Waking and Dreaming Worlds
The dreaming or spirit world is different from the waking world, obviously, but there is a common link. That common link is us and our ability to sense the different worlds. Our memories and feelings go with us when we cross the divide from waking to dreaming and back again.
If you remember your dreams, you know they resemble your waking life or have components from the waking time—even when very different. Similarly, we can wake up unsettled (or happy) from dreams and carry those emotions into our waking days.
Taoists have methods for ‘dream practice,’ which involve bridging the divide between the two worlds. The belief is that we can gain lessons, visit deceased (or living) friends/ancestors, and recharge (or exhaust) our physical bodies. I’ve had the experience of removing (or curing) recurring bad dreams with these techniques.
The first steps in Taoist Dream Practice are similar to the other first steps I always mention here. These steps are:
-building up the physical body and the energy body through the microcosmic orbit,
-finding our center through iron shirt chi kung,
-practicing the fusion of the five elements to help find our way back from the murky dream world, and
-the six healing sounds clear our emotions so we don’t spend dream time clearing out the ‘junk’ from the day.
Then, when we’ve paid off the sleep debt (this may take weeks of over-sleeping) and are ready for ‘dream practice,’ we can state an intention. As we fall asleep, we say to ourselves “I remember my dreams,” “I am open to insights about _____,” “I wake up recharged,” or we can do our favorite meditation practice and hold onto it as long as we can. The aim here is to prolong the space between waking and sleeping to be more conscious as the body falls asleep. Some of my favorite meditations are in this little book: The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching: Transforming Your Lead Into Gold