|Active Dreaming > Lightning Dreamwork for Everyday Dream Sharing|
As a society, we have been so estranged from dreaming that very few of us even know how to begin to talk about our dreams to other people. In telling our own dreams, we mix up the story, losing its power – and the attention of our audience – by bringing in unnecessary background information. In listening to other people’s dreams, we often fail to give the undivided attention that dreams deserve. In commenting on dreams that are shared with us, we often commit the error of trying to impose our own projections and associations, or ask questions that violate the dreamer’s privacy.
If we are going to become a dreaming society again, we need ways to make it easy and safe – and fun – to share dreams with other people anywhere, anytime. Through my many years of teaching and practice, I have evolved a simple and powerful method for everyday dream sharing that I call Lightning Dreamwork. Like lightning, it is very fast and it focuses extraordinary energy. In the workshops, we allow just 8 minutes for the whole process to be applied to a single dream. With a little practice, you may find it possible to complete the process with a partner in only 5 minutes. This means that, however busy our lives may be, we always have time to share our dreams.
It is the way we share our dreams that is vitally important. We need to create a safe space for each other where our dreams can be tended and their gifts can be helped to take root in our everyday lives. We must not allow our dreams to be strangled by verbal analysis, losing their primal energy and magic. We must never presume to tell others what their dreams (or their lives) mean, and we must never use dream sharing as an excuse to pry into their personal lives. We must always help each other to move towards action to celebrate our dreams, and the powers that speak to us in dreams, and integrate their guidance into our approach to our relationships, our choices and life passages.
The Lightning Dreamwork process makes it possible to share dreams and receive helpful feedback just about anywhere – in the office, the E.R., at the family breakfast table or in the checkout line at the supermarket. The guidelines make it easy to share dreams with complete strangers or with intimate friends and family. Here are the key steps as we learn and practice them in the Dream School:
THE 8-MINUTE PLAN FOR DREAM SHARING
Let’s suppose you are sharing a dream with one other person. We’ll call you the dreamer and the partner. Make sure you give each other your fullest attention (even in the midst of a crowded room).
Step One: Telling the dream as a story with a title
The dreamer tells the dream as simply and clearly as possible. Leave out your autobiography, and tell the dream as a story, complete in itself. When you do this, you claim your power as a storyteller and communicator. Start by giving your dream a title. It’s amazing how the deeper meaning and shape of your dream experience jump into high relief when you do this.
Step Two: The partner asks the 3 vital questions
If the dreamer has forgotten to give the dream a title, the partner should ask her to make one up. The next step is for the partner to ask three key questions:
Question 1: How did you feel when
you woke up? The dreamer’s first emotional reactions to the dream
are vital guidance on the basic quality of the dream and its
In practice, the dreamer may need to ask several specific reality check questions focusing on specific elements in the dream. Here are a couple of broad-brush reality check questions that can be applied to just about any dream:
Do you recognize any of the people or elements in the dream in waking life? Or could any of the events in this dream possibly happen in the future?
Question 3: What would you like to know about this dream?
This simple question to the dreamer provides a clear focus for the next step.
Step Three: Playing the “If it were my dream” game
Next the partner tells the dreamer, “If it were my dream, I would think about such-and-such.”
As the partner, you are now free to bring in any associations, feelings or memories the dream arouses in you, including dreams of your own that may contain similar themes. (Often we understand other people’s dreams best when we can relate them to our own dream experiences.) For example: If the dreamer has told you a dream in which she is running away from a bear, you may recall a dream of your own in which you hid from a bear – before you discovered that the bear was an ally. Your own experience may lead you to say, “If it were my dream, I would like to go back into the dream and meet the bear again and see whether it might be an ally”. In this way, you would be gently guiding the dreamer to take action on the dream.
It is very rewarding to receive a totally different perspective on a dream, so sharing in this way with strangers can be amazingly rewarding – as long as the rules of the game are respected. One of those ironclad rules is that we never presume to tell someone else what his or her dream means for them; we can say what it would mean for us, if it were our dream.
Step Four: Taking action to honor the dream
Finally the partner says to the dreamer, "How are you going to honor this dream?" Or, "How are you going to act on the guidance of this dream?"
Dreams require action! If we do not do something with our dreams in waking life, we miss out on the magic. The real art of magic consists of bringing something through from a deeper reality into our physical lives, which is why Active Dreaming is a way of natural magic – but only if we take the necessary action to bring the magic through.
Keeping a dream journal and sharing dreams on a regular basis are already important ways of honoring dreams and the powers that speak through dreams.
Wherever possible, we need to do
more. Here are some suggestions for honoring dreams: create from a
dream by writing a story or poem, a drawing or talisman; take a
physical action to celebrate an element in the dream, such as
wearing the color that was featured in the dream, traveling to a
place from the dream, making a phone call to an old friend who
showed up in the dream; write a bumper sticker from your dream,
encapsulating a key message; go back into your dream (through the
Dream Reentry technique you’ll find explained in Conscious Dreaming
and the Dream Gates audiotapes) to clarify details, dialogue with a
dream character, explore the larger reality – and have marvelous
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