Meditation and Dreams Danielle Van de Velde

How meditation helps you access the wisdom in your dreams

How meditation helps you access the wisdom in your dreams

In my mentoring sessions over the last few months, the topic of dreams has gained new prominence. The uncertainty and ‘pressure-cooker’ atmosphere that COVID-19 has placed us all in, is certainly playing out in our dream spaces. There has been some interesting commentary from the psychologists on social media about it too. 

The collective experience of fear, uncertainty, disempowerment and insecurity, felt by many, is having the cathartic effect for individuals of raising into their personal process similar patterns that they may hold, or have held for a long time. It’s a busy time for therapists and mentors like me. 

Within our dream spaces, some shared symbols and scenes are playing out too. Snakes, dark menacing storms, tidal waves and running to catch some form of transport but never quite making it, are some of the more common ones. 

So, it was no surprise to have such a huge response to our first Deams webinar, ‘Strange Dreams’, held on the eve of the May dark moon and hosted by Willow Mattress Singapore and Expat Living Singapore. It was a delight to be the guest speaker and in many of the dreams submitted for interpretation on the night, snakes, storms and missed transport featured again. The response was so enthusiastic and curious, that we have decided to do a webinar series on all things dreamy! 

Dreaming takes many forms in our lives. We are the only creatures on the planet who have the capability to daydream and visualise three-dimensional moving images in our minds. Every night, whether we remember them or not, when our conscious mind folds-in to regenerate, we dream. While some people claim they don’t dream at all, the fact is, we all do. However, up to 60% of people don’t remember their dreams. 

Meditation and Dreams - Danielle Van de Velde

Freud deduced that nearly every dream has elements of unprocessed thoughts and emotions from the day that’s been. Both Freud and Jung produced beautiful studies on the symbolism and messaging of dreams as forms of communication, problem-solving, and pure creative genius from the subconscious mind. And some of the world’s most paradigm-shifting, progressive inventions were conceived – sometimes in their entirety, in dreams. Larry Page’s idea for Google, Tesla’s alternating current generator, Mendeleev’s periodic table, and Watson’s double helix spiral form of DNA are just a few examples. 

Within the mix too are many examples of dreams being pre-cognitive or predictive of events yet to play out in waking reality. I have certainly had my experience with these types of dreams. Research shows that many of the major events on the world stage were dreamt of by people, days and weeks prior to the events themselves. The 9/11 bombings, the sinking of the Titanic, and the Aberfan mining disaster are some of the better-known cases. Many dreams hold a ‘voltage’, a feeling of weight or greater meaning, and often, that feeling can travel with us through the waking day, long after the dream was experienced. These are the dreams I pay the most attention to.

In esoteric practice, dreams are regarded as essential forms of divination and dialogue with our expanded self, our spirit and the animated field in which we dwell. It is always so interesting to witness advanced students in my esoteric courses step boldly into this form of reliable guidance once they learn to interpret the language of spirit as it comes through in symbols, synchronicities and sensations.

In magical practice, dreams never happen in isolation. They are part of a broader pattern of energy and information that surrounds us in our mundane reality and ripples through our inner workings. Once these skills of ‘spirit-language’ and ‘pattern-picking’ are mastered, our dreams can integrate into our inner work as reliable sources of information and guidance. 

The role of meditation in dreams

Ever thought about how meditation and dreams are related? How meditation plays a part in all of this dreamy exploration? Let’s find out.

Meditation aids deep sleep and restoration of natural cycles

Dreams only occur during REM cycles of sleep, and stress disrupts our brain’s ability to reach these deeper states of sleep. The initial benefits of cultivating a regular meditation practice are a rebalancing of the natural rhythms of the central nervous system which in turn rebalances the levels of stress hormones in the blood. Regular meditation strengthens immune function, helps in the regeneration of vital organs and non-present thought looping, all of which play into the quality of our sleep. It creates greater oxygenation and detoxification of the system, particularly through a focus on the breath.  Mindful breathing and pranayama techniques are key to entering meditative states and are a staple in all my courses.  

Regular meditation establishes a mindful state of awareness 

With regular meditation, we carve a space between our interface with what we are experiencing and our state of awareness. In other words, we become better able to witness the activity within our mental, emotional and astral fields. This mindful state also enhances our ability to remember our dreams upon waking. Through establishing a mindful state, we settle much more easily into the role of ‘the witness’ to our lives and move from a reactive interface to a responsive one. This ‘witness’ mode also translates to our dreaming. 

Meditation helps us navigate our subjective reality

While the physical and psychological benefits of regular meditation are well known and proven, the ultimate benefit of the practice, aside from feeling better, is to start living consciously.

Dreams don’t happen in isolation. They add layers of meaning to our experience of self and life. In all of my courses, whether they be the introductory courses to meditation and inner practice, or the more advanced studies of intuitive healing and conscious creation, I strongly suggest that students get into the habit of meditative journaling, which includes capturing dreams. Why? Because we experience everything, even our dreams through our subjective lens. That lens is formed through beliefs, fears and paradigms about self and life that we subscribe to. Our lens develops through familial, social and spiritual cultures, our education and past events that have shaped how we feel about ourselves and the world. Regular meditation helps us create the mental, emotional and energetic space to observe those inner patterns. Likewise, meditative journaling helps us track our reactions, triggers, and patterns so we can objectively ‘see’ their meaning and what they are telling us. Keeping a journal of our dreams also enhances our ability to recall them generally and to identify recurring dream signals. Also, to keep track of when they appear in relation to what we are experiencing in our lives and inner enquiries. 

Meditation helps us enter states of hypnagogic hallucination at will 

Our dreams play out within our ‘imaginal realm’, that space in the mind that links the conscious critical mind and the deeper aspects of our subconscious. Our modern culture tends to devalue the imagination considerably. Growing up, I’m sure we have all been counselled with words like “oh, you’re just imagining it” or “stop daydreaming and get back to your studies”. Many children have the experience of imaginary friends when very little, which is often discounted as they can’t be seen by others and eventually this capacity in the child is closed down. 

However in magical practice, the imagination is an esteemed and essential ‘space’ within the psyche. It is through the imaginal realm that we both receive guidance from spirit and generate thought-forms. This in turn, when supported by the direction of vital life force, tilts the field of potentiality into possibility and then probability. In other words, our imaginal realm is the space of conception for experiences that we consciously (and unconsciously) create. 

Hypnagogic hallucination is an interesting process whereby the practitioner enters deep states of relaxation, usually via breathwork and energy practices, and opens the imaginal realm to allow images and impressions to rise up. With practice, these images can then be used as gateways for deeper explorations.

Shamanic journeying works explicitly with this function. Through stimuli like drumming, rattles, ecstatic postures, and breathwork, the practitioner, armed with a clear intent for the journey, can enter a state of hypnagogic hallucination.

In journeying there is a clear ‘switch point’ where the imaginal realm conjured for the journey, starts to run on its own accord and the practitioner then settles into a shifted state of witnessing what is being demonstrated to them in response to their intent. To access these incredible and exciting practices, a basic meditation capability is required, which is why I ensure this is in place with anyone seeking my more advanced courses.

Meditation and Dreams - Danielle Van de Velde

Certain meditations like Yoga Nidra, also known as the ‘psychic sleep’ and Creative Visualisation, for example, induce divine states of calm, present inner awareness, where we can explore this sacred space of the psyche and sharpen our abilities to navigate it. These abilities, which anyone can cultivate, are also key to accessing the even more mysterious and cool world of Lucid Dreaming, an experience where within the dream itself, you are aware that you are dreaming. Yoga Nidra, Visualisation and Pranayama practices are some of the beautiful meditations covered in my online Introduction to Meditation course, now open.

The next free Dream Webinar hosted by Willow Mattress Singapore and Expat Living Singapore is on the evening of June 18th where I will be diving into the world of Lucid or Conscious Dreaming. You may register for the Lucid Dreaming webinar and follow my Instagram and Facebook channels for updates. 

If you wish to know more about meditation and dreams, or explore privately, a particularly charged or recurring dream, and how it may be informing your process, do get in touch or book a one-on-one session.

You can also visit our website to explore courses and useful content to guide you along your journey to healing, self-discovery and mindful living. 

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