|Symbol Painting by Chris Lissandrello|
Without the gifts of intuition, synchronicity, and of course dreams, I could not have written my first book, DREAM WEAVING: Using Dream Guidance to Create Life's Tapestry. Each chapter was based on one or more dreams and the connection between their spiritual symbolism and the events of everyday life - both personal and universal. Dreams come from that same unseen dimension from which arise intuitive thoughts, imaginary creations, and synchronicity. In that dimension, sometimes known as the fourth dimension, or the "inner planes," ideas are conveyed by symbols rather than actualities. In the process of interpreting these symbols we are forced to stretch our creative muscles, and in so doing, become even more creative and intuitive than we were when the dream or synchronistic event occurred. Consequently, in writing a book about my dreams, I found myself becoming more in touch with the deeper, spiritual side of life than I was prior to beginning that work.
Many of the dreams that I worked with in DREAM WEAVING were very old. They had languished in my dream journals for as long as twenty years, and only when I brought them to light for the purpose of enhancing one of my chapters did I realize how these old dreams still contained wisdom for my current life. One such dream had presented me with a bowl of food - a mixture of green pepper slices, candy canes, and some yarn with which a friend wanted me to knit or weave the concoction together into a homogenous dish. When I originally documented the dream, seven or eight years before putting it in my book, I felt that the green peppers symbolized nourishment for my body and the candy canes begged me to spend more time in play. In the writing of DREAM WEAVING, I allowed myself to spend more time working with each dream, looking for connections inside myself, seeking applications from scripture, myth, or literature. I researched the legend of the candy cane as a symbol of Christ. The bent shape represents the Great Shepherd's staff, and the red stripes recall the words of the prophet Isaiah: "...with his stripes we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5) The white stripes symbolize the purity of the Christ Consciousness, which can be ours when we "sup with him." (Revelation 3:20)
These insights gave new meaning to the dream of pepper strips, candy canes, and yarn. I was reminded that I am part of the body of Christ, and that the yarn could be the sinews that connect my body to his. Because I was struggling with the need for balance, both when I had the dream and later when I wrote about it, I connected it to St. Paul's words in Romans 12:4-6: "For as in one body we have many members, and not all the members have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another. We have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us..." This verse assured me that I can lead a whole and balanced life even though I am only doing a little part of the work Christ calls us to.
As I delved deeper into the meaning of dreams and life events, I discovered a wellspring of creative ideas for my readers and me to ponder. This work with the unseen dimension also seemed to evoke a wealth of synchronistic guidance. While writing the chapter on my relationship with Jesus I got stuck on the meaning of one dream in which Jesus was knocking at my door and I kept saying: "How can I help you?" The third time I spoke out loud, thus waking myself from the dream. At that point in my writing I took a lunch break. Sometimes when our minds have been wrestling with a problem, letting go of it for awhile gives our intuitive powers an opportunity to do some behind-the-scenes work. On this occasion a serendipitous discovery brought an immediate answer to my question. For no particular reason, I chose for my lunchtime reading a copy of "The New Millennium," a journal published until recently by the Association of Research and Enlightenment. I read an article by Judith Stevens Allison in which she had written: "All great religions emphasize that there is power in the spoken word. The [Edgar Cayce] readings suggest asking aloud three times in your morning meditation, 'Lord, what would You have me do today?'"
When I finished eating my lunch, I closed the chapter with the story of this synchronicity. I declared that I would try this exercise and see what happened. Now readers ask me if I am still asking this question aloud every day and I have to confess I am not. I did try it for awhile, but I continued to have trouble discerning what it was Jesus asked of me each day. Sometimes I thought I knew, but I preferred to stick with the plans I'd already made. Readers may be disappointed in me for not following such conclusive advice, but I don't think the key message behind my experience was the necessity of praying that same question aloud every day. More significant was the demonstration of synchronicity - the way that answers come readily when we dig deeply for spiritual lessons and bring them to light, especially in the written word. And perhaps the guidance received was meant to help someone else more than it did me.
Recently I realized that the same technique I used to connect dreams and events can be applied to the synchronicities of conscious life. In the beginning of DREAM WEAVING I imagined angels toasting each other with glasses of holy water as I traveled from the East coast to the Rockies where I would meet my future husband, also from the East, who would just happen to be eating lunch at the Old Faithful Inn "staffeteria" at the same time I arrived there. This was the synchronistic event that set the course of my life. From then on I recognized the significance of such events and have believed that these synchronicities are orchestrated by unseen guides on the same plane where dreams and myths are created. Universal or personal symbols can be drawn from these experiences just as they are from dreams.
In DREAM WEAVING I told about the serendipity that led to my meeting Lesley, director of Hospice, which involved a common interest in life after death and a job opening that Lesley thought was meant for me but wasn't. Since then, she and I have experienced other serendipitous meetings. One of these occurred when we just missed catching each other by phone, then met in the grocery store where I have shopped several times a week for twelve years and never before bumped into Lesley. Her secretary had suggested that she go to P&C to find the fresh corn she was looking for. Because of the corn we met and were able to set up a lunch date. Corn is a common symbol among different cultures. Ancient Romans planted corn on graves to bring the energy and wisdom of their ancestors to everyday life. Corn is also a symbol of death and rebirth, favorite topics of discussion between Lesley and I since she works with the dying on a daily basis, and the loss of her son is always uppermost in our minds when we meet. I think that our synchronistic meetings, such as the one over the grocery store corn bin, are intended to keep alive our ongoing discourse on the meaning of life and death. These encounters are a continual reminder that there was a reason for our meeting which had nothing to do with the job opening at Hospice.
In the unseen dimension where dreams and synchronicities are created, people connect with one another beyond time and space. I refer to this phenomenon in chapter five of DREAM WEAVING: "Retrieving the Past: A Visit to Soul Space," in which I share the joy of visiting distant friends in a dream. Another example of the soul space phenomenon is the prophetic dream. Such dreams can be explained in a variety of ways, but I choose to believe that prophecies manifest from the inner sanctums of soul space, where past events and future possibilities coexist. Among the prophetic dreams recorded in my book was one that I didn't recognize as prophetic until ten months after the book was published in January 2001. I was visiting an AAUW book group where DREAM WEAVING was being discussed. One of the participants was impressed by the dream referred to on page 154 and read it to the group:
I was lying in bed while a woman, a nurse, watched over me. She said it made her sleepy to watch me sleep! I stayed in bed, because it was so dark out that I assumed it was night. Then I looked at my clock and saw that it was 9:00 a.m., so I got up and went outside. They sky was a predawn gray. Someone told me there had been a disaster in New York City that had created a lot of dust that was blocking the sun. My thought was that this was one of the planetary disasters that had been predicted for the new millennium. I got down on my knees, bowed my head to the ground, and prayed.
The book group was meeting one month after the September 11th disaster in New York City, so we all thought of that immediately. I felt chills listening to someone else read my own words to me. The dream had appeared in July of 1999, but the specific references to the time, 9:00 a.m., and the dust blocking the sun, were too close to reality to be anything but prophetic. If I had not written about that dream in my book it probably would have remained forgotten in my dream journal, and I never would have received such a powerful message of my own intuitive connection to the unseen side of life.
Throughout my life I have maintained that I am not very psychic and I have wondered why it is always other people who have memorable experiences with the supernatural. But I have learned that the practice of writing about my seemingly ordinary experiences and dreams has produced greater intuitive abilities than I would acknowledge if there was no written evidence of them. Also, the process of writing, even non-fiction, requires the use of imagination, an activity which leads the writer to dance with the occupants of soul space. From these dances are born creative ideas, intuitive meanings, and serendipitous gifts. Writing births imagination, imagination births intuitiveness and creativity, and these attributes birth meaning for the lives of writers and readers both.