Engaging the Full Range of Our Psyches: Meditation, Dreams and Synchronicities
Our individual and collective capabilities for knowing, creating, healing and connecting are more powerful than we might imagine.
Some of this capacity lives in the conscious awareness of individuals. Much more of it lives latent, in the individual subconscious. Some wisdom lives even deeper down in the stack of knowing: in the unconscious.
The unconscious contains our biological inheritances, transcultural archetypes, the programs and patterns where all of the experiences from all of history are stored. There’s an even deeper knowing beyond that, a direct understanding of the pure energy that lives inside of all matter and consciousness- but that’s a subject for another day.
People who can tap in easily into these realms seem somehow more limitless, full of life force, ever renewing, more loving- and they often see things early that others don’t see, or see them earlier than others.
I call tapping into these deeper layers “pricking pinholes in the veil” - seeing things that are below the surface and bringing them into consciousness. I’m deeply interested in how everyday people can (and do) cultivate this inner power and insight: the “mystic in the marketplace”, the highly attuned stock broker, the truly original artist, the spiritual farmer, the inspired teacher or parent or musician.
Almost every culture, spiritual or religious tradition has tools and practices for engaging the full range of our psyches.
Here are three for today: meditation, dream therapy and synchronicity journaling.
Meditation: This one has gone mainstream, a favorite of Silicon Valley performance hackers and mainstream medicine. We all need time to drop into this moment, to feel our bodies and clear our minds from the buildup of unprocessed experiences. It’s hard to call in a clear vision of the future through a lens that is clouded by unresolved things from the past. One of the best ways to clear and focus the mind is meditation. As the great director David Lynch describes in his book on accessing one’s deepest creativity, Catching the Big Fish, he writes, “Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper.” Deeper means sitting along with yourself in a quiet space and letting your thoughts drift by. The Indian sage Ramana Maharshi instructs us to ask ourselves this question in meditation: “Who Am I?” or “Who is having these thoughts?”. The mind goes kind of blank in response to that question! Watching your own thoughts move through you is such a powerful opportunity to dis-identify with them, to discover that we are not our thoughts. 20 minutes a day is a good starting point, but if you can’t do 20, do 5. I really enjoy the Instinctive Meditation Method and instruction from Lorin Roche, author of The Radiance Sutras.
Dream Therapy: What if you could use the midnight mind to gain insights into waking life? Since interviewing Tzivia Gover and Lori Loewenberg for the podcast in 2022, I’ve been following their instructions on accessing insights through dream therapy. Simply, it goes like this: I settle my mind before bed and then I ask my dreams for guidance on whatever question is up in my life. Then, immediately on waking, even without getting out of the bed, I quickly write down as many of the details in the dream as I can. Every time I do this, there’s been a clear answer or insight delivered from the subconscious mind (for much more detail on the practice, listen to The Rose Woman podcast episode with Tzivia). Tzivia has just released a new book Dreaming on the Page: Tap into your midnight mind to supercharge your writing. The Metropolitan says the book “offers readers a unique method for accessing our naturally generous and creative dreaming mind, whether we remember our dreams or not." Brooke Warner writes that the book is “Accessible and unfailingly encouraging.”
Synchronicity Journal: Another deep listening practice is keeping track of synchronicities – unrelated things that appear to us to have meaning, but there is no causative relationship. Psychologist Carl Jung says synchronicities are pointers from our subconscious on what to pay attention to. Tracking synchronicities helps us make meaning and track the dance of the subconscious. While it’s not magic, or the universe sending us personal instructions, tracking synchronicities can help us see just how many resources and allies are around us. Our thoughts and intentions are so often met with a response or a resonance in the world. Synchronicity tracking can support a feeling that anything we dare to dream is possible.
Wishing you deep listening, and the engagement of your full range of powers.