04/07/2013 11:35 am ET Updated Jun 07, 2013

Though We Appear to be Sleeping

"Though we appear to be sleeping, there is an inner wakefulness that directs the dream... that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are." -- Rumi

When you nestle yourself into bed, turn off the bedside lamp and close your eyes to your daytime reality, your "conscious self" goes to sleep. Meanwhile, your "dreaming self" slips out of the covers and tiptoes upstairs to the attic of your mind to explore the enchanted realm of dreams.

Within this nocturnal territory you are transported beyond the ego's five senses to a vast, multidimensional playground of unlimited possibilities. In the realm of dreams you can peruse the tale of your past or future; learn a topic of fascination; converse with a departed loved one; study at the feet of a master; find an answer to a perplexing question; discover the solutions to a health challenge; or explore the larger story of your life.

All of this takes place while you are "asleep." Yet for most people, by the time the alarm blares and the morning coffee is guzzled, the exploration of the vast landscape of their multidimensional soul is shrugged off as "just a dream." This "just a dream" scenario can be compared to spellbound lovers on a shipboard romance who profess undying love to one another by moonlight, and then find, in the harsh light of morning, back on dry land, the glow is gone. In the swirl of "real world" demands, the lovers revert to being ordinary, sensible, earthbound mortals, vaguely recalling that something magical transpired aboard the ocean of their dreams. The experience -- so real while it was happening -- is now elusive as wisps of cloud.

But, what if it wasn't "Just a dream?"

Many of us 21st Century, fast-paced jet-setters fall prey to placing undo emphasis on the tangible, the text-able, and the three-dimensional, while discounting the magical, the mystical, and the multidimensional. We would do well to learn from our ancestors who lived close to the earth and were in sync with the tides, seasons and realms beyond the ordinary. Our indigenous grandmothers and grandfathers considered the dreamtime to be when they were most "awake." They also believed that a society's mental and psychological health was related to dreaming. The more disconnected from dreams, the more sick and out of balance the society. The more in touch with dreams, the healthier a society becomes.

Unfortunately, most people think...
  • Dreams are unimportant
  • They don't have time to record, share, and/or work with their dreams
  • They've lost touch with their ability to remember their dreams
Consider the fact that...
  • Science tells us we all dream three to nine dreams every night and can re-learn to re-member our dreams
  • Dreams (even the unpleasant ones) can become our greatest ally
  • We cannot afford not to pay attention to our dreams, if we want to thrive while being alive

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kelly Sullivan Walden, and I've been an active dreamer since I was old enough to say, "I had the strangest dream..." I've had dreams that have guided, healed, and even saved my life -- not to mention countless dream-related miracles I've witnessed in the lives of people I've worked with professionally as a certified hypnotherapist for the past 17 years. I've had my mind blown more times than I can count by the transformative power of dreams to alter a person's paradigm, and quite literally, heal them. Needless to say, I'm one of those people you could call a dream enthusiast.

I believe every challenge is born with a solution. Just as Jewelweed grows near Poison Oak, the remedy, healing, or answer you seek -- whether it is related to your health, wealth, relationship or even climate change -- can be found hovering near the scene of the crime... though often undetectable by the conscious mind. When we develop a respect for our nighttime dreams, coupled with a basic level of fluency (or at least a way to decode) its "bizarre" language, I've found we are able to find the jewel (weed) in the rough, and reap the rewards therein.

I'm so inspired by this, I think I'll go take a nap.

Excerpted from It's All In Your Dreams (Red Wheel/Weiser/Conari Press)

For more by Kelly Sullivan Walden, click here.

For more on sleep, click here.