Monday, April 1, 2013

Mythic Yoga: Dream work and the Beginnings of Personal Myth

"The ability to see one’s life as a story is at the heart of identity. In fact, our ability to “narrate” our life’s events may even be the defining mark of consciousness." - Frank Bures

I have been in a dream work group here in St. Croix for the past two months. Led by my friend Nancy Ayer at her home in Estate Mt. Washington on the west side of the island, the group meets every week for two hours deep in the rainforest on beautiful plantation ruins that houses her incredible Chartes-style labryinth.

We sit in a circle, either beneath elderly trees dripping with hard, round avocados, or over by a disintegrating copper cooking vat where sugar cane was once boiled and cooked by slaves to make rum. We tell each other our dreams, and a remarkable alchemy takes place when we make the unconscious images and story lines conscious and bring it out into the world to share with others. They in turn experience the same image in their bodies and psyches, as I experience theirs. Common story lines appear and it's the making of modern myth.

We work with night time dreams, but also real life events, which when retold as story, seem as a dream. Such is life a dream and all the world a stage! Merrily, merrily we go! Paying attention to it all. No wonder the Vishnu Purana has Vishnu dreaming the world into creation, massaged by Lakshmi, who ignites the libido, the spark of divine desire to create!

How we are all creating our world! And through dreams, stories and yoga, we become self aware of this world creation. Get to know the story. Making what is unknown, known. From darkness to light, from untruth to truth. Our soul fishes in the darkness, on the edge of an iceberg, looking to hook something from the great depth below, pull it up to the surface and give it a good look in the daylight of consciousness.

Asato Ma Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya
Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthi

Lead me: From untruth to truth;
From darkness to light;
From death to immortality
Om peace peace peace

If there is a divine being, I believe it to be true because I have experienced such miracles and uncanny things in my dreams. Truly that is where I experience the divine, if I am ever to believe in god at all! This relationship with the Self. The spoken words, the weaving of consciousness from daytime to night time, all interact and are smeltered in the cauldron of alchemical becoming Self-hood.

I have been doing dream work for years and years, and teach dream work in my Mythic Yoga trainings, which prepares students who want to teach yoga for kids by getting clear of their story, lest they project it on the kids they work with. It's deep work, and I noticed we all started to dream others' dreams, and this is the creation of new myths. In this present dream group on St. Croix I learned to listen to other people's day time events, as if they were dreams. The same images and story lines put us into a listening trance as the dream unfolds, much like at night time. We follow along, and have a memory of that story which took place in a realm suspended of time and space. I begin to become aware of the witness consciousness, as I question as the Chinese sage did with, "Last night I dreamed I was a butterfly. or was I a butterfly dreaming that I was a man?"

 I also learned to look at a series of dreams, not only as a stand alone. I can see patterns and a story arising. Mega growth, the future, and being introduced to a dark man, my animus,  or masculine side of my psyche, who is now taking me on a journey. A mythic journey into my Self as revealed to me by dream images that bubble out of the dream depths.

Life is but a dream, and I can change this dream world I create with conciousness and awareness, working with my dreams to understand myself and guide me thorugh life. To make my unknown known, and bring me into complete liberation. Dream work and storytelling combined with accessing deeper meaning to the symbols through yoga asana as a form of active imagination, help us reveal that story, so that we can ultimately unmask our persona and step into the  point where the projections originate and achieve ultimate liberation of union as object and observer disappear.

So I follow my dreams, work with them as a most sacred aspect of my yoga practice. It can be remarkable, mystical. I have been dreaming about small, furry rodents for a while. This picture popped up instantly as I searched for a picture to use here. He was hanging around every day at the Omega Institute where I was conducting a Storytime Yoga for Kids training one summer.  I adopted him as my symbol, my animal helper and he made it into a Woodchuck Warm-Up. I had one furry rodent, beaver like creature presented as a gift from my my once terrifying animus who now is a business man who looks like my late husband.  And I dreamed of my high school drama teacher, Darlene Beaver, in a recent dream. I read a fairy tale in the Pink Fairy Tale book an interesting tale called The Princess in the Chest about a girl who, because of magic and a difficult father, was part beaver-ish for a while. After this writing dream work session, I will follow where my beaver takes me in the dreams and guides me in my next work of creation. And play with it in yoga asana practice for some Mythic Yoga Magic! We shall see!

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