“We are such stuff as dreams are made of, and our little life is rounded with a sleep…” —William Shakespeare
Dreams hold a special place in our cultural psyche—they are associated with the imaginary, the bizarre and supernatural; with aspiration, light, and also darkness; and serve both as warnings and as medicine to heal the heart and soul. They translate our subconscious lives into wild and unpredictable narratives, hinting at a rich and turbulent experience just beneath the surface. Dreams are one way that this unconscious self can become conscious and, as such, dreams and the interpretation of their symbolism are seen by many spiritual traditions as “tools” or “signposts” that can guide the seeker on the path.
The writers and artists in this issue explore the role of dreams and dreaming in spiritual development from the perspective of different traditions and psychoanalytical practices. They offer insights on the nature of self-directed dream interpretation, and the role of a spiritual guide or therapist in supporting a more objective form of interpretation. They explore different types or states of dreaming—from lucid dreams to “true” dreams that predict the future and represent a direct connection to the divine. They explore the boundary between sleeping dreams and waking visions—itself a mirror of the veil between the individual seeker and the Beloved’s absolute unity.
Amongst all of these approaches one thing is clear—that dreams take on meaning in context and in relation to the specific time and activities of our lives. It is what we do upon waking that makes a dream significant in awakening consciousness. As Dr. Alireza Nurbakhsh reminds us in his discourse, it is still possible to advance on the path even if we do not dream.
—The Editors of SUFI
CALL FOR PAPERS
The editors of SUFI invite submissions of articles, stories, poetry, personal essays, and artistic works on all topics relating to mysticism. For details please visit www.sufijournal.org/submissions.
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