Messages contained in our dreams can be extremely important in the process of healing from depression and finding enlightenment. That’s why I recommend that those who are on the path of healing keep a dream journal on their nightstand. Dreams are a link to the subconscious mind, and the subconscious mind is linked to the Divine. Dreams therefore can convey spiritually-important messages to the dreaming ego. I was reminded of the distinction between the subconscious mind and the ego via an otherwise rather ordinary dream I had the other night. A colleague and I were looking over a box of scientific instruments that apparently needed repair or recalibration. My colleague selected one instrument, with which I was not familiar, for closer inspection. He pushed the “on” button, looked at the readout, and exclaimed that it was reading “1000g” and was therefore clearly out of calibration. At first, I didn’t have a clue what “1000g” meant and was about to ask him, when it suddenly occurred to me that this was probably an instrument for measuring gravitational force. To demonstrate that I knew (or rather had guessed) the purpose of the instrument, I made a rapid swinging motion with my arm and jokingly stated that the calibrator must have been doing this during the calibration process. When I awoke, I immediately thought about how it took my dreaming ego awhile to figure out what my dream colleague (a character from my subconscious) was talking about, clearly demonstrating that it was my subconscious mind and not my ego that had concocted the dream scenario. Later, I realized that it was perhaps more likely that the non-calibrated instrument was simply a weigh scale, rather than a g-force scale. Regardless, this was a neat little illustration of how the subconscious mind can communicate with the ego in dreams. In my book, I present many more personal examples of this phenomenon, with emphasis on healing communication from the Divine - via the subconscious mind - to the ego.
Our visit to Canada to see our new granddaughter came to an end, and my wife and I returned to our home in Europe. Not long after, I became depressed once again. Thankfully, the episode did not last long (a matter of a few days), but it was very intense. I had little appetite, and had difficulty sleeping. I decided to spend nights in a separate upper floor bedroom so that I would not disturb my wife. As has been typical, my thoughts about myself were extremely critical. Finally, the pain became so difficult to bear that I wondered how much more I could endure. However, I desperately did not want to cause my wife any further hurt. I lay in bed and prayed fervently to Jesus to quell my angst, not for my sake, but for my wife's. Toward morning, I fell asleep, and dreamed that a cat told me that she was secretly pregnant, and that she was going to give me one of her kittens. When I awoke, I was relieved to find that I had slept a bit (without medication), and I was reassured by the dream (a kitten represents the playful innocence and goodness of the divine feminine). Later that morning, as I thought about the previous night, I felt very deeply the pain my wife would experience should I ever die prematurely - it was as if I were inside her mind. I realized that my desire not to hurt my wife was far stronger than my ego's residual self-loathing. This was a very important insight. It proved to me that I was capable of true, unselfish love. It meant that I was "good". Acknowledging my innate goodness was an emotional release, and I felt so much better about myself. That evening, I found myself thinking about my little sister, who had committed suicide in 1986. I thought I had long ago plumbed the depths of my grief, but I was wrong. I grieved deeply for my loss, and I also grieved deeply for how she must have suffered prior to taking her own life. Allowing oneself to grieve the loss of a loved one, especially when the circumstances are tragic, feels painful, but it is actually a healing act of self-love. That night I dreamed that I rescued a cat from falling off of a very high ledge. Afterward, the cat lay contentedly on its back in my hands, purring away - another reassuring dream.
Last night I dreamed that I saw a little girl slip off the edge of a pier and disappear beneath the waves. I rushed to the spot and dove in. Visibility was very limited and I desperately felt around for her. Finally, I located her and pulled her to the surface. Laying her on her back on the ground, I performed mouth to mouth resuscitation, although I was concerned that my breath might not be all that fresh. Thankfully, she opened her eyes immediately - she had apparently inhaled very little water. I looked around for her parents, but they were nowhere to be seen. I knew that they knew she had almost drowned, and it really bothered me that they were apparently unconcerned about her welfare. This dream was a stark reminder that some children are raised in abusive environments by caregivers who aren't truly loving and giving of themselves. Unfortunately, such children will suffer the consequences of low self-esteem and associated mental illness in later life. Healing for them can be a very difficult journey. I hope I am able to help.
Last night I dreamed that I was swimming at our summer cottage and some guy on the shore started shooting arrows at me, for no reason that I was aware of. They all missed, and I proceeded to gather them from the water around me, intending to keep them. The shooter demanded that I return them to him, but I refused. He then said that the law was on his side, and that a policeman standing nearby could confirm that. I asked the policeman if I really did have to return the arrows, and he said yes. I argued that, under the circumstances, I should be able to keep them. The policeman started spewing what sounded to me like nonsense, making no effort to understand (or even hear) my side of the argument. In an effort to be heard, I shouted (out loud - I often talk in my sleep): "Your logic is so flawed - you're like a blind cat meowing at the moon". I awoke to my wife's laughter, and we laughed together for some time. This morning, my wife remarked on the symbolism - water, cats, and the moon are all feminine.
Robert Keith's work focuses on the healing of mental illness, particularly where such illness has been fostered by fundamentalist religion. He and his wife have raised four children. As a family, they were always open about Robert’s own struggles and their individual spiritual journeys. Robert is now semi-retired but continues to offer spiritual counseling.