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Ask the Dream Specialist

Dreams as Part of the Spiritual Journey-Part Three

by Ken Kaplan


I wish to continue our exploration of dreams as they involve more overt aspects of the “spiritual aspect” or higher- self communication, and interface with the subconscious and conscious minds. I must reiterate that I do not truly distinguish between what is “spiritual” and what is not, believing that while all dreams, in essence are spiritual in nature, some appear more directly so. Last column we used some case histories to demonstrate this principle of the more direct intervention of the “higher self” and I desire to continue with it.

As mentioned previously, this “intervention” often does not appear in the way the mind would conceptualize it. I can not emphasize this often enough, as one of the greatest problems in dream work is to take symbols too literally and thus miss either the textures of their layers, the metaphorical nature of the information, or, to be blunt, the message itself. I have fallen into this trap and it is why often, with all dreams, but especially important ones, we work with a competent dream worker who can help us gain perspective. This process will be examined more fully in a later column.

A fine example of this intervention from within that carried an important message, and that could have been missed, occurred to a friend of mine. She dreamt that she was in New York State on a journey. She was staying in an old, ornate hotel named the “Tamerack”. Although beautiful, it was nearly empty, except for a gymnasium, the type you would find in a school. She was with her husband and they found themselves driving to a beach where in the distance, they saw young people diving off cliffs with abandon and joy. In the dream, the hotel was on the right and the beach was on the left. (The importance of this will be revealed.) Her husband, smiling, suddenly drove the car into the lake where it began filling up with water and it looked as if they were going to drown. But at a point, instead of panicking, she became peaceful, letting go to what seemed about to happen, and just as suddenly, he backed the car out of the lake. Then they were back at the hotel and the thought arose that she wanted to see her son, and that he was in the area also. The dream ended here.

I asked her what she had been doing that day that might have triggered the dream. It turned out it was Halloween night and they had been invited to a party which was some distance away. In spite of this, she felt some excitement to go while he didn’t and they ended up not going. As we worked with the dream, it became apparent that some deeper issues were being dealt with by her dreaming mind because of this trigger. As I have mentioned often, and this dream is a case in point, the trigger or surface events act as a “fault line”, leading us to much deeper recesses of issues that the self wishes to deal with.

The hotel was ornate but clearly of the past. My friend is a teacher who has many emerging spiritual gifts. She works in a traditional school. Schools often have gymnasiums. In this hotel, there was little life or activity. The life and activity in the dream was at the beach, where the young, vigorous people and teenagers were literally “jumping off cliffs into the water”, the essence of life itself, especially emotional life. I mentioned before the journey by car went from right to left. The right side can be seen as the male side, the more action oriented, will-oriented aspect of self. The left can be seen as the more receptive, female, feeling side of self. Here my friend is moving from will, action, and “work” in the world, associated with the past, to vivid feeling, excitement, connection to self and life associated with something new, the unknown, but primal to life and nature within self.

But there was a problem as her husband (perhaps a part of her in conflict with this movement) drove into the water in what to her was a dangerous situation. Was association with this “left” part of self, symbolized by the young people, and the movement away from what was “traditional” in her life too threatening? On the surface it appeared so. But the key was the message from the water. I had her “become” the water and receive fully this message. When she did this, the water revealed it was her spiritual center, the part of her that had grown immensely through the years as she had done a great deal of personal spiritual work. It specifically was asking and guiding her to trust that part of herself, that it was strong and more developed than she consciously realized, and by surrendering to that strength, she would be all right. In the dream she was able to do that, and thus the car was pulled out of danger by that act of communion and trust.

However, until we worked on the dream, she was not fully cognizant of the power and depth of this resource within her, this connection to spiritual center. In many ways, this knowledge delivered to the conscious mind was a revelation for the power of the dream and in particular, her sense of strong connection to her own spiritual center became far more visceral and present than she had previously been aware of. This awareness, now brought into conscious realization, was like a lever in her life that if she chose, she could act upon and recall for future feelings and decisions. As I have mentioned often, as opposed to getting this type of information from, let’s say, a psychic or card reader (“you have much stronger spiritual resources and connections than you realize”), the fact that the information comes from within, from oner’s own spiritual center, gives the awareness, in my opinion, the potential for much greater weight for consideration. The fact that it is conveyed in exceptional metaphorical image and form only adds to this intensity of perceived truth.

There were three other important aspects to this dream. The first is that the dream ended with her search for her son. In her life, her son embodies very similar energies carried by the young people diving off the cliffs. He is also near that age. Clearly there was a desire to connect with that energy the dream suggests is available and even the suggestion as to the resources within to do that. Here also we see the effect of the ‘trigger”, for her suppressing to some degree of her excitement to go out on Halloween led directly to the much deeper issues underlying what could in other circumstances be seen as only a minor disappointment about an evening curtailed.

Secondly, the area of the dream, New York State had great import. My friend had recently seen the great South American healer John of God up there. Thus in her being still was a permeation of that spiritual energy that influenced and almost existed as “background energy” for the dream. What was really wild, however, is we looked up “Tamerack” on the map near the Catskills and found a lodge with the name. This lodge was quite near a spiritual retreat center for Siddha Yoga where my friend had attended a weekend retreat many years ago. That time symbolized more of her entrance to spirituality through a more traditional lineage, whereas John of God, and her growth in between had taken more unconventional, yet internally consistent roads. The merging of the motif of the past, as ornate, yet empty for her, merged both some of her feelings about her current, traditional work and “spiritual work”, elegant as it may have been. That both no longer appeared to be of primary emotional importance for her once again demonstrates the brilliant manner in which the dreaming mind can create confluence easily with two ideas, or elements, even with the exactness of place and time to relay important information.

As with the examples from the previous columns, the inner “Wisdom Self”, “Higher Self”, or “God Self” aspect of our being (depending on whatever language we wish to use) appears quite ready at any moment to be available to provide us with what can only be described as extraordinary information. This information is timely, exact, and almost always expressed with a power in image and clarity, when understood, that is breath taking. However, it is my contention, that to some degree, in order to have more access to this wonderful treasure within, it must be cultivated. The more we pay attention to and attend to our dreams, the more we open the channel for their amazing guidance.

In the next column we will take this exploration one giant step forward and examine the type of dream that can change personal and collective history, the revelation dream.

Ken Kaplan is a dream specialist, intuitive counselor, and presenter on spiritual topics. If you wish to inquire about his services, or especially if you desire to work with him on a dream you have had, he can be contacted at kenstories@comcast.net. Ken works most effectively by phone and emails that just describe dreams seeking answers with no depth of interaction generally are not considered.


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