Understanding Dreams

The dream is our personal book of life. Its pages offer us a portal or doorway between divine reality and our everyday world of time-space experience. The information contained in my book  Waking Dream Therapy gives us answers to life, directions in life, understanding of our relationship to life, and our relationship with ourselves and others, and much more.

A student of mine shared the following dream: I am on a high floor of a prewar building looking through a window, to a broad, quiet street below.  The building is a lovely rental building with large spacious rooms.  I see two or three men in a melee in the middle of the avenue.  There is a group of on lookers surrounding the fighting men.

            One of the fighters, a burly looking man with a dark complexion and bushy mustache, looks straight in my eye and aims a green or yellow glowing ball towards me.  I am taken aback that he can see me so clearly from such a distance.

            Next, I find myself in some sort of boat filled with people. We are floating up the street which is now flooded with turbulent grey water that has broken through the adjacent East River that runs normally at a right angel to the street, but is now flowing through the street from East to West.

            Next I am in a large ballroom of sorts that is brightly lit. There are several women with me we are all wearing satin caftan like gowns with diamond buttons. Theirs are white, mine is turquoise with four flower pedal-shaped trains at the bottom of the gown.  I am holding a plastic identity card, in my left hand, with my name and picture on it (the kind that clips on to your clothing).  I realize that I have to give up the card but I am resisting doing this. I understand that I am “on the other side”, no longer living.  I am upset.   I feel very disturbed and shocked when I awaken.

            The student understood immediately that this was a dream about life after life, with herself being ferried across the river (e.g. the River Styx) that separates the living from the dead.  She is heading in a westerly direction, the direction of the setting sun and hence death.  When she reaches the next destination, she discovers that all that she identifies with is now fading away. 

The ultimate attachment we carry, of course, is our bodily identity, our name, and image/picture of who we are.  This is all encapsulated in her ID card. She becomes frightened at the realization she has to let go of her past – all the story of her life that is symbolically held in her left hand (the left being the direction of the past).  Yet at the same time, she finds that the next world is a welcoming world, pure and bright, and she herself is garbed in a beautiful gown that confirms her own transformation into a new being. 

            I advised her to find a piece of jewelry, clothing, or scarf and wear it to remind herself of her connection to this world. As my teacher Colette always told me, there is only a thin veil between the worlds.  Spiritual practice is all about detaching from all that we think we own.   As the Sufi poet Hafiz succinctly states “Die before you die…what do you think that feels like?” (from A Year with Hafiz: Daily Contemplations, translated by Daniel Ladinsky (New York: Penguin Books, 2010 p.62).