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How Learning the Language of Dreams Opens Us to Psychic Experiences

Have you had an experience you thought might be psychic? What was it like? 

For most people I’ve talked to, psychic experiences don’t play out in a way they are used to. There’s an element of strangeness to them. As a result, they’re often unsure if they “really happened” and may even be quick to doubt themselves or their senses. This is because the mechanisms for checking reality we use for everyday events and encounters don’t seem to work when it comes to psychic or paranormal encounters. 

Sure, there are psychic mediums who claim to hear or see information in a way similar to the way one does typically; for example, hearing a voice or seeing a spirit. However, such individuals and experiences are rare.

Psychic experiences, though, are not so rare. In fact, the average individual may be having them, but missing them or doubting themselves. 

Psychic messages often come to us as images, sensations, or feelings. In this way, they share a common feature with dreams. Both can be confusing because we are trying to use left-brain analytical or logical thinking when we meet these images or feelings, rather than relating to the input or stimulus using our right-brain, nonverbal, emotional capacities.

Anyone who has ever remembered a strange, nonlinear, or surreal dream knows how confusing the dream experience can be both inside the dream and upon waking and reflecting on it. That’s because dreams are image- and feeling-centric, rather than language- and thinking-centric. This isn’t to say that dreams are without language or void of all ability to plan, reason, or solve problems. However, it’s been shown that our brain activity is different during REM sleep, when we dream, than it is when we are awake. The right brain seems to be more turned on than the left brain during REM.

Therefore, there’s some indication that by design, we are using more of our right hemisphere capacities during dreaming than we do automatically when awake. For instance, you may notice you are not able to solve problems or use verbal reasoning so easily in dreams. Have you ever spent an entire dream trying to dial a phone number or send an email unsuccessfully? For the average person, the verbal areas of the brain are in the left hemisphere.  

When we recall our dreams and work them later (especially with a dreamwork practitioner, dream group, or friend), we are often able to pick up or notice patterns, repetitions, imagery, and feelings we weren’t sensitive to or aware of inside the dream because in the dream we typically bring some of our “sensible” waking logic and reasoning with us. Or, we bring with us into the dream our reactivity and tendency to categorize or assign meaning to stimuli. When met with illogical information or fragmented, out-of-order events we can’t make sense of, we may feel very confused or frustrated.  (How a dreamer responds to imagery in a dream is always unique to that individual.) 

Dreamwork makes us aware of our habitual reactions, behaviors, and tendencies when it comes to receiving input from our environment and making meaning of it. We get to see ourselves from outside ourselves when we work our dreams, and when we work them with another, that person often will see a pattern or behavior we don’t see. (Our blind spots.) Additionally, another person may be able to spot a significant or sacred image that you can’t because you have certain personal associations with that image or symbol. 

Fundamentally, dreamwork simply helps us get better at receiving input from the world of images without reacting or making meaning too quickly. Working a dream allows us the opportunity to use more of our right-brain by feeling into the dream, as opposed to thinking about it.

When we re-enter a dream in a dreamwork session, we aim to slow down the dream, and feel into certain images, rather than react, analyze, or try to logically make sense of them. When we pause and become aware of how a person or an encounter in a dream makes us feel, we often are met with a new, novel insight about ourselves, our situation, or our reality. 

Note: Feeling into a dream image or encounter is not the same as a sense of intuitive “knowing” inside a dream. When we “know” inside a dream, we are still using our thinking, conditioned mind to make sense of our environment and of the information around us. It’s often not intuition that is allowing us to know in a dream, but the story-making tendency of ur minds. In fact, even using the word “know” in a dream report is an indication you should return to the scene of the dream during a dreamwork session. What you “know” about that person or event in the dream may not have even happened in the dream, and is instead likely a back story you have created to explain the events in the dream or a reaction you’re having.  

Psychic experiences (information sent or received from outside time or at a far distance from your present space) work in a similar way to dreams. They are sensory, rather than mental, and come through as images, sensations, or feelings. 

Whether it’s in a dream, in a meditative state, or simply driving down the highway your mind adrift, you may suddenly notice an image in your physical environment or a sensation in your body. Or perhaps you’re met with a synchronicity, a meaningful coincidence. If you attempt to “translate” that image, sensation, or synchronicity using your rational thinking mind, you may come to a very different conclusion than if you were to meet it with your feelings. (ie. Maybe the chill on your neck is not from the temperature outside, but a message from your subconscious to pay attention to the road; a subtle message from the near future that a police car may be just ahead.)

Natural Dreamwork, in particular, focuses on slowing down and re-experiencing the images and events in a dream with our feelings and senses rather than our mind and reasoning tools. Over time, working our dreams this way automatically influences how we interact in waking life. While this is not a goal of Natural Dreamwork, nor is it a stated outcome of the work, I have found for myself that learning the language of dreams in this way has been conducive to psychic development.

Therefore, if you are someone who wants to encourage psychic experiences in your life, dreamwork is one way to practice being in the world of images and feeling, and meeting stimuli that way, rather than constantly making meaning of images, reacting to them, or analyzing them.

I write more on my beliefs about psychic dreams here and on the possibility we are missing messages from the future here.

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