Spiritual guidance from dreams

In the beginning of my spiritual journey around 2006, I had the following dream:

The ferryman:
It is dark outside. A ferry man lights up a fire and gives me a sign with his hand that I need to come on the ferry. However, I have a huge bag and am still busy putting all my luggage into this bag. I am getting into panic. So much stuff! How will it fit in there? And will I be strong enough to carry it? Will the ferry wait until I am ready? I feel panic and overwhelm.

Interpretation: I have received the call for the start of the spiritual journey and need to come on board. However, I am not ready yet and still struggling with too much baggage (which at that time I interpreted as time constraints and too many obligations as a working mom with two small kids).

Guidance can come in dreams. The main challenges are to remember them and then to interpret them.

Dream recall
Before I go to sleep, I set the general intention that I want to remember my dreams (when I am not so angry with my spirit guides that I tell them to shut up and leave me alone, that is).

Sometimes, I even ask a specific question before sleep and expect the answer to come in a dream. This is called dream incubation.

We sleep in cycles of about 90 minutes. I find that if I wake up in between these cycles, often there was a dream just before waking up and that it is easy to remember it.

Sometimes a noise happens in the bedroom when my dream is finished so that I wake up at a time when I can best remember the dream. The noise can be my husband snoring or a window cracking, for example. I even had acoustic hallucinations of my alarm clock going off in the middle of the night. It is as if the universe takes care that I will be enabled to remember the dream.

The first challenge is to recall the dream. The usual advice is to record it after getting up. But this is not enough. There are some steps to be done before that.

When I wake up, I try to lie still if possible since movement has a tendency to eradicate the memory. Instead I keep my eyes closed and attempt to retrieve the dream while in bed. I let pieces if memory pop-up into my conscious mind.

Then I try to tell the dream to myself in my mind. The act of telling the dream to myself brings it from the sub-conscious into the conscious mind. Doing this feels a bit like playing the memory game ‘I packed my bag’, especially if I wake up and there are three different dream stories in my memory and want to be brought back to my journal.

When I am sure that I remember enough, I get up and write a few keywords down. If it is in the middle of the night, what works best for me is writing with a ball-point pen on paper next to my bed. I write in the dark and thus can’t see anything and try to write just a few keywords, but in block letters so that I can decipher them more easily later.

If I get up in the morning and want to write my dreams down, I write an email to myself from my tablet with just a few keywords. Later, I type the dream in full, using present tense, including emotions.

Sometimes I forget the dream upon waking up but then something may happen during the day which triggers a recall of the dream. For example, I dreamed about someone with a violin but forgot the dream during waking up. But when I surfed the internet, a picture of a violin came up in the news and this triggered the recall of the dream.

Dream interpretation
Afterwards, I reflect on the meaning. Is the dream merely a digestion process of stuff that I had to deal with during the day? Is the dream to be taken literally or metaphorically?

Don’t waste time on trying an interpretation of something that is meant very literally. Once I saw a girl with a teal sweater and platinum blonde hair in my dream. What a beautiful color combination! But what did it mean? Well, the very next day I saw this very girl walking past my kitchen window. That’s it. Nothing else to interpret here (except that it iis noteworthy that we can get a glimpse into the future during dreamtime once in a while).

If it is meant to be metaphorically, what is the meaning of the metaphors? I use associative writing to generate some suggestions. Dictionaries of dream symbols can be useful. But in the end, only I can know the meaning of my symbols. For example, dancing is a metaphor for communication in my dreams. I used to be a passionate competitive ballroom dancer. And I am very sad that I can’t dance anymore due to my
rheumatoid arthritis. Yet spirit brings up dancing in my dreams. Why? For me, it always means “communication” – to go and share my stories online and interact with fellow bloggers. That is a very personal symbol which is not found in any dream dictionary.

I find it very important to look at the emotions in the dream. Was it joyful, fearful, sad, or angry?

Does the dream contain the answer to a burning question? Or is it merely a description of my current state of mind and struggles? Or does it contain information about the future? If so, is it a prediction, or advice, or a warning?

For some dreams, it is helpful to step into the role of every person or animal in the dream since they can be a representation of me. For example, we have two budgies and I sometimes dream of my budgies being inside of a cage or coming out of a cage (and then maybe walking instead of flying). The meaning is usually not about the real budgies, but the budgies are a metaphor for me. And this symbolizes my progress or lack of progress on the journey towards freedom.

If I don’t get anywhere with my interpretation, then a dialog with the inner voice of my spirit guides can help.

Sometimes I get additional confirmation of dream symbols by signs appearing in the outer world.

Sometimes, I get repeating dreams with a similar setting. They continue as long as needed until I eventually get the message. I had several dreams of needing to go to a restroom, but it was always dirty, already occupied, or the door would not close so that there was no privacy. I was not sure how to interpret them (okay, a look at good dream dictionary would have helped here). Eventually, they stopped after I had reached a phase in my life with much release of grief and sadness. In retrospect, I think they signaled the suppressed need for emotional release.

During crisis or turning points in the spiritual journey, the significant dreams came more frequently for me. It is as if a very urgent need for help is answered more promptly by guidance in the dreams.

My dreams have told me many things. They have nudged me to come out of hiding and to share my story online. They have warned me of consequences if I procrastinated further and wouldn’t share. In dreams, I have received names of people whose books I should read. I have received messages from alive people (who knew me or even from those who did not know me) who wanted to tell me something. I have also met deceased relatives in dreams. I got warnings or a heads-up about things which were about to happen. Sometimes, I got announcements like that my guides would expect me for a meeting on a certain date in the future. I have also received explanations about things that happened in the past, for example what the deeper reason behind a disturbing, misfortunate event was which helped me make peace with it.

So, in summary, recording the dreams and reflecting on the meaning takes a bit of effort, but in return, I find that I get a lot of benefit.

Guidance by patterns of events

Within the same week in 2013, both of my children lost their towels after their swimming lessons at school.

What did it mean? I knew about ‘throwing in the towel’. But that didn’t make sense. So, I googled ‘lost towel’ and found many youtube videos about naked people, covered by merely a towel, who let in the pizza service and then suddenly lost their towel.

What did this mean?

I had just started to share my spiritual journey with one single other person. And this pattern mirrored my feeling of vulnerability.

Sometimes there are several events in a row which have a certain element in common. This is a pattern.

The challenge is to notice this. What is the common thing in a series of events? It is not always as obvious as in the example with the lost towels. I have had other patterns where the common feature was, for example, ‘something black with something weird’ or ‘the lid is off and something is pouring out’. This is always a bit of a riddle and reminds me of the computer game “4 pics 1 word”.

After I have decided what the common feature is in all events, I try to find the meaning. The first question is, is it to be taken literally or metaphorically? The pattern of lost towels was an example of a metaphorical meaning.

Here comes an example of a literal meaning. A book by Ramana Maharshi was recommended twice to Renate McNay by different people. The third time, this vey book fell on top of her head out of nowhere when she was in a bookstore. Then she got the message. It is time to read this book. (Source: http://conscious.tv/text/12.htm)

Another example of a literal one: I needed to order a gift for an 18th birthday. At first, I tried to order an amazon gift card. I tried about 7 times, but it failed each time. Either the address was missing, or my bank account was missing, or I could not figure out how to add a text to the gift card. It was like running into a brick wall each time.

Exhausted, I gave up and listened inside. What the heck was going on? Why wasn’t I able to order a simple gift card on this usually very easy to use shopping portal? Because a gift card was not the appropriate present for an 18th birthday – probably.

So, I tried something else. This young woman was about to spend one year in Togo. I found a book about this country and decided to buy this instead. And, lo and behold, this time the shopping process worked smoothly as usual. So, sometimes running into a brick wall repeatedly can just mean that this is not the way to go.

When I have decided that the meaning is a metaphoric one, I try to find the symbolism via an internet search or with
associative thinking.

The next question usually is, is this pattern merely describing my present situation (as in the lost towel pattern)?
Or does it refer to the past and is it something like an explanation for something which just happened?
Or is it future oriented and suggesting an action (or is it an announcement or a warning)?

A subgroup of the descriptive patterns are mirrorings. They usually reflect something back to me which I need to look at. When I was stubbornly resisting the sharing of my journey, I encountered clogged drains, a clogged coffee machine, clogged showerheads, clogged everything in my house, all indicating that I am not allowing the flow of creativity through me.

Here is an example of a pattern which was not descriptive of the present, but a future oriented announcement. In 2014, I was informed by the inner voice and in a dream that I would get a ‘new job description’. Around that same time, I suddenly found myself being around strangers who just had a breakdown with a medical emergency. I would coincidentally walk by people who just had had a breakdown on the sidewalk. In all cases, the ambulance was already there, or at least someone else was taking care of them so that my help was not needed. I was just passing by. The events came so frequently that I suspected it is no coincidence but rather a message of some sort.

Now what did this mean? After some guessing around, I settled on the interpretation ‘you will meet people who have a breakdown’. And indeed, that is what happened. Afterwards, I found myself synchronistically coming into contact with people who either just had a burnout or were about to have one, and other people in transformative life situations, like leaving a job or going through a divorce. So, this pattern of events seemed to be an announcement of a future task or pattern for me.

However, what did not come with the task description was an instruction of what my role was supposed to be. Am I expected to do anything and what? Or would I just meet these people because I have been through a situation of breakdown myself (in the dark night of the soul) and I would attract people in similar circumstances? It turned out that we would just meet synchronistically, connect, and share our stories.

So, the communication via patterns gives me hints. Little clues about what is currently going on or what is about to happen. And to sum it up, the challenges are

-) to notice that a pattern of events is occurring and to notice what the common theme is.
-) to interpret them (i.e. literal or metaphorical meaning? Explanatory for the past, or descriptive for the present, or predictive or advice for the future?)

Possible blocks to divine guidance

Why don’t we sometimes get guidance from spirit?
What are the blocks to receiving guidance? Here is a collection
of reasons I have encountered in myself.

-) I don’t really care to know.
-) I am too afraid to know the answer.
-) I forgot to ask.
-) The question is not clearly formulated.
-) Wanting to know the answer is based on fear. (like ‘What
are the winning lottery numbers?’ )

-) I keep asking and asking but then I forget to shut up and
listen to the answer.
-) I can’t hear the answer because my ego chatter is too
-) I am letting all my thoughts go and clear my mind. I am
even letting go of the inner voice. (as in Esther Hicks’
story where she let go all of her thoughts, even of the ones which came from the guides. Eventually, the guides had her move her nose and paint letters in the air with her nose to get the message through. lol)

-) I don’t get guidance because the point of being in a body
is to not have everything openly revealed.
-) I don’t get an answer because my guides want me to
figure it out by myself via feeling into my joy. Being told
what to do would be like cheating.
-) I don’t get guidance because my human mind would not
be able to understand the answer.
-) I don’t get an answer because the timing is not right.

-) I don’t hear an audible voice. Is this still guidance?
-) I don’t believe the answer of the inner voice. It seems all
made up by my imagination.
-) I can’t tell the difference between ego’s voice and true
-) I don’t believe in interpreting events as signs. This seems
-) I feel a strong urge or desire to do something. But I don’t
trust that because I have been taught that desire is bad.

-) There is no clarity about the map of the spiritual journey.
Or even if there is clarity about the map, I still don’t know
where I am located on the map.

-) I get guidance but I don’t feel like doing anything.
My will has personal will has been punched and beaten during this spiritual journey and resurrecting the will is difficult.

For more information on divine guidance, you can download the script (pdf) of my divine guidance workshop (from 2017) here . (If you cannot open the link, try right mouse-click and then ‘save as’).

Communication steps for divine guidance

If you want to receive divine guidance, here are some communication steps:

-) Ask
-) Become still
-) Wait in expectation
-) Receive
-) Interpret
-) Ask for clarification
-) Trust
-) Act
-) Evaluate

Ask. Don’t forget this step. Guidance can only be given if we ask. If we don’t ask, nobody is going to answer. And be specific. If you state a fuzzy question, you will get a fuzzy answer. It does not need to be properly formulated. The intention counts.

Wait for the answer. That is, become quiet and listen to the inner voice. Or wait and watch whether the answer is going to show up in another way. As a sign or a pattern. It is like waiting for hearing the thunder after the lightning. You are sure that it will come and you become still enough to make sure you are not going to miss it when it shows up.

Receive the answer. Write down what the inner voice said. Notice it. Notice what the book or the friend said.

Interpret the answer. Try to understand. Some messages may not be downright clear at the beginning.

Ask for clarification and discuss with your inner voice.

Trust. There are two types of trust. One is trusting that what we received is from spirit and not from our ego. The second one is actually daring to act on the guidance.

Act on it. Or if you don’t act on it, then look at your reasons or fears. It’s important to pratice this with the little things in your life where a wrong decision would not have huge consequences.

Evaluate. How did things turn out when you acted on the guidance? Was your interpretation right? Or what happened when you refused to act on the guidance? This cycle will help you build more trust.

That was the process in a nutshell.

Each of these steps can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. Not forgetting to ask can be a challenge. Interpreting signs, dreams, and the inner voice correctly can be a challenge as well. And, of course, daring to act on guidance (which may push us far out of our comfort zone at times) can be very challenging, too.

But there are also benefits, of course, when we follow the guidance, like an increased sense of going with the flow or an increased sense of protection. I also like the awe and wonder about getting signs from the other side of the veil at all. And things become easier with practice. But, as I wrote, it is important to start practicing with the little things, so that the trust can be built slowly.

If you are interested in more information about divine guidance, you can download the script of my divine guidance workshop from 2017 here

Finding the lost treasure inside of us

Whenever I fall into a state apathy and lack of purpose, usually some events happen where someone loses something, sometimes right in front of me, and I let them know. The most recent events were a woman who walked into the supermarket and who lost her shopping list. Or some guy who lost a health insurance card. Both people were grateful when I let them know. (The other things that used to happen were that I would walk by people who had some sort of fall or emergency breakdown. It also happened that I met people who asked me for the way.)

I think when I come across someone who just lost something and I remind them of it, this is the universe’s way of telling me metaphorically that part of my job description is to remind people of what they have lost.

Now, what is my message? What is it that people have lost that I should remind them of?

I think it is this:

Inside of each of us is a place of inner peace which is always there. It is the silent observer in the background.

The main reason to connect there is because we get to know ourselves as awareness.

But it also has some nice side effects.
Touching upon that peace not only feels good, but it can also shift things in the outside world. Because thoughts coupled with emotions create literally. And when there is an inner state of peace, joy, and gratitude, the outer world adjusts.

This place of awareness which is always there independet of the circumstances is like the diamond in the pocket of the beggar of which he was unaware. Or like the red shoes of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz which were there all the time and would bring her home.

When I travel, I am sometimes worried about the things that can go wrong like delayed or missed trains or traffic jam. So, I usually make sure to put my mind into a state of inner joy, peace, and gratitude before the travel begins and then keep it like that throughout the travel – even when shit hits the fan.

When unpleasant things happen, I make sure that I go even more into peace, joy, and gratitude, as sort of an insurance which will be able to shift things on the outside.

I think it has saved me from some troubles in the past. I recall several instances of things going wrong, and I put on my happy mind, and then the situations suddenly were resolved . Of course, I cannot prove that my state of mind was the cause, but I have observed this.

On some areas I find this easier to apply than on others. The area of health, for example, is more challenging for me than travel challenges. When my son was sick and I thought it was dangerous, I found it very hard to deal with the fear, for example. Or when I am in physical pain, then I am prone to fall into despair and an inner temper tantrum about having to incarnate at all. I have to try to use the method of inner peace in these cases, too.

I find this place of inner peace with the Awareness Watching Awareness meditation which I described in the blog post Describing the ineffable. It is basically looking back at that which is looking. The beauty of this is that it is available even when a negative emotion is present. For example, there can be sadness and I can be aware of the sadness and feel it, but I can still put part of the focus of my attention back on the ever-present awareness.

But this method does not work for everyone. If it doesn’t work for you, then I’d recommend any other method that works for you to get into a peaceful state of mind. Be aware, though, that this is not about suppressing emotions or about drowning them with drugs or addictive activities. It’s about acknowledging and feeling the emotions, but without wallowing in them. And then reach for a thought which feels better. Or do an activity which makes you feel better. Then you can observe how the disturbing events turn out.