Dreams – Random Imaginings or Gateway to our Spiritual Selves?

Copyright 2004, 2012 by D.E. LamontLittle-Understood and Mysterious, but Part of Us All

Everyone has their own ideas of what dreams are, and what they mean – if anything! Dreams might be the most often discussed yet little understood phenomenon common to all humans – though animals also dream. Certain professions claim dreams as their exclusive turf to define and label – but seem to want to insist that dreams are always symbolic. That is nonsense.

What Are Dreams?

Though superficially dreams seem similar one to the next, not all are of the same character. Dreams can actually be many different things, from a random creation out of imagination and experience with no additional significance, to a spiritual experience that is actual. At times they seem to offer a door into an unexplored and supernatural realm; sometimes they offer a glimpse of incredible beauty. While most seem to be happenstance, some appear not to be. Here are some of the things dreams can be:

  • Random creations of a person’s mind, recombining experience and imagination. This may be the most common type of dream. When remembered after awakening, often the events, objects and concepts make no sense at all, even though they made perfect sense in the dream. Some concepts can’t even be expressed! This is a fascinating aspect of dreams. The way I figure it out is this: if you suppose that each human being has his or her very own self-created spiritual universe, completely apart from the physical universe we all interact in, composed of the mind and anything else the person has put there, then it is possible to see that events, ideas, and objects can be created within that universe which bear no relation to our own, and can’t even be expressed in physical universe terms.
  • A reflection of troubling or threatening events or ideas, or of delightful, pleasant or exhilarating events or thoughts, changed, mixed and magnified in the mind
  • A reflection or elaboration of some actual incident or thought the person had while awake
  • A response to a person’s conscious desire to dream about something specific, such as the creative development of a storyline that a writer wishes to explore. When I am in the frame of mind of creating stories, I sometimes dream a story. Sometimes I am viewing it as an outsider, and sometimes I am participating in the story!
  • A recollection of an intense or beautiful experience or ability from the person’s distant past – even a past he doesn’t know he has, such as past-life existences. Over my lifetime, I’ve had vivid dreams in which I had the ability to create in art forms I didn’t know in real life. I have vividly dreamed of singing improvisationally in an intensely beautiful, otherworldly manner; I’ve improvised beautiful music on the piano; I’ve danced in a medieval castle with such grace and power that I literally flew; I’ve felt love as a spirit in an amazingly intense manner never felt while awake. From all of these dreams I gained a new reality: a wonderful sense that, having had these dream abilities and experiences, I had the potential to experience these sensations and abilities for real.
  • A perception of one’s own spiritual universe, or those of others. When a person sleeps, it’s possible that his/her abilities, normally limited to those of their body’s senses  when awake, can expand unfettered. In such a state, we can be in someone else’s presence, and perhaps share the thoughts and images of their own mind/universe.
  • A trip to another place as a spirit during sleep (out of body, or through viewing at a distance). A couple of times, with my body asleep, I have found myself inadvertently in someone’s private space where I shouldn’t have been (OK, someone’s bedroom!). In one instance, the person became aware of me and demanded to know what I was doing there! It sounded like they were yelling, though it had to be thought transference.) I hightailed it out of there and awoke in my own bedroom! I have also felt myself (as a separate awareness) floating distinctly above my sleeping body that was lying in the bed – a most wonderful sensation.
  • A communication from another person to the sleeper via the thought wavelength, where the recipient receives the communication in thoughts and images during sleep. A type of this kind of dream is a lesson sent from a spiritually aware person or teacher to the sleeper, in moving, living images in the dream, such as in story form. Such experiences can be interactive, containing 2-way communication, with both the teacher and the recipient affecting and changing the images in the dream.
  • A dream foretelling events in the future. I believe it is true that some people have the ability to foretell the future. But I am personally not interested in this ability, because I also believe we all have the ability, even if not always realized, to change and direct our futures in directions we determine. We need not fear the future, because it is ours to create. 
  • A symbol of some existing condition or omen of a future event in the dreamer’s awake life. Here we get to symbols – things in dreams that stand for or mean something else. For example, different cultures or groups may have traditional understandings about dreams and what they mean. These understandings, being widely agreed upon in the group, therefore do prove true among their members, even if untrue beyond that culture. An example is one group’s belief, told to me by one of its members, that if a woman dreams about fish, it means she is pregnant. She related several personal experiences in which that actually had occurred. Her comments were a revelation to me, because it showed that the nature of dreams varied widely from person to person and group to group, and may indeed be carried along with a person’s culture.

As you can see, dreams can be useful and revelatory. They can provide us clues to our own spiritual natures that might otherwise be difficult to experience on our own. All that said, I have realized something very important about this subject.

We shouldn’t let ourselves become too caught up in thinking about dreams, introverting into them or our own minds, and in trying to understand them or assign meaning to them. We should always prefer the real world by doing our best to live a vital, full, rich existence in it, filled with actual communication, face-to-face with other people and facing the real environment around us. We should live and love in the real world. We should put away the smartphones whenever we can and develop interest in and relationships with the real people around us. Therein lies the real satisfaction and happiness of a life well-lived.

All the best!

D.E. Lamont

Read my illustrated novella, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening.

Copyright 2012 by D.E. Lamont. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

How Takoda Taught Tacu: Learning Through Observation, Experience & Practice

 

American Indians have always had many ways of passing skills, knowledge and wisdom about life to their children. America’s First People knew that observation, experience and practice were essential in preparing young tribe members to participate in tribal life and excel in their skills.

One of the most interesting and effective ways was to take each child out into the plains, the mountains and the forests to observe. Anything could be observed – an animal, its tracks, the clouds over the mountains, birds, rodents, game, deer – anything could be watched until the child attained certain knowledge of the way that that thing or animal behaved. A child came to see for himself how things in nature worked, and he or she discovered how to apply that knowledge to their lives. 

In my book, The Way of the Eagle, the young brave Tacu has been instructed to stay out on a grassy hill all day until he learns the lesson waiting there to be grasped. His teacher, Takoda, has challenged him further by withholding from Tacu what sort of lesson he is supposed to learn. So Tacu must use all his powers of observation as he lies there, to try to discern what Takoda wishes him to learn. Eventually, as he attunes himself to his surroundings, he learns something quite important and realizes what the lesson was about. Even better is the fact that he had to discover it all himself, requiring him to exercise his powers of observation and his mind, both of which allowed him to heighten his awareness.

When American Indians learned a physical skill such as hunting with a knife or bow, or preparing slain animals for eating and other uses, practice was the key. Relatives or someone skilled in that art showed the child how to do it, and the child spent many hours and days practicing that skill until he was adept at it. As soon as he was good enough, the child began participating in that activity for real, and was able to continue learning and improving through direct experience.

These methods of teaching were natural, arising out of experience and common sense—they worked and they were so innate that they were simply a part of everyone’s early life. We can look back and realize how essential they were, because it is obvious how well these methods enabled them to survive and flourish in their environment.

Education was not compartmented away from daily life or any other aspect of life in the same way that modern Americans and Europeans separate education from work from recreation from religion. In the current U.S. system of public education, the greatest amount of teaching time in most subjects is spent having children read textbooks to get information and/or having them listen to a teacher verbally pass along information. While these methods are effective for some subjects, only in a few areas of study is the students’ time devoted to actual observation, handling and operation of the physical objects concerned with the subject being taught, such as the American Indians did. 

When children are kept away from the real objects of life though they are being expected to learn about them, they can give up in frustration. They aren’t allowed to relate the subjects they are studying directly to the real world they will eventually have to use them in. While trying to study, they may experience all kinds of uncomfortable physical or mental symptoms simply as a result of being denied the real objects and actions of the subject they are learning about, at the time that they need them. They often give up in frustration.

These difficulties and others are called the “Barriers to Study” and are explained in the work of educator and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard in his educational development, “Study Technology.” This is an easy, workable method for locating and resolving problems students encounter in study. Study Technology describes three primary barriers to study, and the one we’re talking about here is the “First Barrier to Study: Absence of Mass.” Mr. Hubbard explains this barrier in this way:

“In Study Technology, we refer to the mass and the significance of a subject. By mass we mean the actual physical objects, the things of life. The significance of a subject is the meaning or ideas or theory of it.

“Education attempted in the absence of the mass in which the technology will be involved is hard on a student. 

“If you were studying about tractors, the mass would be a tractor.  You could study a textbook all about tractors, how to operate the controls, the different types of attachments that can be used – in other words, all the significance – but can you imagine how little you would understand if you had never actually seen a tractor?

“Such an absence of mass can actually make a student feel squashed. It can make him feel bent, sort of dizzy, sort of dead, bored and exasperated.”*

I think you can see why it’s likely that the First Barrier to Study, “Absence of Mass,” was rarely if ever experienced by early American Indian youth— and also see that this learning concept explains how my character, Tacu, was finally able to work out and understand the lesson Takoda had given him. He was surrounded by and immersed in the objects, plants, animals and overall environment of his world, and had a strong desire to discover what it was that Takoda wished him to learn. 

You can find out what the other two barriers to study are, and how to deal with them, here. They apply to anyone of any age attempting to learn any subject. 
_______________

*Excerpted from “Barriers to Study,” by L. Ron Hubbard, from the website Scientology Handbook, located at http://www.scientologyhandbook.org/study/SH1_2.HTM

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D.E. Lamont