“When you accept that your “here and now” is forever shaped by what went before, why resist those memories and insights of what went before as a part of your process of transformation in a life lived here and now, even if, as you say, all the worlds and realms of the inner planes exist in the same space at the same time, here and now? “
I agree, what we were very much influence us in the here and now. I do not resist my memories of the past lives, any more than I resist memories of this life, or my dreams. When they come I let them rise, and learn from them what they reveal. I see them very much like dreams, sometimes a present experience spark a memory, vision or a dream of a past time. Indeed if you are open to them they reveal much about the present. I have found that one remembers the ones that reveal your present wounds, in other words that which has direct relevance to your present conditions. The ones I remember in most detail clearly shows me where my present resistances, and blockages comes from. It is also reflects directly why I find myself in my present situation, what it is I must go beyond and transmute. Some say we could have lived thousands of lives, just like we have thousands of memories, not all are directly relevant to the present, neither can we remember them all. Thus when the student is ready, the master will be there. When we are ready to deal with lessons we have to learn, what you need to know is revealed. Sometimes our egos are not mature or balanced enough to deal with past traumatic events. I therefore find it vitally important to cultivate the right conditions in the present so that I may move beyond old karmic conditions and gravity.
Tau Malachi said the following on dreams;
According to the Zohar dreams are very important – from them we are meant to take guidance in life, for they reveal the influence of spiritual forces within and behind what transpires. Likewise, it is said that dreams are 1/60th the power of death and are a direct reflection of the nature of the afterlife experience.
Every night, the Zohar says, our soul goes on a journey apart from the body and only a vital link of soul-energy remains in the body. Potentially, the soul can ascend to commune in its Source, the Light, though often times souls become distracted along the way and bound to lower and less luminous realms. What our dreams reveal is what is going on in our consciousness on a psychic and spiritual level, and thus our dreams empower us to a conscious response. If our dreams are bright and luminous and uplifting, it is an indication we are on the right track and connecting with positive influences. If our dreams are dim or dark, then it is an indication of a need for correction and self-purification. In other words, based on watching our dreams we can consciously direct our spiritual practice as necessary, responding to what is happening outwardly in our lives as well as in our interior lives.
The Zohar teaches that regardless of whether or not we experience a luminous and uplifting dream or one that is dark and dreadful, nevertheless we should always interpret dreams in a postitive light. Essentially, the influence of a dream will depend upon our interpretation of it, and when we speak our dreams, or even think of them, it is a very powerful act, akin to self-prophecy. Thus, even an inauspicious dream interpreted in an auspicious way can become a positive invocation.
Here we may give an example. Suppose you dream a very dark and frightening dream. When you awaken and remember your dream you could interpret it as a call of the Holy Spirit to engage in self-purification and banishing, not only for yourself alone, but for the sake of the people and the land; hence an invocation of the action of a spiritual warrior. Acting accordingly, what otherwise would be an ill-omen becomes completely positive.
This reflects the very nature of the spiritual life – consciously responding to whatever transpires in a positive, creative and uplifting way. In all things this is the choice we have and the choices we make will determine our experience and the outcome of things.
The Zohar also tells us to be careful to whom we speak our dreams, that they should only be spoken consciously, and only to those who are our real friends and have our best interest in mind. In other words, dreams should be dealt with as very intimate and personal and, moreover, as sacred and holy. They are private and not public, and should be guarded against ill-will and negativity.
This view on dreams reflects the two most important points of spiritual practice in our day – morning and evening. Morning practice is the exit of dream and evening practice is the entrance, and how we shift between dream and sleep, and waking consciousness, is considered very important, especially at the point we are working with Transference of Consciousness practices.
It is good to pay attention to what one does before going to bed. It is best to clear the mind and bring ressolution to the issues of one’s day – clearing oneself of all links formed (especially those that are negative). What one does in the evening before going to sleep is a large influence on one’s dreams. Therefore, if one seeks vision in dream or more luminous dreams directing one’s mind to spiritual and luminous things is a good practice. In the tradition, once one is well established in spiritual life and practice, there are even practices that can be done while one is shifting into sleep and dream to become conscious in one’s dreams.
The idea that dreams are “less real” than waking consciousness is a serious misconception according to the Kabbalah. In truth, this world is akin to a collective dream, versus our apparently individual dreams, and both are equally “real” in their own dimension and context. According to the Zohar, consciously working with our dreams we can bring about positive and powerful changes in our lives in the waking consciousness and be better prepared for a conscious transition through the experience we call “death”; hence be empowered to experience the Risen Savior and the Ascension in the afterlife states.
In refection of this, I was contemplating the relationship between dreams and physical life experiences, and how awareness in one affects the other, when it dawned upon me … The relationship between dream re-telling and memories. Just as I must be careful in how I re-tell my dreams, I must be careful how I view my memories of my life experiences, and past-life memories. Just as I could look at my nightmare dreams from a positive learning angle, so I can view my nightmarish experiences in life. I presented my insight Tau Malachi, and this is the reply I received:
In the teachings the past is often called “dream-like” and looking into the nature of memories we find this to be true – yesterday’s experience is like last night’s dream, both now existing as memories. I believe your insight is right on the mark, for whether dreams or experiences of the past there is “prophetic” power in how we speak of them, whether for good or for ill – instead of living in reaction we want to live in conscious response, exercising our co-creative capacity to draw out the sparks of blessings from all our experiences, even from those that may seem “inauspicious” or “dark and hostile.” While we may not be able to avoid certain circumstances, situations or events, and may not be able to go back and change the past, nevertheless we can choose how we relate with it and, as you have said, we can choose how we think of it and speak of it. Truly there is great power in our view of things and how we think and speak of them, as we see in the practice of affirmation and creative visualization and the manifesting power that comes into play.
In teachings on “Perfect Success,” as given in Living Gnosis, when we speak of remaining completely positive, it includes the past, as well as the present and future – all “three times” as the Buddhist would say.
At the outset of such a practice we may find that it is not exactly easy, first because of our own habitual patterns of negative thought, speech and action, our own karmic continuum; however, we will also encounter a greater downward and backward pull of karmic gravity in this world – a dampening field of psychic and spiritual energy, as it were, that attempts to keep us bound up in fear and anger, and various forms of negativity. In fact, when we speak of “liberation” on the most basic level we are speaking of breaking free of the karmic gravity of this world, or the karmic gravity of the realms, worlds and universes of the Entirety. As much as the steps of Perfect Success may be applied to any endeavor, within and behind those teachings we are actually speaking about the ultimate perfection and success, the enlightenment and liberation of the mind or soul-stream.
This “little thing” of remaining completely positive is no little thing – it is everything, really. Quite naturally it requires the cultivation of the presence of awareness, for on account the dampening field of psychic and spiritual energy we can easily fall into forgetfulness, becoming bound up in negativity. Along with the cultivation of the presence of awareness, letting go of attachment and aversion becomes essential, for as long we are attached or averse we are bound to reaction and cannot enact a conscious response. In this we see the virtue of the practice of the silent witness and primordial meditation and how it may serve to empower other practices in our spiritual life.
Of the struggle to stay completely positive, however, we can say that it is a truly noble and worthwhile effort, for if there is to be a change in the world we must first bring about that change in ourselves; to the extend that we are able to be completely positive we become a force for the greater good in the world.
Having been a Gnostic practitioner for thirty six years or so what strikes me most is the struggle to ground and integrate our spirituality in the mundane sphere of daily living. It is relatively easy to have peak spiritual and mystical experiences, the real work is embodying the truth and light in our thoughts, speech and actions. It is so easy to speak of our peak experiences in consciousness, but then find our thoughts, speech and actions contradicting the truth and light revealed in our experiences.
Quite naturally, how I view and relate with my past, how I view and relate with the present and how I envision the future must change as I undergo the spiritual death and rebirth and enter into the path of conscious evolution – for it is the womb of Sophia giving birth to Christ in me. If there has been tumult and suffering, surely it is as the labor pains of the Divine Mother giving birth to us as the Risen Christ.
I believe the idea of a positive view and relationship with our past, regardless of what darkness and tumult may lay in it, is an integral part of the wisdom in the Sophian Gnostic legends of the Holy Bride in Babylon. How did she emerge from such darkness to embody so great a Light-presence and Light-power? While it may well be a play in myth and legend, nevertheless it speaks a truth in our own experience; however deeply we may have become entangled in the ignorance and darkness, there is always the potential for our enlightenment and liberation – and, of course, the experience of our past is transformed by the enlightenment experience.
It is not always possible to know all the sources for our present negative reactions in our conscious minds. There is a wonderful practice suggested by Serge Kahili King in dealing with such negative reactions, it is called Blanket Forgiveness. Forgiveness is basically a process of deciding that whatever happened is no longer important or it doesn’t matter anymore.
First you assume that in any current condition of pain or discomfort there is some anger involved, even if you don’t know what it is all about. Then you touch the area of your body that is in pain or discomfort with the fingers of either hand and say, “Whatever this is related to, I forgive it completely and it doesn’t matter anymore.” Most of the time you will experience at least some instant relief, and often complete relief, but if not keep doing it for one full minute with the full focus of your attention.
Often with the relief memories might surface which relates to the pain or discomfort.
One may awake in a dream, but not from the greater dream.