Intentional Dreaming by Paul Blosser
I didn’t think too much about dreams when I first started studying metaphysics so in the past 15 years I’ve progressed in the way I use my dreams, the way I understand dreams and the way I want to help people with their dreams. Dreams are important because everybody dreams. Everybody, at some time or other, has had some kind of dream experience they want to know more about. That’s the great thing about a public service like the National Dream Hotline®. Every year on the fourth weekend of April, teachers and students of the School of Metaphysics answer phones around the clock to interpret dreams. Thousands, even millions of people listen to radio interviews and dream call-in shows and hear a dream interpreted, log on to our school website and find out what some of the common dreams are. It is a great way to educate people and let them know their dreams are important.
My intention is to look at dreams from a different perspective. There have been lots of books written about dreams and dream interpretation. What I want to present here are different ways to use your dreams. I want to stimulate you to move from a point of perhaps even being unconscious with your dreams to a level of using your dreams for intentional foresight to cause spiritual growth and progression.
I have identified a progression of thought with the development of how you use your dreams. This comes to light as you change the way you think, because you become more aware of your dreams and their importance. I will introduce four stages of dream progression; unconsciousness about dreams, consciousness about dreams, using dreams with intentional hindsight and using dreams with intentional foresight.
Throughout history, dreams have been mystical. They’ve been studied and used in different religious practices for insight and for spiritual awareness. The Native Americans would study and use dreams as a vision quest. If we look at the Holy books like the Bible or the Upanishads, there are references to dreams. For instance, Joseph in the Bible interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and offered him insight and helped him to understand the application of the dream.
Probably the very first writings that relate metaphysically to dreams were by Aristotle about 350 BC. He determined that dreams were personal in nature. The School of Metaphysics has brought that into the 21st Century and into the 3rd Millennium with the idea that every dream is about the dreamer. One of Aristotle’s students was Plato. He took Aristotle’s idea a step further and developed it to the point where he taught that the messages in dreams, the dreams themselves, came from the soul. From that perspective then, ever since man has existed in a physical body, we’ve had dreams. Even though we may not recall them, even though we may not be aware of them. We are a soul existing in this physical body, therefore we dream.
Every year during the National Dream Hotline® we do many radio interviews. Usually one or more of the radio show hosts will comment,“I never dream, I don’t dream, I’ve never dreamed.” They do dream but they are unconscious about their dreams. This illustrates what I would call an unconscious level of dream awareness. It is unconscious because there is no awareness or even attention on dreams. This would be like driving to work every day and being unaware of the road signs that tell you what direction you are traveling in and where you are going. The road signs exist. The billboards are there, but you have no recall of what they are, what they say and therefore no idea about what they mean.
How does this unconsciousness about dreams develop? Two ways. The first is that from birth to about seven years old, a child forms his or her identity, separate from parents, siblings and significant other people. This is the identity that’s going to be the essence of them as an adult. This identity is formed in part because the child’s attention is moving more and more into the conscious mind. The child begins identifying with his physical body and his physical existence. The subconscious mind, where dreams, as well as things such as imaginary playmates come from, begins to be shut out. There is a dis-connection that occurs between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind as the conscious awareness moves away from the subconscious mind. Many children begin to have nightmares which is the subconscious mind’s demand for attention.
The second reason for dream unconsciousness is as children, we are taught that dreams are unimportant and unreal. As a parent, I had this experience and you may remember something similar from your childhood. I was just learning about dreams as a new student in the School of Metaphysics, when my daughter was about 8 1/2. I heard her crying in the middle of the night one night and I went to see what was the matter. She was crying about a nightmare. I started to say ‘Don’t worry about it. It was just…” and I recognized my thought. I was going to tell her not to worry about it, it was just a dream, to dismiss her dream as something that wasn’t real. But dreams are very real because the source of a dream is the soul, the real and permanent part of Self. It is important that I recognized my thought. Then I could sit down and talk to her about her dream and what it means. I explained to her why she would have a nightmare. As a parent, I began to understand her and what she was thinking and experiencing in her life.
With subtle lessons like ‘It was just a dream’ children are taught to dismiss dreams, to consider that they are unimportant and have no meaning. As adults we might develop the idea that dreams are entertainment or replays of the day’s events or a result of something eaten that caused a bad dream. We might call such ideas urban legends or urban myths, since these are popular terms right now that identify something that is not necessarily based on fact..
Many people are completely unconscious of their dreams. But this doesn’t mean this is bad. Here is the way dreams work and the purpose of dreams. The soul, the source of the dream, is always trying to get a message across to you about what you are doing. A message like “You’re doing really well here. You handled that situation great, keep up the good work” or “This is what you were thinking today that didn’t work so well. Here’s a clue about what you can do different”. Your soul and subconscious mind is like your best friend. Every night, it gives you counsel to help you be a better person when you wake up and to help you change the way that you handle life situations. So your dreams can be very insightful. They can be very good for you as far as self-awareness goes.
People who are unconscious of their dreams, may respond to their dream messages in an unconscious manner. For example, I get into an argument with my girl friend. That night my dream has a message about me thinking I was being attacked and I responded by defending myself. I don’t remember the dream of course because I don’t even know that I dream. I can keep going through the same kinds of experiences with my girl friend. Or I can do something different even with being unconscious about my dream. Here are two scenerios.
Scenerio One: When I wake up, I recall the experience I had the day before and how terrible it was. I think something like “I can’t keep living like this. I have to do something.” So I decide to break off the relationship. Because I change my life situation, there is longer an immediate need for the subconscious mind to relate a message to me about how I get defensive in my thinking. At least temporarily, until some similar situation comes into my life agin. Next time it may be with a boss, a relative or a new girl friend.
Scenerio Two: Perhaps I wake up in the morning, not recalling my dream, and I recognize that I was being defensive with my girl friend during our argument. I decide that there are better ways to handle such a situation and that I will quit being so defensive. Even being unaware of my dream, I have made a change in my thinking and in my life that my dream was a stimulus towards. I have changed my thoughts and I have changed the experiences or situations in my life.
The first example of changing the life experiences is not productive. It is the way many people get through life. That’s why they keep repeating the same kinds of situations in their life. You hear about people who go from one bad relationship to another, the same kind of job situations over and over or similar crisis situations over and over. Because they try to change things in a physical manner instead of looking for cause. Dreams are one way to identify cause. Dreams are one way to identify what your thoughts are and how, with your thoughts, you set up the conditions for those situations and the learning from these situations.
The second example I gave is productive because the dreamer is learning from life experiences. The dreamer is using those experiences to cause changes in his or her thinking and as a result the life situations change. That is the unconsciousness approach to dreams and to life! There are many people who don’t remember their dreams or use their dreams unconsciously. This is neither bad nor good. It is important to take mental action to be more self-aware. It is important that you and I are different every day because we are aware of our thoughts and how those thoughts relate to the situations in life.
The next point I want to talk about is where there is awareness about dreams, dream consciousness. There is awareness that you dream. There may be awareness that dreams have meaning. Someone at this level of dream awareness would probably recall a dream from childhood, maybe even have a recent dream. They may also want to have some understanding of the dream and given the opportunity would seek its meaning. They may even be able to put it into some kind of context with their life. Here is an example. A truck driver from South Carolina called about a dream he had over 20 years ago. He dreamed his dead brother visited him. Here is the dream:
My brother had died recently in a car wreck. I dreamed he came to me one night and he said ‘I want to show you something’. So he took me to a beautiful place where I saw many people that I knew were dead. My brother said ‘I just wanted to show you where I was. I wanted you to know that I was okay. You can’t stay here, you’ve got to go.’ Then I woke up and I was back in my bed.
The man wanted to know what his dream meant. He was looking for the meaning of the dream. His brother represents a conscious aspect or a conscious way of thinking that has changed. The other people also represent different aspects. Since these are people he knew, they represent ways of thinking or qualities of thought that he was familiar with. The brother’s message that ‘you can’t stay here’ is a message from the truck driver’s subconscious that he needed to remove his thoughts and attention from guilt or grief or any such way of thinking. It was no longer productive for him to stay in the same kind of thinking.
I explained that when someone dies, they may visit family and friends to let them know they are okay. I asked him if his brother’s mouth was moving when he communicated and he said “No.” I told him he had experienced mind-to-mind communication with his brother’s spirit and that this dream was a visitation by his spirit. This made sense to him. He said he was the first person at the scene of the wreck after the police arrived. He identified his brother before they could remove the body from the car. This was very traumatic and there were many thoughts and feelings associated with his brother’s death. So the dream served for his brother to contact him and help him to find peace and for him to remove his attention from unproductive thoughts and emotions.
So there was a consciousness that the truck driver had. He was aware of his dream. He believed that it was important and must have some kind of meaning. Given the opportunity of hearing about the National Dream Hotline®, he looked for knowledge and meaning. Finally, he could understand the dream in relationship to his life and what he was thinking and feeling at the time.
The next degree of dream awareness is how most people understand dreams and use dreams. I would call this level of dream awareness intentional hindsight. You know you dreamed. You know your dream is important and personal. You know that it has meaning. After the fact, you want to do something with it.
The first thing we teach about dreams is that you need to write them down. The reason is that your dreams are like an echo. In the morning the echo is very vibrant. The longer you wait to write it down, the fainter and fainter the echo gets. Also you have a tendency with the conscious mind and your conscious ego to color the dream, embellish the dream or forget things that might be significant. When you write your dreams down first thing in the morning, the truth and personal insight is there in the interpretation and application.
In this stage of intentional dreaming, hindsight is taking the dream and writing it down, interpreting it and then taking that interpretation and applying it in your life.
A grandmother called the dream hotline last year, distressed. She was concerned about her granddaughter’s dream. Her granddaughter was home from school, sick because she was anxious about a nightmare. This is the granddaughter’s dream:
|She was tied to a chair and forced to watch her mother being killed.|
These kinds of dreams are very traumatic because most of us don’t have such experiences in our lives. We might see them on television or in a movie. I interpreted the dream for the grandmother. Death in a dream represents change and people who are authority figures like teachers and parents represent the dreamer’s connection with superconscious mind, that part closest to God. These people in a dream represent a personal sense of authority. The girl is the dreamer herself. A chair represents a tool of mind, like memory or even perhaps decisiveness. Tied to a chair represents a restriction in the thinking, particularly in the conscious mind since the girl is the one tied up. The dream message is about a limitation in the granddaughter’s thinking about how her authority is changing.
As we talked about the dream, the grandmother revealed her grand daughter was a high school senior preparing to graduate. After graduation, the young woman was entering the US Army. She was making a major change in her life, from living at home under the close guidance of her parents to this whole new change in lifestyle. Her dream revealed her thoughts that she doesn’t think she has a lot of freedom (tied to the chair) about what is happening in her life. The grandmother was relieved. The dream made sense. The dream interpretation gave the grandmother some peace and the information she needed to talk to her granddaughter about the dream.
It is that kind of application where you write down the dream, interpret it and then you apply it to your life situations that the dream becomes productive. And that is something that anybody can do every day. You write down your dream, interpret it and then look at the dream message and relate it to the previous 24 to 48 hours. That’s how your dream is going to have relevancy because dreams are an immediate reflection of thoughts, perceptions and attitudes. So then you are more aware. This is what Plato was talking about with his idea that dreams come from the soul. Your dreams are a tool for self-awareness.
For example, a woman related the following dream that illustrates intentional hindsight:
I dreamed I was in a kitchen with a girl friend of mine trying to talk her into going to the beach. I’m not sure what area this was, but she had a beautiful beach in the backyard. The waves were very pretty and the sand was just gorgeous. And she was back and forth, she didn’t want to go and then she did. By the time she made up her mind it was too late to go to the beach. So I was very disappointed. So we walked into the living room. There were two people sitting there and one, I believe they were married, I don’t know. A male was laying on the couch and a female was sitting on the recliner and he was asking me to hand him his bathrobe. It was white and so when I handed him his bathrobe, there was a weight in the bottom of the bathrobe and it made it very difficult to hand him this bathrobe. I finally gave him the bathrobe and that’s all I remember.”
One of the principles about dreams is that every dream is about the dreamer. The other principle is that every person, place or thing in the dream represents the dreamer. That’s because everything in the dream is personal. Your dream tells you about you. Your dream does not tell you about your spouse or your boss or your children. Everything in the dream tells you about you. When you go to sleep at night, your subconscious mind sends a message, much like a radio broadcast that is sent as vibration through the air waves. That vibration strikes the pituitary gland. The pituitary, which is one of the master glands in the body, receives the vibration and uses the images in your brain to convert the vibration into something meaningful which you can remember. The pituitary uses the brain images as symbols. It uses your friend that you describe as flighty, to represent or mirror your thinking that is also flighty, the way you can’t or don’t decide. A beach in a dream represents the emotional level of mind. It is that part of mind which is between the water which represents conscious life experiences and the land which represents subconscious mind. The emotional level is what is between the outer physical self and the inner self. The man in the dream represents a subconscious aspect. People of the opposite sex represent our inner subconscious self and people of the same sex represent conscious aspects or qualities of thought. Generally, those people of the opposite sex are going to represent some way of thinking such as the way you use your intuition or if you meditate, that person might represent some kind of thinking that comes to you in meditation. Clothes in a dream (the bathrobe) represent outer expression. This robe represents a way of expressing your thoughts. The dream message is that you need to be aware of what your thoughts were and bring them into the physical. Express your thoughts. The womanimmediately understood the relevance to her life and how she could apply the dream. She said she had been experiencing emotional turmoil and in the process was starting to be aware of who she was and where she wanted to go with her life.
The important thing to remember about using dreams with intentional hindsight, is to take the dream message and apply it to your life. This is how you are going to benefit. If you had a dream two weeks ago and now you’re trying to put it into the context of your life, you might still be able to do that if you can remember what the circumstances were otherwise you are going to have a very similar experience in your life again. If you can apply the dream message to your life then your dream serves as a stimulus for learning and causing the soul’s spiritual progression.
The next level of dream awareness I want to address is intentional foresight where you begin to use your dreams to solve problems and to gain insight. Some people might call this dream programming or dream incubation. I spoke with a man from Louisiana who said he used his dreams to figure out the parameters used to select numbers for the state lottery. He called this dream telepathy. There are some other people that have done the same kind of thing. Neils Bohr, who was a Noble prize winning chemist, was researching what is now known as the benzene ring. He dreamed of a snake grasping its tail in its mouth. He knew that he could apply that dream to his research. This problem was occupying his conscious mind. His subconscious mind, through his dreams helped him to discover a solution.
Albert Einstein had a similar experience when he was working on his theory of relativity. He had reached a block in his thinking and couldn’t figure out what to do. As a result of a dream, he woke up and had the insight he needed to complete his theory of relativity. Thomas Alva Edison was another prolific dreamer. He put metal pie plates near an armchair where he napped. He would go to sleep in the chair with marbles in his hands. He would think about something he needed insight on, some invention he was working on and as he would doze off, he would relax and the marbles would fall out of his hands onto the pie plates and wake him up. He would write down what came to him in his dreams. So this is an example of being very purposeful with the dreams.
When I first started learning about dreams and metaphysics, I was vice-president of a small company in Norman Oklahoma. We purchased one of the first personal computer networks available. Top of the line system in 1983. We were having problems with the large database system that stored our customer information. The system was breaking down nearly every day or every two or three days. So I began to take the computer manuals home and study them.This computer system was very unstable because it would crash, it would break literally every day. Every day. Every day. So in trying to figure this all out, I would go home tired and when I slept I dreamed about the database crashing, day after day. What I realized, because of my dreams, was that I needed to do something about this. I needed to figure this out. So one night it came to me in a dream with the database crashing, I interpreted the dream. A computer represents memory and memory was not solving the problem, either my memory of what the text book said about how to program the database language or our consultant’s memory and expertise. I was trying to rely solely on memory and memory was not getting me where I needed to go. This dream stimulated me to use my imagination. I began to look other places, look at other resources, other people, other alternatives, to identify what we needed to do to solve the problem. And so it was a matter of being able to use my dreams purposely to find a solution.
Remember this. Your dreams offer insight and truth for you and about you. You can learn to use your dreams productively. You can be unconscious about your dreams or conscious. Or you can use your dreams intentionally through hindsight and foresight. It is a matter of you deciding to be conscious or unconscious about your life, about you deciding to be intentional or unintentional with your life experiences.
©2002 School of Metaphysics