Sun’s up, uuh huh, looks okay
The world survives into another day
And I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me
It came on the radio a couple of days ago as I was puttering around the studio,
an old favourite from way way back in the day –
I had another dream about lions at the door
They weren’t half as frightening as they were before
But I’m thinking about eternity
Some kind of ecstasy got a hold on me
I looked around and chuckled –
I’m surrounded by them these days, the lions.
And yes, they were there at the door, in a dream,
and not half as frightening…
In fact they were lolling on the landing,
rolling on their backs, showing their tummies,
as if asking for a belly rub.
The big cats have been frequent dream visitors for some years now, so I pay attention, I work with them.
Not in any fancy complicated way,
more just in a way of being with them, of staying with them,
hangin’ with them, feeling them, and drawing them…
Recently The Shift Network had a “Dreamwork Summit” and gathered a bunch of interesting contemporary thinkers on dreaming to each give a talk and present their methods.
A few of my faves who I’ve worked with were there – Robert Moss and Toko-pa Turner, Sandra Ingerman and Sergio Magaña and Charlie Morley –
but I found I was especially drawn to a couple of guys whose work I’ve only read in books –
Robert Bosnak and Rodger Kamenetz.
Both of them talked about the phenomenology of dreaming.
Bosnak elaborates in Tracks in the Wilderness of Dreaming,
The dream story is not the dream itself.
The dream itself is a texture woven of space and time inside which we find ourselves.
During the dream we believe we are awake, in the same way that we believe we are awake when we truly are…
This is one of the few laws of human experience that hold true the world over.
The ‘I’ in the dream lives inside the dreamworld with the unshakable conviction that the surrounding reality is, indeed, utterly real.
Each dream arouses within us the conviction that we are in our waking lives.
With this unshakable conviction,
believing utterly and truly that it was happening as it happened,
I had a dream a couple of months ago – a nightmare, really.
In the dream, I (an I that was not entirely me, but somewhat somehow)
had been designated contaminated, or contagious, or faulty in some way,
and was given a bomb to hold against my soft belly.
And I lay there waiting for it to explode,
praying only that death would be fast.
Not a fun dream to take to the studio.
Not a fun dream in any way.
But as I let myself live with it,
as I looked long and hard at my day-to-day life,
it proved very instructive.
Kamenetz writes in The History of Last Night’s Dream –
The dream wants to show us inner space.
It shows our predicament, how we really live.
But you have to be willing to feel something about your predicament, because there’s no other way in…
The special language of dreams is forceful, poetic, metaphorical…
You have to learn what causes your predicament and overcome it.
~ Rodger Kamenetz
And so I began to make a few changes.
Obvious things – started removing some unhealthy habits and initiating healthier ones.
But with these subtle changes came a surprisingly enormous emotional shift,
an energy and optimism and buoyancy I thought had fled forever with the onset of middle age.
And then I came across a quote from Sergio –
Often when we die in a dream
it denotes favourable changes in our life,
even if the death occurs in a violent manner
and our conditioning leads us to interpret the dream in a negative way.
This reminded me of the interpretations of the Death card in tarot decks,
a frightening card to see in a reading,
that is usually not entirely what it seems –
Death is necessary for new life.
Without the old growth dying and decomposing into the soil through fall and winter, the new buds could not sprout in the spring.
Without death, nothing could change.
Or even more radically –
Initiation rites always led up to a simulated death and rebirth.
The initiate is led to believe that he or she is actually about to die.
Everything is done to make this death as real as possible so that the ego will be tricked and in fact experience that dreaded dissolution.
Then, when the initiate is ‘reborn’ he or she experiences a new maturity and a new freedom of energy.
Now this thought I love –
That the dreams contain their own processes of rites of initiation,
their own shamanic rituals,
their own journeys to power animals.
And to leave you with some of that buoyancy and optimism I’ve been feelin’,
do yourself a favour and have a listen –
And in case you’re wanting some more of that –