Sunday, June 6, 2010

Awakening to dreams in Portland

Portland, Oregon

Dreaming is not fundamentally about sleep, though I greatly value the sleep dreams that come spontaneously and offer us an objective view of ourselves and our place in the worlds. Dreaming is essentially about waking up to a larger reality and a secret logic of events that are often hidden from the everyday conscious mind. So it seems fitting that my Active Dreaming workshop in Portland this weekend is unfolding in a lovely center called Awakenings. The sun smiled on us all Saturday, which is already a dreamlike event in this rainy city.

I asked the dreamers who joined our circle to introduce themsleves by sharing their intention for the weekend, and the title of a dream or image, which enabled us gto taste the flavor of each other's imaginations right at the start. I noted some of the intention:

"I want to learn how to bring the energy of my dreams into 3D reality."

"I want to make closer links between my dreaming and my writing."

"I'm here to deepen my practice of dreaming."

"I want to use dreaming to integrate my inner child into my adult world."

"I'm here to acquire tools to re-vision education for children, to help them and their families bring back soul and to make them safe with their dreams."

"I'm here to move beyond getting weireded out when my dreams turn into real events in waking life."

"I'm here to find new direction for my painting, and my life."

These generous statements of intention gave us a vivid sense of expanding horisons of possibility. I demonstrated our quick, high-energy dream sharing process - Lightning Dreamwork - with three volunteers who undertook the assignment to tell us a dream as a story, and to hold the attention of the audience. One of the gifts of dream sharing is that, when we do it right, we find our voice and develop our skills as storytellers. An even greater gift, especially for newcomers, is that when we are heard with deep attention and given the right kind of feedback, we receive vital validation of our inner lives and our soul quests.

Stephani told us a dream of being back in her former home, trying to sort out old clothersm when a pirate ship appeared on a body of water at her door that doesn't exist in the regular world.

Jaya's dream took us into deep ancestral territory. She found herself riding in the back of a van by a river. She witnessed a mysterious ritual in which seven people clad in wolfskins performed a sacred dance around the bodies of dead wolves. As they danced, light rose from them, forming a cone shape that then opened out and produced the head of a wolf among the stars. The dreamer urgently wanted to stop the van and see more, but was unable to influence the driver. She woke with a profound sense of longing. She leaped at the suggestion that she might be able to reenter the dream, with the help of shamanic drumming, and get out of the van and ask the wolf people for permission to learn the nature of their ritual and of their connection with the Wolf Star.

In a dream of equal mythic power, a man stepped into a river carrying a sword. In the water, his sword became a chalice. On the far side of the river, he saw a family of bears. He became alarmed when they stared at him fiercely, and he turned away though he felt the object of his quest lay beyond the bears. "I feel the bears are gatekeepers, and that I need to face them and go beyond them." He welcomed the idea that he too, could reenter his dream, wide awake and conscious, and confront the bears and seek to discover what lay beyond them.

So here we had two excellent plans for dream reentry and group dreaming - for an exercise in what could be termed shamanic lucid dreaming. The wolf dreamer and the bear dreamer gave permission for the whole group to travel with them, back into their dreams and to explore beyond the remembered scenes and carry the action forward. In two group journeys powered by shamanic drumming, we shared extraordinarily powerful and moving adventures.

As a lunchbreak assignment, I asked everyone to be alert for anything striking or unusual that entered their field of perception as they roamed the town - to be open to receiving symbolic popups from the world. Waiting for coffee on my way back from lunch, I noticed Stephani, who had dreamed of pirates, standing in front of a corner bar, a block away from our workshop site, talking on her cell phone. The sign above her head, apparently unnoticed until now, read "The Jolly Roger". Life rhymes, and there are dresms that want to come into the surface world, some singing pirate songs.


Savannah said...

I enjoyed these stories of Awakenings, Robert! A bit of a related synchronicity snowball... On Friday after a general conversation about dreams with a friend she suggested I might like the movie Bladerunner. I made a doubtful face, having seen the cover and assumed it was likely more violent than I'd care to deal with. She insisted maybe I could consider it anyway. I filed away the bookmark, before we both had to rush off in opposite directions.
Last night before bed I randomly flipped through Dreamgates inviting a message from the library angel. It opened to "death, by any name, is a peerless teacher". After journaling an unrelated dream I read your essay, then logged onto Facebook to find this status update on a friend's page:
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I've watched C-beams glitter in the dark near
the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.
I don't know why he saved my life. Maybe in those last moments he loved life more than he ever had before. Not just his life - anybody's life; my life. All he'd wanted were the same answers the rest of us want. Where did I come from? Where am I going?"
Caught betwix at first wondering what I'd been missing all this time about Cynthia who had posted the quote :-), I then noticed the source of the excerpt was Bladerunner. Maybe the multiverse delivered its intended message, and I'll be able to skip watching the actual movie :-)...

Justin Patrick Moore said...

You might be missing a great story if you don't watch the movie or read the book it's based on "Do you Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick, one of my favorite authors of all time, hands down. The movies is not actually all that violent, though maybe I'm skewed. Besides, the universe is a violent place. Think of the big bang, supernovas, and meteors. Think of food. Whether vegetarian or not, other beings die to sustain our own life. Not that I am a fan of senseless violence, etc. In any case the work of Philip K. Dick touches on many themes that Robert writes about here: parallel worlds, the double, identity, time travel, and a deep concern with the nature of reality. Although his books were published in mostly in pulpy paperback editions (until after he died) he was quite the philosopher. And his insight was matched by a warm compassion and for the human condition made all the more warm by his humor.
For those who are interested I wrote an essay dedicated to Robert called "A Writers Guide to the Library Oracle and It's Angel" which can be found on my website at the following link which you can copy and paste into your browser:

Savannah said...

Hey Justin ~ I had a sneaking feeling that side comment would land me an impassioned retort from at least one person in this literate crowd... thanks for adding to my ever growing pile of books and media (I think :-). I will check out that essay on the Library Angel, thank you for sharing!

Jaya said...

wonderful weekend of dreamers!

Alla said...

Dear Savannah,

The Bladerunner has been remaining one of my favorite movies for many years. I'm a big fan of sci-fi in general; I think creative people get even more creative without limitations of conventional standards, thus they can see things easier and deeper. Many times sci-fi writers foresaw the future as precisely as if they witnessed it first hand. (Actually, I believe it could be called that). Well, are you ready for the movie now?.. :-)))))

Savannah said...

Hi Alla! You might have guessed sci-fi isn't my favourite genre :-) though I do keep an open mind. I haven't made an organised study of this but would guess much of what has been written as imaginal fiction was later revealed to be a vision of the future. I wish the same were true for those to do lists at the end of the day though I suppose they miss that critical high-octane ingredient :-). I rather suspect now that I have written it so, I will be invited to a movie night soon, and Bladerunner will be on the menu. The synchronicity snowball is picking up speed ...

Robert Moss said...

Savannah - "Bladerunner" is well worth seeing. As Justin observes, the prolix mind of Philip K. Dick has been the source of a whole string of superior scifi movies since his death, among which my personal favorite is "Minority Report". I wrote a longish essay on Philip K. Dick on the occasion of the publications of a collection of his (nonfiction) papers and articles on the larger reality that I'll try to dig up from my archives and post.

Savannah said...

This is starting to feel like a sci-fi conspiracy :-). Robert, your mention of Minority Report may have just swayed me as I watched it recently as part of a dream related action plan at your suggestion and absolutely loved it (thanks!). I would also love to read your essay on Philip Dick if you do find it!

Arias said...

The workshop was really a wonderful experience for me. I thought the depth of work each person did in such a genuine and innocent way was very touching and I felt very much at home, which is not an easy thing for me. My own dreams have now escalated to a completely new level because of our time together! I look forward to more work with Robert and the Dreaming community here in Portland.

Robert Moss said...

Thanks Arias (and Jaya) - It was a profoundly satisfying and creative workshop, and I was greatly impressed by the depth to which participants were willing to go, and the depth of support we were able to extend to each other.