Tag Archives: Psychology

Looking for Zen: Why Writing the Dream Works

From "Osho Zen Tarot"

The dreams were there even before I opened my eyes. In this one I was lost (not an uncommon dream) and searching for a Japanese restaurant that I eat in from time to time in waking life, called Zen. I woke that morning in a hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, where I was staying while attending a 4-day intensive on dreams. I was one year into a dream certification process and I was remembering an average of 6-8 dreams a  night, plus recording all of them in my dream journal. So by this particular morning, I was, frankly, tired of writing them all down.

I considered skipping my morning ritual of dream recording, just this once, using as an excuse the luxurious fact of waking alone in a hotel room in a new city. I could use that half hour instead to take a bubble bath, go outside and explore the streets of South Carolina, turn on the TV and indulge in what would be a rare treat for me—a half hour of watching Good Morning America.

But out of habit, or in response to some kind of dreamer’s guilt, I opened my notebook, picked up the pen from the bed stand, and began to write the dream:

“I am lost and looking for Zen.”

As I inked the words I could hear them in my head, and in that moment I began to laugh out loud.

“I am lost and looking for Zen!”

The cough of laughter was part delight in my mind’s skillful punning, and part simple surprise and recognition. Yes, it was certainly true! I was lost and looking not for Zen Japanese Restaurant, which occupies space on Main Street in my hometown, but I was lost in busy-ness and to-do lists, appointments and projects.

“I’m lost and looking for Zen.” The dream headline announced the news of my day. I was in need of Zen. That is, I wanted clarity, emptiness, hours in which to stretch out on the sofa with a good book, reading and dozing.

If I hadn’t written the dream out, I would never have heard its crystalline wisdom. Nor would I have benefited from its message. The moment one knows they are lost, after all, they are already on the road to being found.

Why is it, I wondered, that writing is so often the magic ingredient that brings a dream from mystery to meaning? The concept makes no sense on first examination. The dream, after all, swims up from a subterranean sea; a primal yet highly evolved world indifferent, for the most part, to written language.

Sightless and wandering, our sleeping mind feels along the ground with its fingertips, reading the Braille of the embossed terrain of our very existence.

The pen touching paper is the needle of the sewing machine that stitches our shadow to the soles of our feet, so we might walk together with hidden selves. The pen makes visible the amnesiac cartography of the dream.

Writing the dream unifies us: Left brain, meet right brain. Amphibious mind, meet the executive logical, planning brain.

The writing hand swirls these states of consciousness together into the same orbit, and the wisdom of the dream is brought to consciousness. Now we can hear ourselves—as we hear our dreams speak.

That done, it’s time to listen and act. For me I had my marching orders: I needed to take a step toward Zen.

©Tzivia Gover 2011


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When the Dream Forcasts Rain (CV)

Dream: I find myself in a warmly lit parking lot outside a restaurant. Clouds are gathering, thickly layered, black and gray. There’s lightning in the distance. How will I get home? I ask if anyone can give me a ride to Northampton. A young man says he’ll take me. Just then, rain begins to pour down. The man pulls his car around. It’s a red convertible with the top down. I think: Just my luck! We’ll get soaked. But he puts the top up, and off we go.  [DR 2-24-10]

Interpreting Rain in Dreams:

Depending on the dream dictionary you consult, dreams of rain can be indicators of everything from good fortune (rainmaking), forgiveness, grace or emotional pain.

Of course the type of rain is important. A gentle rain has a different meaning than a flooding rain. Rain on a bright day has different implications than rain coming from stormy dark clouds.

Some say if you dream you are watching rain through a window it means true love is coming. But if you’re out in the rain it means your love affair is coming to an end.

Rain is nourishing, it makes things grow, so it can represent fertility or growth in some aspect of your life.

Rain is generally considered a good omen, according to some interpretations, unless it’s falling on cattle (livestock) in which case it portents a business loss. (Washing your ‘stock’ away?)

If those raindrops are falling on the roof it means spiritual ideas are entering your mind … or you are about to experience domestic bliss … again, it all depends on the dream dictionary you consult.

Which is why I don’t bother with dream dictionaries myself. When I look at the symbols in my dreams I just let the ideas rain down. I never try to rein myself in, instead I entertain all puns and homophones (reign, rein). And I always search for the rainbow  (the multiplicity of meaning) and the gold of insight and understanding … in all the dreamwork I do.


For more rainy reflections, visit these Corner View blogs: ianbonniejoycekimkaytrinschritvafrancescastate of bliss cabrizetteisabellejaniskarijgylisecateotlidortebsophiemcgillicuttysunnymamadaanibbpienduzzkelleynninjasammi – – cherry bjulietteshokoofehcolegrey lemonlucylainelynnskywritingannadoritconnyl´atelierkamanaanne marierosamaríavictoriatikjewitjuniperannabelandreavaleriemerel soissesmlle paradiscacahuetewander chowbarbaraemilytallynadinematildadon flowtopssusannatania – – ingridtzivia mezza lollipopmari


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The Question of Dream Journals — Take 2

I guess I still haven’t totally recovered from my move, because I’m still thinking of all those cardboard boxes filled with journals … dream and day journals. I wasn’t sure where to put them all in my new apartment; so one kitchen cabinet is crammed with boxes! (It’s a good thing I’m not a big cook – that space would be perfect for some nice CorningWare casserole dishes or whatever it is that lives in the cabinets of people who love to cook.) The rest are stacked in a closet.

Somehow the day journals don’t concern me, but I wonder about saving all those piles of pages of dream reports. A dream is so beautifully ephemeral, it almost feels wrong to save and store years and years of them. The dream barely wants to be remembered – (it slips out of consciousness as we roll over to turn off the alarm) – let alone reified.

And yet, thanks to those dream journals, I can tell you exactly what I dreamed on February 12, 2006, (well that’s cheating, that was one of those life-changing dreams that I don’t need to look up in a journal to recount image for image, but more on that another time), or November 1, 2009, or … you get the picture. Keeping all those dream journals feels like I’m idolizing something that should be let to breathe in and out of being in one glorious sigh. I want to have faith that the dreams will always be there, and last night’s dream is all I need for today. Each dream will be remembered for exactly the right amount of time and when it’s done serving the dreamer it will slip into the world of memories lost, along with all those breakfasts and car rides and trips to the grocery store that are easily and effortlessly forgotten.

Dreams are written on darkness in wisps of light – they are not carved in stone, they are not definitive statements. Perhaps they don’t want to be captured and caged on the page.

Hopefully, before my next move, I’ll have a clear decision about what to do with all those journals … whether I should set them free (shred? Burn? Recycle?) or box them up and put them on the moving truck yet one more time.  (Opinions please!)

Boxes of Journals


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