Thursday, October 20, 2011

shamanic lucid dreaming

This past (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend I was one of 24 people at the OMEGA CENTRE in Rhinebeck New York participating in the art of Shamanic Lucid Dreaming with Robert Moss. He calls his workshops "playshops" and this one sure lived up to that classification. I've never had so much fun with dreamwork!

When I was about 11 years old I experienced a frightening dream which seemed to foretell my early demise - it was then that dreams called me. After that experience I took notice of dreams in the hopes that I'd dream a revised version of the prophecy; I looked for signs in daily waking life that would tell me that my path had changed direction. I tried bargaining with fate and destiny. Though I don't consciously recall any revisions or signs, something must have worked as I'm writing to you from the other side of 55.

I was fortunate to further explore dream study with Swami Radha and Richard Reeves of Yasodhara Ashram and a dream group in Victoria B.C. in the mid '70's. Though Richard seemed to be on the verge of breaking through to new territory before he died, the foundation of the work at the time, from all my teachers, was built upon a western analytical approach.

We believed that it was important to capture the whole dream(s) in as much detail as possible so we were encouraged to take copious notes to record them. We'd read our dreams to the group. Significant nouns, actions, puns and each slip of the tongue was highlighted. Then we'd dissect what we'd highlighted, for example the meaning of nouns, asking the question "If you were talking to an alien from another planet how would you describe what this word means?" and, "Is there anything/anyone in your waking life that has these qualities?"

We looked for archetypes, most especially peering into the shadow aspect of our being. Every character and object represented not only that particular person or thing but also aspects of ourselves. Gestault techniques enabled us to become the character or object and give them a voice thus giving us a new and fresh perspective on the action in the dream.

From recording the dream to working on it, you can imagine how long this whole process took.

I've worked with Robert's techniques for about 10 years now on my own. I've brought them into my classes, workshops and individual consultations with clients. How refreshing and freeing it has been to get out of the left side of my brain and play with dreams in what I call the "dream fields" where they live in a broader spiritual dimension. During the workshop it was especially inspiring to watch how Robert held the space and moved the work forward into lively engagement. His exposure to the understanding aboriginal cultures have about dreaming and the dreamtime has transformed how many people in our culture now work with dreams.

So, how has this changed how I approach dreams? I still write down my dreams and when only fragments present themselves, I've discovered that often they contain the most direct and uncomplicated wisdom and fun. On those days when no dream comes to the surface or I'm too busy to record a dream I might just capture a feeling, a title or come up with a dream "bumper sticker" as a summary. I look at daily life as another dream space which allows magical synchronicity to inform my reality. And when I'm working with my dreams in my journal, the whole process can take as little as 10 to 15 minutes. The most important questions to ask upon waking is "How did I feel in the dream and upon waking?" and "How will I honour the dream in waking life?" The stage can be set to welcome a dream by asking of one that was dreamt, "What more would I like to know about the dream?"

I know that dance, song and dream theatre enable us to embody the power of dreams in order to move the energy of the dream into waking reality (which also furthers the evolution of dreams in the dreamtime too) but I gained a whole new appreciation for the power of this work by participating in the group.

Here are some other observations from the dream space that was created that weekend:
  • Messages can be brought forth quickly with a sense of lightness and ease.
  • Through engaging the body, movement, literally moves the energy generated by potentially intense work throughout the body and keeps it light. This is a tremendous discovery for us kinesthetic types who often absorb the intensity to our detriment. I intend to explore this aspect further in my own dream workshops.
  • Dreamworking in this way keeps not only the dreams alive but also the dream group participants energized, enthusiastic and fresh.
  • Whether you are experienced or a novice, we are all dream teachers. Everyone in the group is able to dip into and bring forth great wisdom from the dream space that is created when we all come together with the intention to explore this territory. 
  • This work really does empower and heal the participants who become aware of the tremendous resources they have within themselves.
  • For the facilitator of the dream group, non-attachment to outcome is essential. As Kahuna Harry Uhane Jim says, “I will my will to compassionate disengagement for the breath of God is in our presence”. Go in with an intention for the work AND let the group energy inspire and direct the process. New discoveries will come forth.

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