Dreaming Restores the World | Catherine Shainberg. Ph.D. | January 2024

This month ushers in a new year. Many commentators are sounding the alarm: 2024 is going to be a difficult year, they say. But the Chinese calendar tells us it’s a wood dragon year, full of pep and chi and organic growth. As we look to a new year with its story yet to be written, what role can our dreams and dreaming play in shaping it? Who are we going to believe? Will we listen to the voices of doom or bring the wood dragon into our dream space at night, to come dialogue with us? Incubating a dream is an ancient technique to bring healing to the supplicant. But can it also heal the world?

Well, yes it can. We live in a vast DreamField, in what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious, except that it’s not unconscious but very much alive and awake and likes to parade its creativity out of the darkness. Consciousness – the world’s layered manifestation – is one vast unbroken web of interconnectedness, linking us all –  commentators, political figures, generals, children, animals, trees, ocean, sky, all of it, all of “us”.  Becoming aware of this great web we can’t define but we can tap into, we can use our images to dialogue with our dreams.

Close your eyes, look in, stare into the darkness. But stay relaxed, expectant, and unattached and the darkness will become light. Light takes on shape, contours bring order and comfort. Many of us don’t remember our dreams. Many think dreams are fantasy or garbage. But we are told that God hovered over the chaos and then there was light and from light order unfolded. God never ceases visualizing His dream. At each instant He is whispering, Grow, grow, to the blade of grass and the trees and the babies.  Like God’s dreams your dreams also whisper, Grow, grow, restoring your body and your life to shape and order.

Imagine that you are falling, falling, falling deeper into a velvety dark womb. Surrender to the fall and to the darkness. Remember that darkness holds the light. Give it your trust and attention, and a dream will arise, inFORMing you.

What if you don’t like what your dream is telling you? Think of it as a dialogue between you and your interior – actually, inner,  designer. You are free to say: I want these other drapes, I prefer those other chairs; I choose these actions, I intend these outcomes. It’s a dialogue.  And it’s a choice. Dreams talk in images to be heard and seen. Think of the loss of opportunity to co-create if they aren’t heard and seen! Your inner designer wants an interlocutor, a co-creator to help decorate the “house” you both have built to live in. Coming to a happy agreement you wake up as a satisfied customer in a restored  inner habitat.  But it is more than interior; it is also manifest, it also results in the real creations emerging from your inner dialogue, your active dreaming

If you haven’t done so during the nighttime, do it on waking. Close your eyes and visualizing the barren earth of your dreams, call on the clouds to rain, on the bees to pollinate. Throw a soft blue blanket over war-torn lands. Sing to the frogs. Does it work? It’s called in Hebrew “ tikkun olam,” correction of the world. By your active dreaming you arouse the collective DreamField to return to its Edenic order. Each one of you – being a unique dreamer – has a distinctive role of co-creation to play in this vast effort at restoration. The Hebrew word Tzedakah means both charity and justice. Tithe your dreaming to help repair the world to its just and rightful state. If all of us were to do just that, our dreaming could restore the world.