A most dear friend and I have been speaking of a spiritual path we shared for almost thirty years, and he asked me to share with him my current path. Why have dreams become my spiritual practice, a practice that I feel all roads have led me to?
In Buddhism there is a teaching that compares different spiritual paths to many boats tied up along the shore…pick one and it will take you to the other side. I don’t believe any one tradition has sole dibs on the truth, each carry their piece of the truth and if we want to we…well, pick a boat, either our parents’ boat or one of our own choosing and take it to the other shore.
Almost 40 years ago my friend introduced me to a spiritual teacher, Meldy, a woman, from whom I would learn for the next thirty years until her death at age 97. Each spiritual opening in my life, from early childhood as a Catholic to working with Meldy, to being a student of Buddhism, a meditation practitioner, brought me either closer to what I was seeking or supported me in those moments I felt separated. As I’ve shared before, in my early twenties, in a deep meditation, I had a knowing that I would have to wait for my sixties for my true spiritual calling…and so I waited, always doing my inner work, somehow holding the trust that my desire for my true spiritual path would be received…and it was…working with my own and other’s dreams.
Two flaws for me in any given spiritual path is that they are either too generic, one size, set of rules, behaviors fit all, or the teachings, true as they may be, can be too influenced by our human teachers, somehow misunderstood through our own human frailties and blind spots…and so I always had this ineffable inkling that something core was missing.
In my early years as a girl in the Catholic church, in my work with Meldy, there was planted and nourished the seed that my relationship with the Divine was very personal, that God was accessible…to me. In both the church and in Meldy were present those frailties and flaws but also this precious gem…the Divine wants a personal relationship with me. They each kept open in me the inner knowing and trust that my relationship (each of ours) with God is intimate, personal and unique for me. I, Mary Jo, matter to Him.
So what is it about dreams that I trust, that I trust enough to dedicate the rest of my life to, that I entrust with my soul?
Each night, untainted by my own ego, coming to challenge me, love me, connect me to my soul and to God…are my dreams. In my willingness to explore them, I believe I am in conversation both with my soul and with the Divine.
As I work my dreams with Rodger, my dream practitioner, as I work my client’s dreams, could we make a mistake about a dream’s message? Of course…and here’s something remarkable…the next dreams will make the correction, showing how, in our human limitation, we misunderstood the dream’s intention.
Each night in my dreams I get to experience the love of the Divine…for me. How I, Mary Jo, am His beloved. How my unique expression of soul, be it my humor, my willingness to feel the love and the pain, my desire for connection, is seen and met by Him.
Each night in my dreams I experience what the mystics experience…the gentle or fierce guidance calling me back to my true self, the vulnerable child soul, the sensual gaze and embrace of the beloved. I get to feel what my soul feels…everything…all desirous of helping me return to my connection with Him, a connection I don’t have to wait for. Carl Jung says, “We must accomplish our death.” Trusting my dreams as my inner teacher may be giving me the opportunity to connect in a way that when my physical death arrives, it may be just a stepping out of the boat I’ve chosen…the dream boat…to the other shore.
Mary Jo Heyen
Archetypal Dreamwork Practitioner
Dream sessions in person, via Skype or on the phone