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Three Ways to Use Your Dreams to Gain Inspiration and Clarity

Feb 5, 2008
Often one of the biggest obstacles to getting into (and staying in) Spiritual Integrity is our conscious mind. Our mind has been trained to think in a particular manner. It assigns meaning to everything and analyzes incoming data to match the assignments it makes. This constant analysis does not leave room for intuitive insights, spontaneous actions, or appreciation of the mysteries of life.

In addition, the mind has been trained to judge everything: good or bad, right or wrong. This black and white thinking makes it difficult to deal with a fundamental fact of life: everything changes, and nothing stays the same over time.

The ultimate expression of Spiritual Integrity is being able to choose in each moment what will open us the most to the Divine. To do so we must be totally present, not filtering based on the past or holding expectations for the future. Being present is not a job for our habituated and dogmatic mind. Thus we must tap other states of consciousness to find our integrity, and then make decisions and act from these states.

Integrity in the Dreamtime

For thousands of years, shamans, mystics, and holy seekers from every culture have relied on their dreams as a source of inspired information about the meaning and direction of life. The dreaming state is beyond the conscious mind; it taps the depths of our selves and our connection to Spirit without the filters of time and space imposed by the conscious mind.

Brain wave research has shown that when we are dreaming our brain functions express a different frequency of energy called alpha waves (beta waves are our normal conscious awake frequency). In an alpha state different information is available to the mind and different associations can be made that bypass the habitual reactions of the conscious mind. At still slower and deeper levels of consciousness we find theta waves, the frequency of deep sleep or meditation where even subconscious patterning is released into stillness and Spirit.

By deliberately attending to these deeper states of consciousness we can put forth questions we have about integrity, Spirit, or life direction and receive guidance that is more powerful than what we access with our conscious minds.

Dreaming Practices

1. Kirtan

The Hindu tradition has a practice called Kirtan that involves singing songs to different aspects of the gods and goddesses. Bring this practice into your dreaming by singing throughout the night, staying soft and open, and deepening your connection to Spirit through the singing and music.

Stay up as late as you can, chanting softly and continuously. As you tire, the chanting takes a greater effect, altering your consciousness to be more in alignment with and connected to Spirit. Stay open to any information or vision about your life that comes to you. When you go sleep at the end of the practice, continue the chant in your mind and into the dream space. Carefully note any dreams that arise during the night.

2. Mitote

The Toltec tradition of don Miguel Ruiz has a dreaming practice called the Mitote that involves chanting and sleep disruption to access these deeper states. The sequence of activity is as follows:

o Set up an Altar
Set up an altar with objects that remind you of the questions you have and the types of feelings that you want to feel as you move through your life. Light a candle on it that will burn throughout the night. Meditate in front of the altar, setting your intent to get the answers you need to move more into your integrity.

o Chant
Chant or sing a slow song for half an hour, allowing yourself to be totally absorbed in the chant and the candle flame, letting all questions go and experiencing whatever arises without judgment. Then for a few minutes journal any impressions you had during the chanting.

o Sleep, Wake, and Remember
Go to sleep for a couple of hours. As you fall asleep hold an image in your mind that represents the question for which you are seeking guidance. When you wake up write down any dreams you remember. Don't analyze them; just write enough that you can remember them later.

Repeat the cycle of sleeping for two hours and waking to note your dreams until sunrise. Then sleep without any purpose or intent until you need to wake up.

The information and experiences generated by this practice can give you deep insights into your life and what needs to change to bring you more into integrity with it.

3. Dream Seeding and Dream Bridging

Dream Seeding

o Spend 30 minutes meditating or contemplating the questions you have and quieting your mind until all that exists is the desire to get guidance from Spirit.

o Then do something unrelated for 30 minutes: read, watch TV, take a walk, etc.

o Go to sleep with a journal ready to record any dreams you have during the night.

o Any time you wake up, during the night or morning, immediately write down what you recall about your dreams, even if it is just a color, person or scene.

Dream Bridging

Build and strengthen your connection to the dreamtime by honoring the information you receive with action. Read through everything you wrote about your dreams and pick something you can act on during your day, today. For example

o If you dreamed about a person, contact them and tell them your dream. If that is uncomfortable, talk with them about any topic, listening carefully to what they say and honoring it as a response from Spirit to whatever issues questions you started with.

o If a color appeared as significant in a dream, dress in that color, buy something of that color, eat food that color, or do something else to bring that color into your waking existence.

o If you dreamed of a place, look it up on the Internet, call someone you know there, or put a picture of it on your altar.

By consciously bringing elements of your dream into your waking world you honor the information and connection to the dream. The dreams become an important part of your life, and the information begins to flow freely between all your states of consciousness, bringing you closer to the flow of life around you.

Working with dreams is a powerful way to get beyond the filters of the rational mind. It allows for a fresh perspective on obstacles and problems in our lives, and gives us an opportunity to connect directly to Spirit without the analysis that usually accompanies our waking state and often distorts the information we get from the Divine.
About the Author
Raven Smith is dedicated to sharing powerful shamanic tools to help you live your purpose. He is a mentor in the Eagle Knight lineage of don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. Raven co-authored Spiritual Integrity and runs Spiritual Integrity Coaching with his wife, Heather Ash Amara. He also wrote The Recapitulation Workbook.
Read Raven's articles on shamanism.
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