Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Dreaming Self

Imagine your waking self without the responsibility of looking after the physical body and all its needs. That’s your dreaming self. There’s no reason to fear or to ignore the dreaming self. It’s one source of learning and self-understanding, one way of connecting to the higher power, however we define it—God, Goddess, Allah, Brahma, Universal Love, the Life Force. I even knew a minister who called that power Skippy.

Dreaming may be considered not so much a psychic activity as a different framework for the mind. When we’re asleep, we suspend many of our mental blocks. Our inner critic sleeps, the one that pesters us with thoughts that we’ve been stupid or rude or incompetent. In dreams, our creative mind can come out to play.

The dreaming self acts as our gatekeeper to the wider universe. I believe that the knowledge and love of the Higher Power flows through the dreaming self to the waking self. The best attitude is not one of awe but of appreciation. Just as our physical body gets us around in the physical world, our dreaming self gets us around the imaginal realm.

The openness of the dreaming self allows many different types of experiences to happen besides precognition, problem solving, or personality analysis. Encounters with dead loved ones pepper the literature.

Hello from Heaven by Bill and Judy Guggenheim describes visits from the departed to grieving loved ones. The messages, often in dreams, contain words of comfort, such as “I’m okay, I’m in a beautiful place. Stop grieving and go on with your life. I love you.” These are sentiments we all need to hear from those we’ve lost.

Patricia Garfield has codified many encounters in The Dream Messenger. In her view, whether one can prove the actual visit from the other world or not, there’s no denying its impact. Dreamers remember details for a long time, and the experience often makes a profound difference in their beliefs. That definitely describes the dream I had about my grandmother and uncle.

On the other hand, many people experience frightening or sad dreams about their departed loved ones. Often the dead seem even sicker, suffer more, or die more horribly. It’s normal in the grieving process to initially have such dreams then get past them.

What can we do about nightmares or other troublesome dreams? Turn and face them, fearlessly and with humor. The mind creates nightmarish elements like hands strangling or tigers chasing. We can make the threatening images do whatever we want if we just stand up to them. That takes some work, but it’s certainly possible. Dream work becomes more effective if we develop lucidity, conscious awareness while maintaining the dream state.

Excerpted from Out of the Psychic Closet: The Quest to Trust My True Nature. The book is available in Kindle, e-book, and paperback at,, and the publisher,