Asleep and Dreaming

There are all kinds of studies about REM sleep, psychological implications of dream interpretation, and dream archetypes as doorways into the collective unconscious (thank you, Jung!). Dream analysis can be illuminating and fun, and sometimes a way to understand a dreamer whose waking pain prevents direct, conscious conversation. Favorite characters open their hearts and minds through dreams, and adventures sometimes depend on what is seen, felt, and learned in them (Dream on Harry Potter, Meg Murray, Percy Jackson, Daenerys Targaryen). God comes to dreamers, sleeping and awake (Paul, Hildegard, Peter, Mary, Magi, MLK, Francis and Clare). When we dismiss and discount the power of dreams, we close our eyes to the mystery that is our internal life and the glory that is the life of creation.

My dreams affect my waking life, and my waking actions affect my dreams. I have awoken with a new perspective to events in my life; taking cold medicine or antibiotics darkens the colors in my dreamscape, and certain pain meds bring on psychedelic shapes and 1960’s music (unexpected result of wisdom teeth removal). How can I deny the power of my dreams?

As a rule, I’m not one to spend time interpreting my dreams. But their fluidity, their permeable and mutable nature mean that I can alter sleeping reality with a simple change of mind or perspective. If nothing else, dreams are the playroom where I practice transforming the world through my thoughts and actions. It may not work so quickly or strangely, but I’m kidding myself if I think my thoughts and actions have no effect in this waking world I call home.

What do you dream? What dreams of yours change this waking world we share?

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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