Athena Laz: Your Dreams Are Your Waking Tools
THE DEPTH PSYCHOLOGIST AND DREAM TEACHER WANTS YOU TO LEAN INTO YOUR CHILDLIKE WONDER
Athena Laz believes that just as sleep nourishes the mind and body, dreaming gives us the opportunity to nourish our spirit. Through practice, Laz helps people dream “deliberately” as she phrases it, in which we can create an inner dialogue with our wakeful hours and our sleeping hours, to help dismantle the world around us, make sense of the unseen, and tap into our subconscious landscape. As a fourth-generation intuitive and depth psychologist, Laz has made it her life’s purpose to help people unlock deeper realms of self-discovery through understanding their dreams. And though according to Laz, we dream every night, it takes practice—and proper sleep hygiene— to remember our dreams every morning. Below, find a few of her insightful ideas on imagination, dreaming, and inner knowing.
On reclaiming our dream life:
We tend to perceive our dream life and our waking life as separate, right? All these states of being, we have access to at all times—it's a matter of pointing our awareness towards them and then doing the practice. You can actually work in the liminal space when you're lucid dreaming to help in being awake. Say, I have a physical symptom that I'm struggling with in my waking life, that's causing me pain, for example. In the dream state, things are very malleable, and you can heal... and you can feel the shifts in the morning if you follow specific practices.
On the power of lucid dreaming:
There's something called wake-induced lucid dreaming. When you’re conscious, you're in bed relaxing, and say you have a problem and need a solution. And instead of falling asleep fully, where your consciousness is “gone”, and you're out for the night, I work with people to walk their consciousness through the hypnagogic state. And through that, they can use active imagery in a conscious state to change their internal patterning. In this portal, you can remember everything, you can alter things, maneuver around the dreamscape. It's very, very helpful.
On the "in-between state":
There's actually a state between dreaming and waking up in the morning, it's called the hypnopompic state. There, you can receive creative insights and solutions to problems, all sorts of amazing things if you can learn to maintain your awareness through it. That's why it's helpful when you wake up, try not to move out of bed, and grab your journal to write down your dreams when you're still in this portal.
On the power of play:
So whenever someone says, "I'm struggling to use my imagination," it's because there's too much seriousness. And actually when we're dealing with our imagination, the more lighthearted you are about it, the easier the entry. But then it doesn't necessarily mean what you see is just a childish form, or something that is playful? You can start off playful, just lighthearted, and whatever comes up, comes up for you. And I think it’s okay to sit in a space where if you don't see imagery, to be patient. I walk people through a practice where we work in that liminal space, between wakefulness and sleep. And that will train you how to see imagery and symbols that are naturally part of your own subconscious.
you are in direct communion with your inner being, and a larger state of consciousness.
On intense dreams:
In terms of very vivid imagery, very lifelike dreams, there are messages in those dreams for that person. And being able to look at them, and work with them on waking, is what will illuminate them. And the benefits will come from that. It's about recognizing that your dreams are not against you. A nightmare, a repetitive dream, a scary dream—they're all showing you something that you need to see, at least I believe that from a spiritual perspective.
On seeing things from your dreams when you’re awake:
There is no disconnect between your dreaming world and the waking world, other than your perception, right? I actually share a story in my book about when I had this crazy dream of a jaguar. And I won't share the full story here, but in essence, I dismissed the dream on waking. I was still in my early 20s, but it was a pivotal, loud, vivid dream. And on waking, I walked into a store, and a woman just randomly handed me a book with a jaguar on the cover.
And the way to cultivate that amazing synchronicity is by paying attention to it. The more you pay attention to it, the more you begin to see it, and then there's purpose to it. Sometimes it is just validation and confirmation, but other times it's also leading you to action. I show people how to do that. It's really learning the language of your soul. And that's what dreams do, they put you in direct communication with your desires. And on waking, if you begin to carry that through in your life, you're just carrying on the conversation.
On believing in your power:
You don't have to have these huge, outward shows of behavior when it comes to your intuition. And I think if you're beginning to rekindle it, or even enhance it, it's just important that it's between you and your intuition.
I think having external pressure, or saying it to other people can diminish it or squash it right at the beginning. Because then intellectual or critical thinking can come up that is very unhelpful, because what you're dealing with, this way of being, isn't linear.
On cultivating a sanctuary:
My bedroom is completely cell phone free. I stop drinking caffeine at like 2:00pm, though once in a while I'll maybe break that rule. My bedroom is clean, it's a sacred space to sleep. I create the image in my mind that this is a place to come and rest, to fully relax. It's a sanctuary. And through cultivating that feeling, sleep is often much better.
If you have a good sleep tea, I also think that's wonderful. But something to remember is that sleeping and dreaming is intrinsic and natural. You don't need to do anything, you don't need to force it, it actually happens on its own accord. The barriers come in because we start to overthink. So I think it's more about removing the stress, removing any heavy food, removing caffeine, and not drinking booze if you can, right?
On why you should keep a dream journal:
The end result is that you are in direct communion with your inner being, and a larger state of consciousness. And through that direct relationship, you receive incredible benefits by way of creative solutions, problem-solving, and guidance. To sum it up, you're really in direct communication with something quite profound.
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