My Spiritual Path of Dreams

By Jenny Alexander

When people talk about dreams as spiritual experience, they usually seem to be thinking in terms of what Jung called ‘numinous’ dreams – that is, dreams which have an unmistakably spiritual quality, inspiring awe and wonder, and often bringing revelations.

These ‘big’ dreams do indeed feel like wonderful gifts from outside the self, and they stay vividly with you across the decades, lighting your life. But dreams which feel quite ordinary can also be a doorway to profound changes in consciousness.

For example, I once dreamt I was having coffee with my neighbour. I was fully aware that I was dreaming – lucidity is very common in experienced dreamers.

Normally, in lucid dreams, my waking ‘I’ might be there as an observer or commentator, and occasionally if I didn’t like the way things were going, I might intervene and change the action of the dream.

But this dream didn’t have any action at all. It didn’t have any narrative to distract me – I was just sitting there, drinking coffee, and I was bored. There was a silky cushion beside me, and I ran my hand absent-mindedly across it. I noticed how smooth the fabric felt; I ran my fingers along the hard ridge of the trim.

I thought, ‘Hold on a minute – this is a dream!’ Since nothing much else was going on, I went on testing the evidence of my senses and yes, I really could smell the coffee; I could feel the crumbly biscuit between my fingers and taste its light vanilla on my tongue. I could hear my neighbour’s voice, talking to me. I knew it was a dream, but it felt exactly the same as ‘real’ life.

When I woke up, I could feel the quilt resting lightly across my body; I could see the light from the gap in the curtains ribboning across it; I could hear my husband’s gentle breathing and smell the warmth of our two bodies. But now I knew that my mind could create a whole different reality which felt as real to my senses as this one. So the senses were unreliable witnesses, and waking life a reality no more substantial than the dream.

When you read back over old dream diaries, you will also find that seemingly ordinary dreams can be precisely predictive, and you may find so many of these that it’s impossible to dismiss them all as flukes and coincidences.

According to our normal understanding of time, it should not be possible to predict the future, but the experience of predictive dreaming shows irrefutably that it is.

So gradually, actively engaging with dreams can dissolve the narrow rational and materialistic viewpoint, through which we normally understand life. In the words of William Blake, ‘man has closed himself up, ’til he sees all things thro’ narrow chinks of his cavern.’

The practical, experiential path of dreaming can lead to a falling away of ideas and illusions, and open you up to the mind-blowing reality. ‘If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.’

Jenny Alexander is a successful children’s author www.jennyalexander.co.uk

She also teaches adults creative dreaming and writing. Her blog on the subject is called ‘Writing in the House of Dreams’ http://jenalexanderbooks.wordpress.com

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “My Spiritual Path of Dreams

  1. 1emeraldcity

    Great write by J. Alexander. I firmly believe that dreams are predictive and I have experienced this several times. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Pingback: My spiritual path of dreams | Writing in the House of Dreams

  3. Jenny Alexander

    Thank you for commenting! What I love about the dreaming path is that it’s experiential, not theoretical – we don’t have to believe dreams can predict the future – we experience it, and then we know. Mind-altering knowledge 🙂

  4. Lovely, thought-provoking write Jenny ~ every dream is a pathway to enlightenment should we choose to unwrap it ~*

  5. Jenny Alexander

    Thank you so much, Peter. I really wasn’t sure if I had managed to make my meaning clear. It’s a big topic for a guest blog!

  6. Jenny, thanks kindly for this piece on my blog, I am extremely grateful. Looking over old dream diary’s is very enlightening. Especially the dreams I encountered when I began therapy for the 2nd time. These early dreams held golden keys of what would eventually be, especially in regards to the darker self. Eventually the dreams became a reality in as much as they highlighted the darker hidden aspects of my psyche and I became more conscious when the wolf tried to take charge. Thank you!

  7. Jenny Alexander

    Ooh… you raise such an interesting aspect of the path of dreaming here, Will. I first encountered my shadow in dreams too, and these clearly shadow-images became a gateway to greater awareness of the shadow in the world. It’s just amazing the way that dream-awareness can change how we experience the waking world.

  8. Jenny Alexander

    Interesting! Of course, on my blog, and in my own dream practice, my primary interest in dreams is not interpretative – we’ve been discussing ithat in the comments this week, as it happens http://jenalexanderbooks.wordpress.com/2012/03/21/dreams-and-the-person-on-the-bus/#comments

  9. What a fantastic post, Jenny. Your writing is so wonderful. You are able to fully evoke all the sensory stimulus to make your imagery come alive in my mind, to such an extent, I could easily feel that the experience could be my own, that your dream, your reality, could be my dream, my reality … a true feeling of connection, of feeling human.

  10. Jenny Alexander

    Thank you, Quirina! You’re so right that the senses are the a to connection between the writer and the reader – they’re how we evoke a scene. I like your profile as a searcher for truth. I think that’s a very strong drive in some people – it certainly has been in me.

  11. This is fabulous Jenny. I have never had such clarity of smell and touch in a dream. How amazing. Am eager for this to happen now! Another lovely post Jenny!

  12. Jenny Alexander

    Thank you, Abi 🙂 I don’t normally have that kind of sensual intensity in dreams either – it was just because I was lucid, and therefore able to decide deliberately to test the evidence of my senses. But like so many of these experiences, you only need it to happen once, and everything is altered

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