When you dream, you are not alone. Other inspirational dreamers hold out their hand to steady you along the way. Dreaming, we tap into the collective unconscious, and many layers of our dream’s meanings can be attributed to the group energy of our family, our community, our culture and society, and our world. So why then, do people think they are alone when they dream with the story going on in their head? Today, I’m going to show you how you can connect with other dreamers, be inspired by them, and how you can become an inspiring dreamer for others! Tall order, I know but very doable. PLUS… This is the first in a series on inspirational dreamers. It is my hope that you will see your dreams in their own exploration and know that you, too, can inspire others!
As you might imagine, I have a lot of books on the topic of dreams and I’ve been keenly studying dreams for about 25 years and I have never come across an author on the subject of dreams, that wasn’t first fascinated by his or her own dreams! So many dreamers think they are alone, until they share a dream with another person. When we share a dream, we find themes in common (teeth falling out dreams, chase dreams, naked in public dreams, unable to call for help dreams and so many more shared themes) and we begin to connect heart-to-heart with other dreamers. The moment you share a dream with another caring and respectful dreamer, not only do you find yourself relaxing in the knowledge that you are normal, but the one you share the dream with has an opportunity to offer you valuable insights that you might not see for yourself. In this way, one dream at a time, we create connections between dreamers-even if they never met before- that enable us to see the light and the humanity in each other. All that from sharing your dream!
I was first inspired by Jeremy Taylor’s book, Where People Fly and Water Runs Uphill, when I first came across it in 1997. It is still in print and republished and updated as The Wisdom of Your Dreams. As I read through it, I knew I would be running dream groups, despite the knot in my stomach. (That always happens and is my signal that the Universe is about to take me kicking and screaming down the next path!) But it was all good and 18 years later, I’m still running dream groups….thanks to Jeremy Taylor!
Reverend Dr. Jeremy Taylor, D.Min., S.Th.D. (hon.) is Co-founder and Past President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams (IASD), Founder-Director of the Marin Institute for Projective Dream Work (MIPD), Founding Faculty at the Chaplaincy Institute for Interfaith and Arts Ministries (ChI), Member of the Board of the Unitarian Universalist Society for Community Ministries (UUSCM)
Do you remember any childhood dreams? If so, what’s the earliest?
One of the earliest dreams I remember – perhaps I was five years old? – was of seeing an elaborate toy castle filled with exquisitely detailed Walt Disney character “action figures.” I was so excited, (and as it turned out, it was a dream that changed my life!) I woke up, filled with curiosity and boundless enthusiasm, and dashed off to tell it to my grandmother, whom at that time I actually believed knew everything… She listened to me tell the dream, smiled kindly, and said, “Oh, honey! It’s a dream – it doesn’t mean anything…!”
…and I was SO SHOCKED! I didn’t know what it meant – but I knew it meant SOMETHING! it was at that moment, that “the dominoes fell,” and I realized, consciously for the first time: “… If she’s wrong about THIS, what else may she be wrong about…?!”
I still remember it as the moment that I decided consciously, “… Wow! I’m going to have to take full responsibility for what I believe and what I know myself… I really can’t rely on the adults around me to tell me what’s true – no matter how smart and kind they are, or how much I love them, or how much they love me…” It was a profoundly shocking realization…
It was perhaps a little early in life to come to such a conclusion, but now, in my 70s, I still rely on my own conscience, and my own direct experience and evolving awareness – rather than other people’s beliefs and opinions – as the only reliable touchstone for what is true in my life.
When did you first get interested in understanding your dreams? How did that unfold for you?
As the above story suggests, I have been deeply interested in the multiple meanings and implications of my own and other people’s dreams for as long as I can remember. That interest has only deepened and grown over the decades. It is an interest that is stimulated, and to some extent satisfied, every time I remember and contemplate my own dreams, and also when I hear, see, read dream accounts and come in contact with “dream inspired” art and other expressions from other people. In fact, “projective archetypal dream work” became and remains the center of my professional, spiritual, and personal/creative life.
What role have dreams played for you in your life?
Deepening and extending my understanding and appreciation of, and my ability to give some sort of expression to my dreams in the waking world, as well as helping others to do the same, has become the main organizing principle of my life.
I have written several books about dreams and dreaming from this evolving perspective, (all of which are available online, in bricks & mortar bookstores, and through my website, www.jeremytaylor.com).
I am one of the original four founders of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, (IASD), along with Strephon Williams, Gayle Delaney, and Patricia Garfield. You can find out more about this exemplary organization at www.asdreams.org. I also operate a professional training and certification program for dream workers, the Marin Institute for Projective Dream Work, (MIPD). I also work one-to-one, and in larger gatherings, with dreamers all over the world – all of which which may also be perused in more detail and arranged through my website, www.jeremytaylor.com.
If you could give one piece of advice to those who are just starting to listen to their dreams would it be?
The single most important piece of practical advice to keep in mind about remembering and looking at dreams, (particularly your own dreams!), is that they always carry MULTIPLE meanings and implications – (no matter how obvious any one meaning or implication may appear to be upon first encounter). Everything in our dreams, (and I now believe in our waking lives as well!), always has multiple, often confusing, (sometimes even seemingly contradictory), meanings and implications.
The hardest thing for anyone to do is to see his/her own dreams clearly with “fresh eyes.” The original dreamer is the only one who can say with any certainty what his or her dreams may actually mean, but in solitude, without the ideas and projections of other people, each of us will remain uniquely and selectively blind to the deeper meanings and multiple gifts of our own dreams. This unique and selective blindness is particularly difficult to overcome with regard to our, (seemingly unquestionable!) emotions in the dream world. Ultimately, there is no more reason to take the emotions we experience in dreams exclusively literally then there is to take any other element of the dream literally.
That may not sound like more than “one piece of advice” but all of these points mentioned above are profoundly interrelated consequences of the one great truth about dreams: ALL DREAMS – EVEN THE WORST, SWEAT-POPPING, GUT-WRENCHING NIGHTMARES – COME IN THE SERVICE OF HEALTH AND WHOLENESS, AND SPEAK A UNIVERSAL LANGUAGE OF METAPHOR AND SYMBOL.
Another way of saying the same thing is that “the Magic Mirror (of dreams) never lies!”
4 Simple and Brilliant Ways You Can Become an Inspirational Dreamer Too!
Jeremy Taylors stories are both inspirational and similar to yours, right? Ok, maybe you haven’t written a book about your dreams, but he has the same dream stories just as we all do. Dreaming is a experience we all share. Here are some ways you can inspire others. I’d love to hear about some ways you have inspired others so please post!
- Share a dream– This is top on my list! The simple act of sharing a dream, connects you to others, gives you ideas and inspiration about your dream and your life and lets you know that you are perfectly normal, no matter how weird your dream images or storyline are.
- Honour your dream– Do something in your waking world to keep the message of your dream alive and well. It is so easy to forget a dream and its details and it’s just as easy to watch your insights evaporate into thin air. When we honour a dream- Putting post-it notes with the dream’s message on your computer’s monitor, doodling the images in the dream, writing a poem (+ millions of other creative possibilities) keeps the dream’s insights within reach of your conscious mind. And when it is in your awareness, that is the point of change. Transformation becomes doable.
- Call someone who just appeared in your dream- and say “Hey, I just dreamt about you!” Not only does it teach the listener that you value your dreams (and they can too) but it also says “I care”. Heart-Centered Dreamwork starts with a caring heart. Most likely that person appeared in your dream as a symbol or a projection of an aspect of yourself, so you don’t have to get too worked up imagining the dream is a precognitive message for them, just go with the synchronicity and have fun comparing notes. You never know but that person might have been dreaming about you too!
- Share what you learn. By now, you’ve probably read a lot of blogs on dreams, maybe even several books. Talk about what you’ve learned with your friends, as you continue to share dreams. You might even want to lead a dream group for your friends or advertise a new dream group in the community. Before you know it friends and colleagues will be telling you their dreams and you will be known as an inspirational dreamer!
Not sure where to start? The International Association for the Study of Dreams is it! The only organization of its kind, IASD welcomes dreamers of all levels, whether novice “lay” dreamer or experienced professional in the field and everything in between. Their annual conferences are magical, educational and inspirational. Check them out at www.asdreams.org.