Soul Flights, Dreams and the Kabbalah....
Okay, this is going to sound like a totally whacky post to some of you but I'm going to write it anyway. I was thinking about those rare dreams in which I can fly. They are the most beautiful dreams to have, always lucid, that is to say I am conscious and aware in the dream of being able to control what is going on and how the dream will play out.
When I find myself in such a dream, I can just take off at will, and then use a kind of propelling motion to travel above the trees and look down at the ground. Often I am flying over streets full of people who don't seem to be able to fly. It is a wonderful feeling of freedom.
I can remember having the flying dreams since childhood when I think I had many more of them. These days I have few but when they happen it is very enjoyable.
So I was wondering what they meant, what they are. Whether they have a deep psychological meaning, (perhaps, as the dream dictionaries will tell you, they speak of my need to take more chances in my waking life), or whether they allude to something else.
And my instinct tells me that they are a kind of a memory, or more probably an 'echo' of somewhere else I have been, or will go.
When I am flying in a dream, it seems that I can go anywhere at all, given time, but time itself is the problem.....I always wake up before I have travelled very far.
They don't feel like dreams, they don't compare to the other dreams I have which are a much less tangible and sensory experience.
So I've come to the possible and controversial conclusion that when I have one of these 'dreams', my soul is actually leaving my physical body. It's a well known theory often referred to as 'astral travel' or 'astral projection' which sounds like something from a science fiction comic strip but which is actually a phenomenon documented in cultures as widely separated as the ancient Egyptians and the Inuit. And many in between. So it isn't just a 'new age' notion or a fashionable invention, it's a known 'thing'. And if the tag 'astral projection' smacks of something a little 'out there' (which of course it literally could be in fact) then I prefer to use the term that some use for this journeying outside the body, 'soul travel'.
I was keen, being Jewish, to know whether this soul travel is recognised in Judaism. I was pleased to find that it is but it's a confusing picture. To actively pursue the pratcise is forbidden it seems but the idea of the soul exisitng separately from the body (referred to as Neshama) is acknowledged. So I would say that a lucid 'dream' that occurs without the conscious intention of the dreamer and ends up in soul travel must be some kind of natural state surely? And if it is natural and involuntary then how can it be forbidden?
Some Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) scholars warn that astral projection (as they refer to it) is 'irrelevant or a trap' and yet it doesn't seem to conflict with the idea of a soul apart from the body. I suppose the difference might be in actually consciously setting out to experience the separation. And I've also heard to the contary, that soul flight is a reward reserved only for those who have studied Kabbalah and reached a higher spiritual awareness, only then can they can engage in flights of the soul.
But still there is confusion because I am also told that in the Zohar (the major work of Jewish mysticism) it says that fifty nine of the sixty parts of our soul leave the body during sleep, so that only one part remains to sustain us physically. It doesn't say that these statistics are exclusive to those who have studied but suggests that it applies to us all. That's quite an exiciting - and scary - thought especially when there are some who maintain that while the soul is outside the body, demons can enter....
But that's folklore, isn't it?
If one accepts that soul travel is a real state of being then it raises many more questions than answers.
But regardless, I find the concept quite comforting. The very thought of being able to take off and go anywhere wihtout the limitations of the physical body is incredibly liberating – and opens the mind to the idea that anything is possible and that the possibilities are endless.
That's why I love having flying dreams. Not only do they feel amazing and freeing, they also open me up to fresh ideas, experiences and thoughts. And that might be because during the dream I have been somewhere else, a place where time doesn't exist and where freedom is the natural state of being. Maybe one day I'll find myself there and decide to stay....
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