by Barbara Sherf
Author, teacher, dream interpreter and founder of worldspirituality.com David Low, 63, is a big believer in listening to one’s dreams.
A Flourtown resident for seven years, Low received a bachelor’s degree in zoology and anthropology from Duke University, went on for a master’s degree in community counseling at Georgia State University and received a doctorate in religious studies from Temple University.
Low authored “Universal Spiritual Philosophy and Practice,” a book about mystical experiences, including dreams, that he said came from a “minor epiphany” he had after teaching courses in religious studies for more than a decade.
“It’s the result of years of observation of different spiritual settings, of absorbing and pondering many teachings firsthand and of examining my own and many others’ innumerable experiences,” Low said, noting that he started studying dreams in graduate school.
“I had lots of dream experiences and spent decades analyzing them. If I had not worked over the years with many therapists and spiritual teachers who also value dreams, I would never have developed a talent for helping others understand what their dreams are saying.”
Low facilitates a monthly dream circle at Center on the Hill in which a half-dozen or more individuals share their dreams and are given feedback and interpretation by the group. Low believes people need dreams for both brain maintenance and spiritual direction.
“Studies long ago established that we need to dream in order to function,” he said. “Everybody dreams every night. As far as spirituality goes, very few people have enough interest in dreams to really try to fathom them. We have to do our part. God doesn’t spoon-feed us anything. We need to understand and feel what the dream is presenting to us, and that means working with the symbols until you’ve nailed it and feel it in your body.”
“The dream source,” by which Low means “God,” may see fit to make things clear for us or not. If not, we have to work harder to get the message, he said.
“Symbols are important for meaning, but a major second dimension is the feelings that you have in connection with the images in a dream. And I don’t think they’re all about spirituality.
“There’s no question that insults from daily events which shock the body or mind, like watching the news, eating too much food, having too much coffee … those kinds of things can kick up a lot of dust. And a fair number of drugs also affect dreams one way or another.”
As for the common dream of being chased, Low believes it’s something you need to pay attention to. “That’s almost always about some responsibility that you’re doing your best to ignore,” he said. “It could be an external issue in your life like being careless with finances.
“It could be something about your health that you need to be more disciplined about. It could be a spirituality or attitude issue, like having to be more positive about some specific thing in your life. Being chased could be a zillion things … It depends on the individual’s situation.”
Low believes that if you have a recurring unpleasant dream, you need to try to understand it through therapy or otherwise, especially if there is turmoil in your life. That’s the most crucial kind of dream situation, he said. “It could be a traumatic issue that you need help coming to terms with.”
Low, who can be reached at davidlowmsphd.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, offers dream-centered therapy as well as written or verbal interpretations for people who want to know the meaning of a dream. This article was reprinted, with permission, from Milestones, the monthly publication of The Philadelphia Corporation for Aging.