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Robert Moss and the Healing Power of Dreams, Part I

Sunday, September 06, 2009 by: David Hestrin
Tags: dreams, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) Robert Moss is the pioneer of Active Dreaming, an original synthesis of shamanism and modern dreamwork. Born in Australia, he survived three near-death experiences in childhood. He is the author of Conscious Dreaming and most recently: The Secret History of Dreaming. He leads popular seminars all over the world and online courses.

David: I`d like to know what you see as the role of dreams throughout history with regards to healing!

Robert Moss: Well, you know most human cultures up until the modern era have valued dreams for a couple things in relation to healing. First of all, many people look to dreams for diagnosis of what`s going on inside the body. One of the ways to understand dreams is that they might be messages from inside the body - reports from the front on what`s going on there. The great Greek physician Galen always used to look at dreams with the idea that consciousness is traveling inside the body, during the body, and it brings back, through the vehicle of dream reports, accounts of what is right or wrong with it from which you can base, as a physician, the diagnosis of the condition and your recommendations on how to keep that body well... But in relation to healing - it`s about more than diagnosing physical symptoms; it`s about understanding the nature - emotional, physical, and spiritual wellness or otherwise.

So most cultures across most of human history have valued dreams as x-rays or pictures of the state of the soul - the state of emotional balance - the state of your psyche - the state of the rest of you - including whether you`re missing part of yourself because you lost a part of your vital energies somewhere in life. One of the ways I work with dreams which is actually quite ancient is to looking to dreams for clues as to where someone might have lost a part of their vital energy, a part of their soul we might say, through pain, abuse, trauma, addiction, wrenching life choices, and to find clues from such dreams as to how to get the vital energy back and put it back into the body.

For example: you keep dreaming of a younger version of yourself or a place where you used to be with a former partner, a former house where you keep going back again and again and again. Maybe the dream is saying to you part of me is still invested in that time and place and isn`t with me because it didn`t follow me along the roads I subsequently took, so that`s another aspect of healing through dreams. Dreams show us where the rest of us, the rest of our psyche, the rest of our soul, is to be found and they lay roads for us to get it back. And I`d add this as I look at the history of work with dreams in relation to healing: many cultures have recognized that our dreams give us personal images that can be a source of healing.

We know that in modern neuroscience and immunology and developments in that field the body can`t distinguish between a strong image or a strong thought or feeling or physical event. So we can give our focus to images and stories that move the body in the direction of health. We might do much better than we do otherwise. Where do we get the right image or story from? You know our dreams are a treasury of personal freshly manufactured spontaneous images and stories we can use to work on the body in the direction of health. This has been long understood. This is not new stuff. This is ancient stuff, but we lost it for awhile. It is time to get it back.

David: Do you think that`s there`s any distinction that can be made between physical health and spiritual health?

Robert Moss: Well people make the distinction all the time. Do I make the distinction? No. I don`t. I mean for me it`s a continuum. For me it`s a continuum. I mean there are people that report their emphasis on this or that. There are people for whom health revolves around exact conditions of the body. I notice, from my point of view, the body often adjusts remarkably well to the state of the soul - the state of spirit.

A doctor with a good attitude said to me a long time ago he said, "Robert, as long as your spirits are high you`ll get away with anything in life just about". I know that`s worked for me up to this point. I`m touching wood. So I regard it as a continuum and I`m more interested from where I sit in the state of your soul than the state of your body, quite frankly. Now that`s a shamanic approach. There`s nothing new about that.

I want to know how your soul is and want to know whether you`re following the purpose of your soul in your life - whether you`re in touch with your bigger story. One of the things that I notice that contributes enormously to health and wellness and wholeness and gives us the courage and driving purpose to get through the stuff that might knock us down is a sense of a deeper drama, a bigger story - the soul`s mission, if you like. Where do you get that?

Where do you recover your sense of what your life mission might be about?

Once dreaming is one of the ways that you know, it`s as if your larger self is hunting you through your dreams trying to recall you to the memory of why you came here in the first place, and I`ve noticed once again that people do better. They find encourage to do extraordinary things when they are seized by the sense of a personal mission

David: So in regards to health could someone try to invoke a doctor, or say Hercules, or Arnold Schwarzenegger to come and be in their dreams every night to teach them...

Robert Moss: I haven`t thought of Arnold as a physician, but if he works for you... Heck let`s have him "Hummer" and all! I haven`t thought of Hercules as a physician either, but you know there was a tremendous cult of Hercules in the ancient world as a god man, - a theos aner - a man who overcame extraordinary odds. So he became a figure in the Mediterranean tradition of healing. Of course, the ancient Mediterranean practice was to evoke a form of the sacred healer. The most popular one in Greece and Italy, for a thousand years, was a form of Asklepios, the god of dream healing.

Pilgrims would travel all over the Mediterranean. Sometimes, they`d take risks in hopes of the right night of healing in the Abaton, the forbidden dormitory of the god in his precincts, and they`d be prepped for this. I mean: they`d be trained, they`d be led to lay down their burdens, be cleansed, be bathed, give up as much of their baggage - their psychic baggage as they possibly could.

They`d be shown inscriptions and images representing healings supposedly inducted in the past in these precincts. So they`d be psyched to get ready for an encounter with the sacred healer. They`d see the dogs and the snakes sacred to the God running or laughing or licking or snuggling all over the temple, and they would hope in the night that the healer would turn up either in the form of the God himself, normally depicted as a living statue like a figure of living gold, or in the form of one of his radiant children male or female, or in the form of the dog that would lick them, or in the form of a snake that would slither and help to renew them. And we know from the inscriptions that these approaches to the sacred healer during the sacred night on this not necessary dream sleep but twilight state of consciousness often resulted in remarkable healings, because people would leave images of eyes or kidneys or other organs that they thought had been renewed in a night of sacred encounters.

So we can say when we look at the history of dreaming, and this is not unique to the cult of Aesclepius, when we look to the history of dreaming in relation to healing, one thing that people have looked for cross culturally as far back as we can trace is the big experience - the healing that is delivered full and complete in the right night of sacred experience in a state which is not so much of sleep dream as of liminal, in-between hypnagogic experience. You`re not awake; you`re not asleep; you`re open to beings, evocations, images of the larger reality interacting with you. I mean there`ve been similar cults in other parts of Europe. There`s been a similar cult in Japan. There`s a similar cult of Sequanna who`s the goddess of the sources of the river Seine in France - the Goddess of the Dijon country. People went to her temple in exactly the same way. They went to the temples of Asklepios. Not a bad idea! I mean if we can find a valid image for us of the sacred healer... not a bad idea to call on that being to help us out. I`ll take all the help I can get!

David: Can you give an example of a dis-ease or dis-ability that`s been transcended for someone through dreams?

Robert Moss: Let me tell you a story about this which I think resulted in a pretty complete healing, and it folds in some of the elements some of the spectrum of contributions dreams make to healing. So there`s a woman whose doctors are having a very hard time diagnosing her symptoms. So she dreams of a wolf. A large wolf appears to her in the dream space. The wolf at a certain point in the dream says, "My name is Lupus remember and tell the doctors". So she tells the doctors, "I met a wolf and he said `My name is Lupus; I gotta tell you!`

So they`re running around again and checking it out and it turns out indeed the diagnosis lupus fits the symptoms. I mean that`s okay; you`re getting a diagnosis people couldn`t get right up to the point. That`s pretty cool, but the better part of the story is after this the wolf continues to visit her and he becomes her ally and healing. And as I understand, I haven`t seen her recently, as I understand it she`s doing very well and has basically come out of the worst state of the dis-ease. Another example of healing through dreaming or transferring a vision...

Interview continues in Part II

About the author

David Shlomo Hestrin is the author of The "Cure" For Blur an e-book written to help people improve their eyesight naturally by improving their relaxation and enjoyment of life. He also does health and nutritional research for the Better Earth Institute.

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