Interview with author, educator and corporate adviser Marsha Sinetar, Dreams unto Holiness, Exploring the Power of a Sweet Transcendent Sleep, 2016, Center Publications
Questions by: Dana Marie
Answers from Marsha Sinetar
In the preview p. xviii, you state “we don’t perfect ourselves or earn our way into heaven.” Are you saying that virtuous behavior doesn’t get one to heaven?
Sinetar: Not at all. I’m pointing to the Source of our virtue, suggesting that, as James 1:17 teaches, “every good and perfect gift” –thought, speech, choice –flows from “Above,” from God – or if one prefers– the Transcendent realm.
Of course, we don’t sit around waiting for a bolt of electricity to force us to be kind, to expend effort. But our very desire, the idea, to move in virtuous directions is not of what Scripture calls our fleshly mind. We’re quickened to virtue. Our job is to choose, to affirm that prompt.
Also, your question leads to a very deep theological issue: Grace vs. “works.”
Books and sermons continue to debate it. My view is that we’re called to be good, called to turn our mind upwards to the Celestial. As mentioned in the last part of my book, even very young children exhibit that call–if we have an eye for such things. We’re summoned to virtue or good works – “…lest anyone should boast.”
As that lovely old gospel has it, “It’s Grace that saved a wretch like me…”
You mention classic dream interpretations such as “every character in the dream is us” and “every character is mirroring part of us”. What other secular dream interpretation theories have you researched and how did they effect your position on dreams?
Sinetar: I can’t claim much expertise in the psychology of dreams. Years ago, while in therapy, I eagerly read Jung, the Jungians, and of course investigated my own dreams. I lost interest—no doubt, the main effect of that study was to legitimize our so-called irrational depths, the illogical logic of our dream life. Being highly intuitive, I found my own way – that word study method described, for instance, in part 2. My ideas are more contemplative or mystical than secular and tend not to follow the “law of adjustment” of most psychology.
Decades of high-trust, professional relationships with gifted and talented students, colleagues and highly creative leaders, plus my own dreams, led me to investigate the patterns of what I’ve called “holy” dreams.
Those decades of hearing confidences about everything, including profound dreams – those that guided someone to, say, a vocation, solutions, creative life-choices – prompted my bias in Dreams… that there is a link, or shared experience, between the minds of those in creative fields and those with what is called a religious impulse. I see similar traits in, say, some saintly types and some in the creative arts and/or inventive fields: absorption, engagement with a much-loved pursuit, keen focus, and more.
How would you approach a person who is not Christian with these ideas and techniques? How would your book be different if it were written for unaffiliated Americans, Buddhists or Muslims? Do you believe your theories are universally true?
Sinetar: My whole book is an “approach” to those with diverse beliefs. Most of the reviews prove the point. I tend to speak to another’s seat of sensibility – not to this or that creed. I grew up in Asia; my family was like a little United Nations— different faiths, no faiths, urbane. And I seem to lack the “thought police” gene. My books are called “crossover” – span multiple schools of thought. And yet I witness to my own faith. Even so, some of my closest friends wince if I mention the word God.
I sense a universal apprehension of unseen Good, or God, or ultimate Reality. So I speak to that aspect in others, as much as humanly possible.
If I wrote for a homogeneous cultural group, I’d need a few decades of experience hearing about that group’s inner life. I believe my books resonate with many readers because they meet themselves in the ideas, the stories, the situations. I wouldn’t change much otherwise.
How do you work through writer’s block?
Sinetar: Well, that’s rare–if I do, it’s usually because I’m burned out, or have pressured myself into a project or a working climate abhorrent to me. As a natural solitary, I need huge amounts of time alone. As I think Picasso noted, I need the solitude without which no serious work is possible. My contemplative life fuels creative zest – but it has cost me. I guess I’m the sort who needs to write from the heart –for herself. It’s said we should write about what we know… I write about what interests me, and that keeps me highly motivated. Writer’s block, for me, comes when I’m off my own mark.
How does your inspiration for a new book happen? What’s next?
Sinetar: I’m one of those people who is easily inspired: Mostly when I’m looking the other way – watching films, listening to music, weeding, taking walks. That’s one of the reasons I encourage readers in Dreams… to take more time to just laze about. It’s so fruitful.
And next? I’d like to write autobiography. I don’t quite have a handle on it yet, and as I told a friend, I may need to be sedated before I can write about my childhood, losses, those I love most.
Review of Dreams Unto Holiness, Exploring the Power of a Sweet, Transcendent Sleep by Marsha Sinetar
By Dana Marie
Marsha Sinetar’s book Dreams Unto Holiness, Exploring the Power of a Sweet, Transcendent Sleep, gives you practical techniques and guidelines for using your sleep time to inspire and nourish your soul. She teaches you how to determine if a dream was a psychological dream or a holy one and what to do about both types. She reminds us that all dreams teach us a new language about who we are at our core.
You awaken from a holy dream with a sense of beauty, hope or direction for your life. These are dreams you will remember for long periods because they are haunting and profound when you understand them.
Dreams Unto Holiness is well written in everyday language and provides techniques that someone from any spiritual background can understand. Use these methods to improve something in your everyday life or bring highly personal spiritual information to light. It is a good investment of a few hours of reading time to benefit from your sleep time.
Dreams Unto Holiness: Exploring The Power Of A Sweet, Transcendent Sleep – A New Way To Tap Into Our Spiritual Wholeness
Sonoma County, CA, March 8, 2017 – Whether we realize it or not, some of our dreams offer a rich source of creative power and wisdom. God speaks to all of us all the time, even through dreams, author Marsha Sinetar says. Occasionally, we may experience ‘holy’ dreams, reflecting God’s touch and presence with us during sleep. In Dreams unto Holiness, Sinetar gives us a fresh, powerful tool for our quest to spiritual wholeness.
Drawing on her life’s work as an educator and corporate advisor and her experience as a Christian contemplative, Sinetar encourages us to be our authentic selves. Certain dreams are life-changers that help us find our purpose, Sinetar explains, and Dreams unto Holiness teaches us how to use the self-knowledge and strength we gain from spiritual (or holy) dreams.
The narrative includes a rich assortment of examples: media and scriptural stories and real-life dream samples adapted from decades of hearing people describe life-changing dreams they can’t forget. The book also includes journal notes from the dream samples, a word-study method for interpreting some dreams, and a few bracing side-bar discussions related to the topic.
While she draws from her Christian experience, Sinetar insists the “holy dream” is not meant for an exclusive club; non-believers and those who pray and worship in unorthodox ways are often gifted with a high intuitive sense that grasps the hidden code of spiritual dreams.
Dreams unto Holiness, like Sinetar’s previous books, is written for a wide crossover audience, including Bible study groups, book clubs, and diverse clergy and counselors. This groundbreaking work on the topic of dreaming and spiritual growth is one of the first of its kind, opening up new heart-paths and mental “maps” for the reader’s mind.
Marsha Sinetar is the prolific, bestselling author of over 20 books (Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow; Ordinary People as Monks & Mystics). Sinetar is an educator, a world-class corporate advisor, and in her spare time an artist. She has been called “a good spiritual steward” and “a masterful writer who sees every human being with the capacity to master the hand he or she was dealt.” Her universal, crossover ideas aim to improve the quality of life. Sinetar, a Christian contemplative, lives and works in the Pacific Northwest, “as quietly and simply as possible.”
For more information, please visit: www.marshasinetar.com
Dreams unto Holiness: Exploring the Power of a Sweet, Transcendent Sleep
Available online and at fine booksellers everywhere
Praise for Marsha Sinetar:
On Dreams unto Holiness: “Very positive and uplifting. It’s so inclusive. People of all faiths or no faith would be comfortable with it.”
Publishers Weekly (on Why Can’t Grown-ups Believe in Angels?): “…couches simple ideas in exquisite language.”
Body Mind, Spirit (on Ordinary People as Monks & Mystics): “A hidden gem…One is blessed in finding it.”
Rocky Mountain News: “A masterful writer…Sinetar sees each human being with the capacity to master the hand he or she was dealt…”
Dr. D. Roshong, past Dean of Counseling and Student Services, Las Positas College, California USA: (on The Mentor’s Spirit): “…beautiful…born of wisdom…, written by a true ‘artist of encouragement.’ I am grateful for Marsha Sinetar’s work and herself.”