I am always intrigued by stories, both true life and fiction, of the American Indians in the early days of civilization. Many Indian stories tell about the power of dreams, especially those we read about of the dream quests of young men seeking revelation about their future. They go off alone, usually to a mountaintop and spend days fasting and praying until they have a dream or vision or epiphany. The animal that appears in the dream becomes their totem, or guiding spirit. They then take time to learn about the habits and traits of their totem animal to be able to apply them to their own lives. This experience helps them undertake their journey through life.
Then there are the dream stealers, those people who try to destroy the dreams of others. How do they do this? By belittling both the dreamer and his dream, by making fun of the other’s totem, by ridiculing and questioning everything the dreamer attempts to do. By planting doubts and fears in the mind of the dreamer.
Should we believe in dreams? Yes, I believe so, as long as the dreamer has prepared himself for the dream, in prayer, discernment, and when indicated, with fasting to ensure that the dream comes only from the Source of All Good. Fleeting dreams that appear in the night without any preparation of the dreamer to receive the dream usually don’t have much meaning, or are meant to shed light on a happening in one’s past, or are experienced as a way to relieve inner tension and stress. Dark dreams should not be entertained.
Jun and I often remark that we are a couple of dreamers. I am talking here about the dreams sent by God that begin as an inspired vision or a vague idea, and as time passes, and as we prepare ourselves to embrace this dream, it then becomes our goal, our mission in life. Jun dreamed of his activated carbon plant in Alaminos, Laguna, even before he acquired it; he took it as a message from God that the purchase was approved even though we didn’t have the funds. I dreamed of the house where we are now living nine months before I was even aware that the house existed. And these are only a few of our dreams.
In one of my retreats with Sis Carmeli, my spiritual director/guide, I recounted for her a dream that had puzzled me greatly. It was kind of a complicated dream involving a long road, some blank signboards, an empty house that contained buried treasure among other things. As we talked about it, I discovered that God was pointing out to me some things that I had forgotten and some things that I had unknowingly buried in my memory bank. Once these came to light, the emotional disturbances that I had been experiencing were replaced with inner peace, joy and thanksgiving for God’s loving me enough to release me from my hidden anxieties and stress.
One thing I learned during that retreat was not to try to analyze-to-death or understand but to keep a journal of my thoughts, my dreams, my epiphanies and messages/manifestations of God. Never mind if they had no meaning at the time … later on when I was ready and open to receive the message, God would reveal it to me. Knowing that when the time is right God will reveal his message to me, I am not anymore anxious or disturbed when such thoughts, dreams, or epiphanies occur, rather I am filled with prayerful anticipation of God’s revelation.
Dreamers and visionaries know how important a dream is. It is what keeps them going even during impossible situations and trying times, it is the fire that lights up their lives, it is the wind beneath their wings. They dream to improve their lives and help make the lives of others better. They believe! A dreamer sees opportunities in every problem, challenges in every difficulty. Dreamers are enthusiastic and optimistic, joyful and exited about the tomorrows, as they make the best out of their todays. They are achievers.
Dream stealers are also present in the world today. They hide behind many masks, they delight in deceit and can see problems in every situation. They are imbued with “crab mentality”, hating to see others become successful, trying to pull others down even while they try to pull themselves up. Dream stealers are pessimistic and see the worst of every situation. Every challenge to improve themselves is viewed as an insurmountable problem. Envy, greed, doubt, fear and insecurity characterize the dream stealer.
We need to ask: Am I a dreamer? Or, am I a dream stealer?