Don’t turn that dial
What can we do when we watch the news and see one disaster after the next, and feel powerless to help? Too often our response is to just turn it off, and turn away from what overwhelms us.
I’m talking about watching a relentless stream of hurricanes bear down on cities, towns, and villages … some in familiar or beloved places, and some of which we can’t even locate on a map. I’m also talking about floods and disasters in places we’ve never been to or in places whose names we can’t pronounce, and whose residents don’t look like us or like anyone we know. And I’m also talking about news reports of people disrespecting other people’s basic humanity in small and large ways, and sometimes deadly ones.
We watch and we shake our heads. We’re good people and we care, and we turn to one another and say, “But what can I do that would make any difference?”
Of course there is a lot we can do. Some of it you’ve already thought of, and likely you’ve already done:
You can donate your money and time to good causes (and I hope you do). You can write to your legislators and urge them to take action (and hope you do). But in addition, there’s one more thing to consider, and it won’t cost you money and doesn’t even have to take up much time: You can use your dreams to help you practice and prepare for showing up when and where you are really needed.
You can do this in your sleep
Here are some ways you can use your dreamtime to do good in the world:
Practice remembering your dreams. This is the basic skill necessary to doing any other dreamwork. Remembering your dreams is also a way to increase your overall consciousness of the realms within you, which helps you be more conscious in the world you see outside of you.
Practice lucid dreaming. In lucid dreaming you can fly, you can walk through walls, and you can visit exotic places with the blink of an eye if you want to. Lucid dreaming also helps connect you with your inner authority and increases feelings of empowerment, skills that can help you be a more active player awake, too. Also, waking up in your dreams helps you to wake up to the beauty and dazzle of your life, and the desire to live it well.
Practice seeing everyone in your dream as a part of yourself. When you wake from a dream, reflect on it as if each character represented some inner part of yourself. Yes, even the dreams of “bad guys” represent parts of yourself that are perhaps angry, frustrated, or fed up. Even the most saintly among us has these shadowy aspects. Looking at dreams like this will help you understand your dreams and yourself better. Over time, it will also help you to start seeing the people around you in a new way. You will see that the parts of them you don’t like are just mirroring the parts of yourself you’ve tried to repress or reject. When you learn to have compassion for these parts of yourself (and the people around you), you’ll be less reactive and more respectful and responsive. This will make it easier to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”
Dreamwork teaches skills you can develop and fine tune to help heal your psyche first and foremost, and that healing will ripple out into the world.
Practice all day long
Because dreams bring our unconscious thoughts and feelings to the surface so we can become conscious of them, dreams offer a fast-track to healing inner wounds and growing into our shining potential. That way we can support and serve those around us effortlessly and with love.
But you don’t have to remember your dreams to become a force for good in the world. Here are some simple ways to go from feeling helpless, to acting heroic:
- Practice being kind. Give a compliment, buy a stranger a coffee, leave the parking place closest to the door for someone else to enjoy.
- Practice helping out. Offer to do the dishes, hold open a door, offer assistance to someone who needs directions.
- Practice compassion. If someone annoys you today, first, silently offer lovingkindness to yourself, then silently extend that same feeling of unconditional love to the person who got in your way. After all, would you rather be right–or would you rather be happy?)
Build the muscle memory of choosing a more loving response, or of reaching out to someone else even when you don’t feel like it or you’re not sure it will do any good. That way you prepare yourself for when the big moment appears at your doorstep: The day the storm winds blow at your door, the day you see someone innocent in trouble, or you see someone being humiliated, harmed or hurt–then, without hesitation, you step in to help out because you’ve practiced on the small stuff.
© 2017 Tzivia Gover
If you’re ready to sleep and dream better, book a dreamwork consultationwith me and I’ll help you learn to take a mindful approach to bedtime, and discover the meaning and messages in your dreams to support you all day long.
My book The Mindful Approach to a Good Night’s Sleep is chock full of information and exercises to support you in sleeping and dreaming better. And it’s now available for pre-order!