David Low is a dreamwork practitioner with 36 years of experience recording, analyzing and trying to feel dream messages. With a master’s degree in community counseling from Georgia State University and a doctorate in religion from Temple University, he has a counseling practice in Mt. Airy and facilitates both physical and online dream circles in the area.
How would you answer someone that claims they never dream?
Everyone dreams, every night—and if we’re not allowed to, after about a week we basically collapse and can no longer function. Nine out of 10 people that say they never remember their dreams do remember dreaming when they are woken during REM sleep.
With so many scientific studies involving dreams, is there anything new they can offer?
Clearly, dreams are integral to healthy sleep and brain maintenance, but in ways that I think will never be completely understood if we limit ourselves to empirical studies. Whatever else they may do, dreams also represent the natural cycle of activity that our spiritual body undergoes over the course of our circadian rhythm, just as our physical body does.
What do dreams have to do with spirituality?
As far as I can tell, all dreamworkers of mystical persuasion, which is most of them, believe in one way or another that dreams are a natural product of psychic faculties that we all possess as human beings, and that those faculties are always scanning higher reality for ways that the dreamer can achieve greater happiness and fulfillment. They report back to us in dreams, which usually speak in a profound, universal language of metaphor and symbol. In this archetypal language, elements from both our personal and collective unconscious are orchestrated together to the dreamer to communicate just the right message.
If dreams contain important spiritual messages, why are they so difficult to understand?
Our higher power doesn’t spoon-feed us anything. As with so many other things in the game of life, we must do our part, through study and discussion, for example, if we are to access and benefit from dream messages. We may choose to work with dreams at the feeling, body level rather than the intellectual, discursive level for more powerful therapeutic benefit. Personal issues of all kinds can be resolved through dreamwork, if we want to pursue it.
Does dreamwork require people to share their private information with others?
Although seekers could benefit more quickly, and have more fun and community doing so, by starting or joining a dream group, they can make progress by studying dreams on their own, even if they have no knowledge of symbols and so on. Some metaphysical guides tell us that a deeper part of our personality does understand them, even if consciously we do not. In addition, professionals like me can help seekers understand their dreams better and more quickly.
How much time does dreamwork take?
Our dreams are worth looking at, and pondering, on a regular basis to establish a good dialogue with our higher power and allow us to move more quickly along our individual paths of unfolding. Even if we have only 10 minutes per day, we can devote three minutes listing major images, five minutes puzzling over their meanings and two minutes journaling back to our higher power with all of our questions and frustrations. “Please, I need clarity on this!” is a perfectly valid journaling response. We can do that much, anyway. Our higher power understands that we’re busy.
Will exploring dreams make that much of a difference in our lives?
If we ignore our dreams, our lives will probably turn out okay, as most lives do in the normal course of events. But we would definitely arrive later, and maybe too late, to greater levels of fulfillment, of enlightenment, of happiness which is ours for the taking—or rather, for the recognizing, because it is already who we really are.