Waking Dreams and Healing
Dreams don’t only happen at night. They happen in broad daylight as well.
I call these experiences waking dreams.
In waking dreams, just as in night dreams, we access our inner wisdom. We may see wild and uncanny imagery. We may experience synchronicity, deja vu, and serendipity. Sometimes characters that normally populate our night dreams begin appearing in waking life.
For instance, let’s say that last night you dreamed of an elephant.
This morning on the way to work you see a woman with an elephant pin on her bag. In your inbox is a picture of an elephant your friend sent you. And while you’re choosing wine at the store tonight, you reach for a bottle of zinfandel without even realizing it has an elephant on the label.
Elephant is trying to get your attention.
And it will behoove you to take notice, especially if the synchronicities come in threes (or more). Waking dreams have strong medicine, just like night dreams.
Obvious examples of waking dreaming are daydreaming and spontaneous visions. Other examples are creative reveries, meditative visions, and the various states shamans enter during healings.
Shamanic Healings as Waking Dreams
It’s this last example I’d like to focus on. After all, our theme this month is on rebirth and renewal, and shamanic healings can certainly rejuvenate us.
During healings, shamans, and sometimes even the healing recipient, receive dream-like visions that guide them throughout the healing. The shaman might see blocked energy, ancestral guides, damage to the chakras or aura, or they may be drawn back to a past life of the client that unfolds like a dream.
The shaman enters an altered state, sometimes through the use of a psychotropic, rhythmic drumming, breathing techniques, or meditation.
It is in these trance states that the shaman can travel to other worlds, see deep within a person’s energy field, and use the waking dream imagery found there to figure out the appropriate healing method needed.
In my own work, I’ve discovered that doing shamanic healings outdoors adds exponentially to the work’s transformative potential. When we’re not separated from nature by walls, massage tables, and traffic noise, amazing things happen.
After all, the outer landscape is often a reflection of our inner state and it has tremendous gifts to offer. It is not unusal for my clients to be drawn to a particular spot outside where they feel the most comfortable. Often it is because that location has special medicine for them: it’s a dream unfolding.
Some choose to lie in the sun with no shade for miles. Others prefer dappled sunlight. One person might want to lie next to a creek, while another might ask to be next to a flowering bush. The bright sun, the shade, the water, or the flower may have an energy the client is craving, something essential to their healing.
When they’re listening to the dream, they pick up on these subtle cues. They may not even know why they chose that location, but during the healing I almost always get a sense of what the landscape has to offer. Many times the local nature spirits and elements have a role to play in the healing.
For example, during one healing I noticed two huge trees sending streams of energy to my client as we cleared a deep ancestral wound. Another time, in the same field, a different tree sent healing energy to a woman as I cleaned out her fifth chakra, helping her reclaim her voice.
Additionally, I’ve witnessed energy flowing up from the earth and streaming down from the sky. On a few occassions, I’ve noticed nature spirits assisting me with a healing.
It’s all part of the waking dream, the imagery and messages coming forth to help the client.
Working a Waking Dream
When you discover you’re in a waking dream, whether as the result of a healing, a string of synchronicities, or a serious bout of deja vu, you can work with the imagery and energy just as you would with a dream.
Think about the characters showing up (the flowering bush, the elephant) and ask yourself what they mean to you.
Check in with your body. Is there any stiffness, pain, or discomfort? Focus on it and ask it what it has to say.
Pay attention to the setting. Look for details you might normally overlook. Just as in a dream, all the elements are coming together like puzzle pieces to create a larger image, an overarching message.
Write the situation out as you might write down a dream upon waking. See if telling the story of the waking dream helps you unlock its meaning.
Looking at waking dreams adds to the potency of dreamwork because it provides twice as much information to work with as you discern the messages coming from your unconscious and Spirit.
Have you experienced a waking dream? Please share your experience with us in the comments!