Yesterday I spent the day being confident, and filled with faith, about my new life outside the religious commune I am leaving. Sure that whatever happens Fiona and I will build a home together, and even if all the detail of that vision doesn't work out - something wonderful will happen.
Last night I had a dream that I was building a house, and it was never perfect. A wall was in the wrong place, the brickwork was stained with oil. In the dream some of these things I fixed, and some I couldn't. In the end my dream self was in tears of anguish, crying "I can't do it."
Writing about dream Rev. Heng Sure (from Dharma forest) quotes Jeremy Taylor writing about Jungian dream anaylsis:
1) that all dreams come in the service of health and wholeness; 2) that no dream come simply to tell the dreamer what he or she already knows; 3) that only the dreamer can say with certainty what meanings a dream may hold; 4) that there is no such thing as a dream with only one meaning; and 5) that all dreams speak a universal language, a language of metaphor and symbol.He goes on to list several other more 'Buddhist' ways of looking at dreams, one of which is as messages from other beings, teachings by Gods or Buddhas, or portents of the future. There's a clear example of this in the Ant Hill Sutta when a monk brings a dream to the Buddha for him to interpret. In the dream a deva appears and gives a very clear teaching.
A Buddhist Approach to Dreams
In early Buddhist psychology the mind is considered a sense in the same way our other five are, sight and so on. The images and sounds that come into our mind-sense come from outside the mind are received and we react to them in the same way we react to receiving things through our physical senses.
Whether we think dreams are generated somewhere inside of us, or come from the outside - there's no doubt in my mind of the importance of paying attention to the images and sounds we receive in our sleep. They can reveal great truths about the self.
The story I was telling yesterday about not being afraid isn't the whole truth. I am afraid. But that's not the whole story either, the dream showed me my fears, but I don't have to buy-in to them. Like Mara presenting the Buddha with images of temptation on the night of his enlightenment dreams can show us our shadows.
We need to give them space, and welcome them into our lives, but we don't need to become slaves to them.
I am afraid. But I have faith too. Something wonderful will happen