Higher expression: how to dream, create and damn well get the job done!
Dreams can be very powerful things. Having a good dream can put us in a fantastic mood all day, whereas a nightmare can really upset our equilibrium. Discovering exactly why we dream has been something that has kept psychologists and philosophers busy for generations. One popular theory is that we use our dreaming capabilities to subconsciously process all kinds of ‘higher expressions’, such as memories, emotions and desires, as well as confronting our anxieties and practising confronting potentially threatening situations. Sigmund Freud believed dreams were a way of releasing our supressed longings. Meanwhile, another school of thought is that dreams are totally random, don’t mean anything and serve no significant purpose.
Either way, having the capacity to get in touch with higher forms of feelings and expression is an attractive concept for many, and a great starting point to examine our goals and aspirations on a more in-depth level. Whether we really do use dreams to process all this or not, having a greater awareness of how our lives can be affected by higher expressions like feeling, creating and aspiring can only enrich our experiences on this mortal coil.
Delving deeper into Grant Soosalu’s work around Loving your Life, we come across his thoughts on feelings and learning how to live with and take control of them. Many people believe that we can exert little to no control over how we feel or react to a situation, however this is not true. Through closer study of how emotions are linked to our physical reactions and thought processes, we can learn how to read our bodily reactions and analyse our past responses to similar conditions to predict feelings before they arrive. This in turn helps us to practise controlling and altering our feelings so that we can choose not to become overwhelmed by them.
There is a majority consensus that our emotions are linked strongly to the nervous system and the head-brain’s physical response to certain memories, stimuli and thoughts. As the brain reacts to the mental stimulus provided by a feeling such as fear, so the body mirrors its reaction with physical responses, which deepens our emotions and prepares us physically to deal with whatever our brains believe is causing the feeling, e.g. something threatening appearing in front of us. By understanding this process and learning how to engage our whole body by using our heart and gut brains as well for a more rounded response, we can overcome any initial instincts to act impulsively, based on our immediate feelings alone.
A useful tool to help learn how to manage our feelings and adapt our physical reactions is the Cybernetic loop. Drawn from NLP theory, this model works by interlinking your thinking (internal processing) with your feelings (inner state) and physiology (external behaviour). As the body and mind start to work more in harmony with each other in this way, so the overwhelming nature of negative or frightening emotions can melt away, to be replaced with a more reasoned – and carefully chosen – feeling in response.
Curiosity is the friend of creativity
Strongly linked to feelings and emotions is the desire to create, produce and leave something of yourself behind you in the world. Creativity is a beautiful form of higher expression that can take pretty much any form you want it to. From arts and crafts to music; scientific inventions to architecture, every single aspect of life has been brought about and improved by creativity. We are all creative, despite what some people say. A lot of the fun in life is working out what area of creativity appeals to you most, and discovering the areas of making and creating in which you can thrive and excel.
Being creative adds freshness to your world, with a generous side helping of novelty, difference and innovation. It is worth taking plenty of time to indulge your inner creator, whether that is through actively taking part in a creative project or pastime or setting aside a quiet period to sit and think and dream about what you want to do next. Above all, creativity must stem from curiosity. “What would happen if I…?” The world has never stood still for long – someone, somewhere always comes up with a new approach, a clever idea or a different way of looking at things, which is what makes creativity not only an important form of higher expression, but a crucial tool for survival.
Go for it!
Soosalu dedicates an entire exploration in Love Your Life to the compelling command to: ‘go for it’. Or being ‘gusty enough to live your dreams’, as he puts it. Dreaming big and then working your socks off to make it happen sounds like a hugely worthwhile pursuit and a great way to embrace your higher expression. However, it doesn’t come without risks. Working out what will make you happy and fulfilled is one thing; actually being able to follow through is another. Make sure you know the difference between dreams and possible outcomes.
Just as you would approach a business plan, make sure your dreams are ‘SMART’ – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. This keeps your feet if not entirely on the ground, then at least floating only a few feet above it. Of course you can – and should – dream big, but this should be tempered with careful thought and realistic analysis of what part of your dreams can you actually achieve, and how hard are you prepared to work to do so. Finally, we return to the mBraining idea of listening to the brain located in your gut in order to add courage and determination into the mix. Not for nothing is a brave action or decision referred to as ‘gutsy’. Your gut brain is also highly attuned to feelings around fear and danger and is the base from which we analyse risk and prepare for the unknown.
If you can use your gut brain to fill your heart and head with courage, passion and strength and align these with greater control over your emotions and a heightened desire to create, then there really is little that can stop you from getting to your feet, taking a deep breath and just going for it!
 Source: https://www.verywellmind.com/why-do-we-dream-top-dream-theories-2795931. Accessed 24 March 2021
 Source: ‘Loving Your Life’, by Grant Soosalu, 2015, pp183-188
 Source: ‘Loving Your Life’, by Grant Soosalu, 2015, p185
 Source: ‘Loving Your Life’, by Grant Soosalu, 2015, p127
 Source: ‘Loving Your Life’, by Grant Soosalu, 2015, pp81-87
 Source: https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/other/smart-goal. Accessed 24 March 2021