The dark night

 

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Sadness, depression, anguish, anger, chaos, nightmare, disillusionment are all aspects of the dark night of the soul.

One can see them as aspects to avoid, supplant with loving thoughts or religious practice, or distracting regimens

OR

One can see these aspects as the dark side of the soul that brings to light its more positive aspects.

The soul represents all the spiritual aspects of our being, those that we like and those that we don’t. But regardless of our ego’s point-of-view about the soul’s values the soul will express itself, it will insist upon full participation in the world.

Our response to its activity will either enable its participation or hinder it and to hinder it is to limit our own growth and spiritual evolution.

To the believer who imagines that only love can bring spirit into being and thus pastes over or varnishes their darker aspects with thoughts of only loving gesture I say you will fail for even the power of love knows that it needs to make room for its darker cousin.

One must face the issues of life and death and the values existent within that life regardless of whether approved of in order to bring true love to their own being and the being of all else.

We are all tried in the crucible of the soul’s dark night. To seek consolation from without through religion, or rituals designed to eradicate the darkness often results in less than success. Facing the darkness and wrestling with it can be liberating from the constant struggle to eliminate it that is fruitless.

Many see the full expression of love as being divine in and a reflection of our true nature. This is true but the operative phrase here is, “full expression” not partial expression or only those expressions that we deem acceptable.

There is an inner wisdom being offered to the dreamer who dreams images of being threatened, attacked, killed, killing, or chased and hunted down by dark figures. All are shadows of the hidden self, the dark hidden soul wanting to be expressed and dealt with openly and honestly instead of suppressed and reviled.

Contrary to many so-called wisdom teachers the dark night is not necessarily something to be overcome but acknowledged and brought into the light and dealt with openly. Remember the old folk sayings that darkness comes before the light or the storm before the dawn? This is partly true in that it is often through personal struggle that ones true nature and purpose is revealed.

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But even with the best of intentions to integrate and thus grow oneself one can find themselves so immersed in the darkness that they cannot find themselves. For those who find they are thus trapped they may need the guidance, partnership, and counseling of one who knows how to work with the darkness and its integration with the light. I have found these guides in dream groups, spiritual teachers, psychologists,  and psychotherapists. All have helped in this journey to full expression of the soul.

Dreaming yourself into existence: Become lucid within your waking dream

 

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“I am going to teach you the first step to power,” don Juan said, beginning his instruction in the art of dreaming. “I am going to teach you how to set up dreaming.”

“What does it mean to set up dreaming?”

“To set up dreaming means to have a precise and practical command over the general situation of a dream. For example, you may dream that you are in your classroom. To set up dreaming means that you do not let the dream slip into something else. You do not jump from the classroom to the mountains, for instance. In other words, you control the view of the classroom, and do not let it go until you want to.”

“But is it possible to do that?”

“Of course it is possible. This control is no different from the control we have over any situation in our daily lives. Sorcerers are used to it, and get it every time they want or need to. In order to get used to it yourself, you must start by doing something very simple. Tonight, in your dreams, you must look at your hands.”

–Don Juan to Carlos Castaneda in “The Art of Dreaming”

 

Of course the shaman (or sorcerer) Don Juan was alluding to the phenomenon of lucid dreaming i.e. becoming conscious within a dream and being aware that you’re still dreaming. In this state one can actually direct the events and outcome of the dream.

But he could just as easily have been talking about what you and I call the ‘waking state’ dream, the every day activity that we call reality.

Most Psychologists believe that we all project our thought images (ideas, desires, expectations, judgments, feelings, fears, etc.) onto the events and images of the world around us– there’s a world of objects and events and then there’s what we make of those, what meaning we give them and how we then respond to that meaning.

Basically we make up our own reality, it’s true! Research on the accuracy of witnesses has shown time and again that what was seen is often not what was actually there i.e. the mood, attention, and past experiences of the witness affects what is reported.

Even the choice of words to describe an event is affected by the witness’ past experience with those words. Ones experience about another persons ethnicity, age, size and physical features all contribute to the reality reported.

Unless properly trained in the art and science of observation we create our own reality and even then such things as unconscious motivations and undetected prejudices will affect the reality created.

Dreams are like this as well. They are the images, feelings, and symbols of our unconscious mind playing out in our unconscious sleep state and the unconscious attributes of ourselves that creates a reality within the dream. To interpret them in the waking state requires a conscious understanding of ones inner symbolism and how that is projected onto the outward reality. This is not an easy task and very often requires the aid of observers outside the mind.

Dreams are all about symbolism, the meaning projected onto to each image, each event, and each person, or animal in the dream. This is also the reality of our waking state in that we almost never see reality for what it is.

In short, you and I “dream” our reality into existence. We may actually always be dreaming.

And just as with the lucid dream within the sleeping dream one can create ones meaning and outcomes beyond those that the waking dream seems to be presenting. For example, if you don’t like the current events of your waking dream life, then change them, create another reality, dream another response set to the reality about you. In other words, become lucid within your waking dream– start noticing that you are indeed asleep, then wake up!

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For more on Lucid Dreams try this link: http://www.driccpe.org.uk/portfoliocat/luciddreams-psycho-spiritual

 

 

 

 

Nightmares, Night Terrors, and fear in dreams

 

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By thinking about what each dream element means to you or reminds you of, by looking for parallels between these associations and what is happening in your waking life, and by being patient and persistent, you can learn to understand your dreams.

Nightmares are very common among children and fairly common among adults. Stress, traumatic experiences, emotional difficulties, drugs, medication, or illness often cause nightmares. However, some people have frequent nightmares that seem unrelated to their waking lives. Recent studies suggest that these people tend to be more open, sensitive, trusting, and emotional than average.

Recurrent dreams or nightmares, that can continue for years, may be treated as any other dream. That is, one may look for parallels between the dream and the thoughts, feelings, behavior, and motives of the dreamer. Understanding the meaning of the recurrent dream sometimes can help the dreamer resolve an issue that he or she has been struggling with for years.

Some people experience extreme feelings of fear in their sleep. As opposed to nightmares, which happen during REM sleep, night terrors or ‘incubus attacks’ occur during stage four of sleep. Unlike nightmares, which we often remember as movie-like dreams, those who suffer from night terrors can rarely explain what they were dreaming of, other than that they experienced an extreme sense of fear.

However, when they do remember, spiders, snakes, animals, people, paralysis, or an evil presence in the room are often featured.

Some sufferers continue to hallucinate when they wake, which can cause some to become violent, either as a response to their dreams, or in an attempt to run away. The cause of night terrors is thought to be increased brain activity, or a chemical reaction that makes the brain ‘misfire’. For many, medical treatment is necessary to help them cope.

Note that in children any night terrors tend to dissipate over time with most children no longer experiencing by the time they reach their preteens.

For more on nightmares you might want to consult the following link:

http://thedreamingwizard.com/nightmares_304.html

Another link that looks at nightmares is a March 15, 2017 posting on this blog:

https://darkknightofthesoulblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/15/nightmares/

If interested in exploring this further go to this blog’s “search” box (to be found at the bottom of any posting page after clicking on the title of any posting) and type in “Nightmares” and several posts dealing with dark dreams will come up.