A friend recently asked me if there is any danger of tainting one’s dreaming by becoming more active with it…as if bringing one’s designs into an otherwise pristine province might cause it to spoil. I found myself responding with a question; do you influence your own reality, or does it unfold autonomously? As usual, both is the right answer to either/or questions.
We tend to think of dreams as responses to waking life – as attempts to sort out the chaos of reality. But while they do process some of the material we miss during the day, there is a larger narrative running throughout our dreamlife that has an intelligent plot and timetable of its own. As you can see across a series of dreams, themes emerge like missions, images and characters mature and evolve as you overcome obstacles, and major psychic events can occur during times when your waking life is uneventful.
The Soul’s Code
James Hillman, archetypal psychologist and writer, says that we are born with a code written into our soul. Not unlike the acorn which contains the entirety of the oak tree programmed within it, every child has a fate to grow into. The images that are generated in our dreams are not regurgitated flotsam, but structured clues to that fate. They are what Hillman calls the personal daimon, the guiding force in each of us that tirelessly works to align us with our calling.
Not only does each of us have a vocation, but every individual’s daimon fits holographically into the body of the collective, which is unfolding its own sleepy myth.
This is why we need your dreaming. It isn’t only important at the level of the self, but at the level of tribe. The more actively you dream yourself awake, the sooner the collective will get lucid. Given our current state of disrepair, you’ll understand it is a matter of urgency. If we aren’t tapping into our abilities for innovation, we are simply looping on irony.
Sincerity is the New Rebellion
When I enter a gallery to find pink, plastic blow-up furniture, and the artist claims it is a statement on society’s mass-produced, bubblegum values, I say where is the innovation in that? If I walk away from art without having been challenged to think somewhere new, then it is not art to me. It is, like ‘reality television’, a shallow feedback loop, resulting in increasingly unimaginative degradations of reality.
“HELPED are those who create anything at all,” writes Alice Walker in The Gospel According to Shug, “for they shall relive the thrill of their own conception, and realize a partnership in the creation of the Universe that keeps them responsible and cheerful.”
When we don’t pay attention to our dreams, or observe some other form of Reality Selection practice, life will certainly go on. But instead of pioneering new ways of being in the world, we repeat history.
This is why dreaming (and creating!) is a subversive practice. By watching and becoming participant in your dreaming, you learn to choose your own adventure instead of abiding by tradition. By recognizing yourself as the hero or heroine of your own story, you prompt your slow attrition from outside influences and begin to live artfully.
Follow Your Goosebumps
The daimon is in your goosebumps and sudden tears. It is in those moments when you feel electric, alive and alone. It is the part of you that is afraid but follows what you love anyway. It is elation in the middle of the night when you awaken from a big dream. It is also in those difficult events that force you to rethink your comforts. It can break your heart, make the body ill and cause your careful constructions to crumble, all because it wants to be seen, valued and, if you dare, followed.