I’ve had vivid dreams my entire life.
I’ve also experienced issues relating to good, quality sleep (aka insomnia).
I’ve tried all the formulas that Chinese Medicine offers, and they don’t help. Not in the long term anyway.
The Daoist traditional thought surrounding dreams is that the dreams of common man are seen as insignificant. The only dreams that matter are those from “radiant figures” and those who have dreamless sleep. It was said that those with dreamless sleep had no anxiety during the day. This, I propose, is where the idea that having any sort of dreams meant that one had a restless Heart, restless Shen, in Chinese Medicine originated. And, that in order to live a peaceful and contented life, one of the entrees into that state is through having dreamless sleep.
This is in stark contrast to the Jungian approach to dreams, wherein they are seen as an access point into the Unconcious. The unknown. The Feminine.
Look at Jung’s The Red Book, or his more accessible, Memories, Dreams, Reflections. Deep, profound healing can occur when one is willing to converse with what arises from the unconscious.
This has led me to question the entire premise of sleep according to Chinese Medicine.
What exactly is Chinese Medicine asking of us, when CM proposes that dreamless sleep is the ideal? Or that comman man’s dreams are insignificant?
What if, instead, this is a hugely missed opportunity in the name of overcoming the Feminine, the Unconscious, in the name of non-duality, Dao?
What if I don’t need to “fix” my sleep issues or vivid dreams that often lead me to feeling exhausted. And, instead, mine them for the gold that they are offering me? What lessons could be learned from this shift in approach?
Some of us receive inner knowing from our guts. Others, like me, from their dreams.
I’ve started journaling my dreams every morning, no matter how short the dream, how vivid or vague, and then journal my feelings from there. I’ve tried to dream journal before, and seem to have found a groove that works for me, with no particular “way” of analyzing my dreams. I just let them tell me what to write, then I see what comes up in me from there. It’s very organic, and I much prefer it over: what does this color mean, what does this or that mean, what’s the significance.
No. Just let the dreams tell me what to do, thank you very much. My dreams and I are tired of outside input into how they should or should not be in the world.
Since I’ve been doing this exercise?
I’ve been able to process and let go of things that I had been holding onto ever so tightly for a long time. I’ve been able to see my own behavior, reflected through the characters of my dreams, and how it hurts me. I’ve been witness to a deep loving-kindness that comes forth when I need it most, and wake up knowing that that is part of me. A part that I can access at any time.
Coincidentally, my sleep has never been better. (Sure, I still need assistance to GET to sleep, but I don’t wake up as frequently, and I feel more rested.)
I feel better throughout the day. My mind is less cluttered during the day, less anxious. I feel more connected to my authentic self. I don’t run on auto-pilot nearly as much. I’m engaged with my day and body and self.
I’m able to be more careful with myself, something that sounds strange. But, I’m very hard on myself, and now I treat myself with a lot more love and compassion than I did before. (It should be noted, that I am also engaged in practices throughout the day where I cultivate self-love and compassion!)
And you know what? I like this so much better. I like that my dreams are wild and vivid. I like that they have things to share with me. I don’t want them to go away. They have become one of my greatest teachers. And, isn’t that what this whole healing business is all about?
I am my greatest teacher. I have everything I need within me.
So do you.