In my experiences and ceremonial sessions with Native shamans and medicine people, they frequently speak of entering the world of dreams, or dreaming your dream. For shamans the world of dreams is where one can interact with the forces that create our material reality. They speak of living and acting in two worlds, the world of dreams and our own material reality. The best can bring physical forms from their dream reality into this one. Healings they enact in the dream reality manifest in this reality. Putting back together shattered souls in the dream reality have profound positive consequences for their supplicants in this reality.
They have developed meditative techniques and mentoring strategies which foster the process of entering the world of dreams with full consciousness and personal choice. This is a state of consciousness which is not like the consciousness of the typical dreaming state. The dream appears very vivid, very much like waking reality.
When a person first develops this ability they are usually observers of themselves in events which they themselves have not set. It is akin to watching yourself in a movie you didn't write. But as time passes and lessons are learned, the shaman moves from passive observer to being able to control aspects of the dream, even changing the perceived outcomes. Further along the shaman is no longer an observer able to change only occasional things, but an active participant--not the previous passive observer. This more developed experiential perspective is exactly as if one is experiencing the events in real time, living one's own story and making real decisions.
This point can also be reached artificially through certain drugs, accidentally in normal dreaming, too soon for the ego structure, or through unsupervised experimentation. The inability to completely bring full consciousness back to material waking reality can lead to a person getting stuck between worlds, (frequently in not nice 'dreams') and is a state that can precipitate some states of psychosis and some possession events.
For the well trained shaman the world of dreams becomes another very real dimension of the greater reality in which the shaman acts with consciousness and choice. This world of dreams is not bound by time and space. Changes made in the stories the shaman writes and lives in the world of dreams can and do manifest in this reality. There are rules and there are limits, and part of the process of developing in shamanic work is learning the rules and limits. The quickest way to explain the rules and limits is to say you can only go as far as your ego and world view constraints will let you.
Catholic mystics also participate in dreaming these dreams, but there are huge differences in world views between the Catholic mystic and the Indigenous shaman. There are also many similarities. Two of which are experiences of the universal mind of which we are all a part, and another is the appearances of and interactions with, the same other dimensional intelligences. Some shamans in the Southwest call these beings the Lords and Ladies of Light.
The biggest difference, in my little opinion, is that Catholic mystics have a belief system which does not foster the ability to write the dreams, control the outcomes, or make choices with in this very potent reality. What ever happens happens as an unearned gift from God over which they have no control. Interestingly enough as time goes on the best, like Padre Pio, most certainly learn control, write the scripts of their experiences, and develop the ability to change outcomes by their own choices. They develop this ability because the Lords and Ladies of Light will guide them to it, and sometimes this guidance is so subtle the mystic doesn't even realize it.
The second distinction is that gifted Catholic mystics too frequently have as part of their world view the notion of 'victim soul', and they experience the manifestation of painful physical conditions, and 'demonic' attacks. The manifestations created in this dream world responds literally to our expectations. Pious Catholic mystics expect physical suffering and demonic counter attacks as the price they have to pay for the beatific experiences they have, and so when they manifest these expectations of suffering, they are taken as validations of the truth of their other worldly experiences and then they sustain an endless circle self fulfilling self suffering.
Padre Pio also demonstrates this aspect of the Catholic mystical world view. Without his stigmata as a constant reinforcement of his pious Catholic European world view which equated selfless suffering with sanctity, the incredible ability he developed as his life progressed would not have happened. It's not an accident that one of his first truly remarkable manifestations was the stigmata. When you dreams dreams from this Catholic world view you will dream suffering into your immediate world. This is exactly the same as it operates for indigenous shamans whose world view includes the necessity to bargain for gifts or healings while in the shamanic dream world.
A good friend of mine offered his life for one healing and he paid the price. I argued with him right up until the ceremony at which he died that he was wrong about the necessity for this kind of bargaining. However, it may be that it was necessary for him to bargain, in much the same way it seems some Catholic mystics need to suffer. It's the trigger that makes their dreamed solutions focused enough to manifest in this reality. If this is true, and I now believe it is, we need to find new world views in which to dream these dreams.
If you think about it, Jesus never manifested any suffering or pain for Himself or others. He created cures, and food, and put souls back together again without the necessity of suffering or bartering. It was the very real Roman and religious authorities of this world which provided for His suffering.
They provide for our suffering too, because our suffering is part of the dream they dream which holds their status in place. We let them continue to dream their dream because we've bought into it and don't seem to understand we have the power to dream a new dream. We need to WAKE UP and start dreaming our own dream--the dream for the reality of this world that Jesus was trying to teach us to dream.
Tomorrow I will write about an American dreamer whose dream was so powerful she created the world's largest privately owned media empire, and did it without any permission from the powers that be, or from a position of money, or from any political clout. That would be Mother Angelica and EWTN. I may not agree with her vision of Catholicism, but I can not dispute the fact her dream illustrates the possibilities in the Catholic mystical experience. But if humanity is going to go forward, there needs to be a far more inclusive Catholic dream. One which dreams of peace, love, and joy--not sin, suffering, and exclusion.