Question: Could you speak a little about the significance of dreams?Sri Chinmoy: When we have a dream, we have to know which plane of consciousness the dream comes from. There are seven higher worlds and seven lower worlds. When we have dreams coming from the lower worlds, the subconscious worlds — or you can say, inconscient worlds — we have to feel that these dreams have no value. They cannot change our nature. They cannot inspire us. They cannot give us any hope for our future fulfilment. When we get a dream from the vital plane, we will see that the dream will be constant movement. It is like a battlefield; everything is breaking and smashing, people are being killed. These dreams cannot help us at all in our spiritual life. The best thing we can do is forget them. If the dream comes from the mental plane, there will be some poise — not full poise, but a little poise, a little calm and quiet there. If it comes from the psychic plane, we will feel affection, sweetness, compassion and concern for the things or persons we are seeing. And if it comes from the soul’s plane, it will be all Light and Delight, all Peace.
When we have a dream from the lower worlds, we do not want to identify ourselves with it, for we are badly frightened by it. The dream comes to us as a threat. But a dream that comes from the higher worlds comes as an invitation. We get inner joy and inner satisfaction, and immediately feel our identity there. We enter into it; we grow into it. A dream that comes from the subconscious world, where we are quarrelling and fighting and doing many undivine things, will not necessarily materialise. But a dream that comes from the higher worlds is bound to materialise. Today’s dream is tomorrow’s reality. Why? Because the dream is coming from a world which is living and palpable. With our limited consciousness we do not know this. But when we meditate we consciously enter into many higher worlds, and the reality of these worlds enters into us in our dream.
If you want to have sweet dreams, inspiring dreams, then you should meditate most soulfully early in the morning — say 3:30 or 4:00 or 5:00 a.m. — and then go to sleep for about half an hour or forty minutes. If your meditation is sound and genuine, if it comes from the very depths of your heart, any dreams you have afterwards will be divine, significant dreams. They will be about angels and gods, or about your dear ones; or you will see some encouraging, inspiring things. If you want to have good dreams before 3:00 a.m., please try to meditate on your navel for about ten minutes at night before you go to bed. The navel is where emotion starts. Emotion itself is not bad; it is a question of how we use it. When we have human emotion, we only bind and bind. But when we have divine emotion, we extend; we extend our consciousness. So if you concentrate on your navel centre for ten minutes, you can bring the human emotion under control and allow the divine emotion to go up from the heart, upward to the highest.
If you read books for the interpretation of dreams, each book will give a different answer. Perhaps each book is right in its own way. But you have to get your own interpretation from your dreams. When you have a dream, try to feel your own existence in the dream; try to feel that you are inside the dream itself. Those who meditate daily will not find it difficult to do. But others may find it difficult. An ordinary man sees a dream as something totally separate from the rest of his life. He feels that he is living in the reality and the dream has nothing to do with reality. It is something sweet, something precious, something encouraging, something inspiring, and so forth; but he does not feel that it is more than that. But when a spiritual man has a dream, he immediately feels that this dream is the precursor of reality. Something more, he will see that this dream is tomorrow’s reality. How does he do that? He does it on the strength of his meditation. When he meditates for ten or fifteen minutes in the morning or in the evening, he widens his consciousness. Right now our consciousness is separated into three parts. At this moment we are in the waking consciousness. But when we sleep, we will have another consciousness: sound sleep, deep sleep. Then we have a third, dream consciousness, in the dream state. But one who meditates widens his consciousness into all three planes.
How can we derive benefit from our dreams? We can derive benefit from dreams if we feel that each dream is a step or stepping stone towards our divine Goal. There are some people who say they do not have any dreams at all, but they are mistaken. They do dream, but when they come out of the dreamland, they totally forget. Some people have the capacity to retain their dream consciousness while they are fully awake, early in the morning. If you feel that you had a dream at night but cannot remember it, then early in the morning, try to concentrate on this particular point, at the back of the head, just at the top of the neck. When you have dreams, either they will manifest through your physical mind or, for some time, for a few hours or even for a day or two, they will be registered there. So if you want to recollect any dream, try to concentrate there. If you can concentrate there for ten or fifteen minutes, you will be able to feel that you are knocking at a particular door. And when the door opens, you will be able to remember your dreams completely. Everything will come back to you.
When you have a frightening dream, please pay no attention to it. Suppose you dream that something bad is going to happen in your life. If you are frightened, you are already dead. But if you are not frightened, then during the few hours or the few days that lie between your dream and the actual occurrence you can fight against it. And the divine Grace is bound to come and help you at that time. Suppose you have a dream that a friend or relative of yours will pass away, and your dream is absolutely correct. Tomorrow he will surely die; but if you are frightened now, then today he is already dead for you. If you surrender to the dream, you will suffer unnecessarily before the actual hour. Also, your fear will immediately enter into the future victim and create an additional burden for that particular person. What you should do at that time is try to fight against the possibility of his death through prayer and meditation. Pray to God, “I have seen it. O God, save him, save him.” Instead of being frightened, try to offer your prayer to God. Perhaps you think that prayer is something feminine or delicate. No! Your prayer is your greatest strength. God’s strength is His Compassion and man’s strength is his prayer. Or you can meditate. That will be an even mightier strength. If you fight and God’s Grace descends, I assure you that you can delay the possibility of this person’s death. Many times it has happened that spiritual seekers have dreamt that their relatives are going to die and immediately they have started meditating and praying to God. Then, God’s Grace has descended. But God does not nullify the possibility. No, He may just delay the actual event.
Now, why does God help the aspirant in cases like this? God helps because God is not bound by cosmic law. Cosmic law is created by God, and at any time He can break His own law. That is why He is omnipotent. If He cannot break His own law, then He is not omnipotent. And you can make God break His law through your soulful prayer. God says, “This is to be done.” He has recorded this, but when human prayer enters into His Heart, He may cancel His own decree.
When you have hopeful dreams, illumining dreams, encouraging dreams, when you see that something significant is going to take place in a friend’s life — what you should do is consciously try to identify your soul with his soul. How will you do this? Through your meditation. He will eventually get joy from the event because it belongs to him. But this joy, by God’s Grace, you have received before he actually has. So if you are wise, you will go deep within and assimilate the joy that you have received and then try to offer it to him inwardly before he gets it directly from God. Otherwise, if you tell him, “You know, I had a wonderful dream about you,” he will be happy for a second, and then he will doubt you. He will say, “Oh, it is all mental hallucination.” Despite your best intention, his doubtful mind will throw cold water on your encouraging message. So instead of telling the person verbally, try to offer him the joy of the dream consciously through your meditation. At that time, he will get additional strength. Before he gets the experience of your dream, which will come to him in the form of reality, he will start getting inner peace, inner joy, which he cannot account for, because you have started injecting him, preparing him to receive something very high, very meaningful and fulfilling. And when you have dreams about yourself, go deep within and prepare yourself to be ready, to be a fit instrument for the reality, to receive the reality as it should be received.
One thing more I wish to say. It is not bad for an ordinary seeker to pray to God for dreams. Dreams are necessary, as experiences are necessary. But again, if you do not have dreams, if you do not have experiences, that does not mean that you are not fit for the spiritual life or that you are not fit for God-realisation. There are people who do not have any experiences. They curse themselves and think that God is displeased with them. Far from it! God is most pleased with them. Suppose I want to reach a door. Now there are two ways of going. One way is to go there consciously. My calculating mind says that I have to take four or five steps to get there: one, two, three, four, five. Each step is an experience for me. If my physical mind wants to be convinced at every moment while I am walking towards my goal — towards the door — then I can say that step one is an experience, step two is an experience, and so on. But again, if I know that my destination is there, it may not be necessary for me to have constant experiences each step of the way. What is necessary, in my case, is only my destination. So I just go there and God is ready for me.
If you want to have dreams or experiences, they can serve as preparatory steps — one, two, three — or they may not be necessary at all. The human mind always wants to be convinced and wants to get joy at every step when it does something. But if we live in the soul, in the heart, then we need not give that kind of importance to experiences and dreams. They are not necessary because God is preparing us in His own Way. If He does not want to give us convincing experiences, no harm. But again, if we pray to God for convincing experiences or sweet dreams, there is no harm in our prayer either. Eventually a day will come when we shall offer to God the highest prayer: “O God, if You want, give me dreams. If You want, give me experiences. If You don’t want to give me dreams or experiences, it is all up to You. Only make me worthy of Your Compassion. And if You don’t want to make me worthy of Your Compassion, it is also up to You. Only do with me as You will. Let Thy Will be done in and through me. I care for nothing except Your own fulfilment in and through me.” When we have that kind of prayer within us, then God comes to us and says, “Do not be a beggar. Do not cry for dreams; do not cry for experiences. Take Me, the Reality itself.”