Monday, October 13, 2014

Dreams and Processing Your Issues Through Your Subconscious

For a number of years, my sleep was a kind of warzone. So many issues were getting churned through that I'd awaken exhausted in the mornings. The way I coped with this was through a very dedicated morning meditation. After meditating for a half hour, then I'd feel like I'd had a full night's sleep. This subconscious spiritual processing wasn't a whole lot of fun, and it was part of an opening series of years where old pain and issues were being brought up into the light for me. And every part of me had to grapple with it, explore it, embrace it, and release it in their own way, including my subconscious.

Many people have a very different relationship with their dreams and subconscious. You may already use it for guidance. You may enjoy your dreams more casually. You may use lucid dreaming, or you may not dream much at all. In the context of a spiritual awakening, you may have your current relationship with your dreams dramatically changed. If you find that you are processing a lot of issues through your dreams, you may really feel like you've been thrust into the ocean without a boat. The subconscious is a powerful place with its own unique depths to plumb. There's all kinds of imagery and feelings that need to be interpreted in their own way if they need to be interpreted at all. If you are in awakening or a significant spiritual shift of any kind, I generally encourage some level of interpretation so that you can let any lessons that your subconscious is attempting to teach you integrate into your waking awareness.

The Shifting of the Dream World

Perhaps you've had a very settled dream-world for your whole life. No, I am not referring to the made-up ego world we have in our waking days, although there is definitely some truth that that is a dreamland as well. I'm referring to how you sleep at night. You probably have had a regular set of themes that pre-occupy your dreams if you dream much. Different types of insecurities, hopes, desires, fears, and other things have probably played out in front of you sleeping eyes for years. Then things start to shift.

With any amount of spiritual work, we are dipping into some of the beliefs and issues that underpin and create our dreams. We are stirring up the waters, and our subconscious naturally responds. Sometimes, the subconscious responds more quickly than the conscious mind because it is a very sensitive and subtle place. We also have much less control over it, so we can't squelch our emotions and perceptions there the same way we do in our waking life. Gradually or suddenly, dreams change their themes. They can become darker or lighter. They can become more upsetting and turbulent. A lot of time the fear of the unknown becomes a prominent player in all of this because as issues start to be unearthed, you may not feel like you don't know what's going on or what you'll find, and that can really disturb your sleep.

Letting the Dreams Do Their Work

As with most things, allowing things to arise is really important. Let your dreams work themselves out. I think for some people that they may get into too heavy-handed of analytical interpretations or manipulation through lucid dreaming to attempt to stop this inner night-time turbulence or understand it all. But dreams are very deep stuff. They aren't just offering you new or old ideas with which to grapple. They are speaking to a lot of core feelings, body sensations, and energetic impressions as well. So especially if you are new to what is arising, just let it do its work for awhile. Things will unveil themselves, and if you are having trouble feeling rested in the morning, I encourage you to meditate. If you are going through shifts at night, you meditation will feel amazingly refreshing and reinvigorating. I can also make additional suggestions for energy support if you need them and meditation isn't enough.

The All Popular Dream Journal

Those of you who already have a strong relationship with your dreams probably already have a dream journal. But for those of you who don't, I encourage you to start one. As you get more or less comfortable with the arising of new types of dreams and inner processing at night, writing down the themes of what is going on can be illuminating. As I said, I don't really encourage you to do this immediately. Some of the initial dreams that come up are just the beginning, and as your nights and weeks go, you'll have a better sense of the themes at work.

And I really encourage you to work with your dreams in terms of themes. The specifics of something tend to miss what the dreams are telling you because dreams rarely work in specifics. But if they occasionally do speak to you this way, understanding the broader themes around them can give you a better sense of what messages you're sending yourself through your subconscious.

Dream themes are things like:

  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of pain or physical harm
  • Fear of death
  • Anger for a past wrong
  • Desire and lust
  • Feeling vulnerable or exposed
  • Happiness
  • Excitement for something, and so on


While there are common specifics like showing up for work naked, it tends to be more illuminating to look at an issue such as this as a theme. The theme here is often a feeling of vulnerability. From that theme, you can look at how you are or are not vulnerable. You can look at what vulnerability means to you, and you can look at how you are creating your life around this one issue.

Cranking Up the Nighttime Intensity

As more issues churn up during awakening or a spiritual shift, the intensity of your dreams can increase. I don't really have a recommended way to defuse that other than to continue to embrace the shifts during your waking hours. Sometimes the subconscious takes over when our waking mind won't engage with an issue. As many of you know, you can't deny issues inside of yourself to make them go away. That simply represses them. For those of you who've had a spontaneous awakening, you may have an ego that is used to repressing everything as a matter of course. It's just how you've been doing things. To attempt to make your nighttime slumber a bit easier, you have to let go of the repressive personality. You will probably do it a bit at a time, but my experience is that the more fully we embrace these shifts in our waking moments, the less likely the subconscious will need to step in to address the unaddressed issues.

However, I can't say that you still won't have a lot of intense dreams. As I've already said, every part of us has to integrate into this awareness, and this is unique to each of us. In truth, most of integration is a disintegration of old pains, issues, fears, angers, sadnesses, and so on. We dissolve the desire, hatred, attachment, obligation, and so forth to melt into the perfection that we already are. Perfection doesn't mean we don't have issues, blindspots, and upset feelings. It simply means we fully embrace who we are now. Most of our issues are derived from the fact that we are rejecting parts of ourselves, and that creates and perpetuates countless issues.

Dream Revelations

Spiritual revelations come in many places and at many times. A little bit of lucid dreaming (where you are conscious enough to interact with a dream) can be helpful in being able to sort of think about emotional, mental, and physical themes that you are sensing amidst the actual dream. But even if this isn't available to you, having a dream journal can help you to open up to revelations that are coming to you through dreams. Sometimes, a dream will be so clear that the revelation is right in front of you. I encourage you to write it down or record it in some way (video or audio recorders are just as good as journaling for many people). In this way, you are letting that inner mining process bring up that gold from down below and you are taking it out into the light. Any time we can allow this type of process to teach us, heal us, and expand us, the spiritual path tends to get a little bit easier. Don't worry if this doesn't happen for you however. We all walk the spiritual path in our own unique ways, and a spiritual awakening and its subsequent shifts are no less individual.

Dreams That Aren't Dreams

Then there are the dreams that aren't dreams. For some of you, spiritual shifts or awakening can open up your psychic abilities. I use the term "psychic" in a broad sense to include a wide variety of abilities. I consider intuition to be the essential cornerstone of psychic abilities. When you can clearly intuit things about yourself, you can more clearly interpret the psychic information to which you may have access. Thus, if your dreams feel like they are actually happening, they may actually be happening out on the astral plane. Some people may feel completely lost by this gift if it suddenly bursts forward. However, it, too, is another way to process and release pain, and just like dreams, it should be seen as an important step to bringing greater awareness into our waking here and now. If we let it stay confined to the astral plane, a lot of the energetic knowledge and wisdom that you're tapping into will stay out there. It can create a very strange feeling of separation and displacement. It can aggravate a common feeling among psychics of "wanting to go home." If you've had this feeling, you know exactly what I'm talking about here.

But we are home here on this world at least for now. And now is such a short time period, so if we want to really enjoy it, we need to bring our wisdom down to earth. That means understanding conceptually (because understanding on the astral/energetic plane of existence is not the same as conceptual human thought). We need to understand it emotionally, and we need to understand it in our physical life. In that way, out-of-body experiences (also know as astral projection) become powerful tools for self-growth, which you can further hone as you find greater and greater comfort in those abilities. With practice, you will be able to decide when you want to go out of your body and where you want to go. But let me emphasize that this isn't a spiritual tool meant for joy-riding. There's also sorts of karma and lessons that you'll have to learn about if you get caught up in doing that.

The Settling of the Subconscious

As with everything else, this space will settle down as you integrate into this space of "I am," this space of presence. We're not meant to be in this kind of intensity our whole lives, but it may take awhile. It may take months, years, or longer. That's because everyone is different. You're not losing your mind at night (no more than if you are having lots of stuff coming up in the day). Your subconscious is simply grappling with your shifts and the healing that is needed in its way. Let go of any concern about this, but also stay engaged with what is coming up. If you're trying to just get through it all, that will prolong it because you aren't fully engaged with it. Eventually and gradually, sleep will return to just being sleep again. Your dreams will calm down, and perhaps, a lot of the old themes that have been in your dreams may be gone. The subconscious does become a renewed inner landscape, so it will continue to be a rich field of evolving self-discovery. But at times, you may want to just have a good night's sleep and leave off all this spiritual work. And at that point, that'll be okay too.
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