Dreams (Video Script)
The meaning of dreams is a deep mystery that has been explored throughout the ages in all cultures. Clay tablets recording dreams from Mesopotamia date back to 3000 BC. The Sumerians believed that the soul left the physical body and visited the people and places in the dream.
In ancient Greece and Rome dreams were assigned religious significance as direct messages from the gods or from the dead. Dreams served a practical purpose by providing solutions to problems and guidance on how to best proceed in life. Dreams were also valued as forewarnings and predictions of the future. Temples were built to utilize the healing power of dreams.
The ancient Egyptians believed that gods showed themselves in dreams, which were recorded on papyrus as far back as 2000 BC. Individuals with vivid or powerful dreams were thought to be blessed and were considered special. Recognizing the importance of dreams, ancient Egyptians induced or incubated dreams in temples on special dream beds where the dreamer could receive advice, comfort, or healing from the gods.
The ancient Hebrews integrated dreams into their religion. For example, the patriarch Jacob received a message from God when he dreamed of a ladder to Heaven with angels ascending and descending.
During the middle ages in Europe dreams were often regarded as evil temptations from the devil who sought to possess the soul of the dreamer.
In the 19th century Sigmund Freud argued for the value of dreams in psychotherapy. Freud called dreams the "royal road to the unconscious” that reflected the dreamer's deepest desires and anxieties, going back to childhood.
Modern neuroscientists in sleep labs study the physiology of sleep to understand the biology of dreaming – especially with regard to changes in brain chemistry and electrophysiology during rhythmic periods of rapid eye movement associated with dreaming. And yet, with all the attention given to dreaming throughout the ages, dreams remain a profound mystery.
Dreams And Reality Creation
There is another view of dreaming that accepts the dream world as an extension of reality – or even the basis of reality itself. The concept of a dream reality that is the source of material experience can be found in the aboriginal beliefs of the indigenous Australians.
“The Dreaming” is a common aboriginal expression understood as the “timeless time” of perpetual creation. Entering into dreamtime by ritual or dreaming is a means of personal and group reality creation. The resources of the timeless meet the needs of the present life as the illusion of time and space is overcome.
Likewise, in Hinduism waking consciousness associated with daily life is considered an illusion. The dream state is regarded as more representative of the true nature of ultimate reality from which the mass dream of waking consciousness flows.
We have already touched upon this concept in an early lesson that considered Plato’s allegory of the cave. You may recall that the material world of waking consciousness was compared to a darkened cave with flickering shadows on the walls.
The shadow world of the cave is like the mass dream of Hinduism. The true reality in Plato’s tale lay outside the cave in the light of day, comparable to aboriginal dreamtime.
The illusion of the shadow world of material consciousness is the result of downward causation from the realm of spirit, through the forms of the mind into physical reality. This is how physical reality comes about.
Recognizing this progression of reality creation, the Edgar Cayce readings proposed an Ideals exercise to harness the creative potential of the process encapsulated in the phrase: Spirit is the life, mind is the builder, and physical is the result.
The Cayce readings acknowledged the role of dreaming in the process of reality creation and encouraged individuals to work with their dreams to that end. The readings noted that nothing happens in our daily lives that is not first dreamed. The soul that does not remember dreams is negligent in the process of reality creation. Naturally this ties in with the perennial belief in the precognitive potential of dreams as an opportunity to glimpse an event upstream, as it were, in dream time.
Dreams As Mirrors of the Soul
There are various types of dreams. A nightmare may result from eating foods that disagree with the system. A precognitive dream may warn of a danger to be avoided or conditions in the body that need attention.
Dreams can impart retro-cognition – remembering the past, even past lives in terms of reincarnation. Dreams can provide feedback on soul development as correlated with universal truths. Dreams can evaluate soul development. The soul takes stock of its progress, comparing waking life experiences with the ideal. Thus dreams function as mirrors of the soul.
Since every person has out-of-body experiences during sleep, dreams may reflect experiences that the soul has in other realms of consciousness. Dreams can contain messages from the higher self or superconscious mind.
Working with dreams is a simple matter of desire and application. Tell yourself you will remember your dreams as you fall asleep. Keep a pad and pencil handy on a nightstand to jot a brief note about a dream when you awake. Look for ways to apply the dream content in your waking life. Your dream life will blossom like a well-tended garden.
Just as peoples in ancient times treasured dreams as messages from the gods, dreams are still useful in the search for god. Sweet dreams!