Anita Whitney (Arcadian correspondent) recently wrote about a program helping young people to realize their dreams. Living life requires that we have dreams and visions—no matter how old we are.
Remember Corrie Ten Boom who helped Jews escape the Nazi? When arrested, she was sent to a concentration camp in her fifties. Her story, Hiding Place, touched the hearts of many, including myself!
In her eighties, Corrie continued to work on a long list of goals. When someone asked why so many, she said, “Because if I only do one of them, I will have done more than most people.” Here was a woman who continued living her dreams, not counting the cost.
The Bible makes it clear that without vision and purpose for our lives, we dry up and wither. (Prov 29:18)
Life loses its luster and we fall prey to depression, apathy, and many physical ills.
Created to dream and imagineThe good news is that God has created us with a capacity to imagine and to dream, even while we sleep. Dreams in the night can offer us new vision and goals for our lives.
Church father Athanasius said, “Often when the body is quiet, and at rest and asleep, man moves inwardly … and the soul … imagines and beholds things above the earth …” (Judith and Gerald Doctor, Dream Treasure: Learning the Language of Heaven).
Joseph Campbell describes this as dreamtime: “This is the time you get into when you go to sleep and have a dream that talks about permanent conditions within your own psyche as they relate to the temporal conditions of your life right now.” He sees the dream as an inexhaustible source of spiritual information about ourselves. (The Power of Myth)
At midlife, I discovered the power of dreamtime, and because of it, I have been able to do more than I ever imagined—even as I approach my eightieth year.
Without dreams, I’d never have discovered my gifts and talents, conducted retreats in Europe, started my small groups, have a European radio program, gone to grad school, published books about dreams and forgiveness, and so many more things (see my stories in Dream Treasure & 33 Ways).
The power of dreamtimeI want to tell you about a few people who lived their dreams and affected our civilization, culture, and history for generations.
Wagner: after composing Tristan, und Isolde said: “I dreamed all this; never could my poor head have invented such a thing.”
Paul McCartney: received the complete melody for “Yesterday” in a dream.
Jesse Monongye: dreamed of his mother giving him jewelry tools, telling him he would become famous; he won honors at the Gallup Ceremonial for a piece inspired by his dream (Arizona Highways, April 1979).
Elias Howe: invented the sewing machine because of a nightmare.
Albert Einstein: traced his theory of relativity back to a dream in adolescence.
Kekulé: discovered the benzene ring structure from a vision of snakes in a ring.
Niels Bohr: developed his Quantum Theory from a dream of a race track.
Bishop Bruno: as Pope Leo IX, he restored the Church to its original beauty—because of a hideously deformed old woman taunting him in a dream.
John Newton: author of “Amazing Grace” ceased being a slave-trading ship captain and became an Anglican clergyman because of his dream.
A. J. Gordon: dreamed of Jesus sitting in the pew while he was preaching—“We are most awake to God when we are asleep to the world.”
Mother Theresa: received direction for her life’s work after encountering St. Peter in a dream.
Catherine Marshall: author of Christy dreamed of a stinking head of a woman on a pedestal-stand—warning about over-reliance on her intellect, rather than the Holy Spirit.
Constantine: in his quest to liberate Rome, was instructed in a dream to paint the sign of a cross on his soldiers’ shields, which led to victory.
Gen. George Patton: received intuitions for military maneuvers during sleep.
David A. Parkinson: the first all-electric antiaircraft gun director design resulted from a dream.
Jack Nicklaus: improved his golf swing and scores because of his dream.
Wisdom comes in dreams
According to Nes Perce Indian prophet Shohalla: “Wisdom comes to us in dreams.” Dreams enable the soul to reach the source of all learning—the knowledge of God. (Dream Treasure)
Regardless of our spiritual orientation, evidence shows that dreamtime is powerful, offering us a source of wisdom, guidance and counsel that affects the world around us.
Judith Doctor, RN, MSW, is an Arcadian author, speaker, educator and spiritual life mentor. Her books on dreams and forgiveness are available on Amazon and other online booksellers. She can be followed on Facebook at Christian Dream Interpretation, reached by email at email@example.com, or at www.judithdoctor.com.