I’ve always been fascinated by that faculty of consciousness we call dreaming: not only dreaming while asleep but our ability to shape the future with thought.
This is such a common activity that we take it for granted: we imagine what we want for dinner tonight, plan how to get it and anticipate what it’ll be like. It’s extraordinary that we have this power to co-create the future but because it’s so usual much of the time we’re unconscious how we use it.
To become conscious we need to step back from our usual concerns and awaken a few realizations. We need to look at the bigger picture. We are not separate from the universe but part of it. It’s a co-creative universe, one in which everything is related to everything else, and everything has an effect, even if subtle. ‘I’ cause effects – on myself but also on the people and things around me. My mind affects my emotions, body and spirit. My thoughts, feelings, actions and words are constantly co-creating with the world around me. But what am I sending into the collective?
Equally ‘I’ am being touched and influenced by the energy fields around me. But if I’m conscious I have choice. What do I choose to allow in, and how does it affect my inner world? Does it support my health and wellbeing? For example, I can choose whether to take in “the news” and from what source. Many news stories are presented as fights between two polarities, and it can be a challenge not to become polarised and angry. As a dreamer I need to be conscious about what I take in because it impacts my inner world and affects what I send out.
Consciousness is vast and mysterious. It has field effects. A thought triggers a cascade of chemical signals to flow through the body. It shifts your energy state and ripples out into the ocean of energy-consciousness, affecting the web of life.
Our thoughts are beyond number, as many as the grasses on the Earth’s prairies. Often they are incoherent and contradictory, like background static on an untuned radio. But when we send thought with clarity and deliberation we transmit powerful frequencies that affect the collective consciousness. They have more effect. This is conscious dreaming.
This dark time of year – called the ‘kiva’ moons in the tradition of Earth Wisdom I follow – is ideal for reflection and dreaming. A ‘kiva’ is a circular chamber, half underground, a space for introspection and dreaming. In this season when trees are resting and animals retire to their burrows, we can align with nature by creating tranquil spaces in which to look within and dream consciously.
We can create a sacred energy space: this is ‘ceremony’. We could for example make an altar with symbols of the Mystery – things that are meaningful to us. We could turn off electric lights and light a fire or candles, burn some smudge and relax. Putting aside our cares for now we can look deeply at our lives this past year. What are the most vital events of this last twelvemonth and what do we learn from them?
Then, having dropped deep in consciousness and reviewed the past, we can begin to dream the future. If we imagine the future as a dream-field of all potential, what seeds do we sow in it? What qualities do we choose to grow? How will we care for our relationships and for the gifts we carry into life? What new things do we want to give birth to and what to let die?
This is a ceremonial process I have begun for myself this winter, and I am also going to share it with others by opening up sacred spaces for dreaming at Solstice and New Year. It is powerful to open the dreamfield together and sow it with prayer-thoughts for our world ourselves and all our relations.
Dreaming is not escape from reality. Reality emerges from consciousness, and consciousness is shaped by dreaming. The question is: how and what are we dreaming? When we become conscious of that we’ll have choice about the kind of world we want to emerge. We might choose to dream more harmony into our world.
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