My passion for dreams began in 1998. Up to this point in my life I was one of those people who would claim, “I don’t dream.” I was fifty-three years old and after living my adult life as an atheist had little time for such esoteric pursuits. Then everything changed.
As a consequence of my mid life crisis, I had embarked on a quest for meaning and purpose in my life. I had joined the Unity Church and was actually contemplating that my true vocation was not to be an advertising consultant but a minister. As a result, much to my amazement and those of my friends, I had enrolled in a program at the Unity School of Religious Studies in Kansas City.
One of the pre-requisites of the ministerial program was called the Continuing Education Program. it would require about seven weeks taking five courses a week. It had an intensity that was unfamiliar, I felt like the proverbial “fish out of water”. I was a total newbie to the religious and spiritual courses that were required – The Christ, The Spiritual Journey, Life of Prayer to name but three.
After the third day I was drowning in emotion. The courses were taking me deeper into the world of feelings than I had ever been; frequently I would experience outbursts of tears that came from nowhere. I began to wonder if I could survive the two weeks to which I had committed.
I awoke early one morning with a series of amazing images unfolding in my mind. “I was standing by a turbulent lake; there was a figure on the water beckoning to me; I recognized it as St.Peter. I walked confidently toward him across the water. Then my comfort evaporated and I began to panic and sink. He reached me and bent down and lifted me up; I was safe.”
I lay confused. This was obviously a dream. What did it mean? What should I do with it? I felt lost and confused with no idea what to do next yet there a strange sense of excitement. It was like arriving in a foreign country for the first time. I decided to check out the dream section in the comprehensive Unity School Library.
Immediately I gravitated to a book called The Mystical Magical Marvellous World of Dreams by Wilda B Tanner. I was transfixed as my mind was opened to a series of unrealized possibilities:
- We dream all the time – six to eight times a night.
- Dreams can be goldmines of information and guidance once we learn how to explore them.
- There are many different kinds of dreams but the one I had to explore was likely a symbolic dream.
- Dreams frequently offered a specific guidance about our lives but were coded with symbols. The key was understanding the symbols. These symbols could be universal, cultural and personal.
My dream had two key symbols: St. Peter and a turbulent lake. I learned that water was likely a universal symbol. It will represent either emotion or the unconscious. I felt an immediate resonance with the tempestuous lake representing my confused emotional state. St. Peter was a personal symbol emanating from my early Christian background.
The pieces began to smoothly fall into place. St. Peter is considered the foundation of the Christian Church, “upon this rock on which I will build my church”. The dream was the encouragement to accept that although at times I would begin to feel overpowered by the force of the emotions i would encounter, my faith and foundation underpinning my life would sustain me.
I felt a sense of relief, clarity and assurance. My energy and feelings lightened. These are signs I have learned to recognize as the “ah-ah moments” and a clear sign that I had solved the mystery embedded in the dream. My seventeen-year passion for the world of dreams had begun.