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September 27, 2013 / Dale Melchin

Painting dream after I started meditating

One of the things I tell people if they start meditating, ignore any vivid dreams you are having after you start.  Typically its just psychological fallout.  I unfortunately didn’t realize this after I started meditating in earnest.  I’m not saying that I became deluded as a result of this dream that I had after I started meditating, and I’m saying that I wasn’t.  I think it is a cautionary tale to novice meditators, don’t take yourself too seriously when you start.  Its also supremely important to have a guide when you are doing this exercise.  To my dismay, I have never had a guide and still don’t.  The only meditation guides around here are either crazy new age kooks, or the are the equivalent to pastors in the Buddhist community, who wouldn’t have time to take me on as an apprentice.  And if anyone from Church or from my family is reading, I’m not thinking about deconverting or converting to yet another religion.  Meditation is a part of the Christian faith that has been separated from it due to rationalism.


Anyway….In my personal practice I keep it to the practice of being still for 15-30 minutes every day and that’s the end of it.  The closest Orthodox Monastery is 146 miles away.  I realize I may be making some excuses, but with the needs of being a lay person, it is difficult.


Nevertheless, after I started meditating, I had a very vivid dream that unlocked some insights into my psyche.  This was around 2006-2007 when this all happened.  There was a lot going on that year.  I had just been married, I was in the process of converting to Orthodoxy, and I was not mentally processing things very well.  Enough of my personal stuff, here is the setting of the dream.


I was at a work site that I was very familiar with.  I was at the other Stanford House.  I had spent considerable time there having completed a painting project there for it to go on sale.  I had long finished that project shortly before Erica and I got married.  There were 4 figures from my past just hanging out around a door that I had on saw horses that I was getting ready to paint.


The first figure was my first painting teacher.  We’ll call him James.  Note, this isn’t Tom Mays.  I’m changing the name to protect the guilty.  He was hanging out at the saw horses, nit picking at my work, and generally expressing doubt about my future.  I couldn’t understand what he was saying.  I suppose that’s because its the right brain that processes dreams.  We also didn’t end things on particularly bad terms, we were both professional about our parting of ways.


Then the other group of people that I classed as school bullies from my past started jeering at me.  It was very clear what they were getting at, they weren’t just helpfully expressing doubt.  They were jeering and being out right asses about things. And they were getting in the way of me working on the door that I had on the saw horses.


I woke up from the dream and I may have wrote it down, but I’ve long lost the record.  I woke up with the resolution to get another job painting, and if possible launch an business.  And I did just did that, even though I was later defeated in the process.


At first I thought this meant I should do the opposites of what the bullies were telling me and go into painting instead.  Now after having some distance from the dream and seeing a life coach.  I think I know what the figures represented.


The door on the saw horse was the door to my future.  It was in this case, at the time being fixed and painted.  Something for later, I suppose.


James and the bullies represented a part of my subconscious that was conditioned to doubt me.  James represented the less malevolent part of that subconscious.  The bullies represented the more insidious part of it that is self loathing.  I learned from my life coach that this kind of negativity accumulates in the subconscious after years of hearing and believing negative feedback, and it is reinforced when we awfulize about external events, or we engage in self loathing.


Even if we are actively engaging in counteracting that self-loathing with self-respect, it comes back at us.  Even after we start pulling up the layers of negativity, there is often a deep void where more negativity is accumulated, and it surfaces in slightly more gentle, but in a still, less than kind fashion.  That’s who James represented.  The bullies represented the feedback we generally hear first.  At least, this is how I interpret things.


This is why I earlier, regarding Erica’s dream, dreams can give us insight into ourselves. We can even use them to understand what our calling is supposed to be if it is done correctly, but that still goes back to personal insights.   The only thing is, we shouldn’t use them as tea leaves in an attempt to predict the future.  Know yourself first.  Once you know yourself, you can find your vision and see how you fit into the grand scheme.  It is your responsibility to do, and if you don’t do it, you’re ultimately hurting yourself and the world, because you are depriving us of your best self.


Question:  Any vivid insights from dreams?


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