child during meditation. I petitioned my dreams in a letter I put under my pillow, "If my efforts to be spontaneous and contact the child in my dreams are not successful, then dreams show me a better way."
I cannot say that this Best Guess solution was very successful. I was only able to be more spontaneous a few times with my students at school. I do feel that I gained some insight as I contacted the inner child in meditation. The child told me that he/she needed to be recognized and loved. He/she said that I needed to be less controlling, more open, and needed to have fun. However, I still felt that there was more to be learned.
After recording my dreams for a second week, I completed "Meditation Two: Mistaken Notions." The symbols in the following dream stood out:
I am in a new restaurant with co-workers from school. This restaurant has previously been a very unpleasant place. Many people are surprised that the food is good. Jose Feliciano is there, dressed in black and playing the guitar. One of my co-workers askes him to change the light bulb. He seems to think she is crazy to ask that of a blind man and tells her he can't change it. A little later I leave and walk across a bridge to an old car.
I think this dream was showing me that I have parts of myself that I do not acknowledge. These parts cannot enlighten me because I am blind to them. And I cannot use my personality (represented by my co-worker) to make the needed connection.
I chose to dialog with Jose. This dialog influenced my revised focus for the next week. I thought that I needed to see with a deeper, darker part of myself in order to make decisions using free will. I decided to let Jose see with my eyes for the next week and to ask him what decision he would make in situations that arose.
Each day during the week I tried to see the world for Jose. Jose was so happy just to be able to see the world. He felt grateful for the small pleasures of life. He moved slower and had a peaceful, centered feeling. He reminded me to contact my soul self when making decisions and to be less concerned that I might make a mistake. I felt my focus this week was more fruitful than that of the first week.
During "Meditation Three: Searching with New Eyes" I worked with a dream about a car elevator. In this dream:
I watch as a man observes a woman and child drive into their garage. There seems to be an air of danger in this scene. However, a light comes on in the garage and the woman and child drive onto a car elevator that takes them directly up to their house. The man who was outside at the beginning of the dream now drives out the front door and all seems well.
I dialoged with the symbol of the car elevator and also worked with changing the feeling tone of the dream. In my dialog with the car elevator, it told me that it worked by thought and that its purpose was to bring others to safety. I asked the elevator if it could use its lifting power to help me with my problem. It told me that it did have power but had to be plugged in to a central source to work. It told me that it didn't think or worry, it just plugged in and went to work. I asked if it could help vehicles get to it and it told me just to look for the garage light.
I changed the feeling tone of the dream by making the man outside a friend who was watching to make sure the woman and child made it home safely. I enhanced this feeling with the motto "Peace and Happiness are Natural" derived from my personal reflections on a peak experience. These activities gave me the following insights: Friends are available. I don't need to fear because I can be lifted up. I can plug in to the source and let my decisions be inspired. I can trust the results.
I revised My Best Guess solution for the next week to include having a positive attitude and worrying about outcomes less. I vowed to trust the answer I intuit to my problems and to follow through on it. I would continue to see for Jose and be grateful for small pleasures. I felt that all of these solutions would bring positive energy to me and to the world.
When I reviewed how the above solution had worked during the week, I found that I had begun to see decision making as a privilege. When I felt myself beginning to worry I checked in with Jose, which brought me a calm, peaceful feeling. I could see progress in my interactions with students. I was more patient and less critical.
Work on "Meditation Four: Taking Stock" brought a new Dream Quest focus. My final Best Guess Solution was to use self talk and imagery to lift myself to a better feeling in any situation. I would concern myself with the moment instead of worrying about future decisions.
The final dream I chose to work with seemed to be warning me about parts of myself:
I am in a restaurant owned by a black woman who is worried because business is bad. It's raining outside. She says, "wouldn't it be nice if it stopped raining," and it does. The woman wants to go to McDonalds but her car won't start. To get moving, she gets her daughter to drive and her son to push. Then she is in front of a house. There are two more girls now.
She ties the girls up to the house and the house to her car. She starts to drive off and pull the house down on the girls. However her son intervenes and stops her. Then the son tells the girls that they are really spirits from the lake. We are inside the house now where others confirm that the girls are spirits. We hear someone drive up and worry that it is the mother; we are all relieved when it is only a sympathetic aunt.
This dream seems to be saying that there is a part of me that does not want to grow spiritually and is capable of tearing down all I have worked for. However, if I am aware of this I can stop it from happening. Since a male figure stopped the destruction of spirit in the dream, I think the dream is telling me I need to look to the active principal for help. (My Wise Person dialog also told me to look to my body and feelings for guidance.)
As I look back on my Dream Quest experience, I find that I began by looking to the personality part of myself for help. I thought I could tell myself to be more spontaneous and it would happen. My dreams and the dream work lead me from this perspective to realizing that the help I want is at a deeper level. Ultimately, it has nothing to do with me at all but comes from being plugged in to the "Source". At the same time, my body and feelings can offer guidance because on an unconscious level I am already connected to Spirit. I just need to learn to pay attention to what I am feeling.
This exercise truly helped me. It showed me that there is a part of me that knows the answers I'm looking for. I would like to continue learning about the recurring symbols such as vehicles, children, black people, and restaurants in my dreams. The free writing activities showed me that when my ego is not so firmly in charge I get answers that surprise me. I feel more accepting of myself and I have noticed a lighter feeling in most circumstances. Although I realize I have many miles to go on my journey towards free will, I feel less worried about the outcome and more able to look for signs along the way.
The following Haiku I composed as Meditation Four ended reminds me to look to my body for guidance. It grew out of the work I did with my last week's dream and from my dialog with The Wise Person. My drawing (shown above) represents the Spirits of the Lake.
Spirit of the Lake
Trust your human form to guide.
Body, lift me up!
- The Dream Quest is a portion of the syllabus for Atlantic University's course on "The Inner Life" (TS506). To find out more about this and other courses, contact the AU office: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-428-1512.
- The text used for the dream quest, Dream Solutions (by Henry Reed) may be
obtained by going to www.lulu.com/content/570130
- The Dream Quest is offered as a private learning experience mentored by
Henry Reed. For more information, go to www.dream-guidance.com