Australian Aboriginals have a concept they call “Dreamtime” (or, more accurately “The Dreaming“). Very loosely speaking, this is the infinite spiritual cycle that parallels our reality, influencing & creating it. It created the world we live in, and continues to live on, in the present & the future.
Now, what’s even more interesting is the reversal they have from how we view reality. In the west we believe that our waking life is our “real” (ie, objective) reality, whereas our dreaming life is only subjective. Aboriginals believe it’s the other way around. The Dreaming is what’s objective, and this experience we’re living in is only the subjective reflection of that.
A mural thought used to teach Aboriginal children about dreamtime. Pic by Damian White
Of course, there’s an enormous difference between the beliefs of the oldest living culture on the planet & us as individuals, however, let’s push ahead regardless & see what we can find. Here’s a dream I had yesterday:
I’m hanging out with friends, in a movie theatre. Before the show starts there’s a comedian, a magician. He’s giving out CDs. He gives them to the row in front, then when he gets to my row, he does a sleight-of-hand trick to not-give them to me, and my friends. He then continues with the row behind, giving them out, and across the aisle. Then I notice they’re MY CD’s he’s giving out. A friend comes back to sit down, and her face is covered in some kind of drug or other (I have no idea). She has so much that she doesn’t care she’s covered in it. Then we all go out driving.
So we end up out in the country. I muck about a bit, then end up on the phone with a good friend of mine from London. She’s complaining that I’m not working. There are spiders & very bizarre, but large, insects all over the floor. Another call comes in. It’s my Mum, & she wants to talk to my brother. They talk, then Mum hangs up, which somehow cuts me off from my friend. I ask my brother about it, but he doesn’t really know what’s going on.
Just for the hell of it, let’s segue out of that, and pretend we didn’t see all the bolded bits.
Now, let’s also pretend, for the sake of the discussion, that there is some relationship between our dreaming life & our waking life.
There are many obvious pointers to this being true, of course. Our dreams often include people we know (friends, family), situations in our awareness while waking (stress at work, relationship problems, etc), and the visual metaphors commonly used have been interpreted for thousands of years to find satisfactorily explanatory parallels in our waking life.
It’s a fairly common, although recent, psychological understanding that dreams are our brain’s way of “unwinding”. Chaotic signals occur in various bits of the brain, which is then interpreted into the images that we “see”. Loosely translated, it’s our brain “talking to us” using pictures.
Ok, so we accept that our dreaming life is (in whatever way) a reflection of our waking lives. Now what?
Well, if dreams are our brain’s way of talking to us, why not use them to talk back?
Why not use that dreamtime to really, genuinely, just like the Aboriginals believe, affect our waking experience?
So, you know, I’ve been doing this.
Whenever I wake from a particularly vivid dream, I immediately heal (I use tapping & a few other things, but anything would do the trick) on anything that I felt strong emotion about. Doesn’t matter what the emotion is. Doesn’t matter how ludicrous the imagery. I don’t interpret anything. I’m talking back to my brain (maybe), or healing the dreamtime (maybe), but either way, I use exactly the imagery that’s been provided to me.
I deliberately pretend that whatever I’ve dreamt is real. I relive it, feel it, as strongly as I can, and heal while doing so.
So, in the above dream, all the bits in bold had strong emotions (some identifiable, some not) attached, so I healed on them. Pretty obviously, there’s feeling of deprivation, loss, self-recrimination, and so on – and, of course, similarly obvious parallels with those emotions in my own waking life.
Much less obviously, all the bits that are bold cleared things. A lot of them. I still really have no idea what was healed, but it was definitely many, many things. Much of it lead spontaneously to much deeper issues I wasn’t aware of. More interestingly, all of it was surprising. I wasn’t aware that I was even thinking about any of this while I was awake.
Now that I’ve healed I can definitely see, in hindsight, those thoughts & feelings I was having that I no longer am, that directly relate to things I healed on. Plus, of course, there’s a bunch of other stuff that I know has gone that I simply can’t put into words.
I healed my dreamtime, and my waking life has changed, noticeably, significantly.
I still haven’t answered the question, “Which is more real, dreamtime or waking life?” or even “Which is the objective, which the subjective?” Maybe I never will, but one thing I know for sure, those Aboriginals are definitely onto something. Even better, we don’t have to know or even care which is which to use it as a tool to significantly improve our lives, both dreaming and waking.
I’ll tell you something else for free. Every single time I’ve healed a dream’s imagery, that dream has never come back.