Getting to the Heart and Soul of Who You Are

Through Working with Your Dreams

The Gift of REM Sleep

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Your dreams come to you, in the cycle of your sleep, when your conscious mind is not in charge. For those of us trying to do deep personal or spiritual growth work – this is an incredible gift.

Think about that for a moment.

Dreams are communicating to you from a time and place in your sleep cycle when there is space for your deeper self to come through without interference from our learned patterns and perceptions. Spiritual teachers often say that we need to learn to “get out of our own way”.

Most of us know this to be true – that there is a deeper self that exists when we don’t block this part of ourselves. Most of us have experienced these moments when we let our deeper selves come through us – when we do in fact get “out of our own way”. The bigger challenge is that these moments are not so easy to sustain – especially in the midst of the craziness of our lives. As a result, many of us settle for making space during our spiritual practices to have moments of peace and relief, from the busyness of our minds. But often, we come home from the yoga studio or some other place of spiritual practice and we don’t know how to integrate these moments into our day to day lives.

Dreams show a way out of this dilemma.

Dreams show you how to find the heart and soul of who you are – and how to bring that forth into your life. The challenge is in learning how to work with your dreams in a way that opens this deeper consciousness. To make space to be with the feeling and experiential content of our dreams, so that the we can breathe life into the intention of the dream. Here are the keys to meeting these challenges:

  1. The first key is to be conscious of having a new mindset with your dreams.
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    You need to be aware of the impulse, we all have to judge, interpret and analyze our dreams.
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    When we go to yoga, or to sit, or to any other inner practice we know enough to not focus on “thinking things through”. Yet the first thing most of us do with our dreams is try to figure them out.
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    See if you can instead, learn to bring openness to your dream practice as opposed to being analytical. See if you can approach your dreams without trying to interpret them.
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  2. As you let go of your judgments, take a step back and just be with your dream for a moment.
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    We just came off a retreat where we incorporated sitting and yoga into our work with dreams and one of the attendees said that they sit in meditation and let the dreams “have their way with them”.
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    This is a beautiful description of one way to just be present with your dreams.
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    Be with them for a moment and just take a breath – the way you might with a painting or when you are touched by something of beauty. Bring them to your sitting, yoga, prayer or any other practice and just be with them. See what comes to you from this place of spaciousness. .
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  4. In that spaciousness see if you can recall what you were feeling in the dream. 
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    Your dreams offer you the opportunity to feel into or experience something from another perspective than your usual perspective.
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    Notice the feelings in a dream and notice the places that there are no feelings.
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    Both are very important. One for the experience of the feeling and the other for understanding the places where maybe we are disassociated in some way from our feeling selves.
    See if you can gently let your dream open you to the deeper feelings that lie within you.
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    There is a reason that so many of us have cut off the deeper knowing of our dreams – we do it to protect ourselves from feelings that were at one time too much to be with.
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  5. Touch into these feelings and/or the places of “no feeling” with a lot of tenderness.. .
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    This process might be as simple as closing your eyes and going back into a moment in a dream and taking a breath.
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    Be tender as you do this.
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    This type of dreamwork can open places that have been kept buried in your unconscious for lifetimes.
    Do not force things – just touch in and explore with a lot of curiosity.
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    Be open to whatever comes up no matter how little sense it might make at first.
    Your dreams are speaking to you of ingrained patterns that go deep into your unconscious self – don’t expect them to make total sense at first. Just see if you can open the door and start to touch into the places that have gotten lost in your unconscious self.
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  6. Let yourself touch into various parts of a dream and see what comes up for you. .
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    Feel into what it is like to “switch it out” and be someone or something else in a dream. Close your eyes and take a breath into one of these other places.
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    Look at the dream and at yourself from this other perspective. Again, do this with a lot of tenderness ie don’t step into parts of you dream that feel emotionally overwhelming.
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    Start the process with places that raise your curiosity as opposed to places that feel too scary or painful. “Nightmares” would not be a good place to work your own dreams (see step 7).
    Just see what resonates in the dream as you touch into these various parts, paying particular attention to the feelings.
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    Also, take not of what is new versus what is familiar. Note how touching into things, might open feelings and understandings that are very different than your first thoughts about the dream.
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    Pay particular attention to possibilities that are new in your dreams, in contrast to what is familiar.
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    The familiar is usually the realm of what we know already – our familiar dynamics and patterns. Often what is new, and sometimes uncomfortable, is related to where a deeper part of yourself wants to come into consciousness.
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  7. Continue to resist the urge to analyze. . .Instead feel into the possibility of insights and feelings that come to you in the process.Consider that your dream and/or dream process might be a reflection that comes from the deepest parts of who you are.
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    Feel into what comes up for you in this process and how exploring in this way – from the dream’s perspective might bring you guidance and insight into your life and your path.
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    Trust and take note of what comes to you here in the process.
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  8. Know when to get help with your dreams.
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    One of the greatest challenges of working with your own dreams is that the deepest teachings come from the places where you are the most unconscious.
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    We are very excited about bringing this practice to the realm of self exploration and we still believe that we should all get help with our dreams – at least occasionally. We do not have an answer for how often that should be or who you should work with.
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    That is for you to find, especially as you go deeper in your work. Dreams worked with in this way are a kind of spiritual “medicine”. The process can go very deep and can feel psychedelic at times.
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    Always be tender with yourself.
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    Avoid the impulse to push yourself or to force anything. The unconscious and the dream realm have their own pace and flow. If you push against that, you will not speed things up or deepen your process. You will instead slow things down and muddy the waters instead.
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    Treat your dreams and the process of working with them with a lot of healthy humility and respect.  For example, we do not believe that anyone, including us, should work dreams that have overwhelming emotional content by themselves.
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    Nightmares and dreams that have a lot of hurt, fear, violence or aggression should be treated as reflections of the very real hurt that so many of us carry.
    If you do not have a trusted teacher to hold space for you with your dreams, then we have trained dream practitioners who will support you in this process. Contact us here for more info.
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  9. Developing a “Dream Community”.
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    Not everyone needs or wants to be in community but if you do feel the need, then it can be a powerful asset in your journey. It is all too easy, for many of us, to feel isolated in our inner process and isolation is one of the greatest barriers to inner growth.
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    Having a support system for your inner process can be one of the most important factors in developing a practice that is sustainable – especially as you more deeply practice integrating your process into your day to day  life. If you want support creating a dream group or community, where you live, please let us know.
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    We now have groups, practicing this mode of dreamwork in various parts of the country and to a lesser extent around the world.
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    Also, if you want to be part of our new online “Dream Community and Resource Center”, please let us know.
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    We are excited to be offering easily accessible, regular gatherings for teaching about this process and space for actually being together in circle as we dive into dreams.
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    Click here to learn about our programs for dreamers and for those wanting to learn to be dream practitioners.
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With much respect for you and the dream,

Bill St.Cyr

 

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