“Intuition is a leap toward wholeness from fragmentation.”Anodea Judith
Although it may seem counter-intuitive to speak of “preparing” for intuition, we actually can enhance our intuitive abilities. A good intuitive is someone who pays close attention to their inner voices and visions and to their outer surroundings. After we tune in and set our intentions, we need to ask the right questions, and then to listen up and watch out for the answers. This second step is often missed once the question is asked!
We can learn how to listen from the inside and from the outside: to ask, to pay attention to what we are asking for and also to what we are getting in response to our questions. An intuitive will often say something like, “I’m getting something here” as they feel information coming into their awareness, or “I’m sensing that …” One of my therapeutic clients calls these moments “downloads,” and will ask me, “Are you getting a download now?”
Although it may seem almost “automatic,” getting a good intuitive hit is the accumulation of years of different kinds of work and preparation in dreamwork, meditation, mindfulness practices, book learning, and body-based experiences.
Great Teachers tell us that whatever we are on the lookout for, we will be more likely to see. So by purposefully sending out a message to the universe that we are open and available to receive this form of knowledge, we increase the likelihood that we will. That is what the word “Kabbalah” means: received knowledge, from the root l’kabel, to receive.
Our first step towards accessing our intuition is our willingness to be open to receiving knowledge from uncanny sources. In the still of the night, when much of the noise of the world is hushed, we are often better able to hear that “still small voice” that Elijah heard, if, as we wake from our own dream states, we embrace rather than dismiss our dream messages. There is no dream too small, no fragment too meaningless, that we aren’t able to find some gold within.
To increase our access to intuition or intuitive knowledge, we can utilize resources available in both our waking and sleeping dreams. What seem to be accidental coincidences, also known as synchronicities, may be signals from the universe that we have found that for which we had been seeking, or; that something is seeking us. There are patterns in the universe if we are paying attention. Anodea Judith states that intuition is the unconscious recognition of patterns.
Our ancestors were very clear that this was a valid form of acquiring information. We are starting to do a little better at paying attention to this form of paying attention. Even in our pop culture, Jennifer Laurence, in the movie “Silver Lining Playbook” repeatedly said to her boyfriend “If I’m reading the signs right, you should be …”. And she won an Academy Award for it. (It was good enough that I didn’t even mind seeing it twice in as many weeks, once with my husband, and once with my teenage daughter).
Satprem, in his book Sri Aurobido, or the Adventure of Consciousness, described intuition as the flash of a match in the darkness. Judith expands on this, saying that for a brief moment, the whole room comes to light. We can suddenly see the furniture, the wallpaper, the people in the room, and maybe even what’s going on outside the window. And then it is gone. The match burns out. Do we remember what we have seen?
Solomon receives his portion of Wisdom and earns his right to be known as “Solomon the Wise” by hearing God ask him in a dream what he most desires to receive. He responds to that question by replying “a Lev Shomea” — “a Listening Heart”. What a nice definition of the ability to receive wisdom from many sources — to have a Listening Heart. Perhaps that is the core of the intuitive process: to have a listening mind, a listening body, and a listening heart. Then we too may receive an additional portion of wisdom.
[Speaking of Biblical dream stories, Joseph was quite the dreamer too]
Read on: Part 2 of Preparing for Intuition: Priming the Pump: Preparing the Way for Intuitive “Downloads” Then and Now
(trey radcliff image)
“The clearest way into a Universe is through a forest wilderness” John Muir
There are dreams, and there are dreams. We can traverse the thresholds between worlds by paying attention to synchronicities in our lives (see blog of 7/28/12 for more on synchronicities); or this liminal space can also show up unasked. This post is about the second kind- we were gifted in the woods on this one. The Druids knew this: the spirits of the woods and of nature were literally housed in the trees themselves in the forms of Nymphs and Dryads and other “tree people”. Ritual can sometimes bring down this place of eyes-open wonder.
Carol Dearborn says about in-between spaces: “It appears that there is a “place” …in the intersection of the perceptual/cognitive process (a “place” or type of brain-wave) between waking and sleep where the metaphysical intersects the physical. This intersection…becomes a kind of portal through which energy can be conveyed…Opening this portal requires a receptive and reverential state of being, like falling in love.” (www.caroldearborn.com, the spirit of place). Jung wrote of this too, calling this space between sleep and waking the hypnopompic or hypnogogic zones.
One of the words for God in Hebrew is “Makom”, which translates most simply as “Place”, but contains both a temporal (time based) as well as physical implication. It appears in the story of Jacob, when he has his famous dream of the ladder with angels going up and down it. When he awakes from this dream, he says, “God was in this place (Makom), and I, I did not know.” The word “Makom” also appears in the creation story, when Moses encountered the burning bush, and at Mt. Sinai (among others). When we are at “Makom” we are for a moment outside of the rules of time and space; and for that moment on holy ground.
“Minyan” is the Hebrew word for the group of ten people that are needed to be able to recite Kaddish; the traditional prayer for the dead. In Jewish tradition, community is a big part of the healing process; I learned that the original requisite of gathering a minimum of ten was in order to compel the mourner to gather in community at a time of grief rather than to isolate him/herself. Traditionally only men were counted; in most modern practice women are too. We found that acknowledging our animal, vegetable, and mineral brethren as part of a minyan worked as well.
So, I was walking in the woods with my friend Sara, about a month after her beloved grandfather had died. She had been to services earlier that day, and had declined an offer to say Kaddish, partially because it is traditionally said only for parents, spouses, or children. I asked her if she regretted passing up the opportunity her community had offered. Without hesitation, she said, “Yes – and I rarely regret anything!” We walked a little more, and then I asked if she wanted to say Kaddish right now; for since we were breaking one rule (not for a parent, spouse or child) and reconfiguring the ritual we might as well break with the rule of ten people. Sara agreed and said “Yes- let’s find a tree to say it near”.
So we bush-wacked through a clump of weeds, and snuggled up to a beautiful three-trunked tree: one of those triple goddess trees. We decided that “She (the Tree) can be part of our minyan” along with Bodisavta the dog (and yes, that is her actual doggy name). We got into the spirit of minyan, and began counting: ” Me, you, Bodi, the triple tree counts as three, that’s six, the earth, the sky, the bush, and the rish-roosh sound of the wind-spirit in the trees- there’s ten.” We had our minyan. Ten Beings. We said Kaddish.
The dreaming spirits of the Place came in, and we crossed the threshold in the woods. Her grandfather showed up, as did my dad who had died 6 years, and we had a lovely gathering with them in this in-between Place.
Perhaps the ancient Druidic spirits of the trees also joined us in the minyan. As e.e.cummings says: “…thank you God for this most amazing day,
for the leaping greenly Spirit of the trees…”
I am grateful for this type of dreaming as well.
Next time I’ll talk more about encountering our relatives in dreams- dead or alive, for better or worse, and how do we know if we have had a “visit” from the other side, or a dream encounter of a different kind. Stay tuned…
“A dream un-interpreted is like a letter unopened”- The Talmud
As we shift in the seasons, and get ready to enter the New Year , (or back to school, as the case may be) I thought it might be a good time to look through this dream lens. (as an aside, did you know that Chinese medicine has a fifth season – that “not-really-still-summer-but-not-quite-yet-fall” season that most of us recognize in our gut).
Anyhow, a few years ago I put together a system of looking at the layers of a dream as one would examine the four layers of Kabbalistic mystic thought (and represent the four levels at which the Torah may be read) called the Pardes (the Orchard). We had just received our referral from China that we would be able to go and receive our daughter in the next few months. As I got ready to become a first time mom, I started going to the gym and working out, to get some more physical strength on board, as well as emotional preparation. As I walked on the treadmill, I often listened to CD’s to help pass the time. I alternated between listening to a set by David Cooper on Kabbalah, and one by Robert Moss on dreamwork. I think that the alternating learnings, as well as the bilateral movements of walking on a treadmill (left, right, left, right, which mimicked the method of EMDR– Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) created this cross-fertilization in my brain, and thus this system of understanding dreams. I criss-crossed my neural networks between Cooper and Moss, and came up with this synthesis.
The word Pardes is both an acronym and a word meaning “Orchard”. The letters (P, R, D, S) spell out the word “PaRDeS”, which means orchard in Hebrew; and is an allegory for the Garden of Eden. Additionally, in the acronym each letter stands for a word: P’shat, Remez, Drash, and Sod. While each level may be understood and appreciated on it’s own, when explored all together, the dreamer has the potential of receiving insight or advice about daily life and about how the recent and/or distant past may still be affecting them, as well as spiritual connections and directions for themselves, for others, for their community, and to a larger life purpose.
Here are the four levels and what they mean:
1. P’SHAT (SIMPLE)
This is the baseline or literal level, the story that is spelled out by the dream narrative itself. It contains the dream landscape and characters, as they appear in the dream. “What you see is what you get” here. The dream story can be explored completely on the level of the dream narrative itself, without interpretive or associative elements. The content at this level can be looked at from outside or inside the dream, but it is not added to or changed, simply journeyed through and appreciated for what it is. Here is the dream’s story to enjoy on it’s own merit. (One member of my dream group who is an author of children’s books frequently finds her themes and opening story lines directly from the dreams she has, sometimes full blown and ready for print.)
2.REMEZ (HINTED AT)
This level contains our first mind and body associations to the dream material. This material is not contained directly in the dream itself, but as we ponder the meaning of the dream, these associations begin to jump out at us; they have been “hinted at” by the dream material. This is the “Oh, I know what that means/symbolizes” layer. It may contain influences from things that happened in our lives yesterday or recently, and the events in our lives that show up only slightly disguised or encoded in symbolism. We see beneath this veil rather quickly, the meaning for us is embedded just below the surface of the words and dreamscape itself. Our response may be cognitive (“oh, I get it”), or may be an emotional or physical reaction as we address this layer (i.e. we get cold, angry, a stomach ache, giddy, tingling in our fingers, etc.) but may not yet know why.
3. DRASH (REVEALED
This layer is from the word Lidrosh, which means to chase after or pursue. This is the layer that is “revealed” to us when we work on the dream material through a variety of techniques that allow us to go beyond what we know consciously, or even beyond what we think we know when we begin to work with the material. We often must “pursue” this deeper meaning to get to the gifts of the dream. This is the symbolized layer, the layer of insight, of correlation, of deeper associations. It is the “unraveling” of the dream, and we pursue here associations that may take us past the material actually contained in the dream itself, but that the dream material pointed us towards. Here we may use a variety of techniques including active imagination, re-entry into the dream landscape, using energy techniques with the dream content, use of the Gestalt, and use of a variety of expressive modalities to reach the deeper layer.
4. SOD (SECRET)
This is the deepest layer; it may contain mystical or spiritual guidance. It may be analogous to what Jung called “Big” dreams, the understanding of which may have profound significance for our lives, and possibly the lives of others around us. It can often be accessed through dream re-entry, and may provide us with passageway to other realms and alternate ways of knowing. This is the transpersonal, the mystical, the “secret”, our connection with other worlds, other time, other space, and our connection with the divine. It can be a remembering of ancient wisdom from our spiritual ancestors that can show us a path, a vision, a hope. Sometimes this layer is in the manifest content of the dream; and of those dreams, we may just want to “sit” with them, rather than work with them further, and bask in the glow that is already manifest. (For example, a friend dreamed that she was wearing a white flowing robe, and was surrounded by heavenly beings similarly garbed, and felt a sense of peacefulness.) The initial work we did on this dream was to say—enjoy—just bask in it! Only later on did we work with the layers of meanings.