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.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Heart of the Matter

When it comes to dreams, we have to remember two important points. Everything in dreamtime is unconscious, and our dream-selves meet up with what we don't know—not with what we already know. The conscious mind is limited, but the psyche is vast and eternal.

No matter how small or how big, how glamorous or how plain, every dream is a gift. But if we don't open it because we think we already know what's there, how can we receive this gift?

I first came to dreams via my own therapy in the tradition of Jung. Later, I also read piles of books on the subject—my bookshelves are still full of them. I also attended many lectures, classes, and workshops. I began, and still keep, an ongoing journal of my dreams. As a choreographer, I drew on my dreams to make dances. I studied Reiki and became interested in hypnosis. As an editor, I worked on books by people deeply engaged in the transformative energies of our time. I also did a lot of writing, which made me feel very at home in the world of images. Even teaching yoga has revealed to me something about dreams.

All of which was good, but things only really started to cook when I began to work with the dreams of others. Listening deeply as they spoke, I was in awe of this realm so fertile, so rich that it could produce mystery and power out of thin air. Even the briefest little dream fragment could yield a whole treasure chest. You'll hear people talk about big dreams and little dreams, archetypal dreams and personal dreams, but I have yet to see a dream—long or short, plain or intricate—that was not a magical piece of the soul.

It's also important to remember that we don't have dreams. Dreams have us. And if we can learn to roll with that—to ride the wave—we can glimpse who and what we are and why we are here.

I'm speaking now as a witness. I've seen it happen in the lives of others. I've experienced it in my own life. To illustrate, let me tell you a true story.

Despite the hundreds of books on dreams that already exist, one day, a couple of years ago, I got the idea that I should write one too. Or at least try. So many of the books seemed to go in the wrong direction. They were full of talk about the meaning of symbols, about the categories of dreams, about dream dictionaries, and what not. I wanted to speak up for dreams, for the way I saw dreams working on us, rather than the other way around.

Time passed, and I occasionally published some of these writings on my website, but it didn't go much further than that. I kept on like this for maybe six months. Then one night, I had a dream. Actually, it was a nightmare.

In it, I'm sitting and writing my book by hand, not on the computer, but very obsessed and anxious and tied up in knots. I start to write something and then crumple up the paper and throw it away. Then I write something else, but don't get very far before I'm thinking this is no good either. Again. . .crumple up the paper and throw it away. I'm condemned, doomed to an endless, futile task. I can't stop, but I can't succeed.

In the dream, I obsess over how I would ever find words soulful enough to be worthy of dreams but that would also do justice to the depth, the beauty, and the power of the actual experience of dreamwork. The dream goes on and on and on while I struggle, wracking my brain, my thoughts going in circles. If I say it this way, I tell myself, it will be too simplistic. If I say it that way, it will trample the mystery of dreams. And on and on and on. It's a true nightmare—I'm trapped, helpless, unable to get free.

Then, all of a sudden, a flash cuts through my angst and confusion, and my mind just splits open. I get it—it's so simple and so right. I don't have to struggle. I can say and think and write anything I want about dreams, but it doesn't matter if people understand or if I get it right. If I only will remember one thing, I can never go astray.

And this is what it is. The only thing I or anybody needs to know about dreams is that they come for the "soul" purpose of opening our hearts.

Nothing more. . .And certainly nothing less.

Then I woke up, so relieved and happy. Of course, I thought. How silly I was to get into such a snit. Why else are we born but to learn to open our hearts?

Copyright © 2005 Donna Ippolito. All rights reserved.


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