Dreaming is all the time.
Let’s do a simple exercise.
Imagine you’re cutting a lemon and licking it for few seconds. Imagine that.
You can even close your eyes. Give a bit of time to that.
What reaction appears in your body now? Where you salivating?
This simple imagery exercise is a significant and obvious example of body and mind connection. Our body react on visualised images. It works also the other way. In the night, in our dreams. Our bodies contain many images. They appear in a relaxation state of the body, when we sleep, sometimes when we dance, during massages, swimming etc. In general, they appear when our breathing return to it’s normal rhythm. Night dream images are direct, intimate and true response to our daily life, emotions, relations, interactions, memories we experience. Through dream work we learn how to discover and listen to our intuition, our inner knowing. It’s manifested in the body and through the body.
Dream opening and imagery work (waking dream) are practices that help to understand our night dreams, the connection between mind and body and to discover our potentials. During dream opening session we work on the dreams that are brought by participants. Group work on dreams enable us to increase creativity and develop problem-solving and express abilities. Shearing dreams and looking inside ourselves in dialogue with others and our inner, spontaneous imagination, is an essential aspect of the well-examined life and integral to our search and connection with self and others. By doing imagery exercises we are able to navigate and transform our patterns and habits that are revealing in the night dreams. It gives an opportunity and a challenge at the same time, to experience communication and collaboration with other people based on trust and to create an intimate space. I call it “an empathic field”. It becomes a collective space where everybody is unique in her/his dreaming. By sharing an embodied experience and knowledge that come from dreams and imagination within a group of people (like we did during the seminar), we’re able to develop connection on deeper level. Where personal and collective growth and support becomes possible, even beyond the physical contact. In terms of education and creating collective (un)learning spaces that engage body and mind, shearing knowledge and experience the existence of this “empathic field” seems quite important. Especially in the context of practices for social change or strategies for community building.
Moreover the work on dreams puts intuition into the spotlight. I believe it is crucial, but very often forgotten or not realized in learning processes and in general our wellbeing. Dreams move us through geography of our intimate, inner landscape. It’s a primal language. Language of Self that is mapped through images. Unique to each body. It’s a very present language. Here and now, as our bodies and all sensations are here and now. Dreaming is all the time and is real.
We actually live in a Dreamtime, as Aboriginal people say and many other indigenous cultures all over the World. They have strong connection to the dreaming. In Australia Aboriginal people practice dadirri – ‘inner deep listening and quiet still awareness and waiting’. It’s listening to the songlines - dreaming tracks that are paths across the land, sometimes the sky or the human body, which mark the routes from the Dreamtime, the time of creation. It’s almost a spiritual skill, based on respect and presence.
I refer this ancient, aboriginal, primal knowledge to the practice of listening and reading dreams. By doing the dream opening we look and listen deeply to our inner images and all sensations we track within. They are part of our experience and existence in fact. They create us and we create them in a way. Each aspect of a dream is an aspect of a dreamer. During the dream opening session we tell-open each other dream as it is ours, starting with a phrase: “As a secondary dreamer of this dream I feel …”. Dreams are the language of the experience, and so are fluid to and unique to the individual. There are no such things as symbols or interpretation. Having a dream opened in a group is to stand before a mirror. Nevertheless the secondary dreamers my find messages of personal relevance in dreaming the dream of the original dreamer. Then they become communal.
Opening dreams is to follow their movements, their energies, their geography, and all the expressions in order to unfold them. The moment we respond to them by addressing the necessity they contain, they move and respond back to us. A necessity can be mapped and traced. Some elements from the dream can be read or heard as lines of a song or a poem. Because dreams are fluid, dynamic, in motion, it is their nature to play. They move us from experience to experience, image to image, leaping through timelines and looping back. They move like poems; and, like poems, they use puns and plays on words.
When we start to be more attentive to the dreams, to this landscape within our body, we realize we dream all the time. First step in deeper understanding, listening and diving into the Dreamtime, is to start remembering your dreams by writing them down in a diary.
How to remember dreams
Write your dreams in present tense, always!!!
1. Place a notebook by your bed with a pen. Would be nice if you have some lamp close to it as well.
2. Before going to bed, turn to the first blank page in the notebook. At the top, write the day’s date. Under this, write: Tonight I will have a clear dream and remember. Lay your pen in the book at this place, and go to sleep.
3. When waking with a dream, write it immediately! Try to do this with as little movement as possible so as to stay within the dream space and catch all the details.
4. Remember – no editing! All parts of the dream are important, every scrap, a colour, a thread of a song or just a feeling. Everything gets written down.
5. If your dream happens in the middle of the night, keep the pen in the notebook in case you dream again before morning. All dreams in one night are considered part of the same dream.
Poem out of your dreams
Write down your dream in present tense. Try to describe precisely all the images, feelings, sensations, colours, shapes from your dream.
After writing it down read it carefully and underline all repeating and significant words from the dream.
Read underlined words aloud.
It’s your poem.
“Listening” to an image
Think about it more as a game, playful reflection, spontaneous observation.
In order to develop a skill of noticing and “listening” to images and our response to that we collect images or we take photos during the day and treat it as an image from a dream.
During a day stop for a moment. Take a photo of a landscape that surrounds you or an object and its surroundings that attracted your attention in the moment of stopping. Describe the image with details. What do you see? But don’t put any interpretation on it. What do you see and how the elements of the image resonate with you, with your daily experiences, your memory and your bodily sensations?
We collected some images/photos during the seminar. It was an initiation point in our approach to the work with dreams. You can see the collected images on the other side.
This work comes from teachings of: Bonnie Buckner and her book “Dream Yourself Into Being” and Dr. Catherine Shainberg - teacher, healer, psychologist, base in New York where she leads the School of Images. They are the lineage holders for the Saphire® practice as transmitted by Colette Aboulker-Muscat (1909-2003) – teacher, healer, wise woman, creator of Waking Dream method. She was also a spiritual teacher in the tradition of the Kabbalah of Light (for many well known psychiatrists/psychologists like Dr. Gerald Epstein); she did a heroic healing work in ministering to wounded World War I veterans and organizing the successful underground resistance against the Nazis in North Africa during World War II. She was subsequently decorated after World War II as one of the “five mothers who helped save the world.”