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Dream Skills
by Brian Higgins

This article is presented based on some ideas I use from the kupua (shaman) system of Hawaii based on a philosophy known as Huna.

It's kind of difficult for us to see ourselves accurately. Many of us will have seen habits and behaviors in other people that we think are probably not good for them. Perhaps you agree it is difficult for those people to see those thing themselves. If you think about this a little, in the same way it follows that it is difficult for us to see ourselves and our own habits and behaviors.

A lot of the time we act out of habit, 95% of the time according to some scientists, repeating the actions we have learned over years to become who we are right now. The part of us that maintains and works out which habits are to be used at any given time, is called "KU" in the kupua system.

We believe that one thing that Ku uses dreams for is to bring issues with our current focus in life to our conscious attention. Also if Ku sees we are paying attention it will use this avenue to communicate with the conscious us much more regularly. It is also KU that brings us inspiration from AUMAKUA, our "higher self".

Because of this, remembering and acting on the information presented in our dreams can have a profound positive effect on our lives.

In Huna it is the conscious part of us, LONO, that is responsible for giving direction and making decisions. The captain of the ship so to speak. So lets imagine right now, that this part of you, the part of you that decided to read this article, makes a decision right now to remember and act on your dreams.

What is a good way to do that? I'd like to make a few suggestions.

1. Get to bed on time. It's an obvious one. Sometimes just developing a habit of getting good rest will start the process of regularly remembering dreams.
2. Place writing materials within easy reach. Put some writing materials under your bed and perhaps a small torch (flashlight) if you sleep with someone else. A pen and some sheets of paper works fine, if you want to get a nice notebook that can be good, too.

Using a relaxation practice before bed is a good way to remember more dreams. Some people use meditation tapes, some yoga, some use a visualization technique. Whatever technique you use, deep relaxation before sleep is likely to increase the occurence of you remembering your dreams.

Ask Ku that you remember your dreams
Yes, you can do that. Simply ask your Ku before you go to sleep. A good way to do this is to use words, "Ku, I want to remember my dreams." As you're saying this, you might do some actions like imagine yourself waking up, remembering your dream, then writing it down. Some people report that acting that out physically is effective.

On Waking
Don't move on waking. When you wake, don't move straight away, give yourself a couple of seconds to remember what you were just thinking. If you have moved, move back into the position you were in. If a dream doesn't come to mind straight away, ask gentle questions such as, "How am I feeling? What does that remind me of? What was I just thinking?" If you do remember a dream explore it a little recall the images, you may recall even more of the dream or more significant details. Start thinking like a reporter, what happened, who was there, what was going on in the environment? What time period is it set in? How did the environment look? What was the mood? Where there any sounds, smells, sensations? How did I feel? Do things in the dream remind me of things in real life? Does this dream remind me of other dreams?

Keep a journal
When you remember your dream, write the details down. Like a reporter, who, what, why, when, where. Perhaps write some ancillary details down, like the date, some recent life incidents that this dream reminds you of. If you don't remember a dream write down how you feel. What's your mood. Does the mood remind you of anything? Writing something down even when you don't remember it keeps your focus on the dream goals and develops your journaling skill which you will need for the next part of a dream practice. Also, its an excellent habit to develop.

Interpreting Dreams
"We are all individuals." I love that scene in the "Life of Brian" by Monty python. Brian addresses a large crowd and says "you are all individuals" and the crowd chants back in unison "we are all individuals". Always a good laugh. It's true though, we each think and believe different things, use different symbols. Sometimes small differences, sometimes large.

When it comes to symbols each person may have a different meaning for exactly the same symbol. In one person's dream driving a car might be a symbol for how they are making their way through life. In second person's dream the exact same scene might be a symbol for wanting more freedom. Perhaps to a third person it means "coming home."

I believe that dream symbol books and the like can be useful because we can train our ku's to use those symbols as per the book. Another example of a using a symbol set might be tarot cards. You can train your ku to use this symbol set by studying tarot. However this training process can be difficult and can cause confusion and even then individuals will differ. Later in the article I talk about an effective alternative method to interpret dreams. It has the advantage of allowing you to directly interpret your personal symbols.

Evaluation and Analysis
When looking at our dreams and intrepreting them there are some distinctions we can make. A common way people "interpret" things is to decide something is "GOOD" or deciding something is "BAD". We will call this evaluation.

Another way to "interpret" something is to say something "IS" or something "ISN'T", and we will call this analysis.

Let's take the example of a work review in a call centre.

One way this could go is that the manager might suggest that certain things were wrong with the employees behavior but certain things went the way he wanted. He might talk generally about how he felt the year went with little anecdotes that come to his mind. Perhaps he remembers a day they were in late, perhaps he remembers bumping into them a good few times in the canteen, more than he feels is reasonable. The Manager may decide the employee is a "good" employee or a "bad" employee based on some subjective set of standards that the employee simply doesn't agree with.

Another way this could go is that the employee and the Manager could sit down. The manager may produce his journal, I mean employee files, containing such things as call statistics and attendance . For the manager this is good because he has a well defined set of indicators on whether this employee has acted effectively on behalf of the company. The manager also has ways to set goals and suggest areas of improvement and praise areas of excellence. For the employee it is also good because if the employee is motivated to achieve good results there is a clear and well defined way that can happen.

Preparing to interpret
A good thing to do at this stage is some relaxation and to do some simple breathing exercises. Here is a little technique called "piko piko."

Breath in while focusing on the top of your head. What we are trying to do here is simply to feel the top of our head with our sensory awareness. While breathing in allow your belly to expand. Now while holding our attention on our belly button we breath out slowly but fully.

A method to interpret dreams
So we have our journal with the dream written down in it. We take some piko piko breaths as described earlier, I find three is good, and we begin interpeting our dream.

Recall the dream image you have in your journal as best you can in your mind, now for each element of the dream, speak to that dream element and ask it what it means.

Whatever impression, words or ideas comes to mind accept them without evaluating and write them down. Thank the dream element and/or Ku for giving you the meaning.

If nothing comes to mind, make something up on the spot and write that down accepting that as your interpretation and thanking ku for giving you the idea.

At the end of this process you will have a list of meanings for different dream elements. Look them over, now, imagine the whole dream as a bowl of light, perhaps visualize as best you can the elements of the dream going into this ball of light. Ask the ball of light for the overall meaning of the dream as before and write that down.

A good thing I find to do this at this stage perhaps the most important thing of all is to decide on how you will apply and act on this dream information during normal life.

Changing the Dream
So we have received information from our Ku. This is information from Ku, we have interpreted it to get a better understanding of the issues involved. Now we want to give feedback

Now to the last step of the dream process, changing the dream .

Recall your dream and make little improvements to it, perhaps changing the ending or changing something in the dream that changes the mood of the dream. Perhaps adding in new dream elements or removing some. When you feel happy with the new dream scene and get a good feeling about it you are done.

More than anything KU will pay attention to what you actually do. If you use the dream information and apply it to your life, then ku will very quickly pick up on this channel of communication to gradually give you richer and more detailed dream experiences.

Praise and Compliments
KU's primary function is memory and its primary motivation is towards pleasure and away from pain. Some kupua think of animals as almost pure KU. Think how a dog wags its tail when you show it your happy with it.

If it happens that you realize that you haven't done some step or had forgotten something or a made a mistake, praise and thank KU for reminding you and do the next thing. One step at a time. When you remember to get to bed on time, when you remember a dream fragment, praise and thank KU. When you successfully interpret something, when you successfully dreamweave, when you remember to act on the information then praise and thank wonderful, ever helpful, ever attentive KU, the best friend you could ever dream of having. Aloha and Happy Dreaming!

Thanks To: "Pohaku" Pohaku created a great "HunaTraining" podcast.
The people of
Kahu Akina (SL), Graeme Urlich of Aloha International,
The people of the SL "Huna Fellowship" group
Kahili Writer (SL), Serge Kahili King of Aloha International, Serge Kahili King is the author of many books on Huna and much of the information in this article can also be found in Urban Shaman.

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