Multiple Levels of Dreaming
My dreams are changing. I am dreaming into the landscapes of others - into the unspoken aspects of people who I know, and even into aspects of those who I do not know in my everyday life. This new awareness explains so many dreams that I’ve had that don’t make sense, that don’t feel like my psyche or my dream alone. We can tap into the collective unconscious, to bring out what others are not aware of in themselves. We all have that ability, especially in dreaming, when the normal boundaries of our egos are undefended. We may be given these dreams to gain understanding and empathy for others, as an opportunity to give and receive assistance in our dreams, or simply to remind us that we are all connected.
One of my dream teachers, Robert Moss, came to me in a dream a few years ago and showed me a painting of a woman. Oh, a self-portrait I thought. He urged me to look more closely. As I did, I peeled away the top layer and saw another painting of a mountain landscape, which surprised me. As I grasped the depth of this teaching, I realized that there were many more layers of paintings beneath this obvious self-portrait of a woman, many landscapes beyond the experience of human consciousness. We may shape-shift in our dreams, to take on the consciousness of other beings, to expand the awareness of our connection to all things.
In Connie Kaplan’s book, “dreams are letters from the soul” she describes four levels of dreaming - personal, collective, transformational, and philanthropic. I now check in as I am working with my dreams, to feel which level or levels the dream may be coming from. There is so much more to our dreams than we “think”. We must feel, imagine, play, sense, intuit, and invite others in to help us see what we cannot by ourselves. We need each other, and sharing dreams in a dream circle is such a powerful way to feel our inter-connectedness. When we say “if it were my dream” in our circle, we truly step into each other’s dreams and into each other’s lives for a few moments, sharing the suffering and receiving the gifts, knowing that we are not alone.
I am a psychotherapist, writer, artist, and dream teacher in Boulder, CO.