Linda Yael Schiller, MSW, LICSW is a psychotherapist, consultant, supervisor and trainer in Watertown, MA. By integrating traditional therapeutic styles and techniques with expressive, energy psychology, and body-based modalities, Linda is able to provide support for healing at all levels of the self: mind, body, heart, and spirit. Her philosophy of treatment incorporates both deep healing at the source and practical coaching for daily life issues and dilemmas.
Linda works from a psycho-spiritual and body/mind orientation. Potential clients can expect an individualized approach to their needs, and to be met with warmth, respect, and a wide range of therapeutic options available to best help them reach their treatment goals.
Linda also works deeply with dreamwork, and offers a group dream circle, individual consultation, and training for professionals on working with dreams. She has designed several innovative methods for dreamwork. One method is based on the Kabbalah, another is a Jungian based approach for dreamwork with trauma survivors called “GAIA” (Guided Active Imagination Approach), and a third is an integration of dreamwork methods across several styles.
She is the author of Modern Dreamwork: New Tools for Decoding your Soul’s Wisdom (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2019) and Comprehensive and integrative Trauma Treatment (Western Schools, 2010).) PTSDreams: Transforming Your Nightmares from Trauma through Healing Dreamwork (Llewellyn Worldwide, 2022).
Please enjoy my conversation with Linda Yael Schiller.
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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 145
Linda Yael Schiller 0:00
And believe me I am a big fan of science thank God for science and thank God for modern medicine. And I don't think that's the only answer.
Alex Ferrari 0:20
I've been able to partner with Mindvalley to present you guys FREE Masterclass is between 60 and 90 minutes, covering Mind Body Soul Relationships and Conscious Entrepreneurship, taught by spiritual masters, yogi's spiritual thought leaders and best selling authors. Just head over to nextlevelsoul.com/free
I like to welcome to the show Linda Schiller. How you doing Linda?
Linda Yael Schiller 0:57
Hi, I'm good. Thank you. How are you, Alex?
Alex Ferrari 0:59
I'm very good. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. I'm excited to talk about your new book, Pts dreams, and dream work and how to decode the soul's wisdom, and all sorts of interesting things in the work that you do. But my first question to you is, when did you start your spiritual journey?
Linda Yael Schiller 1:23
Hmm. .I think you're the first person who asked me that, maybe at all, and certainly as a first question. So bravo. I probably started my spiritual journey as child actually, I wouldn't have called it that then. But I was always tuned in to uncanny ways of knowing and connecting with things, even as a probably a preteen, I became aware of it. And then as a teen and young adult, I was involved in a youth group that was connected me with what we used to call creative services. And so it wasn't traditional style services through the youth group. And I got very, very connected with that. And when I went when I was in college for there was one summer between my freshman sophomore year that I went to Israel with a group. And I think I just sort of fell in love with the land and the spirit and the desert started to speak to me. So sort of since then, really, through my college years and beyond, I've been connected with a spiritual journey at many, many different levels. Ranging from I was brought up to wish but explored a wide variety of different ways of being spiritual in the world, and have connected with indigenous religious practices and shamanic practices and Druidic practices and a variety of Eastern and Western religions. So I really have come to embrace a pan spiritual approach in my life and in my work.
Alex Ferrari 3:13
And speaking of your work, what is dream work, I've never heard that term I've kind of I might have heard that phrase passed along here and there. But what exactly is dream work?
Linda Yael Schiller 3:24
Dream work is the phrase that we use now to you to sort of unpack the word to work with dreams, sort of in in the old days, and in very traditional psychoanalytic circles, they still talk about dream interpretation. We, in sort of modern dream, work parlance, do not interpret your dreams or anyone else's. Rather, we we guide we ask questions we explore, we help you to find what the ultimate meaning of the dream is for you, or I should say the ultimate meanings because any dream can have multiple layers of meaning and truth that are simultaneously true. So it's sort of a modern parlance that we have adopted through the International Association for the Study of dreams iasd, which is the member organization that I've been involved in for some 20-30 years.
Alex Ferrari 4:19
So it's always fascinated me I mean, dreams have been something that we all as a species do is every every human being on the planet dreams, one point or another and there's been very many theories in regards to why we dream Some say that we're working out subconsciously the stuff that we have to work out subconsciously kind of manifests themselves into dreams, others and the more spiritual side is that, that the universe, you know, whatever on the other side is trying to guide us with it warn us, help us, you know, even relatives that could pop up in your dreams are just there to kind of just say, hey, it's gonna be okay. I kind of vibe, where does in your work? Where do you land? Or do you do a little bit of all of that?
Linda Yael Schiller 5:06
So yes, the answer is like D all of the above. So some dreams come through to indicate that. Well, this let me differentiate also between dreams and nightmares,
Alex Ferrari 5:20
That was my next question. I was like, why do we nightmare? Why do we have nightmares?
Linda Yael Schiller 5:23
Yeah, so well, we'll put that on hold then. And just in terms of dreams, dreams can be true and have meaning for us in many, many layers. One is sometimes we're reacting to something that happened in our immediate environment or something that happened yesterday. I'll give you an example of that. One time I was dreaming that I was in an earthquake. And this was an unusual dream. For me, I don't usually have dreams of natural disasters, but it was very, very vivid and real. And as I woke up, I realized, oh, there was a jackhammer, digging up the street, outside the window of my bedroom. And they that's why I had trumped up an earthquake. So sometimes literally something happening, your environment can influence your dream. So that's one thing. And the other thing that you're alluding to is that we have things that happened to us that day, the day before, during the week during the month that we're processing, and our unconscious, in its wisdom sort of gives us information that we either couldn't figure out or didn't have time for or are confused about that we need to do some more processing with other parts of our being. We didn't have time during the day, it'll come and give us some information at night. And sometimes our dreams are lovely, they're fun, they're exciting, we can fly or they're sexy, they're enjoyable. And those dreams, we just usually say, Wow, this was really cool. Or sometimes if we're working with someone, or if we're talking about our dreams, we might say, Wow, that was really cool. And what does it mean, or what is the meaning for me, but it's not giving us distress. The dreams that causes distress are the ones that we call nightmares. And the dreams that have difficult emotions, where we wake up with fear, with anxiety, with panic with anger, those are often more something has happened in our lives, particularly if they're repetitive dreams that we haven't been able to fully process and our unconscious is saying SOS, there's something else here that you haven't yet paid enough attention to, and that you need to work through and resolve. And we're giving you an opportunity if you don't ignore it.
Alex Ferrari 7:33
So there was an interesting dream I had a little while ago. And that's another things like what dreams you remember, we'll talk about how you remember dreams and certain things. There are dreams that I remember from a kid because that emotional impact on me, the more more emotional you are about the dream, the more impact that has, the better chance of it has sticking around. And one one dream I had a little while ago, which was somewhat terrified. But yet it was it. He was I was about three days away from going on a plane trip. And in real life in real life in real life, I was going on a plane trip in three days. And then I had a dream where I was on the on a cliff looking over Los Angeles. And this giant 747 flies over me makes a U turn crashes into the city. It sets monsters and it starts coming towards me. And then I and it never hits me or anything. And that was it. And I woke up I was like, well, that's not good. You're jumping on a plane tomorrow. And like two days, like that's, that's that's kind of. And I after doing more kind of soul searching, I came to realize that that dream was telling me that there was an urgency that I needed to launch a project that I was working on. And time was of the essence. And that's the way I kind of interpreted that dream from it. Because obviously I flew I was fine. I wasn't terrified or anything like that. I didn't have any EBGP walking onto the plane or anything. So I kind of look back and go, Okay, this makes this makes sense to me. But it was how those messages come through from either spirit from your own subconscious, whatever that is. Right is really interesting in the and the metaphors that are used. It's never straightforward. And I always wondered about that even from your, from your experience and working with dreams. Why are these metaphors sometimes so difficult to interpret? And it's not just saying somebody sitting there going, Dude, you got to launch this project tomorrow. There's urgency. Like why isn't like something is straightforward, but it's never straightforward. The tiger in the room never is about a tiger in the room. The plane crashing is generally never about the plane crash. What's your, what's your thoughts on that?
Linda Yael Schiller 9:54
Well, I want to answer your question. And in doing so it might be helpful because you did sort of an amazing job. Annabelle My cat is getting very excited when you're tearing up the rug, you did an amazing job sort of figuring out what the message for your dream was. And on the surface because I don't know you, or anything really about you or your project was, I can't see from over here, how you got from your dream to understanding the message. If you can, if you're with maybe you don't want to maybe it's private. But if you can connect the dots for us, then I can explain using your example the nature of of metaphors symbol.
Alex Ferrari 10:34
I think that for me, at least there was the this giant airplane that was crashing, and then moving towards me. Aha, it was It wasn't like a plane crash. It was a turn it turned around, it flew right over me. Turned around, I see it. So clearly in my head. It crashed. But it was it was almost like a cartoonish notch in the sense that LA you know, if you've ever seen those images of Lal from the, from the hills, that you just see the city in this landscape, a jumbo plane wouldn't be the size of King Kong, or probably like five King Kong's coming towards me. So it's an exaggerated image. And the plane is coming towards me while it's been like kind of dragging across the city of Los Angeles where I was living at the time. So it was coming towards me. But then it stopped, or either I woke up or it stopped before it actually got to me. So there was no danger. But there was a urgency that and that's where I kind of connected it. And also, I have to say, when you're interpreting stuff like that, and I am not the best at it with my own dreams. But a lot of it comes from Instinct from a spiritual place where I wouldn't, it's not analytical 100% I mean, dreams are generally not analytical in and by its nature. So that's how I kind of connected that your blood. But I had another dream when I was a child. And I've told this on the show before because it was just such a fascinating dream. It was a little bit of lucid dreaming. When I didn't, I was a child living in an apartment in Florida. Someone knocked on the door of our apartment, I opened it up and it was this large, large man shadow, he couldn't see his face in a trench coat. And then I said, Wait a minute, this is my dream. And I want to kick him in the balls. And he blocked me. And I said, I'm out of here. And that was the end of it. I was probably like 13 or 12 or something like that. What that meant at that time, I have no idea. But I was also 13. And even going back, I couldn't even comprehend what I could connect the dots there. But these are certain dreams that I do remember and connect. But that plane dream was probably a year year and a half ago, two years ago.
Linda Yael Schiller 12:55
So you gave me some information that helps me understand how you connected the dots. So first of all, you were living in LA, which I didn't know that you were living there. So it was relevant to your current life at the time. I don't know if you're still there or not. But it was something and it wasn't scary, sort of almost cartoonish. You said, but what you took what you said is that was instinct and from a spiritual place. And you just kind of had a gut reaction about this is what it means. Those are really, really good ways to go with unpacking or understanding a dream those instincts, those spiritual connections and what we call in focusing a form of somatic therapy, a felt sense. You had a felt sense in your body. Because when you got it and you said oh, this is the message you knew it, right? Like in your bones,
Alex Ferrari 13:49
Right! It's an instinct, it's a gut reaction. It's intuition, but it a deeper level than then I know in a deeper level, because you're in this kind of nebulous world of have a dream. I mean, it's dream. It's a dream scape. I mean dreamscapes by nature are kind of you can't grab on to anything. So it really is truly an instinct that that went through.
Linda Yael Schiller 14:16
Right! So what you took, especially from this was that something really, really big was heading towards you. And it had to change direction in order to be heading toward you. And that is was the main point. It sounds like of the dream. I can't escape this. I can't avoid it. It's heading toward me. It's where I live right now. So at an unconscious level, maybe you were thinking, what in my life is heading toward me that I really can't avoid. I really have to deal with this. And you figured out oh, there's this big project. I can put it off
Alex Ferrari 14:57
And I can tell you what the project was. And you talk about our region. auction, it was this show, launching the show. And this was a very big project at the time I had, I had two to three weeks. From the moment I decided to launch it to actually launch it to build everything from scratch. Get guests do everything I did, I did it in a three week period to launch the show. I mean, I, you know, I've got six years prior experience, you know, interviewing and doing podcasts. I had the skill set to do it. But it was still very big. And it was also scary for me. Because I was jumping into an arena that I had not ever jumped into, which is the spirituality world personal growth world health world what I talked about on the show, and I was scared, and I didn't want it I was I was tiptoeing and the universe or the other side or spirit was telling me, You better hurry up, you got to get it. It was Easter, I launched on Easter, Easter Sunday. So that was
Linda Yael Schiller 15:54
Resurrection right of something. So you were needing to resurrect this part of you and your unconscious said, dude, right? Right now, you can't wait to get with the program. And what I love is that you were changing course, in your life and your work. And you were moving. There's the metaphor, which is often upon, you're moving on to another plane of your. So there was the plane in your dream,
Alex Ferrari 16:22
Literally, literally another plane of evolution, if you will. Now, so it's but it's you can see, there's so many layers to what just this little example that I kind of tossed out there. There's so many layers to what was going on. And I mean, I've been in dreams that where I'm afraid. I mean, we all have I think at one point or another. But there was no fear at all. I mean, there's a giant plane hurling towards me and I wasn't afraid of it. So that said something to me. And there's I mean, and I have many dreams that I can recall, I wrote that I write down dreams every once in a while when I need to kind of recall them later. And just to kind of analyze them and see. But I take my dreams very seriously. Because I do truly believe it's messages trying to get through to talk to you to try to guide you through through life, in many ways. And it's I think it's a little bit of everything. Because sometimes I'll watch a you know, let's say a violent movie on TV. And that night, I'm like, There's guns. In my dream. My wife was like one day watch Family Guy years ago, she woke up she had a dream say, I'm never watching Family Guy again. I woke up with Peter, in my dream laughing I couldn't take it anymore. Things like that. But so those things do happen. But I think it's just such an interesting subject matter. Because it isn't just a one thing. It's a bunch of different things that happen. When you dream you process things, you emotionally process things. It's a SOS for some things to for you to look at. Its urgencies, its spiritual messages, its messages from your relatives, and people who have passed on. I mean, I had I had a dream, I was going through an extremely, extremely stressful time in my life, when I moved from Los Angeles, to Austin was arguably one of the most stressful times in my life. And I was just literally breaking down and had a dream where my grandma just showed up, and just just struck my back and I just was like, That's and I don't drink with my grandma. Like, it's not my pet like she's passed, she passed many, many years ago. But she just showed up and was just stroking my back and just like kind of revealing, like, it's going to be okay. And so, though from just my own personal experience of life experience working with dreams, these are the things that kind of just so fascinating to me.
Linda Yael Schiller 18:41
So I completely agree with you that our dreams can be about things that we experience or happen in our lives, they can give us an opportunity also to connect with and peek around the corners of time and space. And among other things, we can have dreams about the departed relative. And the dreams about a departed relative are different qualitatively and emotionally from a visit or a visitation from a departed relative. And depending on your worldview, or your listeners worldview. Most religious and spiritual traditions have some sort of connection with Yeah, when our relatives pass, they can still be in touch with us if we're open to and want to be in touch with them. And one of the things that differentiates between a dream about a relative or a visit from the relative is that vividness and that sense that they're right here with me, I can smell them, I can smell their perfume. I can feel their hand stroking my back. I can when my dad visits and he talks to me I can hear that like the timbre of his voice just the way he talked. Clearly as if you is in the room right now. So
Alex Ferrari 20:01
With from all your research in your work, you said earlier that you've studied and worked with many different kinds of people around the world from kind of aborigine and, and shamanistic and all these kinds of things. There seems to be a common thread throughout all cultures and, and spiritual practices about dreams. What do you see different from if there is any differences between the different kind of, you know, cultures, spiritual practices, people, the happenings because I mean, I mean, the aborigine I mean famously talk about the dreamscape and their experience in the dreamscape. Just a walk about alone is very, very spiritual, I'm not sure how much and then you get into that, and then you start getting into Ayahuasca. And that's a whole other conversation. Because it's a whole other and all that all that psychedelic stuff. So just from your experience in your studies, what are the differences you see?
Linda Yael Schiller 21:06
In cultures that are that live closer to the land? And that have a sense that all is I'm going to use the G word right? All is God. The stones are God, the trees are God, the sky is God, Your God. cultures that hold that more closely, I think, don't differentiate as much between the spiritual world and the non spiritual world because it's all part of Gaia, right? It's all part of the all this awareness. So native Australian Aboriginal culture, the world was dreamed into being literally it's called the dream time. In Native American cultures, the most revered people in the cultures are the are the shamans, and how do you get to be if you will, Shaman, the people who are the strongest dreamers are the ones who are the shamans. And the people who have an ability in many, many cultures, to do some peeking around the corners of time and space and are able to connect with prophetic dreams are revered and honored. So at one point in time, sort of pre industrial pre modern times, this was much more common in all of our ancestral histories. And if we go back to the Judeo Christian Bible, it's full of strong, powerful Dreamers. And as a matter of fact, the word in Hebrew for Dream is Hello. And it's the same word as vision. So you have to read the context of the story, when you're reading in Hebrew, to know if the Hello they're talking about is a nighttime dream, or daytime vision, because the text does not differentiate between the two. In our more modern, postmodern world, I think we pay less attention to our dreams, we don't respect them as much science has become elevated to a place where if you can't prove it in an experiment in a lab, it doesn't exist. And believe me, I am a big fan of science, thank God for science, and thank God for modern medicine. And I don't think that's the only answer. So I think as we are moving into a time, we hope, we're integrating Eastern philosophy, Western philosophy, modern medical advances, ancient knowledge from our ancestors. If we honor the dream more, we will remember it more. If we think it's important, we will remember it more. If we pay attention to what are the messages coming from either inside or outside ourselves that come through in the dream, then we will have another source of wisdom, in addition to what our left brain can give us.
Alex Ferrari 23:57
It's really interesting, because I've had a lot of neuroscientists and scientific minds on the show, talking about not only science, but how science is starting to catch up to spirituality. I mean, with just quantum mechanics. Oh, yeah, and quantum quantum physics, where they've just realized, oh, there's no space, we're all energy. There's like, if you go all the way down, there's nothing solid about us. We and that's something that's been talked about in Eastern philosophies. 1000s of years.
Linda Yael Schiller 24:30
What we're seeing now is, you know, Einstein, he hit the nail on the head, and we're just now starting to catch up to sort of prove, if you will, the things that he theorized about and equals MC square, right? energy equals mass and velocity Well, energy, right, we are energetic beings, and what we think is maths, actually is energy. So, science is starting to come Chapter Two, what the philosophers and the mystics have been saying. So quantum physics and mystical practices are actually have a lot in common,
Alex Ferrari 25:08
Very much so and it's starting to, it's starting to really catch up. I mean, just it over the last 50 years, the scientific experimentation or on meditation alone, which is talked about for literally 1000s of years, the benefits and what it does to you and all that stuff. Now, it's actually they actually plugging Buddhist monks up. And, and, you know, people have enlightened spirit to see what's inside their brain. And they're going, oh, oh, there's, there's stuff going on in the brain of these kinds of meditators. That doesn't happen in the normal brain. So it's you start getting into, into the weeds and all of this stuff. It's really fascinating. But science is I agree with you has been elevated to that place. But I think we're starting I think science has hit that that wall, I mean, quantum physics alone, they just, there hasn't been a breakthrough in quantum quantum physics in 30 years, I think 40 years is pretty much we're all still a 5060 year when it came up there, the concepts, a little bit of here and there, but there hasn't been a big thing. So they're running into a wall. And now spirit is starting to show up, and they're starting to like, oh, let's, let's see what this is. And let's see what that is. It's fascinating, but I love I love talking about this kind of stuff, because it's all part of the evolution of of humanity as as a species and also as us individually. Now, please,
Linda Yael Schiller 26:33
I was gonna say what you were just saying reminded me of two things. One is the Heisenberg principle, where the we now know that the observer has an effect on what is being observed. So the fact of our presence somewhere will actually change the on the ground reality of what is happening to the thing we're examining, which is a fascinating scientific idea, which takes us far afield. And then the other thing in terms of new developments, how many years ago, maybe a decade or so ago, they found the Boson, right? In quantum physics, and they called it the God particle. Yes, the God Yes, exactly. Names and connects all the parts of the universe. I don't think they've quite parsed it all out yet. Yeah, they were calling it they're called the Boson particles, like called the God Particle explains how and why life on the universe exists, which is,
Alex Ferrari 27:29
As they think it is.
Linda Yael Schiller 27:31
It's theoretical at the moment, but it was an interesting shorthand for what they were discovering in the lab.
Alex Ferrari 27:37
It's always it's always fascinating. No matter where we are in time, we have it all figured out. The Greeks had it the Greeks had it Zeus guys is Zeus, since the Egyptians, it's raw, it's raw, what are you talking about? It's constant throughout, you know, the ego of the man of man in general, always thinks it has it figured out because it cannot be humble enough to understand, it knows nothing of the makeup of this universe. And slowly but surely, things are. It's fascinating. Even in my lifetime, I've seen the awakening of, of humanity in so many ways, that things that did not exist when I was growing up, were looked on as weird are now commonplace. Even having this conversation 40 years ago, I mean, it must have been more difficult to even get people to wrap their heads around it.
Linda Yael Schiller 28:32
To say nothing, I'm running a platform like zoom on which to do it.
Alex Ferrari 28:35
Oh, exactly. The technology, you would have to be doing, you know, inside of a hotel somewhere with 20 people that show up or 50 people that show up who are truly interested in as opposed to someone just kind of like scanning their life and like, oh, this seems interesting and are open to an extent exposed to this kind of information, which is the brilliance of the technology that we have now. And you and I are not in a room together. We're across the country from each other. So it's it's very powerful stuff that we're talking about here. But back to your first book, you you wrote about decoding the soul's wisdom. Can you dive into what that means? And how, how can we decode the soul's wisdom? You're, I'm assuming that's code for higher self. You're more of a spirit inside or am I wrong on that?
Linda Yael Schiller 29:24
No, you're not wrong. If we attend to our dreams, we can as young users to face unpack them at many levels of being an among other things that I did is I applied a system of studying sacred texts called the bardez system that is literally in Hebrew means the word orchard and it's also an acronym for the four levels of ever deepening inquiry that we can use in exploring dreams that range from the sort of the surface storyline level To the hinted at level where we get our first associations to the deeper level where we sort of unpack deeper layers of metaphor and symbol and association. And the, of the final layer, the s in Hebrew is the word Sud, which means secret in English. And that's the level where we have transpersonal connections through and from our dreams. This is the level where we can dream not only for ourselves, but we can dream for the world. We can dream for other people, we can connect with departed relatives, we can connect with the spiritual realm, however you understand who and what that is for you, you can get these connections and visitations with Archangel Michael, or the Tofino or Buddha, or whoever it is that has meaning for you in your life. And in doing so, connect with that deepest part of ourself that's part of spirit, that part of soul self, that lets us get in touch with what potentially is our calling? What is our mission here? And how can we do get the understanding and perhaps the healing that we need in our own lives, in order to be able to then take it out into the world, to be a blessing to the world as we say. So thinking about our souls wisdom, allows us to heal at these deepest layers of being undefined, if you will, are our souls calling. When we're talking about the realm of nightmares, we know that one of the things that trauma often does is what's called a soul shattering experience. We've heard that phrase used a lot in people who've been through traumas. So when we have been through experiences in our life, where it feels as if our soul has been shattered, or we feel as if our soul has left our body, or in shamanic work, where they believe the soul actually can and does leave the body with traumatic events, our work then is to call our soul back home, to bring it back home to reintegrate the fragmented parts of ourself to become whole again. So that's part of what I might mean by decoding ourselves first.
Alex Ferrari 32:20
Then you mentioned about following, following your mission, finding your mission in life. And it's a theme that I talk about constantly on this show, because I feel so many of us are lost over the years and trying to find why we're here what we're here, we get caught up in the quote unquote, rat race of the West, in regards to oh, I need new stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, stuff, and you do things it makes you unhappy. And speaking to as many spiritual leaders and masters that I've spoken to on this show, one common thing I've noticed is that one thing that they say is to follow things that make you happy, joyful, blissful. And things start to just open in that direction. And when you start going in the wrong direction, you start to becoming more discontent with the work you're doing. blocks will start showing up in your life, that things don't tend to show up the way you want them to, or doors start to come up in front of you. Just like something like when I started, the show doors was swinging wide open, where when I started my first shows, it was a lot harder to get the ball rolling, because I still was trying to figure things out. You know, it took me years before I figured it all out. But I was happy doing it. And that was the difference. Where when you're chasing a dream, you have to ask yourself, why you're chasing that dream? Why are you chasing it? Is it making you happy? If it is making you happy, then continue, you might have to struggle, because that's part of life. Right? But if it's making you happy, and you're getting enjoyment from it, keep going. Because when you start hitting that wall internally, that's when it's someone's trying to tell you, you got to kind of move over. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it because of all your experience and work.
Linda Yael Schiller 34:12
It's interesting, because fulfilling your life purpose of your life mission. You're right doesn't necessarily mean it's easy, and doesn't even necessarily mean it's fun all the time. But if you have a sense, I think that it's right, and that it's true. And then it's real for you and no one has been harmed in the process. And there at least is enough time when you're happy. When you're joyful, doing it to balance the hard parts and you haven't hit a black where you're really unhappy more of the time, then you're happy then then you've probably found the place where your dreams have been leading. If the block is bigger and stronger and you can't get past Step and you're unhappy or distressed, more of the time, I agree that that's a time to take a look at who am I? What am I doing here? What is my life purpose? What what is the contribution that I can cloud make to the world? And if it isn't yet clear, and all of us go through very many phases in our life as well, it's not always going to be the same thing when we're in our 20s. When we're our 30s, when our 50s and when our 60s and beyond it's, it can shift and change. But if we're unclear and if we're struggling with how do we get past that block are past that brick wall. That's where doing purposeful dreamwork, incubating dreams to ask these questions can be a great resource as well to help put us on track in the direction that we need to be going where things the doors open, as you say, and the brick walls just come tumbling down.
Alex Ferrari 35:54
So that was going to be my next question. When you say Dream, Dream incubation, excuse me, Dream incubation. I'm saying it wrong. But you know what I mean? The you ask a question before you go to bed and in hopefully in the dreams or in while you're in while you're asleep? These answers do come to you, where you wake up with like, Ah, it's equals MC square. You know, so, and by the way, almost all great inventions and move movements forward and inhumanity have come from some sort of I mean, Einstein said it I mean, he thinks came from a dream. I mean, I had the big story of filmmaker James Cameron, who did Avatar and Titanic. But his first films when his first films was Terminator, he had that in a 103 degree fever dream. He was literally shaking, went to sleep, had a dream about this skeleton, metal skeleton guy coming out of the fire. And he's like, I'm writing that movie and Terminator showed up. But so these things do come through the dream. So how can you can you explain tips on how to actually do it properly without just going? So what's the meaning of life? That's a little too broad. So, yeah. So can you help us with?
Linda Yael Schiller 37:23
Yeah, so actually, the more specific you are about the question you're asking, the higher the likelihood that you'll get a dream that you understand, as opposed to a dream that's full of metaphor and symbol, and you have to spend a long time unpacking and figuring out. So dream incubation has deep deep history, back in ancient times in Greece, at the temple of Scorpius, people would come from all over the known world, and they would have pilgrimages to get to the Temple of Asclepius in order to have healing dreams to help them solve their physical or mental or emotional or relational problems, whatever it was. So they'd come to the temple. And they would have a purification and cleansing meet with the priests to the priests of this. And then they would sleep at night, overnight in the temple, and the priests and priestesses would let loose, these little greenish yellow snakes would slither around at night, and whisper in your ear, a message from the Divine. And then in the morning, you'd wake up with a dream, and you'd go to the priest and priestess and they would help you understand what the dream meant and what you were supposed to do as a result of having had the dream in the sacred spot. So the good news is, we do not have to have snakes anymore, in order to get free messages unless that's your thing, right. But the modern day updated version of incubating a dream, that's where the phrase comes from is incubation is hold a question in your mind and spend a little time before you got to sleep at night journaling about it, doing some writing about it. spend five minutes spend a half an hour spend an hour spend as long as you want. Try to end your writing with as clear a question as you can. Because the clearer your question, the more direct your dream news will be in responding to it. But your journal down next to your bed, you go to sleep. And as you wake up, either it's in the middle of the night or in the morning, as quickly as you can, but without moving much because you know when you move you jar, the the wisps and smoke of dreams and you can lose it. So slowly roll over and grab your journal. Write down the dream you had on the same page as the question and make sure you have a date as well so you can make the connection somewhere in your dreams gonna be the response to the question that you posed. This is the essence of incubation. So you can chew on it. You can think about it if it's not really clear. You can do some more journaling about your Read, you should can talk with other people about it. And if you can't still figure it out, do it again. The next night say, Okay, thank you very much. We want to honor our dream news. Thank you very much for giving me the stream. However, I didn't really quite get it. Can you please be clearer about answering this question? LR Can you please give it to me like straight up without metaphor and symbol? Because I didn't get it the first time. So can you give me like your dream with the plane, for example, that was metaphor and symbol, but But you got it. They didn't need someone to come you didn't need the next night. So I'm going to come and hit you over the head and say, wake up and do this show? Because you've got the message the first time. But if you hadn't, you asked for more clarification, you might have gotten a different dream coming true, very essence of dream incubation.
Alex Ferrari 40:47
So I'm fascinated to ask you this question. Because I'm a fairly heavy meditator. Sometimes I do every day, a day, an hour to two hours a day, sometimes more depending on my day. And to me, it's a form of it's kind of like sleeping, but not sleeping. I'm aware, and I'm awake. But a lot of the similar things that happen during the dream state, happen at these deep levels of meditation, where you ask questions, answers appear. Maybe you have visions, maybe you have images that pop into your head that you weren't thinking of come in, what is your experience with deep meditators and dream work if you will Daydream work, if you will, better for a better word.
Linda Yael Schiller 41:38
That's a great way of putting it because we can dream I was asleep and we can dream over awake as well. So one of the ways I would answer that question is that there's a continuum of consciousness. And that continuum of consciousness can range from being fully completely wide awake, and doing very concrete left brain oriented things to being sound asleep. And having REM state dreaming. In between these two polls are a whole variety of levels of consciousness and awareness, that are either closer to being wide awake, or closer to being sound asleep. And meditation is one of those in between liminal places where you kind of can access the best of both worlds. And you do get images, sensations, messages through in that state that you wouldn't have received, had you been checking off your grocery list in the store, or setting up a recording studio for the next interview. So when we can be in a place where our physical bodies are quieter, and more relaxed, and we can quiet our minds in whatever way we use to quiet our minds, we sort of, I believe, and other people have spoken about this as well, we open the portal to be able to access these other states of consciousness. And it is the same value as the messages we get through from our dreams. It's the same value as a dream coming through whether we were sound asleep, or somewhere in the in between zone, you would call it you know, and you're just falling asleep at night, and you're kind of now awake and not asleep. And the same thing in the morning. That's the hypnopompic or the hypnogogic zone. So my advice to dreamers of all types of value, the messages that come through in these altered states of consciousness, whatever they are from, whether it's from meditating, or from imbibing in some kind of a substance, or that drifting off to sleep state. Notice the messages you're getting, catch them, record them if you can, and then you can work with them, just as you would work with a dream.
Alex Ferrari 44:03
I was talking to a sleep expert the other day. And it was a fascinating conversation because I told her about my sleep patterns that I didn't sleep, you know, I could sleep for hours. Get up, have a full day of work, go to bed at 10 wake up the next morning at five. No problem. So I average is about five to six hours asleep. And I function normally completely fine. Don't drag it on dragged onto this, none of that. And but I told her I'm like that I'm a heavy meditator. I meditate an hour to two a day. And she's like, well, first, there's two types of people, there's 50% of the population can benefit from naps. 50% cannot. Some people need nine hours just to get up and walk around. Other people can do it in two or three or four hours. You seem to be have that sense, but she's like when I've done research and she's a Harvard professor who's Does sleep research, she said that when we study meditators, the processes that are happening in your brain and in your body, that's right happen in your meditation. So you're kind of catching up to like the repair the repair that your body goes through, that your mind goes through the rest that it needs, kind of as you're doing it in your meditations, as well. So you have a combination like that. So I, I can meditate for a couple hours, and I'll fully energized like, for the rest of the day. So it's just it was just an interesting, I don't know if you've heard that in your in your studies as well.
Linda Yael Schiller 45:38
Oh, absolutely. The way we regenerate and renew and repair is individual. So you know, different people do need, and I and I'm familiar with the people who need really eight to nine hours, you know, even adults, not just kids. And then there are those like yourself, I'm always a little envious, you know, you can get by on four or five, but you'll make up for it in the day by meditating. So you add an extra hour or two that other people are using for being in the farther end of the spectrum of aware, awake or asleep, you do it more in a liminal zone than in the sound asleep sound. But it kind of for you at least adding up to the same thing, you're getting a six to seven hours on the part of it is through meditation rather than being sound asleep,
Alex Ferrari 46:26
Right! And it seems to almost as well as that the hour of meditation or two hours of meditation is a more intense rest moment than even sleep to from her studies and mice in my experience as well that it's condensed. Yeah,
Linda Yael Schiller 46:47
It's, that's really interesting. Because what that implies to me is that the purposefulness of your intention and creating the time and space in your life to meditate, value added, then it's night, I'm tired, I'm gonna go to sleep, the purpose is to go to sleep. But when you meditate, the purpose is to come renew, relax, connect, it might be that that's the value added as your your intentionality around it. That hypothesis.
Alex Ferrari 47:22
Knowing that makes absolute sense. Because there is an absolute intention. I'm like, I want to go. For me, for me, it's very blissful to meditate. I enjoy sleeping, don't get me wrong, I love sleep. I can do I'd love to do it every day. But meditation is is almost blissful in its in its state the way I do it. So I'm actually always being pulled back to it. I'm always being like, you know, I'd rather be meditating then watching television, or I'd rather be i, because it's just, it's almost a high in your brain. I've rewired my brain since I've been doing it now, five, six years at this point, at that level, that the brain has rewired to get those kinds of joyful, and I guess endorphins are chemicals that are released during that process. So it's almost a, a healthy addiction, if that makes sense.
Linda Yael Schiller 48:13
Oh, yeah, it's sort of stimulus response in a way. I mean, I have to boil it down simply to them. But you are absolutely you, what you've done is you've created new neural pathways in your brain to counteract the old ones that you grew up with, or that all of us grew up with. And you've made the new ones, through your repetition and your dedication to a meditation practice. You've created new neural pathways that are deeper, maybe the some of the older ones, so your system more easily drops into them now. Oh, you put more attention at it.
Alex Ferrari 48:52
Yeah, yeah, I can go in deep. Within five or 10 minutes, I go by I go in pretty deep. And then sometimes it takes me a little longer, a little less. But in again, it kind of all wraps around with our conversation of dream work, because I'm doing a lot of dream work within the meditation practice, as well as within. And while I'm dreaming within my meditative practice, as well as my my dream, my sleep practice, if you will. But um, but um, but they're different. But yet, they're the same in many ways, a lot of the same. They're very similar in many ways. But in other words, you don't have to go away for five or seven hours to do it. I can get there in 20 minutes, and start feeling so that's a skill. That's really nice.
Linda Yael Schiller 49:44
Yeah, I appreciate that. And it is a skill that's really nice. And I tend to there's sort of two types of people in terms of our boundaries in the world, right? There are sin boundary people and thick boundary people. And it sounds like whether innately or by training you have taught yourself to be a sin bound Every person.
Alex Ferrari 50:01
So what is that exactly?
Linda Yael Schiller 50:04
The openness or lack thereof to experiencing altered state of altered states of consciousness altered states of knowing alter the ways, alternative ways of connecting more or less easily.
Alex Ferrari 50:18
Right! So yes, like the garbage like the, let's say there's there's jackets on top of us. There's lots of jackets and clothing and layers, and you're starting to let those layers go. So you can get out much faster if that makes any sense.
Linda Yael Schiller 50:33
That could be definitely one way of looking at it. Sometimes it has to do with kind of our hardwiring. So people who are computer scientists and people who are mathematicians, and people who studied geology, may have a different kind of wiring, because that's what they're interested in oriented to, rather than people who go into spiritual disciplines or spiritual practice, or become psychotherapists or smartest artists. Yes. So our wiring already is a little bit different. So we can train ourselves. Like I can learn to know a little more than I do about computers and math, but it doesn't come as easily to me as being able to sit in a guided meditation with some with say, I'm with a group of people. And within a few seconds, I will have images, very, very beautiful, vivid images. And then when I share it with the group, they'll say, How did you get there in five minutes? And it's like, well, that's my superpower. But don't put me in front of, you know, a hell of a math problem, because that is not my superpower.
Alex Ferrari 51:33
I was about to say, you don't want me to do in your books. You don't want me doing any math for you. This is not where I am. But if in the artistic space in the spiritual space, I have more of my I'm more comfortable there that is, and I love the word superpower. Because it is a superpower, everyone has that thing. You know, you know, my wife is more analytical, she does the math, she does the books, she does have the GPS, I'm like, you tell me where to go. I don't even want to tell me where to go. I'll tell I'll turn left, I'll turn right wherever you want me to. It's just not the way I'm wired. Right. But we're but my superpower is where I am able to do things in the artistic realm. And, and this kind of stuff that we're talking about it is, it's, you know, everyone's got their thing. And if you can find that thing, life becomes a lot easier for you. I feel once you find, I call it that secret sauce that nobody else has on the planet. And once you have it and understand what it is, and then you have the bravery to share it with the world. That's when things really change in your life. I don't know if that you found that in your experience as well.
Linda Yael Schiller 52:42
Yes, the short answer is, yes. What well, what I've been doing for a while is, you know, when I first got into this field, as a psychotherapist, I was working primarily with individuals and doing group work and working at organizations and then in a private practice. And then at a certain point in time, I started to teach the out into the world more. And I was a professor at Boston University at the School of Social Work for 20 years. And I also started teaching like continuing ed courses. So I'm out there in the world more. And then in a certain point of time, I started writing and I'm writing articles and I'm writing, I wrote a workbook. And then I wrote these two dream books. Because there was this sense that there is something that I'd like to share with the world, not just one person at a time. But I would like to be able for more people to hear the message because I think that would be valuable and useful.
Alex Ferrari 53:36
But also, I love what you just said in your story. There's an evolution there. Yeah, there is an evolution. And that's where people get caught up because they want everything, especially younger generations. Want things now, everything I want to be this I want to it takes time. You got to evolve. I mean, I look at myself as a twin in my 20s and I'm an absolute knucklehead, I mean a complaintant as most of us were in our 20s Generally speaking men more so than women.
Linda Yael Schiller 54:09
I have to agree with you there.
Alex Ferrari 54:11
We were absolutely. I mean, there's, there's a lot of 40 year olds who are still knuckleheads. 80 year olds are still of all genders, of all genders, to say the least. But there's a process to every thing in our life. And we have to give time to evolve. And that's something for me that one of my biggest journeys was patients think it is for a lot of people, patients, patients patients, until I finally just said, I don't think I don't look at things as months I go, Okay, give this a year. Give this two years. I look at it a much broader strokes now. Because I've just realized I'm like, it's not gonna be a month. I'm not going to know anything about this show in a month. I will look at it in six months. We'll look at it in a year and we'll see where we're at and, and we adjust along but there's an ebb Lucian and even on even on this show, there's been an evolution on by myself and by what I do on the show because of people like yourself, who I'm talking and being exposed to, which is informing me, I'm reading more books and different topics. And so that's evolving me as a better hopefully a better host asking better questions, helping the audience grow and learn and whatever field that we're discussing on the show. So, that's. So I'm going to ask you a few questions that I asked all of my guests. What is your mission in this life?
Linda Yael Schiller 55:36
My mission, I can answer that in two ways. And it was an evolution mission. At one point, I realized my mission was to be the bridge between Western and non western ways of knowing and doing and being, and to help people connect with both sides and, and the bridge in between. So that was one recognition of, of the bridge and in my, in my work with people and in my private life. I incorporate meditative practices, somatic practices, spiritual practices, as well as cognitive, behavioral, psychodynamic, and more traditional ways of working. So that was one. Did you want to say something?
Alex Ferrari 56:26
No, no, I just find that so beautiful, because you're mixing science and spirit. Yeah, together. And that is a beautiful, if you can find people who can do that. It talks to both though both audiences. And that's what's wonderful about your work.
Linda Yael Schiller 56:43
Oh, thank you, thank you. There's a wonderful song that says All the world is just a narrow bridge. It's a translating, it's not from the Hebrew. This is where it's probably not that I think so. All the world is just a narrow bridge. And the main point for us is not to make ourselves afraid. So I sort of took that song as part of my mantra, if you will. So that was sort of part A of the mission, and then more recently, with the world becoming, and going through the public, as well as the private traumas that everyone's had. But, you know, in the last bunch of years between the pandemic, and climate change, and violence, and war and political change, and upheaval, people are finding it hard to find a safe, comfortable place to be the Kinect. So the new part of the mission in terms of doing dream work was to really help people who are experiencing the traumatic events of their lives at night through their dreams to bring those those two sides of my work and my practice together, because I've been a trauma therapist for over 40 years. And I've been a dream worker for over 40 years. And so the latest book sort of marries those two things and bring them together to bring some healing through dream work to people who may be interested in me, Dad, so those I think would be the two. So the callings.
Alex Ferrari 58:10
What is your definition of a good life?
Linda Yael Schiller 58:13
Hmm, that's a great question. I guess my definition of a good life is one that has connection with people and is filled with love that goes both ways that you give and receive it. And you're able to receive and share joy in the world.
Alex Ferrari 58:43
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Linda Yael Schiller 58:49
You're asking me the ultimate purpose of life.
Alex Ferrari 58:51
I mean, I could I could ask it in my dreams, but it won't come in. So I'm just gonna go. I'll just ask you.
Linda Yael Schiller 58:56
Sure. I'm I'm thinking I think the ultimate purpose of life is to share our light and to be able to be a blessing to help other people in the world. That's a life well lived.
Alex Ferrari 59:23
Fantastic answers to those questions. And where can people find out more about you and your new book PTSD dreams?
Linda Yael Schiller 59:30
Thank you. So I have a personal website Lindayaelschiller.com And that's LINDA YAEL SCHILLER one word.com. So you can read about my broad experience and what I do in the world and specifically for the books I have to DreamWorks out and the most recent one. Pts dream's dot com so PTSD and then the word the D. It's connected with dreams. Let's PTSdreams.com there's a website there. And there's also a website for moderndreamwork.com. So either those two websites will give you information about the books and how to connect with them.
Alex Ferrari 1:00:12
Linda, thank you so much for not only coming on the show, but for the amazing work you've been doing over these years, helping people and trying to help people connect more with their dreams, helping them to deal with trauma, helping them get answers to their life of this confusing thing that we call life, trying to figure it out as we go along. But I appreciate everything you do. So thank you again for coming on the show, my dear.
Linda Yael Schiller 1:00:33
You are very welcome. Thank you so much for having me on. Alex has been a pleasure.
Links and Resources
- Linda Yael Schiller – Official Site
- Books by Linda Yael Schiller
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