Machiel Klerk is a social entrepreneur, licensed mental health therapist, international speaker, dream worker, and published author. He has been a mental health therapist since 2006, and currently has an online private practice. Machiel is fascinated by healing traditions. He earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Machiel has traveled all over the world and studied many cultures and their healing and dream traditions, and in specific the African traditions as South Africa is the country of his birth. Machiel has published a book ‘Dream Guidance’ with the respected Hay House publishing company. The book is currently available through Amazon, Barnes and Nobles as a pre-order.
Machiel has given lectures and workshops in Europe, South Africa and North America about dreams and psychology. He also provides inspirational talks and workshops for companies on creativity, innovation and leadership. He has written several articles on dreams and released a course on Jung Platform. Machiel has vocationally been guided by dreams when he founded the Jung Society of Utah and the online organization Jung Platform as a result of a night time dream. In appreciation for these contributions, he has received several awards from the local community.
He moved in his early youth from South Africa to the Netherlands, and lived a year in France during his teenage years. He backpacked a year through Asia and then moved in2004 to the USA where he still lives and dreams.
Please enjoy my conversation with Machiel Klerk.
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Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 117
Machiel Klerk 0:00
And there's something in us or in the universe that engages with us. And there's many ways that you can engage with this mysterious counselor.
Alex Ferrari 0:23
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'd like to welcome to the show Machiel Klerk. Not too bad?
Machiel Klerk 0:58
Thank you excellent pronunciation. You're almost Dutch.
Alex Ferrari 1:03
My friend. Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on the show. I'm really excited to talk about your work and dreams because it is something that we all have in common, we all do it. And I've been fascinated with dreams more recently, in the last years, especially since I've been doing this work with with the show and speaking to spiritual masters and, and near death experiences and kind of things like that, that just, you know, just started opening up dreams into a whole other light. So my first question to you, sir, is what is Dream incubation?
Machiel Klerk 1:38
Well, first of all, thank you for having me. It's great to be with you love your energy. And maybe I can even answer a comment on the first thing you said is that we all dream. And that struck me when you said that, because I've traveled around the world. And I ask people about their dreams. And indeed, everyone dreams. And one of the interesting features that we also all share is that people say in a dream they are in an environment, they are in an in an other world where they have where they interact. And that is the is the common experience that we all have. And that is so interesting, because that shows one of the fundamental aspects of what a dream is. A dream isn't world we find ourselves in, where we have an interaction. So dream is not an letter sent from mystery source acts to you that you need to decipher and have a whole symbol system to figure out what it means. But the dream is an interactive environment where that you're in. So just it just struck me when you said and I felt that that is close to my experience. And and this is what no matter which race, which culture, which religious upbringing, whatever a person is, they all dream. And they all have the same experience when they dream.
Alex Ferrari 3:10
Without without questions. So what is Dream Incubation?
Machiel Klerk 3:14
Dream incubation is a very old technique in which you ask your dream question before you go to sleep. In order to have the dream respond to your to your question. So a person could ask, How can I love myself more deeply? What type of food would be good for me to eat? How do I find a partner? How do I grow my business in a way that I can serve more people. And there's something in us or in the universe that engages with us. And there's many ways that you can engage with this mysterious counsellor that that is out there. But one way is to do it through dreaming. So you can ask your, your dream, and his counselor before you go to bed a question and then you will have a helpful dream that dream incubation.
Alex Ferrari 4:06
So it's really an interesting as I've spoken to many spiritual leaders around the world, some Yogi's and rabbis and Buddhists and things like that, and the concept of dreams have come up. And many of them discuss dreams as US visiting the spiritual side of the spiritual realm, the world that we're coming from we, you know, if you do believe that we are all eternal souls here, you know, experiencing a physical experience or spiritual being having a physical experience as opposed to vice versa. That when we sleep is the time where we go back and that's where we have dreams about our families or our departed one's ancestors. And we work things out in the dream space that we don't Is that a fair statement? From your experience?
Machiel Klerk 4:55
Yes. And what you can see is that the dream is is a is Co created by your own belief system and expectation and will intent and focus. And then some other mysterious force, mystery factor x. And whether you call that the spiritual realm, or the larger awareness, they come together. And then you find yourself in this world where your belief systems play a role, but also clearly something else is CO creating this world. And you have what in Carl Jung would say, you have the personal unconscious and the collective unconscious, the Collective Unconscious is not you, is this shared role, and they merge and then you could be in the spiritual world or in the dream world and meet an ancestor, that deceased ancestor that's clearly not you. But there are also manifestations of your own mind that go create that reality, like anxiety or an expectation or a wish, that that contributes to that work, too. That's wrong.
Alex Ferrari 6:09
I always wanted to ask, I always ask this question, when I talk to people about dreams. Why is it always in when we have dreams? It's never a direct answer. It's always in, in some sort of story or analogy of of life. It's never like, how do I grow my business? Let's say? And they go, Oh, well, Mike, this is how you do it. No, they show you some sort of story and thing. And it's, it's about a rabbit running in the forest. But really, it's not about the rabbit running in the floor. It's that literal, it's all figure to like, it's all so why is that do you think in your experience
Machiel Klerk 6:45
That something in in the soul, the source more primary language is metaphorical. And so if you would be in a dream, you would walk into a one way street, then it portrays in an in an 3d or 4d, whatever 3d environment, an idea. So the idea of being in a one way street is literally being being manifested in this world. And so the more meta poetic metaphorical notion of the deep soul plays out in this world. But once in a while, the dream is very direct as well. And what you will see in this dream incubation, if you ask your dream, a question, affirm a number of dreams give you a direct answer. And, but that is also because instead of just waiting for the dream, to tell you something, you turn towards a dream, say, hey, dream, I really need some help with this issue here. And then and then you see that the dream has a tendency to focus in and more more often. Sometimes we'll even literally with a voice tell it or it's not as as metaphorical as deer rabbits in the forest, and then having to think about that.
Alex Ferrari 8:17
It's really interesting too, because you know, even when I have dreams, sometimes I dream often actually, I often I often dreams I do remember them to, not always it's tough, sometimes sometimes it's the signal is loose, as they say. But I generally try to write them down, because I always like going back and, and kind of looking at them to see what what's going on, I always find it fascinating. Because sometimes, like you'll watch, let's say you watch Jurassic Park, and then the next night or the night before you have a dream with a dinosaur. And I get that because it's in your into your conscious mind and falls into your subconscious. But every once in a while a dream will come up and they will pull things from the archives, just people you haven't even thought of in two decades, show up with a message or some sort of event or some sort of thing. And you're just like, how, how is that possible? And what I've, what, again, from speaking to some of these spiritual masters, it is the ability of the spirit guides or people on the other side, even your relatives, to be able to kind of go into our database and speak to us in our language because that person would make no sense to you because you don't know them. And vice versa. So it's something very specific to us that they can go in, check our memories and like, oh, okay, well Beth screwed him over in high school. Let's bring Beth in. Because he's about to get screwed over with this person. And so it's an it again, it's a it's a an example of using analogy and I can't It's a metaphor using metaphor, as opposed to just telling you hey, man, you Joan is going to screw you over, I'm gonna show you a picture of Beth and you maybe you'll connect the dots.
Machiel Klerk 10:05
Yes. And, and the metaphorical language is, is often even more accurate, it's, it's more complete and then the then our language, but indeed that is the the reality creating principle that lives in the in the in the soul that it takes a an experience like being screwed over and then dresses up like Beth, a person you know. And so screw the whole firm takes on the form and shape of Beth. And that's where a lot of this dream interpretation also uses by saying, what are your associations to this character and say, well, that one screwed me over screwing you over appears and another person would maybe have their boss come in and they say what do you ask to say to the boss Oh boss is always critical. So critical illness takes on the form and shape of boss. And that is what I meant a little earlier with your your beliefs and experiences take on forms and shape in the dream environment and if it's how your own soul co creates this reality.
Alex Ferrari 11:20
Yeah, it's interesting because you're, I think you're right because the concept of the example of Beth being someone who screwed you over by the way I'd never had a bath I just using her as an example. But having a bath in your dream says volumes more so if then then someone would have sat there and told you, Hey, man, you're gonna get the there's an emotional impact that is nonverbal, that is so much more potent than someone telling you you're gonna get screwed over by Joan as opposed to or jack or whoever, as opposed to like, shows you Beth and you just go Oh, is that what that means?
Machiel Klerk 12:00
Yeah. And if you if you slow down and dream and move a little bit away from only interpretation, but you would sit in the dream and you would you would go back into dream slower down and then notice that you're in this environment and there is this dream bath walking and by just observing this dream bath, you get the experience of of this energy, you can sense the energy and you can even start sensing oh what I feel I feel I feel betrayal this feels like this character is able to betray and then you start noticing Oh betrayal or screwing over is is there but it can have a sense the presence of it and then I can even start noticing in my life when I when do I feel this Beth energy actually in my life and then you can become just more aware of it.
Alex Ferrari 12:56
It is so true that our language is so limiting you know we are so limited you know in this experience of what we're doing and and when you when you have from again from my understanding of speaking to these the individuals have been on the show that on the other side you know knowledge is instant and you know everything at once, which is very difficult for us to comprehend in our from our point of view, and the dream seemed to have a touch of it's like you're dipping your toe into that intelligence in some way.
Machiel Klerk 13:31
Yeah, yeah. And well, there's the old saying A picture says more than 1000 words. And so it can be far more nuanced than then then the words are plus the psyche seems also not interested in in really telling you exactly how your life is or what your what you're supposed to do. So it's not going to tell you Oh, don't do this and more show should this is happening. And then there's free will for you to either engage with betrayal betray yourself screw someone now for be take it as a warning, but that is more interpretation of this is happening. And then the game is what do you do with this situation?
Alex Ferrari 14:29
Got it. Now? How do you get guidance from your higher self from your soul through dreams?
Machiel Klerk 14:37
Well, in general, the dream is aimed at realizing your own potential. So just like the row seat becomes a rose and the acorn becomes an oak, our own soul comes into the world with qualities that want to realize themselves. So this this realization is pre configured in your dream. You daydream about things that in day to day life that you want to, to achieve. And so your your dreams are already pointing towards the direction that your life flows into or towards still. So that is how you can get, get get. That is how dreams and generally are aimed at the realization of who you are, and so have a guiding quality. And if you're if you're really a want to make the most use of it, you can also say to the dream, dream, I know that you often just spontaneous help me. But if you're an issue with what's playing out between me and dance, how can I watch in a limiting belief that I have? How do I deal with this anxiety? Because you're, if you have a heartfelt question your dream, or your soul, or your spirit guides, or the ancestor or the larger awareness, is interested in helping you become you, and helping you to realize who you are. So any question that has has a relevance to that, it will help if you just say, Gosh, what what kind of car did my neighbor buy? Last week? Things like, who cares? But something something relevant to your path, your dream wants to help you. And so it's called spontaneous. But if you turn towards it through dream incubation, you can speed up the process.
Alex Ferrari 16:30
So what does dream incubation, say about nightmares about bad dreams, things that really affect us? And you know, just scare the hell out of us? And many times?
Machiel Klerk 16:41
Yeah, well, naturally, when we have a nightmare, the first question is, how do I get rid of it, I don't want this. And yet, the nightmare is in this larger frame of the psyche, trying to realize itself, also trying to communicate something to us. Usually there's too much or too little fear. And so sometimes you're you're you might be negligent, and then some some, you'll get a scary dream to just awaken you. So a certain way nighthorse tried to awaken you to where you are, and either with too much or too little fear. And if you have a monster chasing you, the monster nine out of 10 times wants to tell you something wants to share something as a quality of you. And you can easily see this in lucid dreams, dreams in which people get lucid and aware that they're dreaming and it happens regularly with with nightmares. People go look at that monster again. And then they turn around and say, monster, why are you running after me? What do you want? And then recently, someone said, Oh, I'm the Monster said, I'm in discarded aspect of you. Oh, I'm just Nick ignoring some part of me that that tries to come close. And I'm scared of it. And therefore my brains are painting it in as a monster. I don't want it was part of belongs to me. And I only get rid of it by integrating it. And not by trying to get rid of it. And as with almost all the nightmares of nightmares are really the important dreams for personal growth.
Alex Ferrari 18:28
That's really interesting. You mentioned something when you when when you were talking to the monster, most dreams, at least from my experience don't have volume don't have actual dialogue. Since I come from the movie world dialogue, like in a scene of a movie, but every once in a while there is full blown conversations that happen in dreams. So from your research and experience, what does one mean versus the other?
Machiel Klerk 18:56
Well, what you see is that well, first of all, indeed, this this happens that you can have whole conversations with dream characters, the dream characters that are the Beth that are more or less a fourth form, or an energy that we have that presents itself like death. With those you cannot have very great conversations because there's not a lot of internal substance to it. But if you would meet a spirit guide, or a being that lifts in the world of dream, they have an awareness of their own. And they know things and they you can have whole conversations with them. So if you have conversations, it's almost always with characters that are residents of the of the dream world.
Alex Ferrari 19:50
Now there was there's a dream that I've never forgotten when I was a little kid I had this dream and I always found it very interesting. I'm not going to ask you to to check out like you know the explain what the dream is. But I just found it really interesting. Because it was the firt. One of the it was, I think one of the first times I remember became lucid in the dream. I was in an A, I was, I must have been 12 years old maybe. And we lived in an apartment and someone I was in my apartment, someone knocked on the door, and I opened the door, and there was this huge dark figure in a trench coat faceless. And at that moment, I became lucid. And I said, Hey, I'm in this dream, I'm going to take control. So I want to kick him in the balls. And he blocked it. And I said, I'm out of here. And I just never forgot that dream. It was such an interesting thing. But it was the first time I became lucid in a dream. And I wish I could become more lucid. In dreams. I've had lucid dream experts on the show before and it's it's a process what do you know about lucid dreaming in which if with with your research and experience?
Machiel Klerk 20:58
Well, I I love your dream. And and it's such a great dream. And with the with the with the knowledge now and if you would have this time and dream in which become lucid. And as you you know, you're you're an adult now and but even when you're young, you could do it. You could instead of kicking it in the in the balls, you could just say, who are you? Why are you here? Because when you wake up, you'll be safe. You it could do whatever it wants, and you'll wake up and there's no problem. So it's not like in this reality, if you would go encounter and crocodile, don't put your arm in it. In the dream you can do that have the experience, it might hurt a lot, but you will wake up fully intact. And plus, who knows what this character? Why this character knocked at your door? They just want to tell you same thing. Why did it? Why does it come and visit you. And, and, and in the little you and or us when we see something like that. It's like, go away, right? But who knows, maybe this is who he is. But he has to do what he has to suggest to offer contribute. Just because it's different. It doesn't make it bad or malicious. So that is that is one and so for everyone that has has a dream like this or wakes up becomes lucid in a dream. Ask your dream character. Who are you? What brings you here? Do you have anything to tell me and people astonishing feedback and insights from dream figures, that that are often very intelligent.
Alex Ferrari 23:00
So you speak about spirit guides. And I've spoken about spirit guides on the show before but can you talk about spirit guides ancestors, the higher consciousness in the dream in the dream world what that what that means?
Machiel Klerk 23:15
So what what people my own experience other people probably yours, you can be in a dream where you meet and deceased ancestor. And very often people reported or very profound dreams that are touching are so grandma So mom, myself, my, my husband, my wife, and they had the most beautiful dress. And I knew they were okay. Very often it has something to that extent, not always, but very often there something like that is going on. So we can meet meet ancestors who seem to be able to meet us in the dream space. Then there's another cluster of characters the spirit guide, and the spirit guide is a current day name for being that has been in the in the world of dreams for a very long time. In the old Greek tradition, this was called the diamond, D a i m o n not to be confused with the demon in later Christianity. Yet the diamond was considered to be the guide that comes with a person into their life at birth, knows their calling is there to awaken them to their calling. And it's also a represent of their talents. And we all have a diamond or multiple diamond and in Roman tradition is what's called a genius, which comes from the North African word Genie, which means a spirit that is standing next to you. So we had we all have a genius and there's a really important distinction that the row Humans made it, we have a genius, we are not a genius. These days, it's somebody lumped into the ghetto who say, Oh, this person is a genius, and also referring to an exceptional talent. But we all have a talent, we all have gifts, whether it's cooking, or humor, or interviewing, or playing basketball, or doing finance, or whatever, people come into the world with a talent and multiple talents. And these talents want to live through us into the world. And so whether it's the diamond in, in Greek, the genius in, in the Roman times in African traditions is called the divine twin. And sometimes it's called the soul. And we, our culture very often speaks about a spirit guide, a figure that also lives in the dream that knows about us knows our calling, in his on our side, to help us be purposeful and meaningful in this life. And you can build a relationship into dream. And of course, once we open our eyes, the world of dream isn't gone. We are just not in it. But it's coexisting to this reality. And your spirit guide is still with you. And so you can build a relationship in the dream but also in this reality. And and it's of course, very helpful. If you listen to your intuitions, your your the feelings in your body. Because then you become more optimal in navigating the relatively complexity of life.
Alex Ferrari 26:39
It's really interesting, too, because I had a dream a little while ago, where it was extremely stressful time in my life thing is moving at a time is extremely stressful. And I just had a dream out of the blue, my deceased grandmother just showed up. I haven't thought about her in years. Don't dream with her very often. She just showed up. And I was in a bed, and she was there just, you know, kind of just stroking my arm like it took it's gonna be okay. It was fascinating. And then I woke up. And I was like, Wow, I wonder what that was. And after more, you know, thought about the procedure. She was just saying, like, it's gonna be okay. Just showing love in a typical time.
Machiel Klerk 27:22
Yeah. Isn't that great that we know that actually, the ancestors on the other side, are still there. They look over our shoulders. They send us love and good feelings when we're in trouble or, or rejoice when we have success with us. And they all allow for a massive amount of free will. That is why there's not often a need to do this. Sometimes there is a suggestion, but it's that comes from your spirit guide, but it's a little bit less frequent. But the but the answers are there to to support. And this is also in many of the shamanic traditions, the experience,
Alex Ferrari 28:11
It's really interesting when you're saying this, when you were just explaining that suggestion part, like they don't tell you what to do. They give you suggestions, I have to use the analogy of of a scene in a movie, where there are actors in the scene, and they're trying to perform the scene. But the director, which would then be the spirit guide comes in and goes, Why don't you try this? He's not telling you walk from here to there and say, these lines, like, why don't you try this. And it's kind of a directing thing, but it's your choice as the performer to interpret that and, and play the scene. So it's a very similar, it's just an analogy that just flew into my head when you said that.
Machiel Klerk 28:51
Yeah, that was a great analogy, that would be the spirit guide. And then behind the spirit guide behind the director, in the dream mission is in larger awareness,
Alex Ferrari 29:01
That would be the producer and the investor.
Machiel Klerk 29:08
The ultimate creative
Alex Ferrari 29:10
Without the money, that's the whole, the whole thing doesn't go through sir.
Machiel Klerk 29:15
That's very true. And, and the larger awareness is, is very non judgmental, to the larger awareness will, will, will support you will give you support, but if you do left or right, it is it doesn't matter to it. But but your producer is more aimed at making sure you stay connected to your calling. So if you're an actor, and you're starting to be a banker, you might you might feel a lot of anxiety. And that is just your producer, telling you hey, you're on the wrong path.
Alex Ferrari 30:01
The director the director is the one kind of guiding, you're like, No, no, you you're going, I don't want to I don't want you to play this scene as a comic. Don't play like Jim Carrey. I need you to play it like Meryl Streep. The so it's very different ways. But yeah, it was just an interesting, it's just an interesting idea that kind of flew into my head when we were talking. And I pay attention to those things when especially in these kinds of conversations, because this information goes out into the world. So when something like that does come to me in the middle of a conversation, I was like, just bring it up and see what you have to say. Now, you've talked about a five step method to effectively effectively get guidance from dreams. What is that five step method?
Machiel Klerk 30:39
Yeah, that is in that book that I wrote dream guidance where I really write out the steps. But let me give you an example. In order to do dream incubation, ask your it's very simple. Ask your dream, a question. And it is that simple. But to really effectively do it, I looked at all these cultures around the world that did it, tested it and then desolated to something we all can do. And recently, there was a man who had been in marriage for several years, left this left a marriage. And after a while photo, I'm ready for dating. He started to dating again, didn't really flow as well as he wanted. And so he came to me and wanted to do and brief depth series, eight times work on a specific issue. And he said, My issue is, I want to find a great partner. And shall I ask him to dream for that? So it's, it's very open. But that is that could be, but then he reflected on the thought, Well, what I really want to know is, what is my biggest obstacle in dating? Because I do find here and there a person, but I feel there's an obstacle that prevents me from deeply connecting. And, and so he said, he wrote down what is my biggest obstacle in dating life. And then he did a couple of rituals. And rituals are just that if you've spent some time and effort into communicating to your spirit guide, or the larger awareness, like, Hey, this is serious. I'm, I need some help. And so he made a drawing of a heart, move a question mark on it, and spent some time meditating, did light a candle, went to bed, meditated in bed for a little bit on the question and fell asleep, had a dream. The next morning, he wrote down to dream, which as you mentioned earlier, essential because otherwise the evaporate, write down to dream. And then work on it. And the dream he had was, he said, I'm driving in a tunnel. In front of me yesterday is another car. And I think that is in the in the in the distance in Mountain Lion. When I get closer, I see it's a tiger. I get really scared. And I stopped the car and back out. And then there was the dream. And so instead of asking the question, what does this mean? I want to offer a suggestion to people to ask the question, what is happening? Because what is happening doesn't require that you know, a lot of symbols, you don't need to know car and Tiger and tunnel, you can just write out what is happening. And this person said, Well, what is happening is, I'm moving along. And when I see I think I see something dangerous. And when I get closer, I think I see something dangerous. That's also really beautiful. And I get really scared. And when I get scared my impulses backing out.
Alex Ferrari 33:51
That's his dream. That's his dating life.
Machiel Klerk 33:54
That is what what happens. That is his biggest obstacle. And he says, gosh, I noticed my when I get to intimate or the partner is really beautiful. I back out. Now, now we can start working on that. And that's that's how dreams can can help a person.
Alex Ferrari 34:16
How why is it that when we dream if we don't write it down, it's gone by the morning sometimes like I'll, you know, in the morning I'll wake up in the dream and I'm like, you know that half dream half or half asleep half awake moment. And I'm reviewing the dream in my head and I'm going I gotta remember this. Okay, so as the guy with a with a with a jacket and a kick in the balls, like a guy with a jacket, I kick the ball, and you repeat it, you'll be repeating it like I'll remember. I'll remember I'll remember. And then you go by business in the morning and then you're like, it was it was I think it was a guy. But was what was he wearing? What happened at the end? And by the end of the day, you just like, did I well, I know I dreamed about something by I just can't remember what it is. What it from your research. Why is that?
Machiel Klerk 35:04
Yeah, that is because at night when we sleep, our short term memory goes offline, it just stops working very actively. And it only kicks back online when we wake up. And so it doesn't to do with intelligence willpower. It is not, it's not storing. And therefore, what you did, what you do really well initially is you repeat the dream a couple of times or several times, because that that makes it stored. And then at least it gets stored already a little bit. And then you write it down. And then it gets stored. And then your memory is back and you will remember it. But that is essential. And I still have to, I wake up once in a while Oh, my gosh, I know the research. I've seen the effort, the scientific research about it the experience. And I think, oh, no, I, this one, I remember
Alex Ferrari 36:08
There are certain dreams that though even when I wasn't writing them down, they stuck. And I think a lot of those times they're very emotional. They they attach to you in an emotional sense. Like that. I mean, I'm talking about a dream I had when I was 12. Yeah, today. And it because at the time, it really wasn't emotional. It just stock hard. And I could, you know, as we're talking, I could probably bring up five, maybe 810 different dreams I've had over my life that I can still vaguely remember. But, but it's I think the more emotional they are.
Machiel Klerk 36:47
Yeah, you're spot on. It's the emotion, it's emotion that is correlated with memory. So when an event is very emotional, we will remember it. If it is not, it's not, we actually dream two to three hours each night. So if you look at your older dreams you have between 10 and now yours. And you know 10 Because 10 were super, it was the it was the freaking monster it was the exciting ecstatic experience. Something like that was locked up in jail like oh, my gosh,
Alex Ferrari 37:28
Right. Or you're drowning or you're falling or Yeah. Which also I wanted to ask you that, that that concept of if you die in the dream, you die in life, that whole you know Freddy Krueger vibe of the dreams. But I don't remember ever I've had dreams that I've I vaguely remember dreams that were dangerous, you know, maybe falling. I think we've all had a dream of falling at one point or another. We've all had a dream of flying at one point or another, you know, falling off of a building. But I've never, I don't remember at least dying in a dream. Is that? What's your experience with the concept of dying in a dream? Not dying in a dream? All that stuff?
Machiel Klerk 38:10
Yeah. Well, to comment on the first one, like they've done research on the most common dream themes, flying, falling, losing teeth, not being able to get to the steering wheel. Those are in the most common dream theme. So everyone has had probably one one of those. It is it is it is it's inaccurate. People have died in the dream that they're still alive. The dream is just another rung where you have all kinds of experiences. People sometimes get shot or die. It's an it's just an experience. And
Alex Ferrari 38:55
So we shouldn't we shouldn't be scared of Freddy Krueger is what you're saying.
Machiel Klerk 38:59
You don't have to be
Alex Ferrari 39:02
By the way, what an amazing character to have. Someone who kills you and your dreams. Just absolutely brilliant, horrific all at the same time.
Machiel Klerk 39:13
Yeah, it's terrifying. Yeah, totally terrifying, because everyone's dreams.
Alex Ferrari 39:19
So that's the thing that's so terrifying about that character. Now you've done so much research with not just Western dreamers, but dreaming dreamers from all sorts of different cultures. Is there anything that is different in different cultures and the way they approach dreams? Because I know Africans African dream are different and the what they how that represents in their culture. How is it different different cultures?
Machiel Klerk 39:46
Well, different cultures have somewhat different ideas about certain characters you meet, like one culture sees the snake is healing and the other thing is it's it's the default. That's also why these dream dictionaries have some merit but don't truly, truly work. Because it's for a big, it's, as you already said, part of your dream characters are, are your own memory based taking form and shape, your own experiences taking on the baths and the journeys of the world. And then there are some some overlap and what certain characters do mean like the old wise man, now you get more to the those Jungian archetypes. But even that is somewhat broad. In Africa, like an West in somewhat classic Western, it's very interpretive. I have this, and this says this about my, my personal life in Africa, I've worked a lot with in South Africa, because I was born in South Africa with the indigenous healers. And it's, it is very much about what does ancestor want? And how do I build a relationship with my ancestors and my spirit guides, and what do they show me in a dream, and I enter into a different realm, that has nothing to do with this little self, I am connected to a larger ocean of a spiritual realm. So it's, it's different. In Tibetan Buddhism, the goal is not so much the interpretation or the work with dreams, but through dreams, to get an understanding of the nature of reality. And ultimately, it's one of the six paths to enlightenment, because you go through the for the dream to the, to the stages that below are behind the dream. And you you learn how your own mind is CO creating reality. And just like it beans in the dream, Beth, in a certain way, you see a whole world in a dream. Now, this reality is, is created in somewhat similar ways. And your own mind, beings a big part of your reality, and a big part of how your expectation, and willpower and intent and belief system formed the color by which the dream is made, which is also the color by which you actually see this world. Because what you see in this world is really your own mind, you will see it your own soul. And what you see is not literally out there, you think it's there. But it's all it's all here and paint a user's to do to create a verb to create what you see is based on karma, complexes, or disbelief, systems expectations that you have. And, and once you see, once you see that you can start working on, on on seeing through it, or relating differently to your own, to your own soul, your own mind. And then in the street. And in the Tibetan tradition, you step through it, and then you get in a state that lies behind it. And that's then eventually you get into a real enlightened consciousness. And that's completely different than Africa or our western tradition.
Alex Ferrari 43:21
It's really interesting, because I love what you're saying about that we create our own experience and our own our own worlds here, just like we do in the dreamscape. Because I always like using the example because people asked me that all the time. It was like, you know, what do you think is? You know, how are you going to approach? What might be coming down the line like, you know, an economic disaster, possible war, environmental disaster, like, how do you approach that? And I said, and I told the person who asked me that, I said, Well, I think it's really interesting, because I think the reality that we create is purely based on how we see it. And in the Great Depression, one man lost his entire fortune, and jumped out a window. And the next office, somebody was making a fortune. So even in the worst of times, you know, even in the Holocaust, there was a Schindler saving people in the depths of absolute horror. So there's always there's always a way there's always enough when one's having a bad day, someone's having a good day. You know, and I always loved it. I always love using the example of that good and bad are very relative perspectives. There is no true good or bad quote, unquote, because it's all about perspective. So if I get into a car accident with you, you and I had a bad day. When you and I take our cars to the mechanic, they're having a good day.
Machiel Klerk 44:55
Wow. But it's it's even. It's a bad, bad day for us. because our judgment guess, understandably so, but it's making a saying, I like this, and I don't like that. And if you stop judging the world, right, it's all experience. And and then indeed, there is no good and bad. And then there's just how do I relate to, to reality? And,
Alex Ferrari 45:25
Yeah, because what happens happens if a tree falls in the forest, and happens to kill somebody, it's not a bad tree. It's a tree that happened to fall. Yeah. And that person was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The tree is not evil, the tree is not bad. It is unfortunate, from the perspective of the loss of someone that we care about at that moment in time, but it is what it is. And if you look at things like that, the world changes a bit.
Machiel Klerk 46:00
The world changes radically. It's only it's really difficult to give up your judgments on the world so hard.
Alex Ferrari 46:09
It's how we judge everything. And it's I think it's, why do you think that is? Why is it? Why do we as a species, constantly judging others? And I mean, when we say that, I mean, like, even even aborigines and people in the Amazon, there's jealousy? There's, there's all of these kinds of things that like, Oh, she's got this or he's got that. Why is that? Why is that so inherent in our species?
Machiel Klerk 46:37
Well, we know it's there. And, and it is, it is also if you're jealous, it's, you don't want to feel it. And it is painful. And so you want the outside world to change so that you inside feel well again. But if you actually know that the jealousy resides within you, you can start relating different to the jealousy and work on, on on on that, to release that find a different way. Because then then you don't have the outside world than the outside world, first of all, doesn't have to be judged. And doesn't have to be, you don't have to change reality out there. Where it's really the reality inside that you cannot deal with. And that then starts causing judgments and likes and dislikes. Yeah. Well, if you if you if you can, if you can find a different way of being with jealousy or sadness or anger or happiness, then it doesn't it does not matter as much what the outside world is doing.
Alex Ferrari 47:49
Yeah, it's it's as they say, is that when you're angry, or you hate someone, you're only hurting yourself, you don't
Machiel Klerk 47:57
Hate the hate lay the hate lifts and you ran it It is you who thinks that that other person should be different. And you're not with maybe that is true, maybe it isn't. Because you have all kinds of judgments, and you don't like feeling the pain. And therefore you have hate. And so you're already not a capable of dealing with pain that lies beneath that. And if you are better capable of dealing with pain, that person was a terrible person was just that person did something very terrible, but it wouldn't cost his hate. And, you
Alex Ferrari 48:36
Now, can we talk about the importance of the question? The importance of the question, not only in our dreams, but in our lives, because it's, people always ask, what is the answer? I go, No, I always say what is the question? And I've said, I've heard that from so many different gurus and self help experts, and you know, and all these kinds of people, because we always want the answer. But the answer comes only when you ask the proper question. So first, what's the importance of that question within the dream world, and then also within our reality in our normal reality?
Machiel Klerk 49:15
Well, I love to see, not what's the the answer is not so important. What's the question? And Einstein also, like many of the gurus, famously said, if I have a problem that my life depends upon, and I've got 60 minutes to figure it out. I will spend the first 15 minutes figuring out the right question, because once I know the right question, I can solve the problem in 10 minutes. And so many aspects of life hinge on asking great questions, whether it's the relationship with our self, why can I not lose weight? Right? Very unhelpful question because your mind starts saying
Alex Ferrari 49:58
You're an idiot. You're Damn, you've never been able to do it and bla bla bla bla bla,
Machiel Klerk 50:03
One helpful question. How can I lose weight is already better? Your mind does respond different. Interpersonal, deepens intimacy to ask really great questions that you want to know. That is what, what, where you really can connect. And also with the dream, if you ask a dream, a great question, the dream will answer your question. It's like, ask and she and you shall be given, but ask better questions, and you get better answers. And so you want to spend in this dream incubation technique, a lot of time thinking about what kind of questions Shall I ask? What do I really want to know. And many, like in the Union tradition, they look at fairy tales and mythologies for psychological patterns. And what they see is very often the task of the hero or the heroine to accomplish the task to lift the spell hinges on asking the right question. And in partially fall, that mythology from the Middle Ages, Parsifal was in the castle and needed to ask the right question that would set free the king and the whole kingdom, as when he asked whom does the Grail serve? The whole castle erupted in cheers and we're excited because there was the moment that the spell was broken. And a great question brings us in a new state of consciousness, it transforms the old problem. And we find we find a solution in a different state of consciousness. So asking great questions is, is often a prerequisite for transformation and reaching different states of consciousness. And what I noticed in the dream incubation technique is that people sometimes say doesn't work for me. And then I would look at whether you ask, Oh, I want to know how I get rich and find a beautiful wife. All right, to valid desires, but two questions in one very difficult for your dream to answer. And how do you know which part of the dream answers to one or the other? And yes, and no questions aren't good? And very close to questions? Should I do this? Especially if you know that, there's a lot of free will. And the larger awareness, there's no shoot. And shoot is very, very punishing, punitive in element as if there's one right thing? I can go laughs You can go right. But if you say, what would it look like for me to go left? Then the dream will show and something? Or even?
How will I feel? Going to the city. If you see a burning house, a car crash, not going to be great experience. If you see flowers come out of the ground sunrise looks like a good experience. So finding the right question essential for relationship with self relationship with others, an essential ingredient in dream incubation, because the dream will answer you. But the better your question is, the better your answer
Alex Ferrari 53:27
Is kind of like that. You know, like, so many people ask the question, How can I be rich? It's a horrible question. It's like, what can I do to find a job? Or what business can I build to generate more revenue? What? What can I do to change this or that it's as you have to start, you have to really start thinking about how to construct the proper question. Because if you ask if you ask in your dream, if your dream incubation, you ask how can I be rich? It's way too broad. And it doesn't it's not a good question. Whereas
Machiel Klerk 54:06
For multiple reasons, because the dream wants to help you become yourself. So not everybody is first of all meant to be rich. The other element in it is, why do you ask that? What is your motive? Well, I want to be rich, because then I'm happy. Right? So okay, well, a more fundamental question then is how can you be happy? Because richness? Sure, it's going to help somewhere but richness is not going to really drive happiness. So if you want to be happy, that's a great question. So your motive is to is you haven't you haven't reflected on the motive there.
Alex Ferrari 54:48
It's really interesting too, because a lot of times when we ask questions in our lives, that's the beginning of the conversation. There's deeper and deep multiple layers like I want to be rich. Well, why do you want To Be Rich, because rich people are happy, will you? Why do you want to be happy? Oh, because, you know, I want this, because I really what's making you unhappy? Oh, well, I don't have, I don't have a girlfriend or I don't have a boyfriend only. And if I had money, I could be able to impress them to have that like, really. So you just and it just starts going down a rabbit hole until you really start as therapy essentially. Yeah.
Machiel Klerk 55:28
You have to do a bit of self therapy with Did you ask yourself some of these questions of why what do I really want to know? What's really on my mind? And then make sure you formulate it well in the in the formulation comes down to it that just just one question at a time. It may check your motive. That's important.
Alex Ferrari 55:51
Yeah, it's really fascinating this the whole concept of dreams and what they can do for us. Is there anything that you can suggest on how to build a better relationship with our higher self so we can tap into this, this kind of communication, this kind of guidance, more often than just like a one off every once in a while where you can literally every night go in and get to truly get the guidance that you need to flourish your authentic self in this life.
Machiel Klerk 56:20
You can, people can just start by writing or talking and saying, Higher Self larger awareness God define whatever name you want to give. Bob, Bob, I listened to this talk today, I learned that you seem also to help and guide through dreams. This is great. Because you can build that relationship in through dreams. And it is not only in the dream time that this will happen. It will also strengthen your intuitions. synchronistic encounters your eye to see a synchronicity is helpful coincidences. And, but just right to drink, or talk to her to say hi herself. I have as actually I've been anxious a lot lately. And I don't really know why. If you know why, then you don't ask what causes it. But then you say, how can I deal with it. And then your dream will we'll come up with a suggestion. And the next day, make sure you write it down. So that you really treat the hire yourself or a spirit guide, as an independent friend, respected friend. And if it gives you a suggestion, even if you don't get it right away, write it down. And then think it say I'm so thankful you gave this to me. And most of the time, it makes sense after a bit of posturing. If it doesn't, you just say, I'm grateful that you think so highly about me, I still don't get it. Let's do this again, and dumb it down for me. Then you You build a relationship because it's very relational. Old tribes already noticed that if they listened to their dreams, and followed up on it, they got more dreams and better dreams. And you get you. It's always there. But due to freewill, it will let you figure it out on your own. But if you say I would love help, it's excited to help. If you say I don't need help, it's equally excited and loving towards you. So you can decide. Now life is really complex. And there's a unbelievable intelligent phenomenon in the depths of our soul that's willing to help you get to help. Try it. And Bill.
Alex Ferrari 58:55
We all need some help. I love I love that you were saying that these coincidences that happen in our lives. I truly am not. I'm one of those that don't believe in coincidences. I believe that everything happens for a reason everything is there being guided, it's part of your your experience in your journey. And I use an example a lot of times, it's like, when I was starting this show, I met this one person who called me out of the blue, who was a guest on one of my other shows, called me out of the blue just as I was about to open this one without them even knowing recommended, hey, do you mind interviewing this other guy? Just such an odd request never happened before? And I said sure. And I didn't know who that guy was. But he ended up being a very big rock star. One of the biggest rock stars in a certain genre of music from the 80s in the 90s. And I said sure has he ever had a spiritual conversation? He's like, No, but I think he'd love to do it. So then I had an interview with him talking about spirituality and that Our episode exploded right when I launched my show, and it brought me all these new viewers and brought my show up to it was so serendipitous. Yeah, that happened that that didn't happen a year ago, before, then happen to hear later, haven't at the moment that I was about to launch this new show. So there's these little things that just constantly happen throughout my life. And I've seen it happen in other people's lives, as I as I study other people's lives and hear stories from other people, that there is no coincidences. And as and as you connect more to your higher self more towards the spiritual, that you'll become more aware of these things, and you start attracting them into your life.
Machiel Klerk 1:00:45
Yeah, yeah, is a great way of saying more aware. And it also shows that there's an intelligence at work, that, that you could never figure this out. But it brings this into your life, and you just recognize it and engage with it. And it is both everywhere, where there's a lot of energy, we should take a look, whether it's an energy that looks like God, it's interesting, or something scary. Or the faceless guy at the door, it's like, what, what, who is who's visiting, where there's energy Take, take an additional look, if it's not some something that life is trying to configure it into your life, that you that would be helpful, and your judgment on what is good and bad. Might cloud actually really seeing what is trying to present itself.
Alex Ferrari 1:01:44
Now, I'm going to ask you a few questions asked all my guests, what is your definition of living a good life?
Machiel Klerk 1:01:51
Well, have a sense of being in touch with, with a sense of purpose. So this, this, this sense that we come into the world, with, with, with gifts back of goodie that we need to distribute to our community, and the ability to share your gift with, with other people, gifts, gifts, a sense of meaning and purpose. And if you're that can do it with some people you enjoy. And that would be that would be a great life. And then, of course, if you can make it nice for yourself with good meals and enjoy life and create an eye for beauty, that would start enhancing the experience.
Alex Ferrari 1:02:37
What is your mission in this life?
Machiel Klerk 1:02:40
Well, I'm of course, don't know it for sure. But what I do know that I feel very cool to help people connect with the world of dream and its inhabitants. And that's why I wrote a book that I felt called to do. Or I built an organization called the Young platform, that out of a dream where we provide courses on young and spiritual psychology from Shadow Work and synchronicity and archetypes, and just make that accessible to the general audience to give them tools and perspectives with which they can connect to who they are, and bring out what they do. And in doing that, I feel I feel a lot of a lot of joy, and it brings up all other challenges in life that are good for me to deal with.
Alex Ferrari 1:03:31
And what is the ultimate purpose of life?
Machiel Klerk 1:03:34
Well, probably giving expression to that what lives inside of you
Alex Ferrari 1:03:42
And my friend, where where can people find out more about you and the work that you're doing?
Machiel Klerk 1:03:47
Well, there's two places one is the jungplatform jungplatform.com. And we have over 150 courses for beginners and intermediate in African shamanism, Rumi, union psychology, dreams, a lot of dream work. And then on my personal website, Machielklerk, which probably have to write down somewhere Machielklerk or typing dream guidance. That is the book and that I've not seen, it generates My name as well, that people can learn a little bit about me and my dreams and that I'm a therapist and a social entrepreneur with young platform and do consultancy with companies on innovation, creativity and leadership.
Alex Ferrari 1:04:35
Machiel, it has been a pleasure talking to you, my friend, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing your knowledge and experience with us and I appreciate the work that you're doing out there and hopefully, this conversation will help some people help connect with their higher self so their dreams and help them get guy a little bit more guidance in the world that God knows we all needed in this life.
Machiel Klerk 1:04:54
Thank you, Alex. It was such a joy to be here and you ask great questions which made to conversation flow easily. So thank you for for that.
Links and Resources
- Machiel Klerk – Official Site
- Jung Platform – Psychological and Spiritual Perspectives
- Dream Guidance: Connecting to the Soul Through Dream Incubation
- Listen to Audible
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