Saturday, December 10, 2011

Healing in Dreams

People have asked for healing dreams as far back as written records. Results came in dreams to the ancient Egyptians. Aristotle spoke of them in early Greece. From those days until now, sick people have wanted to experience a healing dream and believed it could happen.

Our minds affect our bodies, as demonstrated in modern times by hypnosis and biofeedback where patients modify their blood pressure, dissolve warts, stop the growth of cancerous cells, among other changes.

Scientific experiments have proven the placebo effect works, that is, one third of the time patients get well when they only take sugar pills rather than medication. Unfortunately the reverse happens too, and a person can sicken from the belief that he has been poisoned when he has not been. This is why curses sometimes work or why a patient dies from a misdiagnosis or from the doctor's statement that no one can recover from such an ailment.

There are three types of healing dreams:

First, dreams that show a problem developing in the dreamer's physical body. For example, a woman dreams she buys a pair of shoes that are mismatched; one has a flat heel the other a three-inch spike. Later she learns her shoes have caused her hip pain.

Second, dreams that prescribe a medicine, foods, or other regimen. For example, a man with painful dry eye dreams a cop stops his car and gives him a ticket for wearing sunglasses in a dark tunnel, citing him for not following the rules. The same scenario happens over and over. The dreamer can't understand why the cop is angry. Once he awakens the man remembers eye drops prescribed as a cautionary by his doctor in case of a problem. He starts using the eye drops, and the pain goes away.

Last, dreams that cure the condition directly. Some of these categories can overlap in the same dreams.

Barbara Menezes-Ferreira of Portugal relates a dream that cures. The dream story is complex and includes a mutual dream, a near-death experience, and a cure. Here is the dream in her own words:

Over twelve years ago, back when I was still married, my husband was dying in hospital in a coma.

The doctors had said he had no hope at all. His blood count was way too low and he was hemorrhaging. My reaction was and I quote what I told the doctors, "You don't know him. He's the kind of person that will do exactly the opposite of what you are thinking." They looked at me with a certain pity. I left him there because you cannot stay with the patient overnight in a public hospital. I picked up my daughters at school and took them home. I remember my mother-in-law calling me asking what the doctors had said and I replied, "He's going to be fine," without even thinking.

That night I dreamed I awoke with someone screaming my name over and over again. I sat up in bed and saw my husband standing at the foot of the bed.

I asked him, "What do you want?"

He replied that he didn't know if he should stay or if he should go.

I calmly explained that was his choice. If he wanted to leave, I would take care of our daughters and they would be fine, but if he chose to stay, he would suffer. He would have to change his life, and he would have to stop drinking. I could understand that this would be a big sacrifice, so I told him, "It's really up to you".

He disappeared then and I went back to sleep.

The following morning my brother-in-law came to pick me up to drive me into town for visiting hours. He was very concerned that his brother would not make it. I said I thought he would pull through because I had had a strange dream that had in some way told me he would be ok. My brother-in-law had no reaction whatsoever.
I arrived at the hospital and only three people could see my husband for just a few minutes. I told my mother-in-law to go in first. She came out very distressed and told us she thought he was going. I then told his brother to go in. He came out crying and shaking his head. Then I went in and saw my husband lying in bed asleep.
I kissed his forehead and he woke up and said, "Please tell me the truth. Am I dying?"

I smiled and said "No. You were but you aren't anymore."

The doctor called in the other doctors and they started to ask him questions: "What day is it? Do you know where you are?."

Two weeks later he was out of hospital.

Almost six months after, we were going for a walk, and he told me that he had seen a tunnel and a light and that he had gone towards the light, and as he was walking he had a long conversation with someone he thought was God where he was given a choice to stay or to go. He decided to stay because of the children.

The conversation he described was exactly the one I had had in my room. At the time I started to laugh and he thought I didn't believe him. I just told him that I had had a dream exactly like the one he was describing.

Any analysis of Barbara's dream and her husband's dream will likely mention they experienced a shared dream, in other words, they dreamed the same scenario. The husband's dream includes the popular dynamic of the near-death experience: the light, the tunnel, and the decision to live. His is a particularly revealing segment.

The husband's dream resulted in a cure of his condition.

Think a minute about a time you've healed, whether from a mosquito bite, a burn, or the flu. Perhaps you applied salve and bandaged yourself. Perhaps you visited a doctor. Perhaps not.

In all cases, who was the healer? The inner you. You probably had dreams that helped you heal even if you didn't recall them.

Although we all have this skill, some people need help developing it consciously. Some psychologists, including Ed Kellogg, offer workshops to teach health professionals and regular dreamers how to heal through dream work.

Here's a Tip
• The next time you have any ailment, from a cold to something serious, consult a medical practitioner if you normally would, but augment that visit with requests to your dreaming self to bring you healing dreams.
• Your dreaming self will definitely oblige.
• Oh, and ask to remember the dreams too. They are most empowering and among the most compelling evidence for the value of dreaming.