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As we continue to study the first chapters in I Nephi as a Church, the dreams of Lehi and Nephi generate a great deal of fascinating study and discussion. The inspiration, guidance, comfort, visions, predictions and more are beyond rich and change not only lives, but history. Nephi and Lehi’s roles as prophets render them worthy of these dreams. I personally marvel with all the epic dreams in the scriptures as something divine, and far beyond an ordinary life.
In truth, however, we each dream and within those dreams are personal inspiration guidance, comfort, visions and predictions. “Oh, sure!” you may scoff. “Who but the prophets and very special people ever remember their dreams?” Or … “My dreams are nothing special! In fact, most of the time I don’t dream, or if I do, they are long gone when I wake up.” Or … “The disconnected nonsense of the dreams I remember feel like jigsaw puzzle pieces from several different puzzles. It’s not important.”
That’s how I’ve always felt, until a personal quest led first to the LDS book I provided last week, “Choosing Glory” by Dr. Lili Anderson (available at Deseret Book), and then a second book, “Emotional Freedom” by New York Times Best-Selling author Dr. Judith Orloff, (available at Amazon and her website.)
The section on dreams was a bonus in the book I had not expected! I repeat: With but one or two rare exceptions, I have never been one to remember or make anything of my own dreams. Dr. Orloff’s excellent writing style, however, easily and delightfully educates and provides the tools for how to ask for dreams, remember them and implement them.
She says: “Dreams are naked truth. Sleep stills your mind so dreams can offer tools to teach you how to put your emotions on center stage so you can more clearly see your strengths and areas that need healing. The concept of seizing every moment takes on new meaning when you consider that over a 70 year period, you’ll spend at least a quarter of your life asleep and devote 50,000 hours or more to dreaming, the equivalent of 5 years. (Emotional Freedom, Three Rivers Press, page 61.)
It was all so interesting and convincing that I put her techniques to the test. The very first night I was rewarded with a dream that greatly enlightened a challenging personal situation. One unfamiliar word was emphasized in the dream. With her strategy, I was able to remember it! When I looked it up in the dictionary the next morning, I was astounded to see how succinctly this word addressed my challenge in a helpful, comforting way.
The next night I experienced a delightful and powerful dream about our youngest daughter, Kelly, who will return from full-time missionary service in one month. It conveyed the importance and mystery of her last weeks of service. I got to see her as an older woman in her 60’s with gray hair, symbolizing how she has personally matured as a young woman and missionary. I was included with all the people who have loved her over the past 18 months, and were literally gathering in a grandstand to watch and cheer for the last few weeks. Interestingly, at the concession stand before going into the grandstand area and playing field area where we were to watch what happens, everyone was choosing a delicious and beautifully wrapped mint-chocolate bar with the words “KELLY” on them from the concession stand, symbolizing that she’s been as sweet as candy for them and they want more.
To say that those two dreams brightened my week is an understatement, and I, too, am ready for more! I can’t wait to go sleep at night to see what’s in store! I’m excited to pass it along to anyone who wants to experience and be blessed by more of their own life. After all, we only get one life! Why not tune into our heart and minds at night to make the most in comprehending and improving each day?
Dr. Orloff has several articles, all taken from this same book, “Emotional Freedom” about dreams at her website that can provide more information, www.drjudithorloff.com. I’ve summarized one of them that discusses the basic tools below. What’s special is that it actually applies to my usual writing topic here at Meridian: healthy eating! YES! Your dreams can provide your best help and motivation.
Dr. Judith Orloff: “There Is A Healing instinct Within You That Can Manifest In Dreams”
(From her website: Dr. Judith Orloff.com)
You’d be surprised at the straightforward health advice dreams give, either spontaneously or on request.
Be aware that your dreams go by different rules than your waking life. Get ready for a mind shift. Physical laws no longer apply. Gravity changes. In dreams you can fly! Remember as a child (or adult) when you took off wingless, soared over mountains and valleys below. Healthwise, this is a reminder of the vitality and freedom that is in you.
You are in partnership with your dreams. Initiate an ongoing dialogue with them. It’s like consulting the wisest old-time family doctor you can imagine who knows you inside out. You can ask your dreams anything-even what seems most impossible. How can I keep my blood pressure down? What about my hip pain or allergies? Are there ways to stop catching so many colds? No question is trivial if it is meaningful to you. Expect answers. Some will be direct. Others may require interpretation.
Dreams can keep you well. Dreams provide answers. But first you must retrieve them. How many nights have you awakened with the most amazing dream you were certain you’d recall? The next morning it was gone. Our memories deceive. During sleep we experience a kind of amnesia. Dreams are not of the rational mind. Your intuitive memory is what is needed. Here is a method I recommend to remember your dreams. It’s helpful to practice it each day. Soon it will become second nature to you.
Four Strategies To Remember Your Dreams
- Keep a journal and pen by your bed.
- Write a question on a piece of paper before you go to sleep. Formalize your request. Place it on a table beside your bed or under your pillow.
- In the morning do not wake up too fast. Stay under the covers for at least a few minutes remembering your dream. Luxuriate in a peaceful feeling between sleep and waking, what scientists call the hypnagogic state. Those initial moments provide a doorway.
- Open your eyes. Write down your dream immediately; otherwise it will evaporate. You may recall a face, object, color, or scenario, feel an emotion. It doesn’t matter if it makes perfect sense-or if you retrieve a single image or many. Record everything you remember.
When you’re finished, refocus on the health question you asked the previous night. See how your dream applies. One, two, or more impressions about the who/what/where of your solution may have surfaced. Get in the habit of recording your dreams regularly. Be assured I’ve never met anyone who can’t be taught how to remember. Keep at it. If your answer doesn’t come the first night, try again. More details will emerge, rounding out the picture. Then look to your daily life for evidence of what your dream tells you. The woman’s face you glimpsed for that split second could just be that of the healer you’ve been searching for.
I am guided every day by the five intuitive steps I’ve just presented. They have become my eyes. They can be yours too. The intuitions about your health I speak of and live by are ordinarily without boundary and are unseen. As you go through these steps they highlight, truths about your body, providing a framework in which to recognize them. Ordering allows for a simple, focused understanding. I have a great respect for structure as long as it facilitates our freedom. Go through the steps with this in mind. With each health question you ask, be prepared to expand or contract in response to whatever fluid motion is called for. Surrender all preconceptions about your healing. This realm I’m attempting to outline ultimately escapes definition. The mastermind of all things intuitive, the brains behind the scene, is of an infinite source.
What if, just once, you let yourself go, accept the gift unconditionally? I dare you. What do you have to lose? And to gain? Breathe fire into what is dormant in you: your intuitions about a healthy body, your sense of spiritual power from which all your intuitions come. Make these connections count. They will last a lifetime. Open yourself to knowledge of how to heal. Let the mystery touch you. It is everything, everything.
You’d be surprised at the straightforward health advice they give, either spontaneously or on request. Tips on food, preventive therapies, treatment options constantly come through-but we miss them. Once remembered the essence of many of our dreams is lost because we, or our therapists, misinterpret them. A patient told me about a recurring broccoli dream. “You can’t be serious,” he said, chuckling. “It’s actually trying to tell me what to eat? A vegetable?” Yes-it was. We often dismiss such practical suggestions as meaningless. But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Keep it simple. Try something new. If you dream of eating a luscious mango, run out, devour one. Or when, in a dream, you’re soaking in natural hot springs, make a date to go. How do you know if the advice you receive is right? Count on common sense to direct you. Though some intuitive flashes may seem impractical or unexpected, the authentic ones will never suggest anything to jeopardize you or anyone else’s physical welfare. Reliable intuitive information stands out in very specific ways. Watch for these clues:
- Statements that simply convey information
- Neutral segments that evoke or convey no emotion
- A detached feeling, like you’re a witness watching a scene
- A voice or person counseling you-as if you’re taking dictation from an outside source
- Conversations with people you never met before who give instr-uctions about your health
I’ve found that my most dead-on intuitions either come across as compassionate or have no emotion at all. Develop a careful eye as you practice separating the content of your dreams from your reactions to it. Soon you’ll be able to tell what is reliable health guidance and what is not.
I’m with Dr. Orloff! What have we got to lose by tapping into the power of our dreams, for every benefit of a truly healthy life?
Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life, available HERE.
She has been providing mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999 presenting for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband Bob are the parents of five children and grandparents of ten. They are now happy empty nesters in Jackson Tennessee, close to Memphis where they center their online business, a very helpful herbal detox in keeping with the Word of Wisdom.