From Meditation to Meditations; How Subconscious Connections Can Inspire Personal Perception

The subconscious connections we make when we dream should not be ignored. Sometimes they can provide you with valuable insights, strong enough to change your perceptions of the world.

From Meditation to Meditations; How Subconscious Connections Can Inspire Personal Perception
Sometimes we need to allow our subconcious to develop novel insights

My dreams have been inspiring a lot of my writing lately. Not all of them make it out of my journal or even outside my own head, but this one felt worth sharing.

I write this sitting in an Ibis hotel room in Belfast, Northern Ireland, having recently awoken from said dream I wish to tell you about. It's 7am. This is later than I normally write, but I was later to bed than normal so I adjusted my waking time accordingly.

Whatever time it may be outside, my personal 'chronoclock', still knows it should write as soon as I get up; or it won't happen. It's practically a habit now and one that has a very close relationship with how well I sleep, and how regular those sleep hours are. And this is perfect if I want to write about dreams because that's best done when the experience is fresh.

Prepare for sleep and sleep will prepare you

Yesterday I was feeling pretty rotten for most of the day. A combination of a 4.30am start to a day of travel, 'time of the month' and a lack of sleep the previous night all concocted the sort of headache neither paracetamol, nor ibuprofen would shift.

Put in the context of needing to spend that evening socialising and having to give a presentation today, you can imagine my little brain was probably not best wired for sleep, and I'd be right for preparing myself for a poor night.

However, I had a pretty awesome night's sleep and I can only put it down to one major thing; I listened to a meditation app as I got into bed.

Not only did listening to the meditation app help me fall asleep, it also led to a connection of life events and readings in my dream I wasn't expecting, giving an outcome only my subconscious, interconnected brain could have put together.

It was one that started with meditation and ended with Meditations.

The meditation did not take long to work

The meditation session was everything you might imagine a fall asleep routine would entail. It was one of the few free 'sleep' offerings in the Calm app. As I followed though the motions, clenching and relaxing my bum cheeks, I wondered about the effectiveness of my chosen strategy. Moments later, in a brief state of consciousness, I realised I had completely zoned out, so I took off my headphones and I passed seamlessly into sleep land.

Bingo. The app worked.

The app worked like a dream...

I love how dreams make us feel we have lived a lifetime within them, yet they usually only occur for minutes at a time.

In this lifetime I was whisked away to the Roman Empire. The beginning of the dream is fuzzy, but somewhere along the way we had won great battles, I had become a great emperor and my trusty general was at my side. The land that we had conquered was stretched out in front of us.

(I won't comment on the wider ethics of this dream ...)

Because I was a fair emperor I declared the land owned by all. But my trusty general was adamant that he was to have some. But I was equally adamant that he was not to have any. At that point I realised I needed an advisory team if I was to manage this land in a fair way. For some reason there were five spaces to be filled. And one of them oddly, I wanted to allocate to this general who didn't want to share the land in a fair way.

The individuals to fill the other four spaces will remain a mystery because at that moment I woke up.

Meditations as a connection to meditation

Now some of you will notice the distinct parallels between this dream and the book Meditations written by the Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius. I haven't read this book for months but for some reason my brain subconsciously must have made an association between meditation and Meditations.

It's an easy jump to make.

My 'trusty general' has clear links with Aurelius' brother, Lucius Verus. Lucius was a challenging character, yet Aurelius still accepted him as co-emperor and entrusted him to fight his battles.

Whilst this was an interesting personal depiction of what I have read thus far in Meditations, on awaking I was left more curious about my need for, and selection of, a board of advisors.

Placing the equivalent person to Lucius amongst 'my board' seemed the most natural thing to do. It wouldn't necessarily have been the same thing I would have done in real life, but should I?

The board of personal advisors

I have read about the idea of having a personal board of advisors somewhere many years ago, and I can't for the life of me remember where. It's a leadership concept also referred to as having a 'board of directors'.

But what I didn't read was, well, who says they have to be real people? And who says that they should be just there to support? The problem with reaching out in our own circles for people to support and advise us, is that they will rarely challenge our beliefs enough. If someone continually questions our own beliefs and systems we will often distance ourselves from them. But these are often just the people we need in times of indecision.

So like my trusty general and Lucius, perhaps we need the antithesis of ourselves on this real or imaginary board of people.

Our board members could be historical characters like Marcus Aurelius or his brother. It could be values or principles. It could simply be a series of questions you run everything by. It could be a mix. It's really up to you.

I'm going to be honest. At this stage I don't have the confidence to reach out to people who inspire me in real life, to say 'congratulations, you are on my board of advisors.' No, that would be a little weird, but I do think the idea is worth further investigation.

For example, what criteria I should judge my advisors by?

  • they must be able to challenge my beliefs - who can ask you the question we asked continuously as children, but ask rarely as adults; why? Or perhaps the more 'adult version', what's the evidence?
  • they do not have to be real people, but I must fully understand their character - if it is a historical figure, then i would need to, at the very least, read a biography.
  • they must inspire - and I must aspire
  • they will build on my strengths and scaffold my weaknesses - they could share a strength or complement a weakness

Perhaps my reading of Meditations has inspired a more philosophical outlook on my dreams and their meaning, or perhaps I'm feeling a conflict with some decision I have to make. Or perhaps with all those empty spaces, I feel I'm lacking in people who can guide me through life.

All I know is having a system, where I seek an 'outside-in' viewpoint, will be incredibly valuable to my perception of the world.

Maybe you will find it useful too.

Meditations is available as a free download from the Gutenberg library.