A Sister Reflects


"Dreams Come True" by Jose Angel Sanchez Reyes | Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

In our life of discernment, the grace-filled gift of dreams can bring powerful messages to help guide our life decisions. Spiritual director Lisa Gonzales-Brown tells us that in the misty realm of dreams “the unconscious plays and works, teases and teaches, invites and demands, frightens and reassures, exposes and conceals.”* Dreams are a mysterious gift from God that entice us to pay attention to what is coming from our hidden depths and to bring that material into conscious awareness. Dreams are special gifts that deserve our attentiveness.

As you know, the Bible is full of examples of people who received in their dreams messages from God instructing them on how to respond in crisis situations. Perhaps the most famous example is Joseph, who is counseled in a dream that there is no need to divorce Mary because her unborn child is the Savoir. He is later instructed to flee to Egypt to protect his family from Herod’s murderous scheme. Later, he is told in a dream that it is safe to return his family to Israel and settle in Nazareth. 

Oftentimes the messages of our dreams are not as clear-cut as Joseph’s. We experience a vast variety of action-packed images, scary or comforting, with a wide and sometimes bewildering cast of characters, creatures, and other fantasy figures. How are we to tap into the meaning of our dreams as they shed light on the challenging situations of our lives? Knowing how to process dreams can be a helpful tool in discernment.

I, myself, am a late bloomer to the art of dreamwork. After discovering an easy way to engage my dreams and mine their meaning, I felt encouraged to begin. I share with you, from the book Dreams and Spiritual Growth: A Christian Approach to Dreamwork, the five steps of one simple technique that I found helpful. 

  1. Write down your dreams immediately upon waking, so as not to forget them.
  2. As you reflect on your dream, try to come up with a title that captures the essence of the dream.
  3. In one complete sentence write the theme or central message of the dream. Ask yourself, “What is this dream really about?”
  4. Write down the feelings you experienced as the dream progressed. If your feelings are neutral, note your behavior or actions in the dream. Were you an actor or an observer?
  5. Reflect on what the dream is asking of you and listen for your response. Sometimes it might be helpful to have a dialogue with a central character or object in the dream, asking the question, “What message would you like to communicate to me?”**

What has been your experience of dreamwork? Are you a “beautiful dreamer” who has experienced this mysterious grace in the world of sleeping?

Blessings and Sweet Dreams,

Sister Sara

* Lisa Gonzales-Barnes, “Dreamwork: Four Techniques for Spiritual Direction,” in Spiritual Direction, Vol. 18, No. 2, June 2012, 7.
** This dream technique is explained in Dreams and Spiritual Growth: A Christian Approach to Dreamwork by Louis M. Savary, Patricia H. Berne, and Strephon Kaplan Williams.


Get out your bell-bottoms and platform shoes, because DISCO is here!

Okay, so it's a little less dancing, a little more talking... Sisters Lorraine Réaume, OP, and Sara Fairbanks, OP, have a new video series called DISCO (Discernment Conversations): Dancing with the questions of life!

 


Sister Lorraine Réaume, OP
Director of Formation

Sister Sara Fairbanks, OP
Director of Vocations, East Coast-Midwest Vocations Promoter


Adrian Dominican Sisters
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