I believe the mind is a powerful thing; it’s what makes us understand our place in the universe, and travel across it, physically and spiritually. By now, you’re either intrigued or you’re slowly shaking your head sideways from behind your screen thinking I’m drinking some namaste koolaid. Either way, I’m going to follow through with my decision to maintain my writing’s integrity by letting it be a true reflection of my beliefs and myself. I know a lot of aspie women who are spiritual, but even those who aren’t are very empathetic and focused on altruism. High intuition has been recorded as an autistic trait in females.
“15. Intuitive abilities
Has the ability to feel other people’s emotions. May ‘know’ or have knowledge of certain things, but no idea how she knows. May use abilities in a professional capacity, i.e. medical intuitive. Possesses one or more intuitive abilities. Is an ‘empath’. Identifies with being a highly sensitive person (HSP).”
- AspienWoman book, by author and psychologist Tania Marshall
As you may have already concluded, I am an extremely spiritual person. I will get into how that became a special interest of mine on a different post. I would like to focus this piece on how spirituality relates to dreaming. To start off, I want to make a point that being spiritual isn’t about becoming the embodiment of positivity, it’s about acknowledging and transforming darkness. A good place to face your darkness is in your dreams, although it’s not always fun. Autistic children are more prone to night terrors for some reason. My screams used to wake up my entire family. I haven’t completely outgrown my nightmares, but I’ve learned to manipulate my dreams, and by doing so, can transform a bad dream into a good one. Controlling your dreams is called lucid dreaming.
I recently emailed Denholm Aspy (PhD), in Australia who is studying lucid dreaming. I wasn’t eligible to volunteer for his research because I have anxiety, depression, and ptsd, which could have compromised the results. Ironically, the purpose of his work is to help develop treatment methods for people struggling with ptsd. I will be following his advances as it fascinates me to no end. I actually had an unpleasant encounter in a dream with someone who harmed me in the past. Once I realized I was dreaming, I was able to take control of the dream and confront my demons, sort of speak. I woke up feeling like a weight was lifted off my shoulders; it really did help me.
I’m spiritual but not superstitious. While I do think some dreams have meaning, I’m not one to associate every experience with a spiritual significance. I get the craziest dreams when I go to bed after having a full meal. I’ve also been stuck in sleep paralysis states before where my desperate attempts to wake myself up resulted in yelling or audibly altered breathing patterns. Dreams/ nightmares can result from stress, unhealthy sleeping habits, sleep positions, unconscious feelings, or it can point to something more inexplicable.
“Dreams often seem to be experiences of a confused parallel world. Reflecting on this experience, we may speculate that during dreams we travel to a real, alternate realm. It has been suggested that one of the principle sources of this idea—a spiritual world distinct from the physical—is dreams. If this hypothesis is true, even partially, then dreams contribute to one of the basic notions of religion.”
– James R. Lewis, The Dream Encyclopedia, p. xiv.
Many religions recognize the dream state as an intermediary between worlds. Many writings from various faiths refer to the nature of dreams and their purpose. As some of you may already know, I practice the Bahá'í faith so I’ll share the following quote with you.
“One of the created phenomena is the dream. Behold how many secrets are deposited therein, how many wisdoms treasured up, how many worlds concealed. Observe, how thou art asleep in a dwelling, and its doors are barred; on a sudden thou findest thyself in a far-off city, which thou enterest without moving thy feet or wearying thy body; without using thine eyes, thou seest; without taxing thine ears, thou hearest; without a tongue, thou speakest. And perchance when ten years are gone, thou wilt witness in the outer world the very things thou hast dreamed tonight.”
Baha’u’llah, The Seven Valleys, pp. 32-33.
Prophet Joseph is one of my favourite biblical characters because of his gift with dream interpretation, a skill I’d love to develop. While some people don’t identify with a religion, many people see truth in spirituality. Being autistic, I struggle with small talk, and quite frankly, loathe it. Spirituality is usually a common ground I can find with most people to start elevated conversations. Dreams and spirituality go hand in hand. I’m known for my knowledge about dreams. I find it interesting how I’ve had many déjà vu dreams, including about deaths and breakups. While I’m no prophet, it shouldn’t surprise me when someone asks me to interpret the meaning of a dream.
Some people part ways because their dreams are incompatible. Sometimes these people meet up again in their dreams. Abdu’l-Baha compared the spiritual world with the “the world of dreams when man is detached from things which are tangible and experienceth those of the spirit. What amazing laws operate, and what remarkable discoveries are made! And it may even be that detailed communications are registered.” We may never really know in this life if I truly did communicate with him via our dreams, but it’s very probable that we did, especially that he rarely dreams.
Energy doesn’t disappear, it transforms. The end of a relationship doesn’t mean that love dies, no matter the cause. A breakup means there is potential for the love to develop into something different: a friendship. I find it beautiful how love is literally the only thing in existence that can transcend worlds. A friend of mine was an atheist widow up until the point when she saw her late husband again, while awake, happy and in full health (and yes, this woman is perfectly sane)! I’m not sure if she believes in what most people call “God”, but she’s now certain that souls live on after death.
“Sleep is the sister of death, and the people of Paradise do not sleep.”
“Sleep is the brother of death, and the people of Paradise do not die.”
- Muhammad (pbuh), Source: al-Mu’jam al-Awsaṭ 938i
Whether it’s your differing life dreams/goals or a transition into a dream-like realm that tears you apart from a loved one, separation is only physical. In sickness and in health, ‘til dreams do us part, a loving bond endures, even in death.