We all dream; it is a mystery in which all humankind participates. I realise that this is an assumption, but it is one that I have no qualms in asserting as fact: the dream is an experiential universal for humanity. As the illustrious Sufi Ibn Arabi wrote in the Futuhat: "The only reason God placed sleep in the animate world was so that everyone might witness the Presence of Imagination and know that there is another world similar to the sensory world." (Chittick, 1989). Indeed, although the moment of waking may permit forgetfulness to draw a swift veil over the the range proceedings of the night and much that we dream may tall from conscious awareness back into the mysterious regions from whence it arose, there is without doubt no man or woman who has remained untouched - unmoved by the forms and forces of oneiric reality. Insofar as the capacity to dream is a universal doorway for mankind, set nightly ajar for the unknown to arise in consciousness, the dream is a potential portal for the "Other" - the "numinous" (Otto, 1914) to enter the individual and to transform the mundane, to shift the borders of meaning and, quite literally, to initiate change. No matter how seemingly meaningless or trivial, the remembered dream always affects the waker - if only to bemuse and present the apparent irrationality of our human condition.

 

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Mysticism, Initiation and Dream - Andrew D. Chumbley

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