The Way of the Dreamer
by Jim Morris
According to quantum physics the universe has as many as ten dimensions. Humans perceive three, four if you count time as a dimension. Conscious dreaming expands one’s perceptions in ways that seem to add another dimension to life. Perhaps that is an accurate statement, as well as a metaphorical one. Whatever else it is, dreaming is a path to adventure, healing, and enlightenment.
Among the greatest proponents of dreaming as a spiritual discipline were the Toltecs of ancient Mexico. There are three aspects to Dreaming, according to the Toltecs, and to those who practice a modern version of their wisdom. The first is one’s normal perception of waking life. It is a basic tenet of Toltec thought that we are dreaming all the time, that we project our personal dream onto the landscape like a movie on a screen. Modern science has recently confirmed that the mind continues the cycle of dreams during waking life.
Consider that the reality you perceive exists exactly the way you see it nowhere but in your own mind. No one else sees the same object from the same angle. No one else has your experiences exactly the way your have them. You have no assurance that when you see green others see green and not what you see as red. And as you gather opinions and judgments about life, no one else projects the concepts and misconceptions you have formed, consciously and unconsciously, exactly as you do, onto life as they see it.
Your total worldview is your Dream, and it fits into the matrix of Dreams that forms the worldview of mankind, the Dream of the Planet.
Toltecs strive to be aware of this, and to re-conceive the world as they perceive it, so that their Dream is a happy one.
The second aspect of Toltec dreaming is to become conscious within one’s normal nighttime dreams. This is called, by some, Lucid Dreaming. There is considerable work involved in achieving this ability, but there are great rewards. To become lucid in one’s dreams is to become powerful in them. Nightmare creatures can be overcome or won over. Tigers can be made into kittens, and monsters into puppy dogs.
• Why see ugly when there is beautiful weirdness to behold?
• Why walk when you can fly?
• All the love you’ve ever dreamed of is there to experience.
And this consciousness of control in dreams can be carried over into waking life. You might not be able to turn an elephant into a giraffe, but you can turn an onerous task into a piece of cake by simply changing your attitude towards it. The fears that you have confronted in dreams will not be waiting for you in waking life.
The third aspect of dreaming a la Toltec is a course of study, called Dreaming, introduced to the United States by don Miguel Ruiz. He learned it from his mother, dona Sarita, a nagual woman in the Eagle Knight lineage of Toltec “sorcerers”.
In association with don Miguel, under the name Toltec Dreaming, this teaching is presented by his son Jose Luis Ruiz in San Diego, and also by Barbara Emrys in Las Vegas.
Similar programs are taught by Rita Rivera in Connecticut, Gene Nathan, MD, and Oksana Yufa, at The Spirit Recovery Ranch(www.recoveryranch.com) in Tennessee, by Hunter Flournoy, also at The Ranch, by Barbara Simon in Los Angeles, and by Sheri Rosenthal, DPM, in Florida.
This is usually a three-year course, one weekend a month, a year at a time. It consists of a series of guided and unguided meditations, conducted normally from the sitting position, and normal classroom instruction-normal in the sense that there are teachers and students, but unusual in the freewheeling, informal, and joyful atmosphere of the classes. There is an immense amount of love generated and shared in these classes.
What is taught is not so much facts as attitudes, so that one increases Awareness, achieves Transformation, and learns to alter the events of one’s life with one’s Intent. The monsters that kept you in Hell become horses you can ride into Heaven. The ego that whipsawed your life, and everyone else’s life, into tatters goes on the back burner, and what’s on the front burner is unconditional love.
You acquire the consciousness that life is something you live, not something that happens to you. You know that happiness is a choice, and choose it.
There are many teachers and programs that explore the fifth dimension of dreams, and maybe some that move into sixth and seventh dimensions as well. Among the Toltecs are the students and heirs of other lineages, Carlos Castaneda and his successors, and Victor Sanchez, Theun Mares, and others.
There are two basic approaches to Dreaming, the scientific and the shamanic. In actuality they are not very different. The differences are in terminology, and in the myth structure to which one ascribes credibility.
The leading proponent of the “scientific” approach is Stephen LeBerge, Ph.D., of Stanford University. Dr. LeBerge explores and teaches “Lucid Dreaming” in lectures and workshops worldwide. His students have achieved remarkable control over their dreams, and have a lot of fun flying and having dream sex with the hotties of their choice. They have also reported transcendent spiritual experiences. Their reports are enthusiastic. They enjoy godlike qualities in the universe of their dreams.
A more spiritual approach to lucid dreaming is taught by Lama Surya Das, a Tibetan Buddhist, born Stephen Miller on Long Island. He teaches lucid dreaming to explore higher consciousness.
An organizational proponent of the scientific approach is the Association for the Study of Dreams. The Association has “scientific” members who insist that dreams are the random firing of neurons and “shamanic” members who believe, and have a lot of data to back up those beliefs, that dreams free one from the limitations of space and time and open into the worlds of astral travel, spirit guides, communion with the dead, travel into the past and future, soul retrieval, and, well, virtually anything you can imagine.
Perhaps the leading proponent of the shamanic approach is Robert Moss, an Australian, now a resident of upstate New York. After successful careers as a history professor, correspondent, and novelist Moss followed the prompting of his dream guides and started writing and teaching full time on the subject of dreams. He is author of both fiction and non-fiction books on what he calls “Active Dreaming”, and has an audio course, as well as teaching workshops. He has started dream groups around the world. His approach is broadly shamanic, taking lessons from Siberia, Africa, and South America. But his primary source is what he calls the “Dreamways” of the Iroquois.
The kinds of dreaming he espouses seem endemic to the entire native population of the Americas, but his explication of them is uncommonly clear, complete, and engaging.
On his audio course, “Dreamgates”, he tells this story. “After a workshop I was approached by a left-brain type, who said, ‘Bottom line it for me, Bob. What’s this about?’
“Well, my name is not ‘Bob’, but I went with the flow and said, ‘Remember to have fun.’
“So he wrote in his notebook, ‘Have fun!’
“And I said, ‘I don’t think you’re getting it. It’s not about programming an hour to have fun. It’s to Have Fun!'”
There are many ways to dream. To ignore them is to live a life that is to some degree impoverished, when riches are free and lying about in one’s own consciousness. But whichever approach you might elect to follow, the bottom line is to have fun.