Dreams are an ancient practice going back to our ancestors millions of years ago. These dreams or ‘night visions’ were not a separate state of consciousness as we perceive them today but rather an infusion of Mind, Body and Spirit. In the modern and post modern era we are more conscious of the “waking” state as the true and only ‘reality’ but with that came a disconnection to our indigenous ways of knowing.
The good news is this wisdom is not lost only forgotten. So how do we re-member who we are and activate this primordial wisdom? The body is the vessel in which we keep this sacred knowledge. To know who we are we only need to ask our bodies.
Dreams as Direct Entry Point to Wisdom
Arnold Mindell, a Jungian analyst and prolific dreamer, discovered this ancient wisdom of our ancestors is connected through the body. In his book, Working On Yourself Alone, he discusses how certain techniques, like amplification can tune us into what channel we are we are perceiving from. He describes this as the same process the alchemist use when cooking the prima materia.
Ways to Work with Dreams and the Body
I have worked with this method and found incredible results, especially when locating the most subtle and more nuanced messages. For example, during meditations either in class or alone I often do a ‘body check’ where I screen the sensations in the body. If I locate perhaps tightness in the shoulders or fluttering in the belly I can use this process of amplification by exaggerating these feelings.
Mindell calls the state proprioception.
What I like to do is let an image emerge organically.
By using the example of fluttering in my belly I might imagine a butterfly or if it is much stronger perhaps a windmill or a dancer. By giving the feeling an image and even more importantly embodying it, I can work with it in many ways:
- I can use a Jungian process called active imagination where I can dialogue with the butterfly or dancer and see what arises from the conversation.
- If I am more visual, I can draw, paint or sculpt the image.
- If I am kinesthetic, I can move like the butterfly, windmill or dancer
- I can sing or shout or speak like the image.
I have found always found a surprise or treasure when I engage in these processes that I would have ordinarily overlooked otherwise.