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Active Dreaming > How to Build an Active Dream Circle in Your Community
     

We need to share our dreams – our dreams from the night and our life dreams – with caring and supportive partners who can help us to unlock their meanings and bring their energy to heal and empower our everyday lives. A dream-sharing circle develops a wonderful energy of its own.

Over the past couple of years, a number of active new dream groups have sprung up, from South Florida to Oregon, from Cleveland to Dallas, that are working with the techniques explained in Conscious Dreaming and Dreamgates. Sometimes these circles begin as book study groups whose members work – or play! – their way through one of my books chapter by chapter. Usually the leaders have attended one or more of my depth workshops. When I am traveling to different parts of the country, I will lead one of their sessions and introduce new techniques that are constantly emerging in my teaching and practice.

Yet the basic requirement for starting a dream group is very simple.

It involves creating a safe space where we can learn to tell our dreams simply and clearly and receive helpful, non-intrusive feedback.

The group may be as small as two people, or much larger. We need to start somewhere, and a good beginning is to get into the habit of sharing dreams on a regular basis, and receiving helpful feedback, from a caring friend. Since dreams are multi-layered and we dream in many different ways, it’s good to have multiple viewpoints and many diverse life experiences reflected in a group. If you are interested in a group where everyone can explore one of their dreams in depth every time you meet, then the ideal size is probably six people. However, in larger groups you will benefit from the vibrant circle energy you can generate, and – if you use the techniques of dream reentry and tracking, dream theatre and conscious dream travel explained in my books and tapes – everyone will be happily engaged in active dreaming throughout your session.

Here are some basic guidelines for getting a dream group off the ground and keeping it airborne:

  • Commit to a regular schedule. Decide how often you want to meet – Once a month? Once a week? - and for how long (two hours is long enough if you are meeting on a weekday evening). You may want to start with an exploratory meeting to which you’ll invite new friends – for example, by announcing your group through community bulletin boards, flyers and networking. Once you have established your core group, you’ll want to ask everyone to commit to attending at least six sessions.
     

  • Homeplay assignments. Everyone should be asked to start keeping a dream journal. (You’ll find many new techniques for creative dream journaling in my new book Dreaming True.) You’ll want to set some basic reading/listening assignments. My book Conscious Dreaming is a foundation work in these areas.
     

  • Open with a simple ritual. It’s good to start each session with a short statement of intention (eg "We come together in a sacred and loving way to honor and celebrate the wisdom of our dreams") and to spend a few moments building the energy of the group (simple relaxation exercise, "light energy" meditation, joining hands in a circle). Light a candle and invoke blessings for the circle from the sacred powers that speak to us in dreams.
     

  • Share dream titles. After opening the circle, give people a quiet moment to call up a dream they may want to share. Then have everyone take turns to share the title of a dream (and only the title) to start things rolling. This makes sure everyone is included from the word go. Next the group will choose one or more dreams to explore in depth.
     

  • Ask the three basic questions. Three basic questions to ask about any dream: (a) How did you feel? (b) What do you need to know? (c) What do you need to do?
     

  • Comment on each other’s dreams as if they were your dreams. Follow the "if it were my dream" protocol in commenting on each other’s dreams. We must never presume to tell other people the meaning of their dreams, or their lives.
     

  • Explore dreams in three vital ways. Experiment with three vitally important techniques for group dream exploration: (a) reality check (which essentially means asking: Could the dream action be manifested in waking life?) (b) dream reentry and tracking (go back inside a dream to get more information or dream it onward to resolution – or go inside another person’s dream, with their permission, to harvest guidance of healing or experiment with shared journeying in a deeper reality; (c) taking action to honor and celebrate the dream and bring its energy and insights into waking life.
     

  • Experiment with multiple approaches. Since there are many kinds of dreams, you’ll want to be eclectic about the methods you use to explore them.
     

  • Bring through energy as well as information. Group dreamwork should always be devoted to bringing through energy as well as insight. Be sure you keep things moving in the group! Dream theatre – having the dreamer cast members of the group as figures in her dream, which they proceed to act out spontaneously – is a lovely, fun-filled way to honor a dream and bring through energy that is often deeply healing. There are some powerful stories of dream theatre in my book Dreamgates.
     

  • Take it to the community! We need to bring the gifts of dreaming to many people who many never sit with a dream group, but desperately need a dream in their lives. A fun assignment for your group is to ask your members to find a way – between each session – to bring dreaming into the life of someone who hasn’t been in the habit of sharing dreams or drawing on their guidance. This person may be an intimate family member or a complete stranger, maybe someone you meet in a line at the post office or in the dentist’s waiting room. Maybe you’ll find a way to create a safe space where they can tell a dream, and receive some helpful feedback. Maybe you’ll find yourself telling a simple story about a dream that came true, or a dream that brought healing, or how someone famous was guided by a dream – a story that might open out someone else’s understanding of what dreaming might be. You’ll find it vastly entertaining, and inspirational, to come back to your group with stories of how you brought dreams alive for others. In this way, through one encounter after another, you’ll be making a beautiful contribution to the rebirth of a dreaming culture in our times.

 If you would like more suggestions on forming or running an Active Dream circle or on contacting other active dreamers in your area, please email Robert.
 

ACTIVE DREAM GROUPS AS MODELS FOR A NEW COMMUNITY

Active Dreaming groups are intentional communities in which each member receives the gift of deep listening, the chance to play leader or teacher, and the opportunity to tell their life stories and re-vision those stories.

In Active Dreaming circles, we recognize the need for strong leadership to provide the structure and dynamic within which extraordinary group experiences can be shared.  This includes selecting and defining a safe and protected physical space.  It means gently insisting on time limits (dreamers can get things done on time), building and maintaining circle energy and keeping everything moving for the two or three hours of a typical session, and making sure that everyone feels at home and that everyone's voice is heard.  Part of the leader's job in an Active Dreaming circle is to ensure that a lively alternation of discussion, movement and conscious group dream travel keeps everyone alert and engaged.

Above all, the leader enforces simple rules that ensure that no one present -- least of all the leader herself -- will try to claim authority over anyone else's dreams or life story.  We are only permitted to comment on each other's material by saying "if it were my dream" or "if it were my life."  In this way, we offer associations and suggestions while encouraging the dreamer to claim the power of her own dreams -- and to take the necessary action to embody their energy and guidance in the world.  Finally, the leader of an Active Dreaming circle gives her power away repeatedly by inviting others to take charge in leading the processes.

In these ways, we fulfill Peter Block's definition of the mode of leadership required to restore and re-story our communities: "Perhaps the real task of leadership is to confront people with their freedom."

 

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