“Dreaming isn’t just what happens during sleep; dreaming is waking up to sources of guidance, healing and creativity beyond the reach of the every day mind.” – Robert Moss
Ever since I was a little kid, my dreams have been different than other peoples’ dreams. I certainly have normal dreams too, the mish mash of random things showing up based on what movie I watch, flying dreams, falling dreams, teeth falling out dreams, etc etc. But I also have other kinds of dreams that until age 12, I thought everyone else had too.
In this post, I am only going to refer to two specific kinds of dreams. Metaphor dreams, which everyone experiences, and then the not so common memories-of-other-lives-I-lived dreams. Yes as in I can access memories of being other people. However, I didn’t realize for a long time that they were other timelines/aspects of me that I was accessing.
Now to clarify, these dreams aren’t the fun “ooh I dreamed I was a vampire badass” or “I was a superhero and I could fly” dreams, no. These have a distinctly different feeling and knowing to them. These dreams would wake me up in the middle of the night sobbing with the intensity of the emotions that I was re-living in the dream, emotions that I was feeling because I had experienced the situation in the dream, not emotions felt from empathizing with a sad movie for instance. It’s the difference between feeling sadness from watching somebody you know lose a loved one, and actually going through the painful experience of losing someone you love.
For a long time I thought that everyone had these kind of dreams, so I didn’t really think too much about it other than I knew that those experiences were part of what made me who I was; why I was so compassionate and non-judgemental of other people and why it is so easy for me to put myself in someone else’s shoes. I understood at a very young age that the world was never black and white, never easily classified into right vs wrong. I was never mystified at why some people make the choices in life they make that others cannot quite fathom, I just knew that you could never judge someone’s choices until you had walked in their shoes. This “knowing” or understanding of pain was what gave me what I recently heard someone say was “a light and upbeat personality with a heavy soul.” That’s exactly how it felt. I carried around grief and pain that I couldn’t explain and that most 5 or 6 year olds thankfully don’t experience. But because I still assumed that everyone else had these “dreams” too, I never thought too much about them or talked about them.
Until I was 12, that is. I knew that some of these weren’t just “dreams” but I didn’t know what they were. I finally asked my mom about it one day because something about one of these experiences stayed with me. I could tell there was something significant about it, but I didn’t know what. So I asked her “you know those dreams where you’re other people?”……she looked at me weird and said “no, what do you mean, I’ve never had a dream I was somebody else.” Oh. It was in that specific moment I realized that it wasn’t something that most other people experienced and I made a mental note to never mention it again.
Fast forward about a decade. Most of those “experiences” up to this point were fairly innocuous. I would be re-living moments where I was just cleaning the log cabin I lived in, or I was plowing a field, or sailing on a ship, nothing spectacular really happened. Or, I would have this inner knowing that something awful was going to happen in the “dream” and I usually knew what it centered around (rape, violence, murder, abandonment etc) but I would wake up before having to actually experience it. But then, something changed and I started having those experiences where I did go through the entire experience in my dream state.
In one of them I was a school aged girl, probably around 15 or 16, I “knew” that I was in a country somewhere in Europe, felt like England, and I was at a boarding school. I was standing outside with two other girls who were supposedly “friends” and I was wrestling with a heavy secret. One of my teachers was raping me, and I felt suicidal and alone. I was debating on whether to tell them, and decided to do so, after all they were my friends right?
In this particular life, I was a straight A student and they had always teased me about being a teachers pet anyway, but when I told them about what was happening, they attacked me. They shamed me, they called me “slut”, “whore”, and they were laughing at me. Laughing! Then they told me that’s probably why I was getting such good grades, that I was responsible for him raping me, that I probably wanted it and if I was feeling suicidal then I should just do it. Words can never truly do justice to actually going through the experience of this. I was overcome by emotions of shame, guilt, and loneliness, betrayal and feeling unworthy and unloved. I suddenly jolted awake and was sobbing uncontrollably. My boyfriend woke up alarmed wondering what was going on and I told him about it. I don’t think I had ever sobbed like I did that day, viscerally feeling all the intensity of the pain that that other aspect of myself experienced as it if had just happened. It was completely and utterly devastating and I remember it vividly.
In another one I was a woman again (many times I am a man), of middle eastern descent, I was Muslim and married to a rich Muslim businessman. This lifetime felt much more modern, very current. He was an abusive man and I escaped him after coming to the US because I knew of a terrorist connection he had and I used the information to have him detained. He told me he would kill me, he would find me, torture me and beat me to death.
The scene then jumped forward to me being in hiding somewhere isolated in the mountains. I was an abused woman, I had never known any different. My sense of self esteem was non existent due to the culture and environment I was raised in and subsequently married into. But what stood out the most, out of all the horrible feelings of shame, guilt and fear, what was even more horrible that those already overwhelming feelings was this…hopelessness. Abject despair and hopelessness. I had never (in my current life at least) ever felt what it felt like to feel truly hopeless. Even the word doesn’t really do it justice in trying to describe it to people who have never truly felt it. Most people have experienced grief, despair and depression. But complete hopelessness is something else entirely.
There have been several other experiences like this, usually horrible in some way. There were some where I was a rapist, countless ones where I was an abuser of women, and some that were even worse, but I won’t go into them here. It was that particular dream/memory though, the experience of what it felt like to be completely hopeless that made me say enough. Up to that point I believed that at some point the meaning of the dreams would come, an explanation, a reason. But it never did.
I never ever wanted to feel like that again, and I didn’t understand WHY I was having those dreams, what they were, and why nobody else seemed to have them. So I finally said out loud to the universe or whoever was listening that that was the last straw. If I couldn’t help these people, if there was nothing I could do about those situations then I didn’t want them anymore. I put my foot down. And they stopped. For a while at least.
Years later, after I began my own spiritual journey, began exploring and accepting myself more, accepting my intuitive abilities more and exploring all manner of metaphysical topics and sciences, the dreams began again. This time though, I was better prepared. I had a wealth of information and massive resources in areas that were better suited to help me decipher just what exactly I was experiencing. There was a book my sister gave me on out of body experiences, and that seemed much closer to what I had experienced but it still didn’t quite fit.
Then I met a gifted intuitive who would later become my dear friend and she told me I might be experiencing soul retrievals, memories of other lifetimes that were seeking to be healed or reconciled in order to bring myself back into wholeness. Wait, you mean these people are me?? In hindsight it seemed so obvious. Something finally clicked into place at the conscious recognition of that truth.
We explored several other lifetimes through regression hypnotherapy and with this added tool, I had a much clearer understanding of what the purpose behind my ability to recollect these memories was and I began to welcome them. I understood that they were actually a gift, not a curse as I had thought before. And I could use this knowledge to help others with their physical and non physical struggles to help them connect the dots in their own lives in order to better enrich their own experiences. I recognized that after the initial trauma and overwhelm of reliving those experiences, I actually felt lighter. Even my physical body would drop weight after one of these sessions. I felt more at peace, and more whole. I retained the wisdom of these lifetimes but had allowed the trauma to alchemize and be released from where in my body I held them. Both in my physical body and energetic body. I also noticed that certain recurring patterns in my life were suddenly non existent. Family, work and intimate relationships shifted for the better. New doors and opportunities arose and I began to see every occurrence in my life through new eyes. These “dreams” were tools to assist in the healing process, and I began to connect the dots between our current physical and emotional states and life patterns and the initial “imprint” that was rooted in our past life experiences.
The most common form of communication through dreams comes through what I call metaphor dreams. It is interesting to note that the Aborigines and many other ancient cultures believed that what we consider to be our waking state is actually a dream state, and our sleeping state is actually when we are awake. It is when we have access to divine knowledge, knowledge from our ancestors, and knowledge from our own divine selves trying to help us navigate our daily lives.
Everybody has these dreams. Some people say they do not dream, but it is more likely that they are simply not remembering doing so and that is quite common. These dreams tend to reflect your current emotional states or events going on in your life. They also “warn” you when something is not right but you are willfully or sometimes subconsciously not seeing it. Think of these dreams as your inner self trying to keep you connected with the truth of who you are and how you feel about certain things.
For example, ever had a dream where you were chained or bound in some way? Ask yourself what part of you is feeling restrained or oppressed. What is going on in your life or what relationship are you in that is causing you to feel less than free to be you?
What about dreams where you are in some kind of disaster situation or impending disaster? Try asking yourself what part of you is feeling fear or anxiety about the future. What is going on in your life currently that is triggering fears of uncertainty or anxiety? Are you facing decisions about what to do about your job, or relationship? These are just a handful of possible causes for dreams such as those.
Dreams can certainly be tricky because sometimes you can’t tell the difference between an actual “warning” from your subconscious self and a metaphor. For example, if you’ve ever had a dream that your partner is cheating on you, this could be literal, and you aren’t listening to your intuition while knowing something is not right, OR it could be a metaphor for a deep seated fear and wound you have surrounding abandonment or betrayal. It could also be a manifestation of a subconscious belief that you aren’t worthy of being loved the way you wish to be loved. Only you will ultimately know which category your dream falls into. I cannot stress enough just how important journaling about your dreams is to helping yourself heal, resolve and/or release traumas or subconscious sabotaging beliefs. You’ll usually know which category your dream falls into based on your emotional reaction to considering each option. Though again, sometimes we are so closed off and numb to feeling the feelings involved that we can’t even access our real feelings in order to decipher what is true. It takes practice.
One of the most effective ways at uncovering what is ready to be healed and addressed is by using your anger as a compass. I use a technique I call “The Alchemy of Anger” in my own practice with clients as I have found it is one of the fastest ways to get to the root of something. A simplified version of this is to ask what triggers you? That is the beginning of the bread crumb path you can follow to the truth of what is underneath your anger. And it is always pain. Pain and fear. From there, start journaling and see where it leads you. If it dredges up lots of emotions, it’s a sign you’re on the right track.
In our society we are very disconnected from ourselves and have been raised this way unfortunately. Not out of any conscious attempt, but out of a lack of knowledge. You see evidence of this disconnection here in the US all around you reflected in our health and obesity epidemic. We are told to not be emotional, stop crying, be logical, suck it up, get over it, and on and on. Unfortunately this creates an imbalance within ourselves as we begin to associate our emotions as somehow bad, wrong or not valid. This then subconsciously sends us the message to second guess ourselves and not trust ourselves. This disconnects us from ourselves and as a result sometimes one of the only ways our compartmentalized self can communicate with us is through our dreams, when we are most open.
If you don’t usually remember you dreams but wish to start remembering them, simply put your attention there. Before you go to bed each night, say to yourself, “I want to remember the messages that my dreams are trying to communicate to me.” And then follow it up with the action of having a pen and paper by your bed to write down anything that comes through. It takes some practice, but eventually your soul/inner self will take this as an invitation to begin having more of a dialog with you. You are sending the message that you are willing to listen.
I personally found that waking up and turning on a light and grabbing a piece of paper and pen required me to come too far out of my dream state and I would almost instantly forget most of the dream. So I use a voice recorder. I keep my eyes closed which helps keep me in that in between state and I remember many more details than when I try to wake up to write things down. Be aware that your conscious “logical” mind will seek to make sense out of your dream almost immediately and spin the story altering some facts. So don’t think about what you are saying, just speak everything with your eyes closed. You’d be surprised to see the difference in the message when you go back and listen to an unfiltered version of your dream however illogical it seems initially. I also found that hearing myself speak it out loud can suddenly make things click and make sense.
I’ve had several instances where I would vividly remember a dream and be pondering it all day, trying to figure out the message. And then, only when I speak the dream out loud to a friend, does the message finally click. And many times, quite literally.
There is no one person who can truly interpret your dreams for you. You are really the only one who can know. But sometimes friends can give you insight into how they are interpreting it, based on what their intuition tells them, or what they can see more clearly than you can since you are obviously emotionally involved in your own life and sometimes can’t see things as objectively. So talk about it with a friend, hear their perspective, consider it, and it if doesn’t resonate then it’s not the message. If something about it does resonate then that’s your cue to begin to dive into it a little deeper. I highly recommend journaling about whatever theme the dream seems to be bringing up because it works a bit like breadcrumbs or onion layers and it’s trying to lead to the initial “root” of whatever is coming up to be addressed. And if it is coming up, then it is ready to be addressed. You can’t ever force a healing, it will come naturally on it’s own. But you CAN be conscious about being truly open to whatever messages are coming to you, no matter how ugly or uncomfortable they may be. And of course, seek out professional help if you come across any particularly traumatic issues that you need assistance in dealing with.
The real you is a beautiful, whole, and amazing divine being, powerful beyond measure. There is really only the illusion of being fragmented or disconnected from ourselves or the divinity within us. The reality is that there are only compartments or “doors” to ourselves that haven’t been opened yet. We are on a journey of experiencing duality in order to better understand wholeness. There’s no right or wrong way. And ego is not “bad” it is a tool. Our shadow self is every bit as important (and really more so) than our “light” side because that is where our greatest gifts and opportunities for growth are hidden. Each path is beautifully unique. Use the tools that work for you. All different kinds of tools. All we can do is our best to follow our own path, harming no others in our process, and learn to have a more conscious awareness of the divine beauty and divine love that is inherently us.
Sweet dreams my friends.