Are Dreams Significant?

The previous text suggests that they are. This account is a part of the collective consciousness of hundreds of millions of people. It is a foundation “stone” of Judaism, Christianity and perhaps Islam. Moreover, it was the basis for a highly successful piece of musical theatre. There is a modern day financial significance. Whether we pertain to dreams and dreaming ourselves, they are significant. If you are fond of precedence, here is some. There are accounts of dreams aiding scientific discovery.

Dreams can change our lives. Once we have had a dream, we cannot un-have it. Even if we lock it away in the cupboard of our minds, it is still there. The effect might be small, or it might be large.

I have filled over a dozen “lab-books” with dreams these last eighteen years or so. And some of mine are here on the blog.

Having cued this up:

Are dreams significant to me?

Has any dream of mine had a profound effect on me?

Or are dreams simply nonsense and poppycock?

Pharaoh’s Dreams

Genesis 41 New International Version (NIV)
Pharaoh’s Dreams

When two full years had passed, Pharaoh had a dream: He was standing by the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, sleek and fat, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows, ugly and gaunt, came up out of the Nile and stood beside those on the riverbank. And the cows that were ugly and gaunt ate up the seven sleek, fat cows. Then Pharaoh woke up.

He fell asleep again and had a second dream: Seven heads of grain, healthy and good, were growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads of grain sprouted—thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven healthy, full heads. Then Pharaoh woke up; it had been a dream.

In the morning his mind was troubled, so he sent for all the magicians and wise men of Egypt. Pharaoh told them his dreams, but no one could interpret them for him.

Then the chief cupbearer said to Pharaoh, “Today I am reminded of my shortcomings. Pharaoh was once angry with his servants, and he imprisoned me and the chief baker in the house of the captain of the guard. Each of us had a dream the same night, and each dream had a meaning of its own. Now a young Hebrew was there with us, a servant of the captain of the guard. We told him our dreams, and he interpreted them for us, giving each man the interpretation of his dream. And things turned out exactly as he interpreted them to us: I was restored to my position, and the other man was impaled.”

So Pharaoh sent for Joseph, and he was quickly brought from the dungeon. When he had shaved and changed his clothes, he came before Pharaoh.

Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream, and no one can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that when you hear a dream you can interpret it.”

“I cannot do it,” Joseph replied to Pharaoh, “but God will give Pharaoh the answer he desires.”

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “In my dream I was standing on the bank of the Nile, when out of the river there came up seven cows, fat and sleek, and they grazed among the reeds. After them, seven other cows came up—scrawny and very ugly and lean. I had never seen such ugly cows in all the land of Egypt. The lean, ugly cows ate up the seven fat cows that came up first. But even after they ate them, no one could tell that they had done so; they looked just as ugly as before. Then I woke up.

“In my dream I saw seven heads of grain, full and good, growing on a single stalk. After them, seven other heads sprouted—withered and thin and scorched by the east wind. The thin heads of grain swallowed up the seven good heads. I told this to the magicians, but none of them could explain it to me.”

Then Joseph said to Pharaoh, “The dreams of Pharaoh are one and the same. God has revealed to Pharaoh what he is about to do. The seven good cows are seven years, and the seven good heads of grain are seven years; it is one and the same dream. The seven lean, ugly cows that came up afterward are seven years, and so are the seven worthless heads of grain scorched by the east wind: They are seven years of famine.

“It is just as I said to Pharaoh: God has shown Pharaoh what he is about to do. Seven years of great abundance are coming throughout the land of Egypt, but seven years of famine will follow them. Then all the abundance in Egypt will be forgotten, and the famine will ravage the land. The abundance in the land will not be remembered, because the famine that follows it will be so severe. The reason the dream was given to Pharaoh in two forms is that the matter has been firmly decided by God, and God will do it soon.

“And now let Pharaoh look for a discerning and wise man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.”

The plan seemed good to Pharaoh and to all his officials. So Pharaoh asked them, “Can we find anyone like this man, one in whom is the spirit of God?”

Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.”

Dreaming – Our Very Private Worlds

But where do you go to my lovely
When you’re alone in your bed
Tell me the thoughts that surround you
I want to look inside your head, yes I do.

Peter Sarstedt

I have a hunch that there are, for many of us, at least two worlds. There is the outer socially acceptable world, that conforms pretty much to the norm and there is our inner world, the world of dreams and maybe fantasies. In those dreams and that wistful, is a different being than we show to others. For that world is very private and we share it with few. Our pillow world can be markedly different from our day-to-day.

In that world we may hold, or partially hold, beliefs which we may never share with another being for fear of looking foolish. In that world there are no constraints and few boundaries, we may waft along the cusp of the dream. And only should we meet another dreamer do we feel enabled to put words to our very private worlds. For there is a recognition one dreamer to another which does not need spoken. Yet it is only with these that we give words to our private worlds.

In those private worlds there can be a richness beyond and they can indeed be troubling too. For away from the social world we assemble for the benefit of others, is something more akin to our nature, a nature we dress anew each day. And for some the reverie of dreams is a place of beauty and retreat. We can dream, wake up and go to the loo and then start the dream again when we return to bed. “Now, where was I?” Where we go to in our dreams is our little secret and it often has a yearning and escape to it.

That nebulous quality of the dreaming, is soft and nascent, it can be stark and nightmarish. And if we are skilled in the art we may, in the dream, know that we are dreaming, we are awake in our dreams. We are less awake during the day, because the covering of the socially acceptable lays heavy upon us.

Our dreams may contain the unrequited, the yearnings of our Soul and they can be a whole lot earthier than that, the yearnings of our body. But in the dream so much more is connected, and the order needs not a spreadsheet or a map. And maybe we meet the dream-walkers there. We may encounter the loved-ones no longer with us, we may meet our terrors. The dream world is less tractable to control and that for some is scary. But the key to dreaming is relaxation into the dream and not trying to force it in any direction. Simply dream and let it coalesce and evolve. Dreaming is dreaming.

Our dreams can show us a little of what our Soul seeks.

I have a hunch that there are, for many of us, at least two worlds.

A Dream Within a Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow —
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep — while I weep!
O God! Can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

 

By Edgar Allan Poe

 

Fate and Dramatizations of the Soul

I’ll make a statement here to kick off:

It could be that you are pursuing a life that is out of touch with your fate. You might be pursuing a curriculum which has little to do with why you incarnated this time, and this may be why life isn’t working for you as well as it might. It seems to be a constant struggle and you feel out of sorts.

When we make some decisions about what to do with our lives, those decisions are rarely free of outside influence. Parental direction and social conditioning tends to point us in one direction. There is the joke about immigrant Indians either being doctors, lawyers or pharmacists. Here societal and parental “guidance” steers in a particular direction. Being sensible we may then train up and pursue a career which we then act out as a template for life ongoing. Whilst it is true that we have to earn a living, how we earn it may be little or nothing to do with our fate. The big, important part, may be missing. We could say that this is the icing on the cake, that which finishes a life and makes it all hang together. If we adopt too narrow a focus, that je ne sais quoi which makes life more complete, is missing.

To give an example, back when I was in pastoral care, I advised many student “scientists” who had dropped their music, because studying was hard, to pick up that instrument again. The feedback I got was that this had worked remarkably well in some cases. Even though they devoted some time to music, they felt better, and their studies improved. This is an example of a life tweak, which added some icing to the cake and made life as a whole, taste better. Even geeks can have a creative side which needs expressed.

But it may be that we have forced ourselves so far down a particular direction that there is no escape. We start to identify as a banker, a lawyer, a professor or a monk. But rather than this being our calling, our vocation, we are doing it because it seemed like a good idea at the time or for some other motivation, which may be to show off or appease parents. By the time we have a mortgage and 2.2 children it may be too late, we are trapped in a life which we have forced on ourselves. We have taken our mental shoe-horn and forced our foot into a shoe that does not fit. It is no wonder that our foot is uncomfortable and rather than change shoes we put plasters on the blisters. We may find that we are prone to complaining about these shoes. They may look nice, but they are the wrong size. They may have an expensive brand and be luxurious in design, but if the shoe doesn’t fit we can’t travel far in it.

If we pursue a general life-direction that is wrong with us our Soul may pull the plug, a nervous breakdown results. There is a conflict between our Soul and our will with all its investment. “You will be a banker, a lawyer, or else!” “No, this is not really for me!” If this “war” rages, we can become very ill indeed.

If you think carefully I have just outlined a new way of looking at some nervous breakdowns which may resonate partially with some who have had such a liberating experience.

One of the ways in which the Soul tries to get us “back on track” is by dramatizations of the Soul presented to us in dreams. By dreaming it suggests different things and changes our perspective. The Soul or Dreamer can become very insistent. There are many precedents for dreams and visions altering life directions and if one is exploratory in nature one might do something as seemingly absurd as follow our dreams. Here I mean real dreams and not self-generated ambitions which are often dressed as “dreams”. Our nocturnal dreams can be very vivid and if we have had a “whopper” of a dream we know. There is no denying it. These dramatizations of the Soul differ markedly from more mundane “psychological” dreams. They may even be reoccurring. They are our Soul trying desperately to get through to us, “listen buddy, this is what you need to be doing!”. In them we may see people who could help us, and/or alternate visions for our lives. It may seem uncomfortable to say to someone, “I had a dream with you in it last night” {especially if you are British} If this is true and not a chat-up line, what is so very wrong with this? Working with these dramatizations of the Soul is to start to cooperate at the Soular level and not the level of the often-petty self.

To get our lives back on track is not quite as straightforward as it might seem. There is a lot of resistance from the designer shoe, our foot is stuck therein in and is not easy to extract. It is not so nice to die of blisters. Sometimes it feels great to walk barefoot amongst the fresh grass of our fate, there may be thorns but that grass, it feels splendid between the toes.

Having cued this up:

How well does the current shoe of my life fit?

Does my life need a few tweaks or wholesale change?

Have I ever had a “whopper” of a dream?

If so, can I remember it now?

What if anything did I do about it?

Westphalia-Intelligence-Numbers Dream 12-3-18

Here is this morning’s dream

I arrive at a building, I am decked out for travel. I have with me a small carry-on suitcase, a lap-top, a large overcoat and a thing which I know to be a musical instrument of some kind or another.

I go through some automatic glass doors which slide sideways to open into a large “lounge” or holding area. The doors are of frosted glass and inlaid into this is some ornate official crest. I somehow know that this crest pertains to a clandestine American intelligence agency. It is all very slick and grand.

The lounge is an airport departure lounge, one of those posh pre-flight lounges. I am due to get on a flight to “Westphalia” in an hour or so.

One of the “airline” staff, female, and dressed smartly in uniform comes over to me and starts talking. She ascertains my identity. They have been looking for me.

Apparently or so she says, one of my ex-students has run amok and gone off the rails at a Stereophonics gig. He has been asking for me as a matter of some urgency. It is the job of the woman to try to get my mobile ‘phone number and to give me the code 3-9-1. This code means nothing to me.

I tell her that I cannot remember my own telephone number, so I will have to boot up my ‘phone to retrieve it. I do this and no matter where I look on my “vintage” telephone I cannot find the address book on it. I say this to the woman. Soon we are joined by a couple of “techie” young men and they try to locate my ‘phone number on my ‘phone. Whilst they are doing this my ‘phone morphs into a smart-phone, a tablet and back again. No matter how hard they try they cannot locate my number. I know that it is there. They ask me how I communicate with my wife and in the dream, I joke that I use the mind-link.

It gets close to departure time and there is a last call for the flight. There is fifteen minutes to go. They let me go and I race off towards the plane.

As I leave the “lounge” I can see the woman roll up a flag attached to a pole. The flag is an official flag with a crest. At the top of the pole are a decorative twin eagle pair.

I arrive in the airport in Westphalia. I am now wearing a Bavarian hat at a jaunty angle. I have purchased this at duty-free. Another person meets me there, they are still looking for my telephone number. I say that I will look for it calmly when I get to my hotel. They write down their contact details on some paper which they press into my hand. Somehow it is urgent and important for them.

I say that once I have had a nice bottle of beer, which I am very much looking forward to, I will contact them. They reiterate 3-9-1.

I go outside to the taxi rank and speak to a taxi driver in hochdeutsch and we head off towards my hotel.

Dream ends.