Donna Ippolito's Dream Scoop

Understanding dreams is easy and fun...Dreams are the voice of your soul. If you're looking for answers, look within.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Dreams are not our only source of inner wisdom, but they provide an unprecedented view of the experience we live when we are not conscious. Always remember that our conscious mind is asleep when we dream, so we can't take either credit or blame for what happens in that state. In dreaming, we enter a parallel dimension of our experience. We can begin to connect with a wider sense of self.

Often, an image of our personal self takes center stage in dreams, but many other characters, figures, and images are there, too. At first, we may view these as just background scenery. Eventually, we come to see that all these other dream bits are not only alive but that each one has a life of its own.

Here's a quick example. I recently dreamed that a brown snake with a yellow head and neck bit me in the back yard. The "me" of the dream was upset about what happened--indeed she was running around frantically for help. But what if we looked at the drama from the point of view of the snake? Why was it coiled up on the back stairs? Was it trying to interfere with my plans or was it simply enjoying an afternoon in the sun? And how did it bite "me"? I never even got close to it.

Besides, what is a snake bite in a dream? It didn't hurt. The dream "me" didn't get sick. I could clearly see the little fang mark on my hand like an upside-down "V", but that was the extent of it. Apparently, the brown snake with the yellow head wasn't there to hurt "me", but it did get my attention. While the dream "me" was running around, angry because nobody was coming to help, the brown snake with the yellow head just looked on patiently, perhaps thinking, "Oh there she goes again, getting all upset about nothing." What actually happened in this dream encounter? Why did the snake mark me with its bite? Are we now connected in some way that can only be accomplished by a wound mark?

What's important in approaching a dream are the questions, not the answers. The ones I just mentioned wouldn't necessarily be my starting point in working with this dream, but I hope they at least show some ways we can open our hearts to a dream. When we put aside our egocentricity, the richness and mystery of even the tiniest dream begins to reveal itself. If we can open our heart to the dream, we will travel far beyond anywhere we can reach with our limited thinking mind.

This is because, most times, the images in dreams are pictures of emotions, the deep energies of our being. Very often, these emotions are inaccessible to our waking consciousness, usually because our image of ourselves is too limited, too tight. We think we cannot feel the ecstasy, the anger, the sadness, the fear, or the serenity without flying to pieces because our container is not big enough. In the land of dreams, these emotions take on shape and form. They may look like people and places you know, but they may also come to you as places you've never been, lovers and friends and children you've never met. You may travel back in time or to another planet. You may talk to animals or to God. You may get bitten by a dull brown snake with a yellow head and forever after wear the mark on your hand.

In dreams we get to see an ongoing documentary of the inner world, which is part of our own experience but that bleeds over into a much vaster existence where we are all connected. Many people mistakenly believe this inner world consists of thoughts, and that it originates "inside their heads," but that is far from true. When we dream, we go on a journey to a place where we are inside the dream, not the dream inside us.

Dreaming is an alternate state where we can connect with the ground of being that we share with every other living thing, where we can find guidance, just as a plant grows from a seed or a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, where we can honor whatever lessons we are currently living as part of the myth of our experience, both individually and as part of the greater family of humanity and other earth beings.

Copyright © 2005 by Donna Ippolito. All rights reserved.


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