by Gabrielle Thompson
A co-worker told me yesterday that she has been fretting about her home office, and how to best use the space. It was jammed, and not arranged with any logical-use pattern—it had evolved in a state of chaos and she had no idea how to correct it. When she went to sleep the night before last, she was mulling over what she could do, and not coming up with any answers. However, she dreamed about how to rearrange the furniture, and in the morning rushed to the room to see if it would work. It looked as if it might.
Last night, she enlisted her husband’s aid, emptied the room, and put everything back in the way it had been in the dream. It fit perfectly and freed up space to move around in. It also was a logical arrangement of the equipment she owned. She was amazed and delighted. Her husband, tired after all the moving, asked her not to dream anything more for awhile.
Throughout my life, I have kept journals in which I record events and major dreams of my life. In my thirties, when I was self-employed and woke without an alarm, I would, nightly, by flashlight, record any dreams I had, sometimes multiple dreams (and wakening) in a night. I would auto-suggest dream recall before I went to sleep and ask my higher self to offer interpretation of the dream’s meaning, an understanding of the imagery. The more I focused on my dreams, the more detail I recalled.
Vivid in color and symbols, my dreams have always been a window into my unconscious. As a child in the 1950s and 1960s, I suffered from fear of nuclear holocaust. In my dream state, my nightmares rivaled the worst Steven King could ever imagine. As the threat of world-end lessened after the Cuban missal crisis, my dreams calmed.
In later years, my first novel was born of a nightmare that, when I got out of bed to write it, became four hours of rapid scribbling which I then realized was a story taking form.
When I have faced worrisome times in my life, my dreams have reflected the fear and helped me to release it.
Over the years I realized that my higher self was offering me a deeper understanding of my purpose and of my innate knowledge during dream episodes. Once I recognized this, I was able to make the transition to lucid dreaming.
In lucid dreaming, you are conscious that you are in a dream and you can direct its focus. It allows you to release fear or escape a threat in a nightmare, or to gain understanding in a quest.
In the February 2006 Reader’s Digest an article titled “Dare to Dream” discusses dreams as a means of alleviating stress and monitoring your emotional state — a key for understanding. It also mentions lucid dreaming, particularly as a playful fantasy adventure, such as taking yourself scuba diving or eating guilt free chocolate! According to the article, Stephen LaBerge, PhD, has invented a NovaDreamer (novadreamer.com) to help the wearer participate in his or her dreams. He mentions dreams as a means to problem solve (as in my co-worker's furniture arranging), develop creative ideas (like my novel) or heal. One of the most important aspects of lucid dreaming is healing, in my opinion.
When I was filled with anxiety over our relocation stateside, after living for fourteen years in the Virgin Islands, I began to have violent dreams of being raped or murdered in St. Thomas. There had been occurrences of such crimes within my network of friends, and I began to fear my dreams were premonitions of violence which would occur before our departure. One night I dreamt that a young girl was being surrounded by a group of men grabbing for her, but I appeared at her side, floating above the ground, grabbed her arm and said, “Let’s get out of here!” and we “flew” backward through space and landed on a couch in a house, totally safe. At that point, my mind, in the dream, told me I was dreaming, but I could control my dreams just as I could control my life.
In subsequent dreams, whenever any fear tried to creep in, my mind actively jumped in and told me I was just dreaming and to change the dream. It was effortless to change it, and it always became a pleasant dream. Even more amazing, I began to have dreams of levitation, flying, and soaring, which led to my recreating these experiences in my meditative state. It was wonderful, yet I reacted with some resistance to out-of-body experiences in meditation. Somehow, I felt I might get lost on the ethereal plane if I was in meditation instead of asleep. My nightly wanderings developed into interactions and visits with my family on the spiritual plane. My father, who had been dead for years, began to appear to me in these encounters. The dreams felt very real and left me with a sense of elation and knowing.
I have a girlfriend here in North Carolina whose father was a double amputee, but a “can-do” man who never let his handicap slow him down. He walked on two wooden legs, drove, and farmed—all with his daughter at his side. She said when she dreams of him, he is always whole (he was injured when she was a baby) and she is always conscious that she is dreaming—but she knows he is really there and trying to help her figure out how to deal with whatever situation in her life prompted him to come. He always has an answer, too. For her, there is no doubt of life-everlasting, or our ability to interact with those on the other side.
My mother has been dead almost a year now. My husband Ed dreamt of her last week for the first time. She appeared just as she always was in life, a doodle. He has never dreamt of her before. She was offering him advice, as usual, however he’s even less inclined to listen to her now!
The gist of the Reader’s Digest article was that you are the best interpreter of your dreams. The colors of a dream may also be visual clues of your emotional state: red=action or excitement, blue=tranquility and harmony, and black=fear or anxiety.
One key I have learned in a lifetime of dream interpretation is that if you analyze a dream as if everyone in it is a part of you, it may allow a more complex but truer picture of what you are feeling.
But, I also believe friends can see important clues we do not. On sailing to the islands, after months at sea, I began having dreams of spitting out my teeth, rapid-fire, sometimes bloody, sometimes not, but always many more teeth than I actually have in my mouth! When I mentioned it to a friend, she asked me if I drank milk. I said I used to, but we’d run out of powered milk on our long voyage. She suggested I buy some more. As soon as I began drinking milk again, the dream ceased. Now, when I don’t get enough calcium in my diet, I dream my teeth are loose. I guess my subconscious knows I’ll get the message without the nightmare of spitting teeth.
If you wake up exhausted, try to recall your dreams of the previous night. I’ve found that on those type of low-energy days, my dreams have had me rescuing people, traveling and helping, or searching for something elusive in the dream state.
If you can’t influence your nightmares while you are in them, try visualizing a positive outcome as soon as you wake. The key to lucid dreaming is in remembering dreams and allowing their focus to be a part of your learning experience this lifetime. When you keep a dream log, you will remember more dreams than you ever imagined you are having.
Dreams are like an elusive fantasy world until we give them our attention, and then they can be mirrors of our inner growth and of our very soul. See you in my dreams!
P.S. Check out the website novadreamer.com for what appears to be a plethora of information on lucid dreaming. I haven’t had a chance to read it, but it looks intriguing.
~ Gabrielle M. Thompson, 2006
|Gabrielle Thompson lives with her husband Ed and daughter Lyric in the mountains of western North Carolina at Eco-Cove, a 117-acre wildlife sanctuary and trout farm. She has a degree in
Anthropology and is Coordinator of Library Services at McDowell Technical Community College. Previously she helped Ed build, sail, and charter the 75’ schooner, SATORI for 14 years in the Virgin Islands. She is a freelance writer and has written two unpublished novels. In December 2002, she had an article published in
Moments of Grace Magazine, with an introduction by Neale Donald Walsch.
Other Articles by Gabrielle Thompson
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