So here’s the question I’ve been asking myself ever since the inspiring experience of the IASD (International Association for the Study of Dreams) conference: How do we apply the experiences of our dreams to our ordinary lives in such a way that they will make a difference in the world?
When I work with individual dreamers and small groups, I am constantly aware of how the dreams I hear are changing my life. Each of the people I meet with for spiritual direction or dreamwork is genuinely grappling with profound spiritual challenges that are both personal and universal: How do I cope with the speed and complexity of the modern world, without losing my ability to be fully present in the process? How do I share my unique gifts and skills creatively—and is what I have to offer truly wanted or needed? How do I respond kindly and compassionately to others when I am feeling frustrated, impatient, or overwhelmed? What is my responsibility to myself, my family, my community, and ultimately, to all beings? How do I cope with feelings of fear, anger, loneliness, exhaustion, grief, apathy, despair? Where do I belong?
These and other such questions resonate with me as I hear them coming from others. When I work with others to see what light their dreams may shed on these questions, I find echoes in my own life and in my own dreams. We may be working with one person’s individual life issues and dream images, but at the same time we are addressing life issues and dream images that have meaning for all people and the planet as a whole. Dreams take us to the heart of the matter at hand, and at that heart level the things we have to learn extend far beyond us as individuals. Continue reading