As an example of how you can use dreaming to bring about Better Endings, allow me to share about a time in my life when dreaming was fundamental in helping me to make a major life move. I grew up “back East” (from a Colorado perspective!): in Ohio, Pennsylvania and then upper western New York. My family lived near Niagara Falls when I was in high school and then I went to college in Buffalo for my bachelors and Masters degrees; so I lived in the eastern part of the country for my first 25 years, from 1954 to 1979.
After my Masters, I wanted to go on for a doctorate in Anthropology, and I had become particularly fascinated with the Southwest and Southwest Native American cultures from my Masters studies in Linguistics while in Buffalo. I took a wonderful cross-country bus trip with a friend to visit Sedona and Phoenix, Arizona, and after that I decided to apply for my graduate studies at Arizona State University. I was accepted into their graduate program, and that’s when my whole life was about to take a major shift, not only of location—Eastern to Western states—but to a fundamentally new way of being, for me, apart from my family and friendships I had forged in New York. “Going West” was a huge shift for someone whose whole family hailed from the Eastern states. So, I had to go through a major shift in perspective in order to accept this major life move. To do so, I turned to my dreaming.
Every night for over a year while I finished my Masters thesis and began to prepare for ‘the Big Move’ to Arizona, I sat for a ½ hour to 2 hour contemplation in my bedroom in Buffalo, and then went to sleep, to dream. Each night I framed a question that I would aim to receive an answer for in the contemplation or in my dreams that night. My questions all had to do with the upcoming move. For example, was I crazy to make such a huge relocation, from East to West, or shouldn’t I just give up on this wild adventure scheme and stay ‘Home’? I was going to drive my red Buick Special convertible; wasn’t red going to be too hot for Arizona? I was taking along my beloved cat, Chela; could she make such a long car trip? And, would I meet any ‘real’ new friends in ‘cowboy country’ (or again, maybe I should stay home in my ‘comfort zone’, after all!)
It was amazing, really, in retrospect. The technique was much like Jung’s nightly experiences with “active imagination” that he wrote of in his journal, The Red Book (check out this link for Jung’s images!). Every night in contemplation I would pose a question like those above that mainly challenged whether I could or should make such a huge transition, and afterwards, every night I would ‘be given’ a lucid dream that very clearly answered that specific question in the form of very direct and unmistakable inner guidance. I was addressing my questions in contemplation to a spiritual Inner Guide, and he was helping me every step of the way, probably because without such clear answers, I would have found it harder to make this major change in consciousness that, spiritually, I really did need to make in order to move forward in my life.
When I complained that my car was red (How could I take a red car to Arizona?), that night in my dreams I was taken to a hotel in Phoenix (I later learned it was a Ramada Inn that really exists there!). This hotel has a rotating restaurant at the top. I was taken to that overview where I looked down at the parking lot. Guess what? It was FULL of red cars!
When I complained how could my precious cat endure such a long road trip, that night I was shown myself and her taking the trip. I was driving a big van that had a PIANO in the back! Over the piano was a quilted comforter, and stretched out in pure comfort along the piano top—with soft music playing—was, yes, you guessed correctly; my cat friend, Chela!
But would I meet any real friends? I was shown that night a truly prophetic dream revealing four specific persons whom I later met and recognized when I met them from that night of dreaming! One became my good friend whom I later married for 3 years, Franco. Another became a best friend and graduate school cohort for several years. Another would be my PhD advisor, Betsy. And the fourth became somewhat of a personal spiritual advisor while I was in Phoenix.
But, did I really have to make this trip? Would I be happy? Two dreams followed from those two questions. In the first, I was shown that there would be hard times to endure but they would be necessary for my spiritual unfoldment. In the second, I was walking with my Grandmother along a Phoenix city street. There was happiness in the air as I sang a lilting tune which I awoke with: “I’m leaving; But there are a few doors left to close, before I get over there!” For the rest of the year before I made the Big Move, I sang this song daily, in the morning at the university where I was teaching English and at night. I was leaving. I did clear up whatever remaining business I had in Buffalo before I could go.
When I reached Phoenix, these dreams had prepared me perfectly for all that was to come. Things went smoothly, and I learned what I needed to learn along the way. After only one night of tears when I realized I really had separated from all I had ever known, I adjusted rapidly and undertook one of the most significant and edifying phases of my life.
Have you had this sort of “tandem” relationship with your Dreams? As an explanation of the method I used that you can use, too; it can be summed up very simply: Just Ask!
I would love to hear about your insights and experiences too! Feel free to comment and share YOUR stories!