Secrets of Professional Dream Work: What Are Dreams and Why Should You Care?

by Ron Masa Ph.D.

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"We need dreams the shape of lakes,
with mornings in them thick as fish."

(Naomi Shihab Nye)

  • Dreams are filmed "live and in person" inside us. They reveal the facts of our interior life; profound insights about every aspect of our existence. And they do not know how to lie.

  • Every night our dreams cast us in strange surrealist screenplays which make us ask: "How am I secretly this person?" There are no trivial dreams: Every dream is filled with fresh beginnings, "thick as fish."

  • Dreamwork is a safari into our own interior, where guidance, healing and mystery reside. Our reward is direct access to our own inner truth and Self-direction. Dreams are your answer sheet for the "Know Thyself" exam.

  • The dreamer chooses which dreams to investigate and is the final judge of what to believe they mean. By working with dreams, we transcend mere opinion about how to live and find our own interior wisdom.

  • When we work with dreams, they outrank us. To understand them, we must invest enough effort for our human (pea) brain to decipher layer after layer of multi-dimensional content. It is reassuring that "Someone" so enormously wise and complex looks out for us, and speaks to us each night. A dream is "too big for the net. It loves you more than you love it." (-Nye)

  • The same force that makes our body and heals our cuts makes our dreams. Call it Nature/God/the Unconscious/Buddha mind... however you conceive the source of your being, that is the source of your dreams. They come from whatever factory made us. They reveal hard facts of our inner life.

  • Everyone dreams every single night during five or six REM cycles. If dreaming is interrupted, the next day we frustrate easily, solve problems worse, etc. So, dreams are continuously helping us even if we never remember a single one. When deprived of dreaming, our next sleep will be crammed with dreams, until we catch up, so essential is dreaming to living.

  • The choice to record and to learn from your dreams is the establishment of a communication link with your higher self. Accepting the gift is the other half of love. It is one way to hear higher wisdom; your own higher wisdom.

  • In every growth path and religion, there comes a point when the individual must consciously choose to participate in his own development.

  • My basic rule of dreamwork is "Don't believe anything I say." From politics to used car sales, the message is always "trust me." Dreamwork helps you learn to trust yourself. Dreams are a communique from inner you to outer you. When an interpretation works, you'll be the first to know!

  • When your head hears the messages of your heart, there's an electrical charge; the energy circuits to our interior light up with each intuition or insight. Jung's brilliant student, Marie-Louise Von Franz, wrote: "Every understood dream is like a slight electrical shock into higher consciousness." This is a direct connection to the invisible world.

  • If you explore a symbol long enough, physical, psychic, and emotional energies are released into waking life. You can feel it. This felt validity is your ability to know truth directly.

  • An "insight" is an inner-sight: a view from within. We don't create insights. We receive them when we "Hear the Guide Inside."

  • Everybody's dream is Everybody's dream. Part of the magic of a dream group is that the universal wisdom in every dream speaks to everyone who works with the dream!

  • The dreamworker is essentially a translator. We are hired by the dream-owner. We devote ourselves to his or her growth, awareness and freedom. But ultimately, we work for the dream. The dreams systematically train us and guide us.

  • The process of working with dreams changes the dreamworker too. Dreams guide all who explore them toward a more whole and soulful self.

  • Von Franz calls dreams our "nightly letters from God." Have you been reading your mail?

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Ron Masa, Ph.D. taught and wrote about dreams while in private practice for 25 years. He and Debbie Hart co-lead the University of Yourself (http://www.UniversityofYourself.com).

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