UNLOCKING GOD'S SECRET CODE: Dreams and Meditation
May 25, 2008
Norman Greenbaum, Spirit in the Sky
photos of Monument Valley
From the Bible
5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, 6 he said, "Listen to my words:
"When a prophet of the LORD is among you,
I reveal myself to him in visions,
I speak to him in dreams. Numbers 12:5-6 NIV
The men of the Most Ancient Church had the knowledges of true faith by means of revelations, for they conversed with the Lord and with angels, and were also instructed by visions and dreams, which were most delightful and paradisal to them. AC 125
1976. There are three kinds of dreams. The first kind come from the Lord mediately through heaven; such were the prophetic dreams that are treated of in the Word. The second kind come through angelic spirits, especially those who are in front above at the right, where there are paradisal scenes; from this source the men of the Most Ancient Church had their dreams, which were instructive (see n. 1122). The third kind come through the spirits who are near when man is sleeping, which are likewise significative. But fantastic dreams come from a different source.
The sight of the eye exists from interior sight, and for this reason after the death of the body man sees equally as well and even better than when he lived in the body-not indeed worldly and corporeal things, but those of the other life. Those who were blind in the life of the body, see in the other life as well as those who had keen vision. So too when man sleeps, he sees in his dreams as clearly as when awake. AC 994.4
Spiritual Importance of Dreams
Do you talk to God? Probably a lot of you would say “yes” to that question. You do some form of prayer, meditation, or spiritual practice that is a communication to the Divine.
Does God talk to you? Probably most of you would say “no”; that you do not feel that God answers your prayers or offers guidance on your daily life.
The story of Barb
Barb was a young woman who came to me for spiritual direction many years ago. She had prayed in many different ways for years, but felt that God never responded to her. She was looking for better ways to pray, thinking that she needed to be clearer to God in order to get an answer.
I asked her how she would know if God did talk to her. Barb said: “I’d really be sure if an angel suddenly appeared in front of me and told me what God wanted to say to me. Or I think a few pages of dictation like Neal Walsh seems to get in Conversations with God would be great.”
I pointed out that angel visits and dictation are not the norm in how God speaks to us. Usually it is more like a coded language that we have to unlock. I suggested that maybe her problem was not in speaking to God; maybe it was in listening to God. Barb asked, “Well, how could I listen better?”
I said, “Maybe part of the problem is expectation. You are expecting God to speak with the forms and words of the earth. God speaks a different language, and we have to learn to de-code it.”
Barb was eager to begin training in de-coding. I suggested she start by observing her dreams, and jotting a few notes down. Barb said she looked at dreams only as mumble-jumble about events of the day, but she would give it a try.
When we met again, she said her dreams, indeed, were just about the events of her days. For example, she had a dream of being in a classroom. She couldn’t hear the teacher up front because loud music was blaring from somewhere. She said, “I’m sure that’s just about events the night before. My teen-aged son was playing music too loudly, and I couldn’t get anything done.”
“Could it also be a message from God that you are distracted by noise around you, instead of listening to Divine guidance of the teacher?” She was amazed that a dream involving ordinary events could have a spiritual meaning, but it certainly described her current spiritual struggle.
Over time, Barb became quite a spiritual detective. She wrote down her dreams, and looked at them through what God might be trying to say in a symbolic way. She later joined a group of Golden Sufi’s who share and discuss their dreams regularly as a spiritual discipline. Today, Barb helps many others hear God through the symbols of their dreams.
Swedenborg and Dreams
Wilson Van Dusen says “it is curious to me how seldom dreams are used by most spiritual seekers.” Yet, one seeker who definitely used dreams was Swedenborg. He started keeping a dream journal when he was writing books on scientific subjects. He started his dream journal in July, 1743 and kept it until October, 1744. It transformed his life. By the end of the dream journal, he was not only a scientist, but a deeply spiritual being.
Psychologist Carolyn Blackmer says of the journal: Swedenborg took his dreams seriously and became his own interpreting psychoanalyst, a sign of his excellent mental health, to judge from the methods he used and the uncompromising rigor of his interpretations. He did not shrink from the harsh light of unfavorable interpretations, and he used all the devices that modern analysts employ to help their patients understand themselves through their dreams.
How to Understand Dreams
Dreams are a form of influx, and are how we can “catch God in the act of creating.” They are hard to understand, however, as dreams do not speak our language.” Why don’t dreams just ‘tell it like it is for us?” asks Swedenborgian psychologist Wilson Van Dusen. His theory is: “the Dream Maker wants to leave the dreamer free to pay attention or to forget it. For another, the dreamer must approach the very nature of the Dream Maker.”
Overall, Van Dusen says, we need to keep in mind these things about the “Dream Maker.”
- We see the D.M. best when we give up all conscious control
- The D.M. is very concerned about the real nature and quality of each life
- The D.M. comes from a higher perspective that sees our problem and its solution clearly.
Van Dusen tells us: “The one creating your dream knows you better than you do and wishes to represent to you the quality of your life. Because it feels the connection of all things, it easily speaks a language of representations.’
Meditation, like dreams, is best when we are “doing practically nothing but what is given by influx.” Van Dusen says the East tends to use breath or mantra as a focus. In Western Christianity, the Jesus prayer, or passages of scripture are common. In the Greek Orthodox tradition, icons are frequently used. There is also a contemplative Christian tradition which finds God in the quiet and the dark, and is closer to Eastern forms. There is no one right way for everyone, but that Dream Maker will guide us to the right meditation for us when we ask.
I find in my life that both dreams and meditation work in ways that are beyond words. I often talk to God by putting out a question for guidance or strength or wisdom. It usually takes me a few days or weeks to start to sense what God’s response is. It comes in dream messages or in a peaceful calm in meditation that has no words or explanation. It can come as a little intuitive hunch at anytime in a day. Often, when I am going through something difficult or confusing, and I’m seeking guidance, I have no clarity for quite awhile. Then, one morning, I wake up, and suddenly see me, my problem, and the world from a different perspective. I think, “Oh, that’s so simple. Why has it taken me so long to grasp this?”
Van Dusen says, “Enlightenment is an expansion of the little self into its full identity. Afterwards you play your true role in time and become deeply human and unique.” We are all on this journey every day; yet we frequently forget that our best guide books are in our dreams and meditations.
Do you record and study your dreams? Do you quietly observe what happens when you meditate? If not; why not?
You may select one or both of the following meditative experiences. They each open on a new page.
1. Meditate with Swedenborgian Artists: Enjoy the music of Ken and Laurie Turley with the nature photography of Susan Wood-Ashton
2. Interfaith Meditation: the Sufi's: Rumi poem with images and music
May you feel God's inflow through the sun, the rain, the flowers, poetry, music .... and in your own dreams each night.
|God Secret Code: Dreams and Meditation||