When I was 26, I had a lucid dream that changed my life. When I woke up, covered in sweat and freezing in the middle of summer, I was sure I had experienced something real. This was no ordinary dream. I felt as if a tuning fork was attached to my neck, sending vibrations down my spine and through my entire body. This dream began my process of personal transformation.
The dream brought with it many images and thoughts that, in the default world, I would have thought as scary. In the context of the dream, they held hidden meaning that I needed to explore. With images of deep waters and serpents still present in my mind, I called the Jung Institute and asked to come and search through some of their books. The friendly librarian explained how the library was open to members only, and the general public was not allowed. "Let me explain," I said. "I just had a big dream. Can I tell you about it?" Two hours later, we were sitting together at the beautiful library on Gough street while he brought down book after book for me to research the symbols etched in my mind and soul.
It is more than twenty years later, and I still get chills thinking about this dream. This dream has become a touchstone. It has allowed me to connect more deeply with my purpose and resolve conflicts at critical points in my path of personal transformation. It has influenced every major decision I have made ever since. When in doubt or faced with fear, I remember the words so clearly. "The path ahead is difficult. But if you choose to go forward, you will be ok, regardless of the risks." This dream inspired my interest in Jung and the Core Shamanism of Michael Harner. It led me to learn about holotropic breathwork, shamanic journeying, and positive psychology. It led me to complete a Masters in Transformative Leadership and my decision a few years ago to pursue a Ph.D. in East-West Psychology.
It is hard to believe that a dream I had so long ago continues to be relevant. But it does. Over the years, different parts of the dream have become more suitable than others. Scenes and passages that were not important in my 20s are critical to my worldview in my 50s. And instead of being static, the dream continues to evolve. Passages have expanded and opened up in other dreams and psychedelic journeys. Recurring motifs show up in real life, forcing me to pay attention. People and opportunities show up in my life when I am in alignment with my vision. This beautiful dream is like a bottomless treasure chest of gifts. The more I cultivate it, the more it gives me back.
I owe my interest in dreamwork to this particular dream. Over the years, I have learned and practiced various techniques that help me navigate the realm of the unconscious. Jungian and archetypal psychology and indigenous traditions have informed my practice and helped me develop skills in working in "the Dreamtime" of night-time visions and expanded states of awareness. These experiences have enriched my life in ways I can't begin to express. I hope that my experiences and stories inspire others to explore the wonderful world of dreams.