Following up from our last conversation where we explored how “doing the work” is unique to each of us, how being with our dreams and the messages they bring, finding our own way of being with our dreams, finding our own practices around dreaming is, truly, part of the heart and intention of dreaming – – this week, I wanted to expand this into how we find our own practices for our spiritual life in general. [Lordy, that was a long sentence.]
In many of the traditions I have studied and been part of, there has been a core message that the particular tradition is “the true way” of being with spirituality.
I mean literally. Growing up in the Catholic church, I was taught that “my religion” was the only true one, the only one “sanctioned” by God, the only way that a soul could find their way to heaven. Every Sunday, we intoned the famous creed [“I believe in one holy and apostolic church…”] which was basically pledging our souls to the church.
One way. The way of the church. And, of course, the Catholic church is not the only religious institution that preaches they are the chosen ones, the only ones smiled upon by God.
Even after leaving the institution of the church, when I came into spirituality through other means, I was often told that there was one answer and the one answer of that one thing was THE one answer for my soul.
Even with dreaming. I was taught that anything other than working with dreams was “not as deep” or “not really doing the work”. I was taught that only the dreams held the truth.
Only, only. The one. The one, true way. Blech. That is also a kind of long sentence [as in prison sentence].
The dreams teach us something entirely and wildly different if we can leave behind what we have been taught by a world that desires a “one way” or a “true way” for everyone.
The dreams teach us that, if there is a one way to be in our inner lives, our spiritual lives, it is our one way and only ours. No one else’s. Just as our dreams and the language of our dreams are unique to us, just as we all have our own dialects with the dreams, so, too, are we each offered our own way of being in our spiritual lives.
For some of us, that may mean being with our dreams and being part of a religious institution. I have worked with dreamers from many different religious traditions – Christian [all the different flavours of Christianity], Islam, Jewish, Celtic, Druidry, Wiccan, etc – and the dreams work with us within our chosen tradition, if we have one. If a religious tradition is part of our way, then it is part of our way and that is gorgeous.
If a religious tradition is not part of our way, that is also gorgeous.
When I am asked about my spiritual practice, I usually will say that I have several main practices: Dreaming, Writing, Drawing and Walking. For me, each of these are integral to who I am in my spiritual life. They are ways that I pray, to use that language.
For they are. When I walk, I walk with my archetypes; when I write, I bring the wild wolf and the wild man from my dreams to the table with me; when I draw, I let language fall away and take the invitation to follow the simply lines of my drawings. Like a meditation. And, of course, Dreaming. When I work with my own dreams, when I work with others and their dreams, I am walking my way, walking my practice. [I also love listening and dancing to really loud music, being with my family – which includes friends – and baking.]
We all get to have this. Maybe your way includes yoga or somatic work or watching football or working with prayer beads [pick your own tradition] or chanting or dancing the salsa or singing or swimming or playing football or cooking or camping or helping others or being like a monk or having coffee with friends or reading or well ….. anything.
Anything that feeds your inner life is part of your way. Part of what the dreams offer us is to help us feel into and find what is our way – with our spiritual or inner practices and with everything.
For what is sacred is what is sacred to us. Which is always such a hard lesson to take in – and oh so deeply and excruciatingly important.