Written from the life, experiences and wisdom of prolific author and pioneering educator Marsha Sinetar, ‘Dreams unto Holiness: Exploring the Power of a Sweet, Transcendent Sleep’ is thought to be the first book of its kind on the market, a guide to enhancing and understanding the powerful holy dreams that can easily change anyone’s life for the better. Contrasting psychological and holy dreams, and written even for those of no particular faith, Sinetar’s guide will soon be enlightening readers around the world.
Consider the infinite routes by which God’s glorious Image works into our awareness. At all hours (if we’re receptive), a heightened awareness surfaces in us. That can be slow or sudden. Those artists who envision their next project while showering or scrambling eggs for breakfast have such “Aha” moments regularly. These commonly bring healing insights.
In prayer or meditation, while raking leaves in the garden, one sometimes is flooded with fresh, sublimely useful ideas. What we focus on in the day, easily persist into our night’s sleep.
At six-years-old, a friend who was already full of religious sensibility dreamt that Jesus stood near her bedside, beckoning her to live only for him. In young adulthood, she joined a monastery where she’s lived ever since.
Isn’t such discernment a norm for creative, spiritual sorts? Alas, more rigid types discount (or straight-out reject) the prophetic or directive nature of even unforgettable dreams. To their own detriment, I say.
For highly creative, spiritual (or religious) types, Jung’s notion of the dream series—a chain of dreams with a single idea or message —tends to involve a “cross”. That difficulty could be a sacrifice or turn away from something low, daek or unattractive—a thought pattern of fear or narcissism, a lack of caring about others, or one of the seven deadly sins. We work out the message in a dream series if and as we are willing to bear it. Or, we submit ourselves to it. As we live out the “essential Image”—the glorious, beautiful Branch of the Lord, with us—the dream series either stops or changes.
Initially, the animals in her dreams were lost, alone, neglected, very thirsty. In these first dreams, the dreamer was always hunting about for clean water, clean water dishes, not knowing how else to help, feeling helpless. Typically, she woke up crying, knowing she was meant to care for all creatures, but how? She kept remembering Christ’s words when on the cross, “I thirst,” and she was heartsick. Over time, she realized it was her soul that was dying, abused, neglected, thirsty.
That dream series persisted for years, each one influencing her everyday attitudes, helping her yield incrementally to her true vision and vocation —what life was asking of her. That growth illustrates the true learning discussed earlier. It stems from within, even while outer resources—other people, books, experiences, etc.—are critical to such growth. Wasn’t it St. Augustine who noted that the world is made for us—for our growth in capacity and in love and in the development of character, authenticity: That involves true learning.
With that learning spirit prompting her, that dreamer increasingly searched for roles by which to help others, in her own way. This is key! An authentic individual is — feels impelled to be —an original: one of a kind, hence in his or her own way —creative. This, I believe, is true of all of us. We see it in very young children, sometimes in the very old. Every truly authentic person is a bit of an odd duck. We sense some oddness in ourselves, especially if we dream lavishly —for dreams reveal our truths.
Spiritual wholeness involves the type of person we are—the type of life we are called to live. Hermits and statesmen; potters, politicians, and householders: all are called to wholeness, each in his or her own way. That woman ultimately said, “I wanted to be more than a mere ‘do-gooder’— I sought authentic service, or I’d end up ‘thirsty’ myself.”
As the dreamer learned that all dream elements relate to one’s own psyche, she determined to bring pure, living water to her life, first. Because she worked in a compelling, but intensely competitive, environment, she was surrounded by sensitive yet highly aggressive sorts. To her, her dreams’ cats and kittens represented a more innocent aspect of self and other. Each time the dream returned, she understood more. Everyone needed living water.
After rearranging her working life, she saw herself creatively arranging things for a real calling. She formed new friendships. She adjusted her schedule, which allowed time for religious involvements. Then the dream series changed.
Soon, the animals always had clean bowls of fresh water. The dream animals looked contented, properly cared for. Finally, as she embraced her own, more innocent nature, calling, and rearranged her life to honor her true character, the dream series stopped altogether. Intriguingly, as we shall see, the lives of saints and the saintly reveal similar, universal motifs…
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