The Sixth Sense was an extraordinary movie. The unique interpretation (at least at the time it was released) of the interaction in the relationship between the recently departed who may not be fully aware of the changes in their living circumstances, and the clairvoyants who don’t quite understand their natural gift or talent at their disposal and their responsibility to their community was inspirational for me. The very first time I saw the movie I sat down thinking I was watching a horror flick. At the end of the movie I had to change its classification to “fictional spiritual education”. With the entire story experienced and the ending busted, the next time I watched the movie I had a better appreciation for the movie’s relationship between the living and the spiritual. The scariness was replaced with understanding.
One of my favorite scenes in the movie was the conversation between Dr. Malcolm Crowe (played by Bruce Willis) and his wife Anna Crowe (played by Olivia Williams). Unaware of his untimely demise Dr. Crowe engages his wife in a conversation while she’s sleeping. The widow Crowe asked her deceased husband why he had to go and Dr. Crowe, as well as the audience, endures his epiphany and recognizes his true condition for the first time. While virtually the entire movie is spent focusing on Dr. Crowe helping Cole Sear (played by Haley Joel Osment) come to terms with his ability to communicate with and his natural attraction for restless spirits, the climax of the movie happens when Cole returns the favor and helps Dr. Crowe come to terms with the fact that he is a restless spirit.
The Sixth Sense was released two years before I even knew about the spiritual system of Ifa. But I was intrigued by the movie’s perception that the dream state can be used to open our subconscious up to communication with spiritual entities. I used to think that conversations with ancestors, the Supreme Being, Jesus, Orisas, and other spirits while sleeping were nothing more than extraordinary dreams or movie production of the mind driven by the vivid imagination of the dreamer. However, while dreams are often the product of imagination or an upset stomach, dreams can be one of the finest ways to determine one’s psychology as well as develop one’s spirituality.
The major problem with dreams is in its accurate interpretation. The assumption that dreams are little more than the stuff of imagination is just one of the possibilities for dream misinterpretation. Unfortunately, the total dismissal of a dream is far from being the worst possible analysis. Interpreting a dream message into the exact opposite of the message can be far more damaging. For example: a person has a dream that they are drowning in money. One interpretation could be that the dreamer is destined to be able to swim in their money. But, another interpretation is that the dreamer is obsessed with materialism to the point that it is a detriment to his/her life. Unfortunately, depending on the demeanor of the dreamer, the inaccurate and the depth of their single mindedness, the information could be used to justify the single minded pursuit of materialism that the dream was trying to warn the dreamer about.
Psychologist, parapsychologist, and other scientist may argue over the validity of any claim that ancestors or other spiritual entities will interact with us whenever we need a course correction as we traverse our individual life paths. In their esteemed opinion our dreams are nothing more than our own subconscious doing its best to make its own correction. Maybe, but I do know that when it is late at night and the air is very still without the slightest trace of a breeze, the flame from a seven day glass candle that I keep in the room with me will start to dance back and forth, up and down as if someone was gently blowing their breath directly down into the glass surrounding and protecting the flame.
When I was introduced into the Ifa tradition one of the first suggestions I was given was to keep a candle by the bed as I sleep. The candle helps to detect spirits within the vicinity when they want to make their presence known. I was taken aback the first time I saw the candle flicker in the middle of the night and refused to stop. It is nothing that is as dramatic as what may be found in some stereotypical voodoo film. But regardless, the first time you see the quiet flicker of a flame in the middle of the night giving evidence that you may not be as alone as you might think can be a bit unsettling even when you know what to expect.
One should be very careful because enlightened ancestors rarely want to do anything that might cause fright and they may withdraw if they sense the buildup of anxiety. But if you can keep the chills at bay and keep your mind clear you may be surprised at your own conversations with ancestors that come in your dream. Just remember to make sure to be careful with the interpretation of any message that comes.