Religiously-minded seekers influenced by Carl Jung and Transpersonal Psychology believe that God can speak to us through dreams. The philosophy of Whitehead also points in this direction. Whitehead recognizes that most of our experience lies outside or beneath the realm of ordinary waking consciousness and that God communicates with us through our pre-conscious experience. This leads to a unique way of thinking about a traditional notion such as providence. In a Whiteheadian context divine providence is not a coercive determining of outcomes but rather a providential lure that resides within each of us, all the time, to make choices and respond to circumstances in life-enhancing ways. This does not always mean that we must choose life in a literal sense. Sometimes God may call us to go gently into our deaths, trusting that there is more to life and to love than we understand. There may be a continuing journey after death and divine beckoning is to step forward into that journey. But sometimes the beckoning is to say "yes" to this life, to come back to the world of our senses, and add beauty to the world as best we can. God called Les Muray in this direction when, in dreams, he left the sounds of silence and returned for further adventures. Such are the ways of God, always compassionate, often surprising, perpetually graceful.
-- Jay McDaniel
God Comes in Dreams
Across many cultures, dreams have been taken to be an important way the sacred, God, communicates to us. In my “Sounds of Silence” on this website, I described how last March, during my Fulbright, I had acute pneumonia, respiratory failure, and a heart attack; I had a tracheotomy and could not speak for two and a half months; I had a feeding tube and could not eat solid foods for two and a half months. I was in a coma for a month after which AirEvaced back to Boston. Six weeks are gone from my memory.
Some of the things I do remember are my dreams although I do not know when they occurred. One dream in particular has become more and more important with the passage of time. In my dream, I was on a small airplane (I am guessing the dream probably occurred during the AirEvac) on which all of the passengers, including myself, were dying. There were two other people aboard (plus the pilot—parishioners from the church I attended in Budapest, St. Margaret’s. They were there to collect and then sell dentures and corpses to support the church! How macabre!
Then the time came: we were supposed to give up our dentures! Since I was the only one without dentures, I was supposed to give up my last breath. As I was about to give up my last breath, I heard a voice behind me say, “You don’t have to die, you know!” To my surprise, I reacted with an expression from the 1960s that I never cared for: “That is far out!!!I don’t have to die!!!” I shared my story with four of my doctors;. Each one said that this was the moment I made a self-conscious decision to live. But what was that voice? Was it God? Was it my innermost self? Was it the momentary self that Buddhists and process thinkers love to talk about? Was it the “still small voice of conscience?” Was it inside or outside of me? I believe that it was all of these. It was much more than talking and listening to myself!
In that sense, it was outside of myself or at least was more than myself. It was also within myself, my deepest self which could construed to be the momentary self. But it could be seen as God as all inclusive of all that is. In Whiteheadian terms, “You don’t have to die, you know!!!,” that I am called to live and not die, was God’s initial aim for me and I responded to it in such a way as to make it a, if not “the,” defining characteristic” of who I had become and was becoming. God’s lure had come to me in a dream. And I cannot tell you, words cannot express, how happy I am just to be alive!
-- Les Muray