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Ancient shamans knew that the way to truth was through conscious dreaming. They frequently induced this dream state through power plants such as peyote, physical deprivation, such a fasting and sweating, and music which included chanting, dancing and drumming. Once they entered into an altered state, they would leave their bodies to commune with the "gods" and "goddesses" of their religion. Because shamans were skilled in the art of symbolic interpretation, once they were in waking consciousness again, they could discern meaning from all they had received in their altered state. This meaning would then give them the wisdom needed to heal the sick and guide their people through their physical experience.
Today, shamanic dreaming has taken a brand new form. It is called by many names: conscious dreaming, visualization, hypnotherapy, vision questing, etc. For the most part, mind altering substances and physical deprivation are no longer used to induce the dream state. Rather, specific relaxation techniques and mental suggestions to "go deeper" have taken their place.
Conscious dreaming is a technique of inner healing used by all kinds of people, many of which are not bonded to the medicine way of traditional shamanic religions. These people do not see totem animals or Native American symbols as ancient shamans did. Rather they see a new host of guides. Some see a Christ figure. Others a higher self or soul. Still others may see extraterrestrials or men or women that come from other religious traditions. Healers and inner guides come in all kinds of forms for all kinds of reasons. The form that appears is dependent on the spiritual tradition that speaks most loudly to the dreamer and is therefore the most compelling.
Form is really irrelevant. What is important in conscious dreaming is that the guidance comes from within and is achieved through a very creative process of inner visioning. A conscious dream could be thought of as a purposeful fantasy that has a well defined goal. It is both consciously preplanned and allowed to unfold spontaneously. Because of this combination of planning and allowing, the inner journey is always magical. Coming from the creative imagination, it is certain to be illogical by linear standards, yet, because the information received has been enticed from the unconscious mind, if interpreted correctly it can give the dreamer enormous insight into their physical experience. When conscious dreaming is done effectively and with impact, it always creates inner healing.
There are many reasons to do conscious dreaming. The most important is to receive inner guidance from your higher self and soul for the purpose of creating change. One begins by fantasizing. Fantasies can include replaying traumatic events of the past, but with the addition of your higher self, who, when visualized in form, can act as a protector, healer, advocate, and therapist. Your higher self can heal your childhood wounds by giving you insight into how and why you create the event, what you can learn from it, and how you can see it differently. Once you see it differently, the event holds new meaning. Although the old meaning harmed the child and continued on long after it was over, the new meaning can actually heal the adult. You can not only re-visualize traumatic events of this lifetime, but of past lives as well, which is not difficult to do once you know the basics of conscious dreaming.
All of this said, this is not the end of healing. This is a useful step in healing, this rewriting of your story, but there is more after that. The goal is to eventually reach the state of consciousness where no damage was ever done and never can be. It is completely accepted as the exper-ience it was, and there is no desire or need to change it.
One of the easiest and most valuable things I did with conscious dreaming was to create a very intimate, loving and emotionally compelling relationship with my soul, whom I gave form to in order to personify the Voice Of Love, which was needed for my healing. Your soul's goal is to teach you how to love and forgive yourself and others. If you have a very self-depreciating inner voice, or if it is your nature to hold grievances and withhold forgiveness, hearing and seeing a figure that represents Inner Love can be quite challenging to do.
It took me years to fully believe the Voice I heard, for my soul would tell me unbelievable things, like: I am lovable even though I make mistakes, and that I am quite worthy and deserving of receiving love and creating a happy, fulfilling life. When I first allowed myself to hear these things, I couldn't take them in. My way of refusing to receive the love was to tell myself that the figure in my visualization was unreal and a figment of my imagination, for no "real" person would ever say such nonsense to me. In time however, the words began to have impact on me and I started to believe them. It never ceases to amaze me how my soul healed me by simply telling me the truth. Because of my ability to visualize and commune with my soul, I came to realize that love truly is the only healer and that without a loving and forgiving inner voice, healing is impossible.
Your higher self and soul have so much wisdom they can impart, but they need to be given time and space to exist. Through conscious dreaming, it is possible to not only see and hear them, but to touch, taste and feel them as well. The inner worlds where your higher self and soul exist can be quite magical and it is my experience that the world within is where miracles are born. One can actually think of the imagination as the fifth dimensions of reality. The imaginal realm, as it is called, is the place where imagination imagines itself and creativity creates itself. It is where your soul has full voice and where the archetypes within yourself come alive with amazing clarity.
How do you get there? Simply allow yourself to dream. Dream consciously and give your fantasies a positive purpose. In time, your imagination will become a springboard that will catapult you into an inner world whose majesty is beyond belief and where power is without limit. And even that is not the end of possibilities for your eternal consciousness.
Susan Vaughn has been teaching Healing And The Art of Conscious Evolution and has written courses for UMS.
Visit the Christine Breese website to read articles on consciousness and awakening, visit University of Metaphysical Sciences Video Satsangs to see talks on spiritual subjects. Read articles on Wisdom of the Heart Church. Visit Starlight Journal for blogs, newsletter, and forums on spiritual subjects. Visit Christine Breese's Metaphysical Sciences youtube channel to view free video satsangs.
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