Archive for the ‘Dreams’ Category

Four Elements in Dream Analysis

October 29, 2008

Most of the cultures and religions in the world have classified spiritual energy into four categories which are  the heart, mind, body, and spirit.  Jesus said, for instance, that we should love God with all of our heart, mind, spirit, and strength.  In dream language or mythological language such as in native stories the four types of energy are most connected with one of the four elements.   The heart is connected to water, the body or one’s strength to the earth,  the mind  with light and fire, and the spirit to the air.  When you have a dream, what you can often do is to look to the elements that are most significant in the dream and then realize that those represent the areas that the spiritual world is calling on you to develop.

The spiritual world only ever requires that you work on one energy at a time so when a dream presents one of the elements, you can be certain that that particular element is the one you need now.   So if, for instance, your house is on fire in a dream, you can be certain that something is wrong with the qualities of your mind. The mind is supposed to be a source of illumination which requires a metaphor like a candle or other positive forms of light.   Your dreams will try to get you to develop the spirituality of the mind which include things like patience, calm, tranquility, and detachment.  When you have the spiritual qualities of the mind, then guidance and intuition seem to pour in easily.

If you have water in a dream, the first thing that can come to your mind is the need to focus on your relationships.   Water has so many forms in the world because the heart has so many qualities it needs to develop.   It is the least understood of all the elements because it is often associated as a feminine rather than a masculine quality.   It is the quality most spoken about in all of the religions of the world and yet is virtually non-existent in schools.    There is a lot that can happen with water in a dream.  It can be a flood, a tidal wave,  a storm, a rough sea,  a babbling brook, a placid lake,  a drink,  or a fast moving river.    When you have a water dream, it is important to note whether it is positive or negative.   If it is positive, then the dream will be encouraging you to recall the quality that is associated with the dream.    If you are white water rafting and having a great time,  then the dream may be asking you to reach out more courageously to others.  If the you are going down a wild river hanging onto a board and frightened to death,  then it could be a symbol that your relationships are just completely out of control and moving to fast.

The element of earth comes into the dream world when you need to have the qualities associated with strength such as fulfilling your commitments, staying with a project to its end,  developing abilities and skills from the ground up, and doing things that are extremely difficult.      The earth is the most solid of the elements so you may find that you are having difficulty climbing a mountain, which would be associated with having difficulty reaching a goal.  Cars are one of the forms of transportation on the element of the earth which symbolize trying to get from one place to another such as trying to become more competent in your work.   If your car breaks down or someone else is driving it,   it means that you are having difficulties getting to where you want to go.  You could run out of gas or be reckless and crash, or someone else is directing your life and career rather than you.     This element tends to be the one most praised by the culture as we know it because when someone is reliable, trustworthy, and hard working it makes everything in society work better.    Leaders who are concerned about their position at the top will love this quality in their workers, but when it comes to the next quality, air, they will likely be very threatened.   I am absolutely certain that the reason that the earth is so popular over the others is that it isn’t a threat to autocratic leadership.

Air is connected to the spirit which is represented in qualities like enthusiasm, optimism, idealism, vision, courage and hope.   Some of the common dreams involving air are flying dreams,  dreams where you are falling, and dreams with lots of wind.    Air is a lot like the heart, in that it isn’t often taught, but it is much more threatening because it is associated with doing new things which people interested in keeping the status quo do not like.

Here is a list of things which each element that you might want to explore.

Air

Flying is often associated with freedom of action

Airplane is a medium in the air so it represents using your air-like qualities such as lightness and enthusiasm to accomplish goals that are new and a bit more radical.

Falling usually means falling from grace.  Falling from grace comes from not trusing in the Spirit as an extremely positive force that is always supporting you regardless of whether you deserve it or not.   Falling comes when you feel like you don’t merit things.

Wind usually tends to hold you back from rushing forward toward your vision.  The wind should be at your back instead of in front of you.  When you analyze a wind dream, imagine it at your back and then just let go of your hesitation.

Tornado is a symbol of how people take a small rather insignificant thing and then spin it until it becomes really destructive.   Tornados are what incompetent leaders use to get into power.  They find small things in others that are negative and spin them in others ears so that others get really fearful and make that person the leader.   Tornados happen where the values are more earth like the prairies.   They tend to pay attention to small things that aren’t true rather than investigating them fully.

Hurricane is a symbol of leaders who are trying to be god-like.   The association with God is that they originate in the ocean.   This is the same as a cyclone.  Hurricanes let you know that the relationship with God is being replaced by a leader who wants power.   When you dream it, it is a warning.

Fire/Light

House on fire- many people have this dream when they try to use thinking all the time instead of other energy like relating energy.   The mind needs to cool to think well and be objective.

Light:  generally light is the source of illumination.   The negative side of light is darkness which is the absence of light.   When things are dark, it means that they need to be illumined with light.

Candle:  a candle is a soft light which is what you often need to find guidance or answers as opposed to really bright sunlight which may be overwhelming to the mind.   People often meditate to candle light because it has a way of letting you go inside and find answers.  The biggest mistake with the mind is to fret about finding an answer.   Many people don’t realize that the spiritual world will guide you when you need it and will withhold guidance when it is unnecessary.  It is part of the formula of trust.

Forest fire:  a symbol of how wrong thinking destroying growth and uprightness.

Unlike other elements where there are means of transportation associated with the energy,  the element of light requires remaining still.

Water

Tsunami:    Cultural negativity in relating such backbiting, gossip, and criticism that is sustained by extremely negative and authoritarian leadership.    The opposite and positive force is encouragement which is sustained by finding positives in others and acknowledging them.

River:  raging river with a bridge is the problem of getting from one place to another in your life by crossing over lots of angry people.   The key to successfully dealing with anger is to not get pulled into the river.

Ocean:  The ocean is the symbol of the world of God because of its vastness.   A violent sea represents being out of relationship with the Creator.  I often substitute the spiritual world for the world of God. In my mind they are interchangeable.

Glass of Water: is a symbol of getting in relationship with oneself.   When you are thirsty in the desert, you are out of relationship with self.   The great majority of people are chronically dehydrated which has something to do with not being able have a positive relationship with themselves.

Shower is about cleansing oneself or purifying oneself.  Trouble showering means having trouble with motives either your own or others.

Toilet is the place where you let go of negativity that comes in and is meant to flow out.

Rain is a symbol of for what you to assist relationships to grow.   A drought is not enough relationship and a torrential rain is too much relationship.

Earth

Transportation on the earth:  many dreams in this realm are about moving from one place to another such as climbing a mountain,  driving in a car, going on a train, riding a motorcycle,  running, walking, biking.

Progress is made on the earth through effort.  When you are in the air and traveling like in a plane it is effortless, but on the earth you need your determination to go from one place to another.   Much of what happens is overcoming obstacles like big boulders or rock cliffs to scale.    You develop in this area through lots of repetition, doing the difficult thing,  always developing new skills.   If you are in a foreign country where they don’t speak your native tongue, then you need effort by practicing the new language a lot.

Earthquake:  your life if being shaken up, which means you need to get on solid ground.

In the next post I will write a little about buildings such as houses.   I would love to hear your dreams so please feel free to write me when you want to know what they mean.

A Child’s Dream is Often an Insight into Society

October 27, 2008


“I was going down stairs to get some water. On the way down a statue of cats came alive and were staring at me.  Down stairs there were two purple jaguars circling around me.  Om my chair there was a sleeping lady with Ron from Harry Potter.  wrapped around her arms and Ron said, “If you wake her up she will kill me.” I said, “what” and then the lady woke up and killed Ron!! Then I woke up.

Most things in dreams make absolutely no sense to the rational mind except the major negative emotion which is, in this case, fear.    It shows the main problem of our time that is a warning to this young 9 year old.   I don’t think that dreams of 9 year olds are meant to be analyzed metaphorically by themselves, but the fear is meant to felt so that they can recall it to someone who may help them through the process.   Unfortunately, it is a communication form that is only beginning to be understood so most children have little guidance about what is going on around them.     This dream starts by the boy going downstairs to get some water.    When you go down in a dream it usually means going to your lower nature rather than your higher one.   Going to get some water means that he is thirsty for a relationship.   The problem is the almost universal problem of young people in the world today.  They go to their lower natures, their ego,  for a relationship rather than their higher nature.   When this is done, their lives end up in fear and separation.

As he goes down the things that were statues come alive and start circling around him.    Animals in dreams can either be negative or positive.   When they appear as negative symbols, then the dreamer can turn his live around by finding their positive opposites.   The negative side of cat in a relationship is its aloofness and turning away from others, and the negative aspect of the big cats is their aggressive nature to tear into others.  The dream tells him that if he takes to his lower path that this is what he gets, aloof and distant relationships or really aggressive and abusive ones.   The final symbol is the mother figure who becomes a killer of a famous fantasy character when she is wakened.

A mother is supposed to be nurturing in real life,   but, in this episode, because he was taking the low road, he doesn’t get nurtured, he just sees horror.  The fantasy character lets him know that he imagines really bad things happening when he is on the low road.

It is often easiest to solve a dream by going backwards from the end of the dream rather than forward.  In this dream he ends up in a situation where he is  witnessing the death of an imaginary character.   This means that he can take the first steps to nurturing positive relationships and feeling alive and positive by being in the real world rather than the imaginary one.   This seems to be a major issue with all of the cultures of the world today.   Because the majority of relationships are built on material values, people slip into a destructive world of imagination rather than being real.    Children are just modeling their parents by slipping into things that distract them from real life.   Parents cannot moderate their children because they, the parents, do the same thing.

So the first step for most people and for this child is to be spend more time in the real world rather than in fantasy land.   It is not that Harry Potter is a bad read,  it is just that our culture spends too much time with him because we have become so atrocious at friendship and love and nurturing.   So then once you can get into the real world of friendship,  then you can take on the positive characteristics of the animal symbols, which in this case, would be to create a circle of friendship and pounce on goals that are positive.   The final symbol, which is the cats staring and being statues, is to be like a positive cat, which is to be independently minded.

What I do to get the symbols to become positive is to take their negative energy and flip them around to the positives.   So a statue of a cat would be like having the capacity of to think independently, but just not using it at all because it is much easier to just go into fantasy land rather than real thinking.    Real thinking is to be able to have opinions and discussions about real problems and then solving them.   And you can only get to the point of being able to have true discussions and openness when there is a circle of extremely positive relationships.

As we remember, the first part of the dream was to go downwards to get the water, which means taking the easy or material way to a relationship.  So the key, which is mostly non-existent in schools and in the world is for people to really desire excellence in having positive relationships.   Most people just do not want to put in the effort that a relationship requires.  They want it easy with the other side giving them lots of rewards.   So the main key to turning around the world culture is to be able to have a strong desire for working on relationships and on staying with the effort that is required.   It is not meant to be easy, but this is exactly what this child expects.

Sends your dreams to richardchastings@gmail.com and get started on change.

Journey to the Mountain Top in Sabah

April 7, 2008

Sabah is a federal territory of Malaysia, not a state in its own right. It is like the Yukon or the how the Northwest Territories used to be in Canada. It, like Sarawak is located on the northern part of the island of Borneo which Malaysia shares with Indonesia.

We arrive in Kota Kinabalu, K.K. to the locals, on Monday. I had just done a half marathon they day before in KL and the with the marathon of a school year coming to the final months, you can say that Debby and I are close to the wall and tired. Our plane is delayed a couple of hours so by the time we check into the Beringgis Beach Resort it is already 11:00 pm..

Beringgis has a long beautiful flat beach and even though my legs are still recovering from the half, the sand and surf invite me in for a run along the empty beach with the jungle on one side and the South China Sea on the other. It is a relaxing way to begin another adventure holiday.

beach run

Debby wants a day to relax at the beach, so I give her 2 hours before we are off on first adventure to the Garama River to see three different species of monkeys in the lush rain forest that covers the island. Our guide is a 3:15 marathon runner and because he sees my KL half t-shirt we spend quite of bit of time talking about races in Malaysia, the most famous of which is the climbathon up to 4,100 meters a top Mt. Kinabalu.

guides on the river

Later in the journey we will climb the mountain, but now we are in boat for a few hours along another beautiful river in Southeast Asia. It doesn’t get much better than this as they say. Along the way we see proboscus and silver-tipped monkeys as well as macaques. Sabah is a wonderland. It has some of the greatest wildlife adventures on the planet including some of the best scuba diving, which we will have to put aside for another holiday.

grubs big nosed

silver tip

The river trip is quite relaxing and the dinner afterwards looking over the wetlands at sunset fills us with the kind of emotion one hopes to find on a holiday. Quite magical.

sunset dinner

The next morning we are off early for a three day adventure which will take us to the highest spot in Southeast Asia. We stop at one of the local handicraft markets. Debby finds a great bag to carry more things made from the local native people. In the mainland of Malaysia the mix of cultures is Malay, Chinese, and Indian, but in Sabah the majority of people are a mixture of native tribes, like in Sarawak, followed by Chinese, Malay, and Indian. It gives Sabah a different feel, a bit more laid back. The lines between the cultures seem more blurred here and model of integration much further along. Later on, when I am interviewed at a local newspaper, my eye is struck by the interest in integration in America, which moves me, but for now Mt. Kinabalu lies ahead.

Later we have a great nature hike done by a local Chinese botanist who describes the science in the rain forest. Many of the ferns mirror the rain forest of BC and because we are at about 1500 meters now the cooler air begins to resemble our west coast of Canada. We follow the ecology walk with another great lunch, a trip to Poring Hot Springs where we leisure in the healing waters and walk along the canopy of the jungle.

flowers nature hike

butterfly gardens

You may notice or not that Debby is quite joyful and relaxed on the canopy and I am not.

canopy

It is just one of those fears that sneaks up on me so I tell myself that no one is dying and that makes it a wee bit easier. That night we stay in dormitory-like hostel at the foot of the peak in preparation for the next morning up the slope of the mountain. We have a chance to visit with a couple living in Mongolia working for the Peace Corps and then are off to bed.

hotsprings

By 6 am we are awake, 6:30 packed up, and by 7:00 am we are eating breakfast. At 8:00 am we register for the hike and meet our guide.

mountains in the morning Beginning

Andrew and Debby

His name is Andrew, 42 years old, he has two teenage boys, and is a member of the local native tribe of which most of the guides are. He is more like an angel sent to help us every step of the way. In three years he has been up the mountain more than 110 times so he keeps telling us in Malay slow and steady, slow and steady. The first day up the mountain peak begins at the Timphonon Gate which is about 1800 meters and climbs to 3100 which is 6 kilometers from the starting pointing.

Difficult, tiring, grueling, never-ending, painful, excrutiating, continuously upward. These are just a few of the adjectives to describe the first day. Mt. Kinabalu is impressive because like other high places where native people live, it is regarded as a sacred place, and so it doesn’t surprise me when I am with the Baha’i community in KK doing a presentation on dreams that several people share dreams with the mountain in it. The trail is well kept up with covered rest stops every kilometer, not like the snow-covered trail up Crown Mountain in Vancouver, but most of the way up I am thinking of my climbing partners, my son-in-laws, Chris and Shane, and how much they would love to be ascending the Mt. K.. Debby was not feeling very well in the morning and the climb proves more difficult than she had hoped, but in her true character, she musters up every bit of self discipline and determination to reach Laban Rata, the hostel 6 km up from the start. Notice the woman carrying the 20 kilos on her back and passing right by us.

day one end woman carrying goods

sunset laban rata

Because she has had diarrhea and a quezy stomach she is not able to replace the glycogen stores along the way so makes the decision, wisely not to do the summit the next day. By the time we reach the first day’s end we have already made several new friends including a young English couple, a couple for Holland, and a brother and sister from California.

Of course everyone is about the age of our children. People our age usually don’t do this kind of thing. Well there is one man and woman other than us who have some gray hair. We must be crazy, but the fellowship of pain is quite comforting and the dinner quite a welcome. At 7:30 pm we are all in bed because we have to wake up at 2:00 am to make the final 2.5 hour climb of 1000 meters to the summit. Sleeping at 3000 meters is fitful because of the lack of oxygen and many people already have headaches and are feeling nauseous. Debby shivers for awhile and then finally gets to sleep. I know that I have slept because I have a few dreams, but it is not without a lot of tossing and turning. The wake-up call comes and I am nervous but also excited.

Now it is just Andrew and myself and every step of the way I am thankful for his help. I keep thinking of Shane and Chris and hoping they get the chance that I have. Climbing at night with a flashlight is a bit of blessing because you don’t have to see how high things are. The first 40 minutes are quite vertical and I am thinking that if I have to do this for another 2 hours that I am going to be spent, but by the time you reach 7 kilometers of the 8.7 things begin to level out and the hike changes from grueling to joyous. I keep thinking to myself how joyful I feel and how wonderful it is.

At 5:30 am, 30 minutes before sunrise we reach the summit. I will let the pictures do the talking because I think they say it all.

top of the world Andrew Richard

sunrise

Climbing down a mountain always seems like a piece of cake but after a couple of hours of descending one step after another, your thighs go wobbly and so by the end you end up with legs that say thank you, thank you, for stopping. Now 2 days later, the mountain is still a strong memory in the thighs. Every step on a staircase is felt. We have a great buffet waiting for us at the bottom, but I am entirely spent after it. I sleep for part of the trip back to KK.

way down

When we arrive at the hotel downtown, we find that we only have a couple of hours before I am presenting on dreams to a group of Baha’is in the city. My mind and body say no, but the spirit beckons. Who am I to say no to it. Doing a presentation is a lot like climbing a mountain. Before the experience I always have nerves and wonder if things will go well, in the middle I just stay focused and keep presenting, and at the end have some moments of satisfaction. What is so interesting about this meeting is the openness of the people and how willing they are to go after the issues that are presented in the dreams.

Some of the Baha\'is at the Dream meeting

My worry before a meeting is always about the resistance, but in this one, there is no resistance whatsoever. Since a great deal of the community is culturally Chinese, the dreams reveal the weaknesses of Chinese culture, which is mainly about looking for the negative in others rather than the positives to try to get more improvement and then making people fearful of something bad happening if they don’t follow the path that everyone else is on. They are extremely receptive. Fortunately Baha’u’llah’s teaching emphasize over and over and over the importance of inclusion so one of the leaders in the community encourages the native Baha’is to share their dreams, and as always happens their dreams are the solution to the Chinese problems. This is the great Baha’i teaching that including diversity solves the problems that any culture is having. By the time the meeting is finished it is 11:00 pm. So I have been up since 2:00 am the same day and I am buzzing from the meeting and the day’s hiking adventure. What a day! Am I dreaming this? The next morning I am up early again because Kang, one of the local Baha’is, has arranged two interviews with newspapers. So here I am, only 5 days earlier having set foot on Sabah with no plans to do any meetings and now because of Debby’s initiative in calling some of the local Baha’is, I am now doing interviews for feature articles in two newpapers. I must be dreaming. Well both interviews go really well. In the first one the reporter asks me about a dream of her mother who has passed away some time ago and when I explain my understanding her eyes fill with tears, which come to her unexpected especially as an objective reporter. Life continues to be an astonishment. While she leaves the room I notice a framed copy of the front page of an old newspaper with the name Kennedy on it. I ask myself if it could really by about JFK, but think it is probably about a Kennedy in Sabah. So as I approach I notice that the date is May, 1963, just a few months prior to his untimely death. The article is about him delivering anti-discrimination legislation to the Congress of the United States. Later , the reporter asks me about what I think about Obama becoming president. At first I am surprised by the question and I tell her that the Baha’i teaching is to not become involved in partisan politics because they tend to be divisive, but then say, with JFK hanging up in the background, that it is quite incredible that a man who is both black and white could reach the highest office in the U.S.. My eyes begin to well up and I cannot explain the emotion. I explain to her that I did not expect to be so emotional when she asked the question. A day later as I think of the Kennedy article on the wall, I realize how much hope the world had with JFK, that even on the island of Borneo, what he attempted to do is revered. We are truly one planet and I know I am living in a dream. The rest of the day I am meeting with several people about their dreams and difficult issues in life. I look forward to my return, climbing the mountain once again, and hoping that I can help people up the mountain peaks of their lives.

“Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday.” (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 138)

Magic of Children’s Dreams

March 14, 2008

“About a week ago I dreamt that I was flying and then I went on an amazing adventure and it was so wonderful. And then suddenly, in my dream, I went back home and something terrible happened. It woke me up and when I tried to go back to sleep and remember the great adventure, I could only remember the terrible thing.”

This dream was told to me this morning by an 8 year old girl in my wife’s grade 3 class. Debby invited me in to speak about dreams to her children for about an hour today. They just kept telling one dream after another mostly nightmares the whole time and when I had to leave, they just begged me to stay longer so that they could share a few more dreams.

I started the post with the adventure dream because it happens to so many children and so many people. It is really worth writing about. When I explained it to the them, I told the girl that flying and having an adventure meant that inside of her, the part of her that relates to the future is very strong. Flying and adventure are symbols that relate to the future. Lots of children fly in their dreams and they love going on adventures, but what happens to her is what happens to a lot of real life dreams that children have.

When she goes back to her home, something terrible happens. If I would have had the time, I would have taken her aside and asked her about the bad thing in real life. She almost told me in front of her friends, but it is easy enough to guess. Most likely it is the terrible thing that happens to many children, the separation of their parents. In her true self she is a strong adventurer, but like most children, what she needs to keep adventuring is a strong support and encouragement system at home so she can be that way. When something terrible happens, then children get stuck in the past, in the memory of the terrible thing, and then they fear it happening more, and then they can’t venture forth very well.

A positive future works well when the past is supportive. Parents and grandparents represent the past for a child so when they are supportive, then the child can move freely into the future as if it were a great adventure.

This dream shows the difficulty of childhood. The only thing that really holds her back is the bad memory of the terrible thing because she believes that the terrible event will keep her from going forward in life. It doesn’t have to prevent it, but it is difficult to convince a child that. What she needs is adventures, as do most children, because that is where they get all of their new learning. If you know children who have had bad things happen to them, all you really have to do is be there with them to take them into wonderful places in the future. The more they do in the future, the more that they can understand and be told that bad things happen all around, but they can be left behind and then they can move forward in really positive ways.

That is a great lesson for me also. Ok I am off to an adventure tomorrow, but first I am going to leave a bad memory behind.

How Dreams Reveal the Existence of a Spiritual Dimension

January 26, 2008

Not long ago I received this communication from someone who I have never met.

Hi, I am from Ohio. Something very strange happened to me…….I had various dreams last night and in one dream there was a guy named Richard Hastings(that’s me). Richard Hastings had told my husband the world was ending soon (“didn’t you see the two clouds of smoke? The world will be ending soon” )…I asked my husband (in the dream) who is this Richard Hastings and he pointed you out in a restaurant I remembered the face & name. This morning I told my husband, sister & house cleaner about this dream and the name thinking I probably saw the name & face on TV……my house cleaner said to google the name…….When I got to work I googled Richard Hastings….Thinking I would pull up a political anaylse because I watched the Iowa Cacusus last night before going to sleep. But low and behold I pulled up your bio and it was your face in my dream and your name. I was shocked to say the least. Have you ever been on TV??? How could your face & name be in a dream I had unless I saw you somewhere before………Is that possible??? I know this sounds really odd….
There was a factory explosion yesterday at ethanol plant in our town…….that still does not explain your face & your name in my dream.
And I also watched the discovery channel during lunch yesterday about clouds left behind by jets. So if you could clear up why your face and your name was so vivid in my dream……..that would be great.
I was pretty excited about receiving this dream because I’m a big unknown personality in the world of TV and politics, but in the dream world I seem to be quite well known. She expected that Richard Hastings was very renown, but she saw me in the dream and thanks to the technology, she could validate that the person in the dream was actually me. Her question is about how is it possible?
This is a relatively easy question to answer when you believe that the dream world is a spiritual phenomenon whose purpose is to awaken and release the positive potentialities that lay hidden in every human being. When you need a certain positive quality like being closer to the people in your life, the dream world sends you constant messages that give you vital understandings to develop the quality. If you heed the message in the dream, and then change your life accordingly, everything always gets better. If you can also believe that the spiritual force that controls the dreams is compassionate and all-knowing, then you can understand that dreams are perfectly suited to you and your situation in life.
When you try to explain the dream that this woman had in materialistic terms such as thinking that she would have already had to see me in the real world, then the dream world becomes rather meaningless. People who have become engulfed by believing only in material reality, because they can not understand an anomaly like this particular dream, tend to disregard dreams altogether. By believing that the dream world wants your very best and will always send you the messages that you need, you can make a great deal of accelerated growth.
How is it possible that she could have seen me in the dream world when she had never seen me in real life? It is very simple to answer when you understand that dreams are outside of the laws that govern time and space in the material world. You can go forward or backwards in time in a dream, and you can also travel without ever leaving your bed. If the dream world wants her to see me, it is fully capable of it because its powers and abilities are far beyond what any of us are capable of communicating or understanding.   Last night I was flying in my dream and it felt so real that I was sure that I could do it, but when I awoke I am faced again with gravity.
In the dream she sees me in a restaurant and I tell her that the end of the world is coming.   What she doesn’t understand when she awakens is that the end of the world in a dream does not mean the end of the entire human race, but I am telling her that the end of the world as she knows it is going to end. This means that a brand new world is ready to open up for her if she heeds the message in the dream.
The spiritual force that is in cooperation with her spirit simply uses me as a way for her to realize that there is a greater force that is capable of things that she has heretofore, not allowed herself to believe.    When she can begin to contemplate the power behind the dream world, then her life as she knows it will be over.  She will then, also be able to nourish herself in a new way that will benefit herself and others.
I am simply in the dream so that she understands that the power of the dream world is far beyond what she would have ever imagined and that you can not explain it by material means alone.
Many people have stopped relying on spiritual forces in favor of the material because of the way orthodox religious structures have so tried to control people’s minds by putting themselves in place of the spiritual world.   They act as if they are the all-knowing ones and, in so doing, have turned millions of people toward materialistic beliefs.    What is important to understand is the spiritual forces governing dreams are truly beneficent, wanting only the best for you.   This is the key.

Cambodia: A Wayfarer’s Journey

January 4, 2008

wayfarer.jpg

It is hard to imagine another place in the world that has suffered as much since the 1970s as our neighbor to the North, Cambodia. Barely a decade has passed since the series of invasions and the horrific civil war have ended. As we are flying into Siem Reap (literally Siam Defeated) my expectation is once again altered as in every other new country that I have ever entered. The airport visa system is extremely well organized and efficient, the airport new and attractive, and the money exchange process quite easy.

We arrive on Christmas Eve, take our first adventure with a Muslim driver, in a country that is 90% Buddhist, and whose greatest attractions are largely Hindu. The gentleness, warmth, and togetherness of the people make it difficult to imagine the millions who were slaughtered by their own hands. Peace is a great blessing to a country and being in Cambodia on Christmas in a peaceful place is a great blessing for us. Santa couldn’t find reindeer in Cambodia so he came in an ox-cart.

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Tonle Sap Lake is the home to floating villages. It is poor for sure, as we enter we pass house after house 3- 5 meters off the ground to protect from the rising waters in the rainy season. We are in the dry season but there is still enough water for the floating structures. Debby and I are the only passengers on boat designed for about 12. The young children are in school making the universal noises that they make everywhere in the world. What is different about these children is that there school house is floating in the water, buildings on barges. Even the basketball court is a floating structure. tonle-sap.jpgThe houseboats are simple structures, the life even simpler, but Debby and I notice almost simultaneously, the bougainvillea and other flowers on the smallest of places. Beauty and its attraction does not belong to the rich. It is found in all classes. It is a lesson that will test me again.

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I am writing this journal on leaving Siem Reap on our way to Battambang in a bus occupied by 80% Cambodian and a few gringos like us. The bus has just stopped by side of the rode adjacent to a rice field. The bus driver yells something out in Khmer and many get off the bus. They go out into the field men and woman alike and have a pee break. Debby follows. They all return to the bus and now we are on the bumpy road again. Life is still simple and uncomplicated. Wealth will no doubt come to Cambodia quickly as it has to the rest of Asia. It is easy to see. One day soon the buses will all have toilets and this part of life will disappear. I wonder if Isa and Olee and Diego, our grandchildren, will have this chance to pee by the side of the road. So I put this in my memory that simplicity has its place.

The Ruins at Angkor

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We have two days to visit and study the vast temple complexes of around Siem Reap, the center of an empire that once covered most of Thailand and Vietnam. So as I am thinking about how to learn about the great empire, I am imagining myself walking through the ancient structures with a guide at my side who will answer every question of my inquisitive mind. And this is the plan. We have some contacts in Siem Reap through the Baha’i Community there and even a couple who we decide to hook up with on this journey to the past. But as fate would have it somewhere between leaving Siem Reap, getting our 3 day pass, and arriving at the first temple site, we lose the guide and the other couple. My inner process has a huge flare up because my expectations of how to proceed through the ruins quickly vanishes before my eyes. Debby asks me how long I am going to have my attitude. I tell her that I will deal with it somehow. Somewhere in the midst of my disappointment I pull a “Juliet”. (Juliet is our youngest daughter and pulling a Juliet to me means being aware that something out of the ordinary needs to happen). I say to myself that if I really needed a guide on that day, the guide would be there. As we leave the first temple and proceed to the next, my inner guide begins to awaken, but I still have a bit of the old expectations. elephant.jpgThe next stop is an ancient reservoir. My attitude says what do I want to see a reservoir for, but inwardly I begin to see the things that a guide could not show me. The place where water is stored is surrounded by beautiful sculptures and intricate carvings, and then I begin to see the real Angkor for the first time. Why would a culture, nearly 1000 years old build a place to store water as if it were a holy temple? It seems to me now that the organizing principle of the culture is beauty, an attempt to transform the ordinary into the sacred. The symbols around the reservoir make it clear to me that it is a place of healing, that the waters are sacred, and that the lure is beauty.

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As we enter the next temple my attention is drawn to Apsara, the feminine divinity that is shared strongly in these ruins in both Hindu and Buddhist structures. Everywhere you go Apsara is with you. The masculine images pale in Angkor in comparison to the quantity of feminine ones, which reinforces the value placed on beauty and other feminine qualities. We end our first day with a visit to the temple where Lara Croft Tomb Raider was filmed. laracroft.jpgWhen the French colonized Cambodia in the 19th Century and then began to do archeological work. Much of the temple structure had been overrun by the jungle.lac2.jpg That night, after having discovered some of the mysteries of the ancient past, we head to downtown Siem Reap, and eat burritos at a Mexican restaurant with some friends from KL. It reminds us that world has grown small.
After having gone through my crisis with the guides on the first day, I have decided that on day 2 that I will not force the hand of the inner world. We plan for a guide again on this day, he shows up, and remains with us the entire day. Life is mysterious. Visiting the sites of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat with a guide to explain the history and significance was how I had imagined the first day.angthom1.jpg Although Angkor Wat is the most famous temple structure, our favorite by far is Angkor Thom, built by what seems to have been a very benevolent ruler.guideme.jpg It is a Buddhist structure, whereas Angkor Wat is Hindu. The smiling Buddha seems to reflect our feeling here. smile.jpgTo end the day we take a small hot air balloon ride, which gives us a panoramic view of the things we have taken in at ground level.

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Battambang

Our purpose in visiting Battambang, the second largest city in Cambodia, is to meet some of the Baha’is in the area and do a couple of presentations. Our first experience happens on the back of motorcycle. It is not unusual to see a family of 5 riding on a motorcycle. wedding1.jpgWhat we would have been so judgmental about only a couple of days previously we are now doing. There are three interesting projects in this area, CORDE, UniEd, and Gems International School. CORDE is a development project that teaches people in the villages English classes combined with materials that are oriented toward positive values such as service to the community. corde1.jpgFamilies donate part of their land to build a classroom structure and then funds are raised for the building. corde2.jpgExcept for the directors of each building all of the teachers are volunteers who have gone through the coursework previously. Even some of the Buddhist monks from the area are volunteers. They are all quite enthusiastic about doing the work. UniEd is a small university of about 70 students. One of the problems of Cambodia in its transitional period is that students have to pay a fee that is quite exorbitant in order to pass the high school exam. UniEd created a more open entrance policy that doesn’t require students passing the high school exam. It also teaches all of the classes in English, which allows Cambodians the students to take advantage of resource people and instructors from outside of the country who don’t speak Khmer. Gems Intl. School is a kindergarten, which is also English based. The topic about which I am speaking at UniEd is moral leadership, which means leadership that is more group oriented and based upon positive values and the development of capabilities. The night before the presentation I have a dream in which I am truck driver. In the midst of the dream a King Kong like character is brought into the truck, breaks free and then tries to cause lots of havoc. It takes me about an hour to go back to sleep after the dream because I realize that it is the history of leadership in Cambodia. During my presentation I use the metaphor of the dream for nearly the whole first hour. Later when we are in Phnom Penh, we hook up with one of the Baha’is who attended the talk. sano.jpgHe is there to meet with other NGOs about some projects he is doing so we decide to have breakfast before he has to go off to his meetings. He tells us that he has to talk with us about his King Kong issues, which let me know that the metaphor presented in the dream really works. In the afternoon after my presentation at UniEd, Debby gives a presentation to parents at the Gems School about the Virtues Project. gems1.jpgWhat she teaches is quite revolutionary for parents everywhere, but particularly in Asia, that when you name positive virtues in children and call them to those virtues, rather than belittling them with constant nagging and criticism, that they become those virtues. parents.jpgShe gets them to begin making a commitment to that promise and promises them that she will return.

Our time in Battambang is mainly about making Cambodian friends. We have planned to leave the area on the 30th, but the Baha’i friends encourage us to stay for a wedding of a young couple. These pictures tell that story.

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Phnom Penh
I wish that I could share more of Battambang, but my pen would die of exhaustion and so would you. When I was a young man in high school, I attended some Christian gatherings, one put on by an organization called Young Life or something like that. I loved the activities they did until it came to the part where they said that Jesus was the only way to God, that if you didn’t believe that He was the only way, that you would go to Hell. I remember quite clearly thinking that there were a large number of Buddhists in the world and that I couldn’t see how God could condemn them all to damnation. Cambodia is a country that is 90% Buddhist. The people are gentle, hard working, and family oriented. Being with them in friendship is a heavenly experience.

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The air-conditioned bus to Phnom Penh is freezing. Debby has to put her feet in her day pack to keep them warm. We pee again by the side of the road and later stop for coconut rice served inside a bamboo stick. The prices in Cambodia for things are really quite unbelievable. For $2-3 you eat really well. The Khmer food is not so spicy like Indian or Thai food so if your palate or gut cannot take it, Cambodia is a great place for you.

We arrive around 2 pm in the afternoon, make our way in a tuk-tuk to the Burly Guesthouse, tuk-tuk.jpgwhere for 13USD per day you can get air-conditioning and cable TV. I even see part of the Rose Bowl one night, but since it doesn’t begin until 10:30 PM local time, I fade after the first quarter almost like Illinois. We had met a couple, Sherif and Shaku Rushdy in Battambang, who had been living in Croatia and now Kyrgyzstan doing lots of development work throughout the world. They also know Shane quite well, so we spend New Year’s Eve with them. Phnom Penh is really vibrant for us. rushdy.jpgWe walked along the riverfront, eat more burritos, enjoy the festive atmosphere. Jan. 1st is a national holiday so it seems as though everyone in the city is out to enjoy the New Year’s party. Fireworks begin at midnight but we are already in bed for an hour by the time the noise begins.

There are 2 big markets in Phnom Penh, the Central and the Russian where you can buy name brand clothes from the local factories that make them like Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, Adidas, Boss, Camel, and others for unbelievably low prices. A dry fit Tommy Hilfiger shirt is $5. market.jpgNeedless to say a certain member of our family is extremely excited during the times we are in the markets. The afternoon after we visit the Central Market I give a workshop again on the topic of personal transformation at the Baha’i Center. trans.jpgThe woman in charge of the Center, Yvette, is a Cambodian who had to flee to Vietnam during the Pol Pot regime. Her uncle was a general in the Cambodian army before the Khmer Rouge so when the takeover happened in 1975 the new government invited all of the old leaders to join the new army and promised them positions. Instead they were all shot.

Debby and I didn’t visit war sites in Vietnam where we were last year because Vietnam is sewn into the fabric of our souls from when we were young. There are no words yet created to describe the horror of the Pol Pot Regime. Day 3 in Phnom Penh is our pilgrimage to one of the worst nightmares of the 20th century. It is difficult to experience, sobering, draining, and difficult to return to joy afterward. The Toul Sleung Museum is our first stop, which is school that was converted by Khmer Rouge into a prison where they brutally interrogated people to extract information and then later killed them. Our guide takes us through each room and explains the methods. photos.jpgThere are hundreds of photos from small children to older persons who were all tortured and killed. The regime made a habit of photographing the victims so that everyone would believe that they were doing the killing. Such was their perversity. Pol Pot was so extreme and paranoid that even killed many of his own soldiers. At the end of the tour I ask our guide about what her experience was. She explains how she was only 14 that her father was a member of Parliament, her mother a French teacher. She is forced to walk from Phnom Penh to nearly the border in Vietnam, a journey of nearly two months. Her mother and father are murdered as are her grandparents. Only many years later does she find that her brother is in San Diego. In the commune where she is forced to do slave labour she is sick all the time, an illness that continues until today. The nightmares also continue so she takes medication each night to sleep. Debby and I are holding back our tears, but we are moved beyond that which we can explain. She calls her daughter and niece over to us who are both vibrant and enthusiastic young people. woman.jpgWe share a few moments together and try to find a way for her to meet some of our new friends in the city.

During the meeting on personal transformation the day before I talk for several minutes about Debby’s story and some of her difficulties as a young woman. After the meeting I tell Debby that I was feeling the presence of her father, which I feel again in the prison.

After the prison we hire a tuk-tuk to take us out to one of the hundreds of Killing Fields in Cambodia. grave.jpg This one is located 15 km from the prison in a place that is strangely peaceful and serene with a beautiful lagoon, but what happened there is quite the opposite. Pol Pot only died in 1989 from natural causes because the only way to get peace in country after the Vietnamese left was to give amnesty to the Khmer Rouge. Many of the regime are in prominent positions and it is only within the last few weeks that some of the major players have been arrested and face trial for crimes against humanity. After the very sobering morning we wonder how we are going to get back to some measure of joyfulness and yet not forget what we have seen. I think about the all of the young boys who were forced to be soldiers and kill incessantly and what it will take for them to be rehabilitated. It is a staggering thought.

We eat lunch at a restaurant called Friends, which is a project to take young people off the street and give them meaningful work. Cambodia has become the land of NGOs, some positive and some not-so. The lunch is a good transition from the morning taking us from the worst degradation to the hope.

royal-palace.jpgAfterwards we visit the huge royal palace and National Museum. In the evening we visit the Baha’i Center again and sing songs and play some cooperative games making more friends with our favorite age group, teenagers. coop.jpg

During our flight and taxi ride home we talk about how amazing the trip has been, how different than our other holidays, and how grateful we are. We are wondering and hoping for an early return.

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Dream: An Alcoholic 5 Year Old

November 22, 2007

Last night in my sleep I dreamt that I was on a path in an unknown place trying to get somewhere. I don’t quite remember where I was going, but it was a social event. Along the way I ran into an abandoned 5 year old who was drinking beer and begging for money from me. It seemed to be something that he was doing often. It felt like he would have just kept pestering me for money had I stayed, kind of like a shop keeper who sees that you are eying and item and then chases you down the street to try to sell it to you, so I decided to leave him.

What is very interesting to me is that I teach 5 year olds physical education so I know a great deal about them and what allows them to thrive. They benefit a great deal from positive attention and chances to develop their abilities in an environment that is both playful and challenging, fun and demanding. What I couldn’t get over in the dream was the alcohol. I ended up abandoning the child because of the alcohol and the begging associated with it. I think I believe that the alcohol is a huge deal, that I can’t reach the child as long as the alcohol is around.

What I am understanding, right now as I am writing this post, is that the alcohol is just coping, that I can just ignore it and do what works, which is to provide environments with a great deal of warmth and energy. Many of my students who come from wealthy families fit into the category of abandoned alcoholics. Their parents work day and night, leave them with unqualified child care, and push them into activities that allow them to end up like themselves, overworked and inattentive. The warmth and involvement in their child’s life are just not present. The children become addicted to video games and TV and the wrong kinds of food and later alcohol to fill up the space in themselves left by the abandonment. As soon as you add positive activity and warmth, the addiction goes away.

It is a fairly simple process actually. The complicating factor is that the entire world culture has become the alcoholic 5 year old addicted to the things that temporarily help forget the abandonment which leads them begging for more money to be able to forget more. My process in all of this is a huge desire to avoid the alcoholic behavior which leaves me out there wandering and not being able to get where I want to go.

The message in the dream to me is that what works with 5 year olds should be the factors that work with the present stage of the world, warmth and positive activities that are both joyful and challenging. What I am having a hard time ignoring is the alcohol in the hands of a 5 year old.

How to Transform Your Child’s Nightmares into Amazing Capacities

September 15, 2007

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It is not surprising to me that after I wrote my last post about Godzilla and the principle of opposition that, without having read the post, someone sent me an account of their 3 year old child’s nightmare with a dinosaur. The dream is as follows.

“I dreamed that a dinosaur was chasing me – it was big with blue skin that was really bumpy. And was scared, so I went into Mummy’s room, and I could see Mummy sleeping under the covers, but when I pulled the covers back, Mummy was a pirate! And she had a knife! I was so scared that I ran away from her, but he started chasing me so I jumped out the window. Mummy the pirate followed, and then killed her. “

This is what I wrote back to the mother with her permission.

“A dinosaur represents a huge fear of negative evil, reptilian, which means that it doesn’t have a lot of positive ambition and it is very old like dinosaurs. When you have a dinosaur in your dream, it means that you have huge potential and drive to go for really big things that that are positive. Think of it as a negative sign whose solution is really positive potential.”

“As a parent you can to do 2 things that will really make facilitate the development of your child. First is to acknowledge the fear and give your child lots of comfort and assurance. ‘That was so scary. etc.. ‘, but in your mind at the same time you are beginning to think of what the solution is because reassurance is only short term and can only go so far. The solution, that she has a big bright wonderful future, is long term. So you can start planning for how she is going to have a big bright future by seeing the signs of it in her spirit and then providing the environments she needs to develop it. Both processes are important, but the second one is sooo much more difficult than the first. Many parents do not even do the first process of acknowledging the fear and the dinosaur. They do everything possible to deny the experience hoping that it won’t reoccur. This can mainly be attributed to the fact that most people do not understand that the principle of opposition. Once you understand that the negative has a positive opposite that can be brought out over time, then it is much easier to be empathetic and patient with the nightmare. Culturally speaking most people do not believe that their children have incredible potential because in the history of the world we have been mostly led by tyrannosaurus rex. T-rex doesn’t like people who may challenge his leadership.”

“When she sees you as a pirate that has a knife that kills, it is because she needs exactly the opposite from you and also eventually from herself. She needs someone as a mother who is life giving and nurturing and sees her gems and provides environments for the gems to come out and then also acknowledges the gems when they are inside and when they start coming out.”

“One more thing. The blue skin that was really bumpy means that she sees the dinosaur (the fear) with a lot of clarity. To solve the problem you can have her see who she is in a positive way very clearly as well so that she can begin to generate a positive future and become enthusiastic about going for things. The clarity is also an indicator that she has the ability to perceive the negative aspects of the culture very clearly. This means that if she is guided properly, she will readily be able recognize people who are dishonest, who are trying to take advantage of her, and are ambitious for their own greed.”

“Windows are symbols about vision because you start from inside of your true self and then look out into the world. Your house in a dream is a symbol of your self and so a window is the vision onto the world. What a child would normally do is look out a window, see possibilities of play or something like that, and then run down to do the activities, but in the dream she is so scared that she jumps right out of her vision.”

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“Vision is an essential part of the development of a person’s will because they get an idea in their mind ( a window of opportunity) and then seek to achieve it. Fear of the dinosaur drives out the positive envisioning process.”

“What you can do to help her is to ask your own self the following question. What is the part of me that is acting out of the negative culture that is fearful of envisioning great possibilities?”
“Then you can begin to change that part into positive capabilities that will support her. The negative cultural aspect of yourself is the pirate in your/her unconscious that comes through the dream.”

“What I would guess is that there is something in your own envisioning process that has been affected by the culture.”

Last notes: My experience is that people dismiss their nightmares or just try to forget them because of not knowing about the opposition principle. When you have a nightmare, it is a sign that you have a great deal of fear and very little of the capability that the dream is calling forth. My personal practice with nightmares is take as much time off the day after so that I can begin the work on the new capability because it is like an infant at that point. By doing this process you can actually become excited about a nightmare because it means that you are going to develop something brand new. If you dismiss the nightmares in the dream world, then they have a tendency to appear in the actual world.

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Dreamwork and the Principle of Opposition

September 12, 2007

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In Chapter 11 of Dreams for Peace, (see Hastings) Godzilla comes into someone’s house causing panic and huge fear where everyone ends up fleeing for their lives. Some don’t make it. It is easy enough when you are doing the initial dream analysis to see that the dreamer is running away from a perceived fear of something that is large and evil. You have a fear and it makes you start avoiding. This is the pattern. You can find this kind of information in most books about dreams.

What you don’t find is a good theory about solving dreams. About 10 years ago when I was doing dream work with a lot of adolescents on a daily basis, I discovered a principle which I call opposition. It certainly isn’t a new principle because it can be found in great writings of every major religion. The principle, briefly stated, is that we all have a true self, which is eternal, positive, and oriented toward service to humankind, and we also have an ego, which is the animal or material self that will one day die. The ego, because of its protective and survival orientation is prone to all of the negative emotions especially fear. When the ego is not subordinate to the true self, it tends to cause all kinds of harm and mischief. Godzilla, for instance, is a symbol of a big ego that causes great evil.

The major problem with most contemporary practices in psychology is that they do not see the true self as the solution to the ego. The true self is unlimited in the number of positive capacities that it can express, while the ego is its mirror opposite in its negative destructive abilities. Dreams are either an expression of the true self or an expression of the ego. Sometimes there are dreams that express parts of both in the same dream. Godzilla is an example of dream about the ego. It could be as a result of personal experience, of family upbringing, or of cultural origins. What most people need after a dream like this is an analysis, but what is even more important is a solution. We have to ask ourselves what is the solution to Godzilla.

In the Baha’i Writings there is a famous quotation that goes like this.

So far as ye are able, ignite a candle of love in every meeting, and with tenderness rejoice and cheer ye every heart. Care for the stranger as for one of your own; show to alien souls the same loving kindness ye bestow upon your faithful friends. Should any come to blows with you, seek to be friends with him; should any stab you to the heart, be ye a healing salve unto his sores; should any taunt and mock at you, meet him with love. Should any heap his blame upon you, praise ye him; should he offer you a deadly poison, give him the choicest honey in exchange; and should he threaten your life, grant him a remedy that will heal him evermore. Should he be pain itself, be ye his medicine; should he be thorns, be ye his roses and sweet herbs. Perchance such ways and words from you will make this darksome world turn bright at last; will make this dusty earth turn heavenly, this devilish prison place become a royal palace of the Lord — so that war and strife will pass and be no more, and love and trust will pitch their tents on the summits of the world. Such is the essence of God’s admonitions; such in sum are the teachings for the Dispensation of Baha. (Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 34)

Spiritual writings are, by their very nature, solution oriented. In the above quotation, described as the sum of all the teachings for this age, the solution to blame is praise, the solution to poison is honey, and the solution for thorns are roses. So if we look at Godzilla, based upon the above quotation, he can be described as a terribly destructive force that wreaks havoc everywhere he goes. Where psychology has come to thus far as a practice is to recognize that Godzilla is an evil force causing untold destruction, so therefore, lets kill him and everything will be just great. So we kill Godzilla, but because we haven’t done the solution of opposition as in the holy writings, sooner or later, Godzilla’s uncle pops up and starts the same thing all over again.

Being solution oriented means doing the opposite. Great destructive powers are solved by great constructive and healing powers. When the world trade center was destroyed in New York City, the immediate response was to go after Godzilla. Countries do have the right to protect themselves, and there is a benefit from killing Godzilla, but no one seems to have responded to him in a solution oriented way by going after huge positives.

Whenever I have a dream that is negative, I almost immediately begin by flipping the negative images in my mind to their positive opposites. This tells me almost immediately what kind of actions to take in my life. You can try it. If you are being attacked by a poisonous snake in a dream, you don’t really need to worry so much about what a snake means. What you need to do is to change from being poisoned to being healing. Maybe there is a lot of vicious backbiting at work. You can do healing work by finding people to praise and honor.

There are a lot of interesting clues that you can get in dream work if you learn to pay attention and then apply a solution. If the dream is dark, then it means that you need to bring more light into the world, maybe shedding more light. If there is a large negative, then you can go for a very large positive. If everything is going really fast, then you can work on slowing everything down.

Where is God?

August 31, 2007

I am not sure if many people have reflected on this question on where God is, so I decided to throw out a few thoughts to share some of my observations. What I have observed is that the location of God seems to move around according to the cultural context.

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In the Judeo-Christian culture that surrounded me growing up I learned that God was a man in the sky. That was in the 1950s in California. I am not sure if he is still there in California. He may have moved to the mall because people seem to do their worshiping there. However, when I first learned to pray, I learned that God was up there watching over us. I can remember pictures in the Old Testament, which is really the Jewish Torah, about seeing an older man in white beard with white hair sometimes looking pretty peeved at the world. I can understand the Jewish notion of God, because it was the purpose of Moses to unite the tribes of Israel through the application of law in a just manner. Justice means that people are not higher than the law. The law is higher which keeps people’s egos lower. Prior to this time the rulers were above the law. Many of them still are, but that is a different story.

In the 1980s I began working on a Cree Reserve in Alberta, Canada which had the effect of radically altering my view of where God is. For the Crees God is a woman who supports and nurtures all life. Her spirit manifests itself and communicates with us in all things in nature. For the Jews God created order through a set of laws and became a man, but for the Crees God is our mother living in the earth. Could God be in both places at once?

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When I read the New Testament which is really the teachings of Christ and then some elaborations, I find that what Jesus was trying to teach was love for one another. He seems to have moved God out of the sky and into the heart, but since you can’t have order without law and justice, God needed to remain in the sky, but also in the heart. Now Christians also have the third place for God which is in the spirit, the Holy Spirit. Hence, Christianity evolved into what they call the trinity. There is God in the sky keeping things in order through justice, God in the heart which brings about love and connection, and God in the spirit which brings about communication and guidance. Before I get to where the spirit is, I just have to say that I am a little bit perplexed as to why the Christians forgot to add the mother like the Crees. For that matter, the Jews abandoned God as a feminine figure as well. Maybe that is why it so hard for the equality of men and women to take root even in western liberal cultures. Could be the source of Jewish mother’s guilt as well.

God may have always been there in one form or another, but the real impetus for God being an invisible force came through Buddhism six centuries before Jesus. God practically disappears in Buddhism because of Buddha’s emphasis on people doing their own internal work rather than relying on things outside of themselves. Buddhism is about detachment. Through meditation and other practices one is forced inward so that the spirit within can communicate and be released into the world to do positive action. In Buddhism God is both invisible and internal.

So we have God being up in the sky, in the earth and nature, in the heart, and invisible and internal. What makes it even more complicated is that with atheists, God is nowhere at all and with agnostics God seems to be there on occasion or in the fog.

Islam and Christianity share the same heritage so whatever is true for Muslims is also true for Christians. The difference is that Muslims do not allow images of God or messengers which is a movement toward God being transcendent, which means that all description of God being in time or space is pure imagination. This also, is the Baha’i view of God which means that it is helpful to imagine where God is terms of virtue, but description of God is beyond all comprehension.

If true religion were ascendant, then it would be very easy for everyone to be in absolute harmony learning and integrating things from each other because virtues have no difficulties working together. Justice and love, detachment and support, and inspiration and acceptance all can live together without difficulty. The problems seem to occur when the egos take the place of God. For instance, instead of God being in the sky administering justice with the rule of law, men put themselves in the sky and do whatever they want whether they be tyrannical leaders such as Hitler, tyrannical CEOs, or tyrannical parents or teachers.

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Instead of having love for one another and treating each other with mercy, charity, and kindness, people take the place of God in the heart with lust of sex and power. And instead of going inside to deal with your own spirituality, people seek material satisfaction outside of themselves through material means.

Likewise, instead of relying on spiritual teachings for support such as sharing and generosity, people put their own superstitions in their minds to keep development from happening. Superstition is ultimately an attempt to keep God out through controlling weak minds.

What I think is that if we use the paradigm of God taking over various domains of human beings, you can analyze the weaknesses in religious structures and then change them. For instance, for God to take over the domain of the heart the religion has to place a major emphasis on artistic beauty as expressed in painting, architecture, music, and theater and it needs to look at the quality of loving relationships in the community so that there is kindness, mercy, and attraction. But God still has to be in the sky, not man, for love to take over the heart, because justice is a precondition for love to spread.

Having a Bright Future When All Seems Lost

August 22, 2007

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One of my little addictions is watching war documentaries on various history channels. I have seen a lot of people die on TV. I think it has to do with the fact that I am always trying to do new things that require facing the enemy of tradition. Today, I watched a show about World War 2 and the invasion of Normandy. The story featured an American soldier who won the US congressional medal of honor, which pays the highest respect for bravery under fire. Despite his heroics on the battlefront he could not prevent the death of his brother who died while fighting on Omaha Beach. He said that he has had continuing dreams of his brother for over 50 years since his brother’s death in 1944.

So I asked myself, on hearing about this story, why he would have dreams for so long about his brother. He had been a faithful soldier that had gone off to war to fight for a just cause, but nothing in his soldiering could save his brother from an untimely death on that beach. The purpose of the war, as I see it, was to make the world safe so that a person like him could have a life of peace and harmony with his brothers. When he came home from the war having received high honors but not having his brother present in his life, he must have surely had torn feelings. On the one hand he was a hero, but on the other he was without a brother. The scourge of fascism was ended in Europe and Asia in no small part by the heroics of such soldiers, but in his own family there remained a hole. The future that he had probably envisioned with his brother was suddenly finished.

So why the dream? I am sure that I have listened to over a 200 people share their experiences where loved ones has come back in the dream life who have already died to the physical world. Inevitably, their message is the same one which is that they are fine in the next world, the people in this world need not worry about them, and that they can let go of their grief and get on with their own true lives. The dream world is kind and patient and without time, so it doesn’t seem to mind sharing dreams repeatedly to the person in the physical world for as long as it takes to get the right message.

There is nothing the young soldier can do to turn back the clock and save his brother from an untimely death, but he can deal with his own grief. The people who have gone on to the next world seem to being quite fine, but it is we, the living who suffer.

In 1982 one of my great educational mentors was murdered while on a routine visit to New York City to discuss some ideas with people at the United Nations. I had envisioned my professional career being played out together with the educational model he created, but then he suddenly died, the program we were working on was curtailed, and I was suddenly left without a future. From time to time he appears in my dreams in such a way that the dream feels like real life. When I wake up, I suddenly fall back into grief as if he has died all over again. For a long time I thought he was trying to communicate to me to continue the work of the model, but as I think about the soldier and the other people who shared similar dreams of loved ones who have passed on, I am thinking that he is saying that he is perfectly fine, doing great work, and that my future can be extremely bright. The dreams have a lot more to do with my inability to have a bright future without him than needing to hang onto his model and further it.

After his death, I spent the next six years on an First Nations Reserve in Canada. Instead of the hallows of a university campus I was thrust into the field of application into the worst possible environment imaginable. No high school graduates for over 12 years, 50% attendance in the school, 80% sexual abuse, alcohol, drug, and gambling abuses in every family. You name it, we had it. And the model worked very well. Students stopped dropping out, attendance rose to 95%, teenage pregnancies decreased, and scores of people went into treatment for addictions. I didn’t need my mentor there to have a bright future or create bright futures for others.

The ideas that I learned while studying the model have worked wherever I have applied them very effectively. I still use them everyday and as long as I have a bright and enthusiastic future they will surely keep producing. The soldier on the battlefield in World War 2 woke up courage in himself to do remarkable feats during the war, and his brother’s death is a reminder to keep doing heroic events everyday with weapons of peace. Courage generalizes. Notice in the picture that boys are wearing pink and the girl blue. Now that is radical change.

You Can’t Have a Great Future Without Dealing with the Negative Past

August 19, 2007

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When I first began teaching in 1975 there was a huge counter movement to what I had been studying at one of the most progressive schools of education for that time period, the University of North Dakota. The counter movement was called “Back to Basics” which capitalized on the mistakes of the progressive movements so that schools would just focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic. Sadly I have to say that the Back to Basics movement won. By the early 1980s progressive education was all but dead even when it had learned from mistakes and held much hope for the future.

The progressive movements had really sprung out of the failures of the more traditional systems because so many students were just not learning using the old methodologies. The Back to Basics movement struck back at the progressives by using an amazingly effective strategy that put fear into the hearts of the vast majority. They took the mistakes of the progressive systems and blew them way out of proportion. It wasn’t difficult to find mistakes. They were abundant for sure,so the traditionalists had huge amounts of ammunition which they used unceasingly.

They also performed another interesting strategy which also worked very effectively. You have to give them credit. They really crushed new ideas and experimentation to shreds. Their strategy was simply to glorify the past as if it were much better than any new ideas could ever be. It gave the psyche of a fearful public just what they needed so that they would not have to make significant fundamental changes in their lives. Glorifying the past while ignoring the issues was the drug of choice. It seems to me that is has been the addiction of the world’s culture for quite some time now. The strategy is driven by the fear of the unknown in the future. It has kept really meaningful innovation from entering institutions because every new idea is crushed by the traditionalists convincing people that innovation will lower the standard. Whenever you bring up innovation or change in conservative circles the quick retort is always about the standards, especially that change will lower the standards.

Now that the traditionalists have really had their way for the past 40 years, the cracks in their protective shields have really worn thin. Glorifying the past, ignoring the issues, and blaming someone else by magnifying their mistakes doesn’t work in the public’s eye as much anymore. We are finally reaching a stage where we can’t hide from the issues anymore.

Psychologically it is relatively easy to map out the old pattern. Here is how it goes. Inwardly we are all driven by our spiritual nature to grow and make changes. Since growth possibilities are always unlimited, we are always pushed inwardly to change. So if this is true what makes people stop. At the moment that our true self presents a new opportunity for growth for us, a new future, it also presents the issues that keep us from achieving the desired future. On the one hand there is a new vision, but on the other is the negative energy that keeps us from growing. So what most people do is to feel the negative energy, become uncomfortable with it, and then try to find some sort of comfort in a glorified past so that they won’t have to face the discomfort. It is usually accompanied by other forms of diversion as well. We all do it.

It is particularly difficult right now in the history of the world because the vast majority of people in leadership positions owe their positions to this strategy. They assert the past, glorifying the standards of the past, but completely ignore the current issues. When someone tries to do something new, they lay in wait for mistakes and then magnifying them making themselves seem great for pointing out the failures of others. And if all else fails they accuse others of lowering the standards.

The new strategy that is extremely effective is get a preliminary vision of a new future, address honestly and openly and determinedly the issues that are holding the new vision back by taking full responsibility for them, and then doing the internal work to solve the issues and release new energy. The key is having a great deal of honesty about our own issues without trying to put them on others. When we take the plunge of honesty, it helps us to see what was truly positive in the past and what wasn’t so positive. We keep the strengths, and change the weaknesses rather than glorifying a false image of the past and ignoring weaknesses.

Let’s see. Right now I am having an issue with the fear of being attacked by conservatives. Ok, so I want to implement more radical ideas and I have a preliminary vision of that but the fear originates when I started my education work. The fearful is like a thousand people yelling at me that I am wrong and they are right. I am feeling all alone and just want to go and hide. What is the solution? Hmmmm. I can see thousands of people accepting positive ideas about change and beginning to work on their issues more honestly. I think I will just start with people that are supportive and gradually expand outward. Ok, that’s it.

Radical Change and Space: Good Morning Vietnam!

August 8, 2007

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Last April my wife and traveled to Vietnam.  So here I am in the middle of Hanoi about 9 am in the morning faced with the challenge of crossing a busy street with 2 million motorcycles and no traffic lights.   This could possibly be a North American’s worst nightmare because in the U.S. pedestrians have all of the rights even when they are wrong.  Not so in Hanoi.   So I do the illogical thing and it works.  I just start walking slowly across the street without stopping.  No one hits me because they seem to know how to make space for what is happening around them.   For some reason my intuitive mind already knows this before I take my first steps.

This exercise in walking across the street fascinates my mind so I begin to think about how they are able to give me the space to cross the street.   In their minds they are trying to get from one space where they began their journey to another space where they will end it, but before they start they seem to already understand that there are many other people in the space who are also doing the same thing.  It is as if a whole culture has built itself around the idea that you can move from one space to another and respect others who are doing the same thing.

In the western materialistic world the space thing seems to be about how much space you can take up and then protecting the space that you call yours. Your worth is calculated by how much space you have in the most highly valued areas.   Financial worth is not calculated by how much space you are able to share or how well you live in the same space with others, but how much space you own.

What seems ironic to me is that 90% of pop music and a large percentage of the movie industry focuses its time and energy on the value of closeness, i.e. love. which is the ability to be in the same space at the same time harmoniously with no concern whatsoever about ownership.   So, on the one hand, a part of us  values being in the same space at the same time, but the material world values separation.  If you have a lot of material space, you are worth a lot of money, but being able to share a space is not valued financially at all.  What if, instead of the amount of space being worth lots of money, the ability to share space was what determined your wealth.  Now that would be radical change.   Let’s face it people who share space well are the happiest and lead the best lives.

Have you ever noticed that dance clubs where there are so many people that you can hardly breathe and the music is so loud that you cannot have a conversation are the ones that are most valued?  What is that about?  Not too many people like to dance on a big dance floor where there are not many dancing.   There seems to be too much space which is quite discomforting.

I am just wondering why one of the world’s largest real estate moguls who has had several divorces is seen as so successful.  There are so many of his books in practically every bookstore in the world lauding his value.  So he has a lot of material space, but he doesn’t know how to share space very well.  Is that what we call successful?   I guess you may have surmised that I won’t be reading any of his books.

I am not all that against having a space I can call my own, but I really love sharing my space with others.   I have lived in the same room with my wife for the last 33 years.  Now that ought to be worth something.  Don’t you agree?   It’s certainly better than owning half of city,  but not being able to live closely with others.

Let’s see, the wealthiest man in the world is trying to give away most of his wealth to solve the world’s problem.  You gotta love that, but will he share the space of who decides what to do with the money?  I think maybe sharing space and the wealthiest man in the world is an oxymoron in today’s world, but you gotta love that he wants to give it away to help others.   Hmmm. Another radical change, sharing the space of decision making.   How many CEOs want to do that?

I wonder what other kinds of space we can share.

Interpreting Your Own Dreams 7: You Don’t Have to Be Dreaming to be Dreaming

August 6, 2007

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Isn’t it interesting that we use the word dream both for when we dream of doing something in the future and also for the stories that we receive while we are sleeping? They are not all that different. Many people love the waking dream of flying off to many different countries. When I am flying in a dream, I have a feeling of freedom and lightness that often seems so real that when I awaken if feels like I know how to do it when I am under the laws of gravity. I have flown all over South East Asia in the last two years and I can tell you that I am closest to the flying dreams that I have in sleep time during my travels.

So I am wondering, as I am writing this post, if the two realities, waking and sleeping dreams, actually originate from the same place. I have had, on occasion, running dreams, where I have felt completely relaxed, been able to run for very long distances, and finished in times way beyond my expectations, which when I approximate those feelings in my actual running life, give me my best results. The two realities seem to become one at that point.

I have been known to say that all dreams come true. It is a very frightening thought, because on the one hand, I have my share of positive dreams like the flying dreams that I love to live out in real life through travel and my daily life, and then, on the other hand, I have numerous ego related dreams such as the one shared in the last posting about not being able to choose a film to view. What is even more worrisome is the fact that the negative dreams seem more likely to come true than the positive ones because the ego seems to run on its own desire and own controls. I am not behind the wheel with the ego; someone else is.

Today, for instance, I have a huge desire to go up to someone and just tell them that they are way out to lunch. I have a great deal of anger that this person has such a huge voice and is giving out ideas that people are compelled to listen to and obey. Last night I didn’t have a dream about this situation because I already knew that if I lived out my ego desire to tell what was what, that the consequences would be disastrous. I already have a long history of bad dreams about this subject and have watched myself suffer consequences for trying to make a big ego listen to my ideas. I don’t need a dream, in this case, to know that my ego desire will not work. My waking life experience, and my former process work lets me know not tell the person that he is headed down the wrong path, but I feel a strong urge to so, nonetheless.

The dream in my true self, which is the opposite one of my ego is to have more relationships based upon mutual sharing and appreciation for each other, but the anger in my ego used to become so intense, that I used to just unleash a flurry of negative expressions that ended in disaster. Generally speaking I am known as a fairly calm and gentle person, but I also do know how to tell the truth. I really want to let the person know how wrong he is.

In the Baha’i Writings it is put this way.

“Not everything that a man knoweth can be disclosed, nor can everything that he can disclose be regarded as timely, nor can every timely utterance be considered as suited to the capacity of those who hear it.”

This is another way of saying that, in this case, being right and saying it, is wrong. Sometimes it is just better to keep my big mouth shut. My ego is dreaming of telling someone the truth even though that person is not capable of hearing it. My true self is dreaming of setting up environments where mutual sharing and appreciation are present. Unfortunately, the ego dreams are always, at first, much more compelling.

If in my night dream, I am being attacked by a poisonous snake, my ego will have me do everything possible to avoid or try to kill the snake. This is survival. In real life, a poisonous snake is a poisonous behavior such as gossip and backbiting. I can remember that there was a time when I was having to deal with people that were just very charming and excellent public speakers with progressive ideas, but behind my back they were doing all kinds of dirty dealings and spreading lies about me. One night I had a dream with huge numbers of poisonous snakes all around me which made me want to avoid everything about the place I was in and at the same time really kill the behavior by confronting it. Eventually the snakes in real life did get rid of me by firing me. The dream came true.

I was not powerful enough in my life to realize that my true self’s dream which is to create environments where mutual sharing and appreciation, can thrive wherever the dream is strong. The venom was just too strong. Fortunately I was fired, but my true self’s dream still lives on, and because I already have the experience of knowing that trying to confront the wrong ideas doesn’t work very well, I can calm my anger, keep my mouth shut, and then seek positive ways to build supportive environments.

This is all to say that waking or sleeping our true dreams continue on, but they always come with the price of dealing with the ego’s desire first, learning from it, letting it go, and then pursuing fully what is in our hearts. The ego’s dreams do not have to come true in real life. You can deal with them in your meditative and therapeutic life so that your true dreams can flourish.

Interpreting Your Own Dreams 6: The Symbols

August 5, 2007

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Last night I dreamt that I was downtown at a movie theatre with my wife.  While I was trying to choose what to watch, I got separated from her because she went to the washroom.   The longer the dream went on, the more it became apparent that the choices were really bad, mostly horror type movies about some rampaging homicidal maniacs.   I  then started to feel panicked about not being able to find a  film and then I woke up.

So what does it all mean?  There are 3 aspects to deal with, the feelings, the syntax, and the symbols.  The theme of this post is about the symbols, but it is often nice to end with the symbols rather than begin with them.

The feeling that I have is panic or anxiety that I can’t find a movie to watch.  If the feeling were positive, then the symbol of the movie theater would be something that I would want to pursue, but as the feeling is negative, it means that the symbol needs to be transformed.  This is because negative emotions come from the ego, while positive ones are from the true self in dreams.    Anxiety is an emotion that denotes lack of confidence and its solution is almost always to remember positives about yourself and then act from them.   When you are overwhelmed, it is often helpful to do something like washing the dishes or cleaning up because simple activities often ground you into remember positive abilities.  But panic about not being able to find a movie means that I have  lack of confidence about something.    Panic, structurally, is a combination of internal speed and a large negative imagined picture.    When it takes over, it can be pretty crippling.

So the feeling tells me that I am going to need to some confidence by slowing down inwardly and remembering positives in a large way.

As regard to syntax,  the one thing of many that I can see is that the emotional content starts with the hope of doing something together with my wife, things soon get more separated, I end up in panic, and then I wake up.    So the dream goes from the hope of closeness, to separation and panic.    This means that if I solve the dream that I am going to have a great deal of closeness and feel really slowed down inside as opposed to panic.

Ok so this brings us to the symbols.   Metaphor is the language of dreams just as it is in myth, mystical writing, and art such as poetry.   The best way I have found to deal with symbols is first get your mind to slow down so that you can take your time to figure out a meaning.  It doesn’t need to be done in a hurry so if you write your dreams down, then you can go back to them often to enrich the meaning.  What is most important when you are at the beginning stage is to avoid jumping into believing that the dream is literal even if it seems literal.   A literal dream such as a future dream that comes true also has symbolic meaning because it is trying to communicate inner abilities.
The key symbol in the above dream is the movie theatre.  The way to start understanding the symbol is to ask yourself what a movie theatre is and then make a correlation with non-material reality.   What is a movie theatre?  A movie theatre in a positive sense is a place that you go to view a made-up story that communicates  something related to life.   When you leave the theatre, you feel enriched and have more understanding about life.   So a movie theatre is a symbol of a made up reality that attempts to communicate a message.  You can have your own positive inner movie theater by making up pictures of the life that you want to live and then going for them.

The problem I have in my dream is that when I go to my own inner movie theater trying to pick the movie that I want to live by,  I only find negative choices and then I panic.   In the dream I was having to pick from other people’s choices which means that my negative inner movie theater was being run by others.    To transform the theater I simply can start choosing the inner movies that I want to view and one of the best ways to do this is by seeing the great positive movies of the past about my life which then can be used to create new movies about the kind of future that my true self wants to live.

When I am panicked, my ego throws me into a materialistic way of viewing the world that is controlled by others which causes me to be separated from others, but when I view the dream symbolically and then transform it to a positive, I can create positive pictures of being closer to others by remembering how I was able to do it in the past, and then projecting a new positive film about the future.

Once again, the key to understanding symbols is to not rush into thinking about them literally, to remember that they are trying to communicate deeper spiritual conditions both positive and negative.

Next post:  Symbols related to elements

Interpreting Your Own Dreams 5: Defying Time

July 29, 2007

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My mother turned 86 this year.  By all accounts you would think that her life would be on the downswing.  Not so.  After having painted in oils for a number of years, followed by the less forgiving medium of watercolors, she recently began the most difficult of them all, Chinese brush painting.  It requires a very steady hand and great mental preparation before the brush hits the fragility of the rice paper.   If you know my mother, you know that she often complains out loud about the arthritis she has in her hand and all the aches and pains in the rest of her body.   She still walks more than a hour each day, cooks, cleans, and does a series of strength and flexibility exercises.   Teenagers would be envious of her energy levels.   20 years ago when she had back surgery to fuse a couple of vertebrae the doctor told her she would have about 10 years before she would be in a wheel chair.

Janet, my sister-in-law, put it this way.  She rules over her body.  She is a major anomaly.
If you know anything about my mother, you know she has high expectations for herself.  She could never hire a maid or extra help because she can out work them even approaching 90 and the quality of her work is just too high.   I feel sorry for the gardeners.  If you have read the last posting about the two worlds of time,  you can see that despite the fact that my mother lives in the world of clock time,  her spirit soars in the other dimensions of time.   Her body aches, her ego grows impatient with the lack of will in others, and she complains that she isn’t as good as she used to be, but her spirit just keeps marching forward, learning and developing as if she were 20.   You can’t have a better role model than my mom.   She demonstrates a basic principle of spiritual growth, which is the recognition that the ego is present (the arthritis is there), but she doesn’t let it rule her.  She allows her true self, the self that lives beyond time and space, that produces great art and prepares huge feasts, to be the sovereign of her life.   I am sure that my mother feels a lot of pain from the arthritis, but it is only because the dreams of her true self are still so high and way beyond the reach of most people.   Most people would have given up the brush long ago, but she continues to defy time with great dreams.

Interpreting Your Own Dreams 4: The Two Worlds of Time

July 28, 2007

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One of the great aspects of the dream world is its interesting way of dealing with time.  You can be asleep in your bed and within a very short span of time travel to several different countries.  While we are wake, we are governed by the clock that is determined by the earth’s journey around the sun.  It is sequential, one moment following another.   In the dream world time seems to be more flexible.   In the physical world things have a definite beginning and ending.   In the dream world the laws of time are stretched so that they can have the options of communicating whatever we need.     It teaches us much about the way the mind can work.

For instance, it often happens that people dream about something one night and then some days or months or years later the dream comes true in the material world.    This is the same process that an architect uses when a building is construction.   The building is constructed in the mind of the architect long before the building ever is finished in the material world.     This is why so many self help programs emphasize the importance of seeing the end in the beginning.

People often communicate the phenomenon of time by saying that they were in one location and then suddenly they were somewhere else.   This shows that time can just jump without having to take years and years of living or multiple flights to various locations.   It teaches us that we can use our minds to connect one experience to another so that it sees their relationship.    If you are dreaming a dream that shifts from one place to another,  it can be assumed that the two locations are closely related and usually is there to prove that though you move jobs or houses or families, it is still the same you with the same problems that is moving around.  You can’t solve a personal issue by moving.  It is much better to solve the issue first and then move rather than the other way around.  If you have a  problem with finishing what you start, you can’t change it by changing locations.  You have to change your spiritual space, i.e., more determination and then the new options appear that you never thought possible before.

The primary issue of all human beings is inclusion and family is the first priority of inclusion.   If in your dreams, you are having an intimate physical relation with someone else, and it isn’t your spouse,  it doesn’t mean that you should go out and immediately have a sexual relation with that person.    It means that the person you are relating to in the dream has a spiritual quality that you are needing, which, when it is actualized, will bring your life into harmony with everyone around you.  Dreams always are merciful.  They warn you ahead of time what you ought to be working on to make life work and therefore, is much more efficient.  However, if you don’t pay attention to the dreams, life will present you with the same issue until it is solved.  If you are a womanizer, it just means that you are trying to solve spiritual issues that will bring your life into harmony with others through sex.  It doesn’t work.  Purity works because it allows you to deal with the fact that you have virtues that are as yet to be unleashed in your life.   It is pretty simple and pretty basic and dreams are the most merciful way to handle it because they act before your life is ruined outwardly.   It is a great predictive device because it always gives you information beforehand.   It is like knowing who is going to win the race before it begins.  Understanding time in a dream is what makes it such a powerful tool.

Hmm.  I wish I had access to some CEOs and presidents’ dreams.  I think I will hire myself out.

Interpreting Your Own Dreams 3: Playing with Time

July 25, 2007

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One of the activities I often do when I do a dream meeting is to place out a number of virtue cards on a table where each person chooses the one that is most needed in their life right now such as courage, honesty, determination, love, joy, or patience to name a few. I always have 2 patience cards and it is very rare that both of them are not taken and others in the group having thought that they wanted to pick patience as well.

Why is patience so necessary and why is so non-prevalent in places where the western materialism has taken root?

The other day I crossed over the border from Canada into the United States in the state of Washington and immediately the pressure on time became magnified. I never thought that time was much more pronounced in the US than in Canada, but the great symbol in the northwest of the US is the number of drive thru coffee stands ready to give you a double shot of espresso while you rush to where you are going. As I allowed myself to partake in this cultural phenomenon because of the love of coffee I thought to myself that I better slow myself down inside that there is no real difference between getting to a destination 5 to 10 minutes earlier, but everywhere I went that weekend the rationale for not doing things for everyone I met had some relationship with time. Americans are in a hurry and get upset if they have to wait in line.

This made me start to play with time in a new way. Here are a few thoughts. The reason I am writing them is because dream time is much different that clock time as I will explain later such as when you dream of something before it actually happens in the physical world. I thought that Americans, who are supposed to be the most advanced culture in the world because of their economic might have really gone crazy over the clock.

I guess it is no surprise to me that the first culture that I landed in when I left the US in 1983 was the aboriginal culture of Canada who have a whole different way of viewing time than industrialized consumer based cultures. I was really forced to question my issues around time when I landed in Brazil some 15 years later. Now that I am in Malaysia my clock has been altered once again.

Since patience is the virtue most people want to have more of, it seems like a great place to begin the exploration of time. Patience is the virtue of being able slow down time or stop time so that something else can happen first. Impatience is the inability to allow other things to happen first before our greedy needs are met. It is how we have, as a world culture, managed to destroy the environment and why development projects in the third world don’t work.

The way I hear impatience being said to me, since I work in the area of physical education, is that of not having time to play or exercise. People most often say that they don’t have time to play because they have too much work to do which they rush through and then throw themselves on their couches in exhaustion.

When you lack patience, it means that you are rushing through a task so that you can get to an end that will give you something positive. Managers want you to work really quickly so that you can get a product out which will give them more money that will make them happier. It is all pretty simple. To discover impatience you just have to follow the money trail especially the greedy money trail. When we are impatient, we are trying to get to an end faster so that we will get some kind of reward.

If you have patience, it means that you can slow down time to a standstill so that the spiritual energy can be placed right in the midst of all of your activity. The American energy is very telling. You rush to work, buy coffee in a drive-thru to get you to rush more, so that at the end of the day you can have more things that will allow to enjoy life more, the pursuit of material happiness. Rush, rush, rush. Only at the end of the day everyone is too tired from rushing all day to enjoy their things.

If you can play with time, that is to realize that it can speed up or slow down or even not exist, then the joy and happiness can be placed right in the midst of what you are doing. Patience is the ability to slow down the material life so that positive energy can be placed in the midst of what you are doing. The illusion of the clock is that people think it is ticking, when in reality the space between the ticks is diminished for them. Slowing down time means increasing the space between the ticks.

If you feel rushed in your life, realize that time is a construct and is flexible and realize that the end you are rushing for is in the middle somewhere, not at the end.   Instead of rushing to finish the dishes so that you can relax,  start relaxing and enjoying the dishes or even leaving them for awhile.

Interpreting Your Own Dreams 2: Syntax

July 21, 2007

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Whenever I do a dream meeting some people inevitable want to call me very intuitive, but most of my work has very little to do with intuition.  Intuition is the feeling I get when I know I should proceed in a certain direction, but I don’t have the conscious knowledge of why yet.  This is because the conscious mind seems to be a bit slower than other communication.

The key that unlocked lots of doors for me about dream work was actually a lot of self discipline and focused attention for long periods of time on the dream in front of me. One of the things I discovered that not many people talk about in dream books is the structure or syntax of the dream.  Most people focus on the content.  There are shelves and shelves of books about content but not much about the structure of dreams.

For instance,  a lot of people end the explanation of a dream by saying, “and then I woke up.”   So I asked myself why people wake up from a dream when they do because I hadn’t seen it in any of the books on dreams that I had read. Then I realized that the expression “and then I woke up” could mean that that was when they woke up in their life.

If you had a dream where you were being attacked by a poisonous snake and then you woke up,  the waking up is just as important as the attack by the poisonous snake because the snake caused you to wake up and pay attention.   Being attacked by poisonous snake means that you are fearful of being attacked by someone whose actions are like poisonous venom in your life, like backbiting or spreading false rumours or vicious criticism.   The structure of the dream is that you are being attacked and then you wake up.   You only wake up when something bad is happening.

The big thing about syntax in a dream has to do with time and sequence.  In the world of clocks and physical space time always goes from beginning to middle to end; first, second, third, etc….  In dream time the clock doesn’t have rules because it is timeless.  In a negative dream I can look at time exactly opposite to the clock, that is the end is in the beginning, and beginning of the work is at the end.  What the spiritual end, the goal or object of the dream is  can come at the beginning.  The end isn’t at the end, it is at the beginning and where you start your work can be at the end, not the beginning.   It is the last issue in the dream that can mark where you begin your work.

Here is the dream I had on the blog a few days ago.

Last night I dreamt that my son-in-laws and I were behind the lines in pre-World War 2 Germany doing undercover work against the Nazis.  At every turn we were nearly brutally murdered, but somehow we managed to escape only to find more threats more numerously as the dream progressed.

Structure:  a group/  a place in the  negative past /working  against/ hiding/  running away/ more challenges/threats

So the structure says that if I work with a group in a place in the negative past then I am going to end being against people, hiding out, running away and things will just be more threatening.   The important information is that the structure says that things will just get worse in the end if I put myself in the negative past in the beginning.

This makes the solution so easy.  All I have to do is put myself in the positive future instead of the negative past and then my life works.

Here is another example. Suppose you had a dream where you were flying and everything was going fine and then you ran out of gas.

The structure is your were doing something where you were feeling really positive and then something really negative happened.      First you have a positive and then you get a negative.   This means that you just have to change how you do the negative and then everything will be positive.

Mapping the structure is a bit like how we used to diagram sentences in the past to analyze grammar in English classes.  We have largely thrown grammar out of English in North America because we tended not to go for meaning, but when you map the structure of the dream,  there are some very interesting things that appear.

Next post:  Origin of the issue clues: how to read time clues

Interpreting Your Own Dreams 1: The Feelings

July 20, 2007

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There are 3 things that I look for when I am listening to a dream especially my own, the actual story or content of the dream, the structure of the dream which is like the syntax, and the feelings that accompany dreams.

In almost every dream meeting that I have done in various parts of the world the most common question I hear is, “Why can’t I remember my dreams?” or “How can I remember my dreams better?” The simplest answer I can give to people is to start paying greater attention. In the great majority of cases people remember their dream the very next night after the meeting. It is sort of like the greatest 2 labels or our time, ADD and ADHD, which are just fancy ways of saying that it is difficult for people to slow down and listen to what is happening inside of themselves. What I can see is that the western influence on the world culture has made cultures with attention deficits. Most people have stopped paying attention to what is going on in the inner worlds because they are busy trying to compete in the outer material world.

If you are “ADD” about your dreams meaning you don’t remember them, the best place to start to recover your memory in the dreaming process is to begin mapping or journaling about the feelings that have when you wake up in the morning. Every dream, like every experience leaves an emotional marker, whether it be negative like anxiety, grief, fear, anger, guilt or embarrassment or positive like joy, excitement, love, determination, confidence, calm or patience in positive ones.

It is much easier to remember your emotions than your thoughts because your thoughts are a combination of pictures, sounds, and words in your mind, whereas feelings lodge themselves into various parts of body that have sensations attached to them. However, the biggest problem most people have is that when they wake up in the morning, they are already brushing their teeth or onto the day without having had any reflection time.

Dreams are like the code for what the best direction your life ought to go right now. If I am not paying attention to what is happening in my dreams, which is a before time experience, then I will probably be experiencing the consequences of my life in real time. Dreams are designed to give you information ahead of time so if you can solve them, they save a great deal of suffering in real life.

Of the three elements, content, structure, and emotions the easiest to process are the emotions because when you feel the feelings you are experiencing rather than avoiding them with loud music or alcohol or rushing around being overly busy, they trigger the thoughts that help you unravel the mystery of your own life.

If you have not done very much process work or worked on your issues and negative emotions, you can be absolutely certain of one thing. The first negative emotions that appear will be aimed at solving the problems of having grown up in your own family. Family is always the first issue to arise which is probably why everyone races out of the door in the morning. They don’t want to have to face their families. The simple reason for these emotions to appear first is that the family is the core unit of every society and culture. I have never met anyone who survived childhood without a wheelbarrow full of family issues.

If you are going to process workshops to make more money or improve your relationships or get better grades or better scores on your golf game, you are always going to be taken back first to your family of origin when the negative emotions arose. It is a universal guarantee because the first priority of everyone’s life, whether they want to do it or not is family. If you have been ripped off by your family, then your job is to not rip off the next generation. When you stop being ADD which rushes you off to work, you are going to be asked to improve your family life. This is always where the most pain is.

The simplest way to start is to just recognize the feeling. What am I feeling? Negative emotions are first in line because they are the markers for where to start the growth and solve the problems of the former generation. When you remember the feelings, then the content memories of the dreams begin reappearing.

The next post: Mapping the Syntax

Fighting the War on Terror Internally

July 19, 2007

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Last night I dreamt that my son-in-laws and I were behind the lines in pre-World War 2 Germany doing undercover work against the Nazis.  At every turn we were nearly brutally murdered, but somehow we managed to escape only to find more threats more numerously as the dream progressed.

When I awoke from the dream, I realized that I am still living my life as if the Nazis are in power when in reality they lost.  The key for understanding the dream for me is the realization that despite the fact that we still have Nazi-like CEOs and leaders who have no qualms about getting rid of people by the truckloads, in the end, they always lose.  This means that they have already lost in the future even while they are in power in the present.

I can be confident that the power mongers of the present are going to be gone in the future because they always lose.  Napoleon lost.  I think that says it all, but what I tend to imagine is the possibility of another Napoleon or another Hitler terrorizing the world.  I forget that Napoleon lost because, in the end, he had become too arrogant with power and had created too many enemies.

Whoever I am terrorized by is going to lose because they will create too many enemies that will eventually bring them down.   What this means is that I can be very enthusiastic about going after positive strategies like cooperation and unity because I am now certain that the present-day Nazis are going to lose.  The reason that they are going to lose is that they are going to create too many enemies.

What the world seems to have plenty of is the number of “soldiers” it takes to bring down a tyrant, but what it seems to be lacking are people who have the positive strategies that replace the tyrannical one.  The despots just keep reappearing and keep re-losing.   We know how to get rid of tyrants, but we don’t know how to build a world based upon positive values.   It was relatively easy to overcome Saddam Hussein, but there are not enough positive models or strategies that replace sectarian violence and division.   It was easy to get rid of the Taliban, but it has proven not so easy to build a just society.

Here is one strategy that we all might find interesting.  My 2 son-in-laws and I share it together.  It is sort of like a modern day version of the three musketeers.  I think that this is why they appeared in the dream.  It goes like this.  When you get invited to do something positive, you say yes.  Take yesterday for instance.  It is late Wednesday afternoon pouring rain in Vancouver in the summer.  Well, normally we play soccer together on Wednesday evenings, but I am looking out the window and thinking that there is no way I am going to play soccer tonight. I am part Malaysian now. This is against my culture to play in the cold rain.  I just want to sit on the couch and relax.   Shortly thereafter Chris calls and says the fateful words, “So are you going to play soccer with us in the rain tonight?”  I am thinking he is crazy, but I say yes anyway.   When we are walking to the court, it is still raining, there are large puddles of water on the court when we are warming up, and a steady rainfall during the first 45 minutes.   After awhile the rain stops, the puddles diminish, and we have a great time.  On the way home I feel great.  We sit and reminisce about how great the night was.

Then I remember the day before and how my daughters worked their magic on Debby, my wife.  It was raining on that day as well, but my daughters joyfully announce that they are going hiking to Lynn Canyon.  Debby replies by saying that she is not going because she is fearful of a getting a cold.  Everyone else keeps moving forward with no fear of the rain whatsoever.  Finally Debby gives in and starts talking about what kinds of clothing she could bring to stay warm.  She goes and has a great time.

I guess it has a lot to do with finding people that you are really close to and then just doing things together that are positive for everyone.   Sounds pretty simple.

The Mother of All My Fears: Exclusion

July 6, 2007

This year I am celebrating the 10 anniversary of the first time that I was ever fired from a job. I was a small child in the 1950s when loyalty was still a value in society. I still tend to believe too much in the leadership and stay too long in organizations because I still believe that the leaders want to do something good in society and are not in it for themselves. Call me naive and leave it at that. The second time I got fired was 3 years ago. It is still much fresher in my psyche than the first. Call me a slow learner. Both times I was under the illusion that I was doing my best work ever when I got fired.

Up until 10 years ago being fired had never entered my mind as a possibility so when it happened I felt devastated and betrayed like nothing I had ever experienced before. My firing, along with some of my other colleagues, was couched in the language of today. “We are not renewing your contract because we are changing the direction in the organization.” It would have been much nicer to hear the words, “you’re fired”.

I had a year off after my first firing and another year off after the second one, so both times I took that time to reconnect to my self by running marathons. In 1997 I trained for one marathon, but 3 years ago I felt so betrayed that I had to do two to get myself together. terryfox1.jpg On the 10th anniversary of my big separation I have decided that I would do some preventive medicine by training for another marathon. When I get up in the morning and have a run, I get reconnected with myself. It is a bit like taking a magical pill. Everything seems right with the world. When I am not running is when I feel the worst about myself.

I have no illusions about leadership anymore, but I still have a fear of being fired. I am not sure that it will ever fully leave or whether it is supposed to leave because being disconnected from people is a painful thing. Thank God for facebook and thank you Generation and X and X/Y for turning this baby boomer onto it.

Hope to see you all on the road. Did I say that I am going to run the marathon in Kuala Lumpur? See you at the twin towers.

How to Change a Nightmare into Bliss

June 29, 2007

The nightmare: I was with a bunch of people who were all something like FBI agents. Our goal was to capture someone by cornering him and making him give up.  It was working. We just about had him completely cornered,then the dream shifted to a completely different place where we were searching for the same person in a large building with lots of people and corners and floors making it almost impossible to find the person.  We thought that it was a bit futile.  Then I eyed the suspect walking away with someone else so I stayed in the background so as not to be seen and when he came back in, the room was dark so I went to a corner.   Then the dream went from trying to capture him to becoming extremely sinister and horrifying. He killed 3 young police officers in a very cruel way, then became like a super martial arts guy cutting off people’s heads.  I tried to get away and then woke up.

Analysis:  In the dream world time has a different reality than in the material world so one of the things about a negative dream that is useful is to realize that the end is in the beginning, the end meaning the goal or the purpose of the dream. You first get the purpose of the dream and then you get the pattern.   In this dream I was collaborating to corner a criminal.  Time is reversed to real life in a negative dream.

Solutions to negative dreams are always positive opposites.  So the positive opposite of collaborating to corner a criminal would be to  work alone with my own capacities to help someone who is in great need.   The dream is telling me to help the person who is in great need, the perpetrator.

In the second part of the dream the criminal shows me just how bad he has become.  Dream life is symbolic life so killing in a sinister way means ending relationships in really bad ways.  This is what the perpetrator does.  At first I am trying to collaborate to bring him to justice, but in the end I am hiding and trying to get away with my life.

The solution is help the person in his relational life by helping him to get out of a pattern than ends up destroying relationships in really negative ways to learning how to create extremely positive relationships.   Since I was about to be his victim when I woke up, I now know that I can help him heal himself.  In real life I didn’t want to be around this person for fear of him ending relationships right before my eyes again.  The fact that my life situation has changed and I received this dream  means that the time for healing for him is now.

It is a bit of mystery to me why now but it is one of the things that I have learned to do with dreams is to submit to the message. The reasons usually become clear later if I just trust them.   I am fairly certain as to why now, but now I need to meditate on a positive way to do the healing work.  Trying to bring a person who ends relationships in a bad way to justice is pretty useless work.  That was what I was trying to do before.   Doing healing work is much more valuable, but the doors were never open.   It is no surprise that the dream came as a nightmare because without a nightmare I wouldn’t have been clear on the issue and what needed to be done.

My initial work is going to have to be to clear the negative emotions associated with the bad relationship.

Joy dream part 2

June 28, 2007

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So I was talking about my dream to Debby, my wife, (the dream with dancing) and she said that she had a dream with Kurt’s wife, Delane, and in her dream she ended up dancing as well. We both had it the same night, probably at the same time. There is no way to explain this phenomenon if you believe like many people that we are physical beings with a large brain. Don’t you think it is time that we gave into the belief that we are spiritual beings who inhabit a body from time to time? If Debby and I can have a dream at the same time which has a similar structure and content even though we are asleep and unconscious, then what new dreams in waking life can we accomplish consciously that we have heretofore disregarded?

The door appears to be wide open.

Recovering Joy Dream

June 27, 2007

The dream:  I am in a school, the principal of the school is leaving for another job as a professor at a famous University, and Kurt Hein, my ex-colleague is arguing on my behalf to get me in as the new principal.  Kurt is very emphatic about my skills, but the decision to hire someone else has already been made.  I am left out.  The principal seems apologetic, but Kurt is very unhappy with the way the decision is made.  The next thing I know is that I am in an open square dancing with a huge amount of joy.  It is so ecstatic.

The analysis: One of the most important aspects of analyzing a dream besides the obvious dissecting of the symbols is to look at the structure of the dream outside of its content.   The structure of the dream gives you the entire emotional and behavioral pattern that you are facing.  Structure is just as, if not more important, than content.  In this dream the first section ends in a feeling of being excluded, but the entire dream ends in great joy.  The sequence is first a negative and then a positive.   I am excluded, then I am in great joy.

The transformation principle in dream work is simple.  You remember and enhance positives so that they can be utilized in your life, and you change negatives so that  they become positives.   When you already have a positive in a dream, it means that the energy is available to you right now if you can just remember it in a way that will allow it to work.   In this case the virtue I am called on to remember is that of joy represented in the dance.    If there were no negatives in the dream, it would signify that the joy would be immediately available, but in this dream the negatives precede the positives.  The negatives happen first and then the positives happen.  The goal is to have both sides of the dream become positive so that I can dance my life away in great joy.

Content:

Kurt is one of the great colleagues of my career.  We worked for 8 years together at the Maxwell International Baha’i School on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.   We worked side by side.  Kurt is trying to advocate for me in the dream to be the head of the elementary school, but it doesn’t work.  The decision has already been made to hire someone else behind closed doors so I am left out.

Kurt, is a symbol of the part of me that advocates for myself.  This is the part of me that recognizes my gifts and abilities and then puts them out there for others to see.   I think that what the dream is saying is that the part that advocates for me is not the problem because the advocacy is very strong.  The part of me that is like Kurt, that recognizes talents and then advocates to utilize them, is in tact.  Despite having talents and being advocated for, I am still excluded because the decision making process is made behind closed doors.  The feeling I am left with is that of being left out.   This means that the work is the ability to deal with the feeling of being left out.

If the process of the decision making had been been fair and the result the same, then the issue for me would be to develop some new administrative qualities that I don’t have, but as the process was held behind closed doors in secrets, it means that the decision had nothing to do with my qualifications, but was tainted by impure motives of self interest.   Yet I am left excluded.

Up until that  time in my career with Kurt, where we were both fired together in a process that was largely secretive, I had always advanced through the hard work of acquiring new capacities.  At the point of the origin of the dream energy I began to experience the much larger reality of how most of the world actually operates, that is, excluding through self interest.   This was like a big shock to me, and a big eye opener, that fairness as a virtue is largely non-existent in the world.  The experience of being fired and excluded behind closed doors awakened me to a reality for which I had a lot of naivety.   Even great advocacy is not helpful when the process is ruled by self interest.
What then is the solution to exclusion based upon unfairness if advocacy does not work?  Most of the world tries advocacy, but the leaders we have prove how ineffective it is.   Clearly advocacy is not the solution because Kurt is already doing it and I am still being excluded.  The decision making powers behind the closed doors do not act on the basis of fairness.

What is the solution?  If I am being shut out by unfairness and left with exclusion, then the solution is to include myself where the door is wide open.  The dream already tells me that I have  great joy represented in the dance, so joy and energy are not things I have to work on.  What I need to find is the open door and then include myself in it with great joy.  This is the solution.   Being an elementary principal is closed because the processes are secret and impure, but there is another door that  is wide open.  Obviously being excluded took away the joy that I had associated with work so the dream is reminding me to reopen it in the  door that is open.   The school administrative door is closed, but another door is open.