Yesterday, I attended a day-long workshop on Embodied Spirituality. The two facilitators led the participants in an exploration of alternative ways to express our spirituality and connect with the divine. The workshop focused on four practices: yoga as prayer, meditation, accessing spiritual wisdom through dreams, and making art as meditation or spiritual practice.
In this post, I am going to focus a bit on the dream work and art-making since these two had the most immediate and powerful effect on me yesterday.
If I were to distill what I learned from the instructor about dreams into a few sentences, they would be:
- Dreams come from outside our egos. They have a separate reality that comes from the world of spirit.
- They have multiple meanings and many levels of understanding.
- They show us truth about ourselves and provide meaning for our lives.
- An individual cannot understand the full meaning of dreams by herself. Sharing the dream with others helps to gain further insight.
- Even if one does not understand a dream, “getting it out there” by sharing it or in some way manifesting it releases its transformative power in our lives.
In preparation for this workshop, each participant had been asked to bring a dream to share with the group. After this lecture on the nature of dreams, one of the facilitators led us in a guided meditation where we were to focus on this dream.
I did not bring a particular dream; rather, I have a recurring dream that I wanted to explore. I have dreamed on several occasions about the destructive power of water. This theme manifests itself in several ways in my dreams: either as a tsunami bearing down on me, large surf battering me against rocks along a shore line, and water falling from the ceiling of my apartment from a burst pipe. As we were led through the meditation, I began by focusing on the tsunami dream. As I watched the image unfold on my mind’s eye, it began to change. It became me standing on the beach watching a ship being engulfed by a giant wave.
After about twenty minutes, the instructor gently closed this part of the meditation but asked us, in silence, the make our way to a box of art supplies, select some whatever media we wanted, proceed to a table, and begin creating an art piece based on the images that had evolved in our seated meditation. The goal was carry on the meditation as we created the art piece.
I started my piece using several photographs taken from a magazine. I was amazed when I immediately (and serendipitously) found the perfect images of my dream in the magazine. I clipped out an image of a calm moonlit ocean, a woman pointing, and a ship. I felt as it something outside of me had found those images and was instructing me how to lay them out on the paper. After I glued the images in place, I used oil pastels to create the rest of the image.
Here is the finished piece:
I have some ideas about what this image means, but in keeping with the instructor’s comments that it takes other people’s insight to give one greater insight, I am asking each of you to comment below about what you see in this dream. What do you think it may mean?
Thanks in advance for whatever wisdom you can share with me.
Lori G. (c) 2010