Monday, March 21, 2016

Let's reward each other for remembering and sharing dreams

One of the reasons so many are dream-bereft in our society is that we no longer make it a general practice to encourage people to share dreams and reward them for doing so. In many ancient and indigenous dreaming traditions, it is understood that dreams may contain advisories for the whole community that need to be heard and heeded. It is known that dreams are fields of interaction between humans and the more-than-human. Certain dreams may reveal the secret wishes of the soul, and then, in a dreaming culture, it is the obligation of decent people to gather round the dreamer and assist in discerning what the soul wants and how to manifest that. Dreaming peoples also recognize dreams as rich sources of entertainment, theater, performance, expressive art and community fun.. "Good story, that one," is the way a traditional Aborigines may end their dream narrative,s or be congratulated by their audience.
     Look at it this way: if you know that your friends and associates are eager to hear your reports and able to give you helpful, non-authoritarian feedback and guide you towards action to embody creative and healing energy and guidance in your everyday life, then you have a huge incentive to bring something fresh to the breakfast table or the coffee break. This is why the Lightning Dreamwork Game, a core technique of Active Dreaming is central to the cause of rebirthing a dreaming society in our time. It's fun, it's fast and it delivers wonderful things.
     The Lightning Dreamwork Game. It’s like lightning in two senses — it’s very quick (you can do it in five minutes), and it focuses and brings through terrific energy. It’s a game you can play just about anywhere, with just about anyone – with the stranger in the line at the supermarket checkout, or with the intimate stranger who shares your bed. The rules are simple, and they open a safe space to share even the most sensitive material.

You can play this game with two or more people. We’ll call the principal players the Dreamer and the Partner. There are four moves in the Lightning Dreamwork Game.

First Move
The Dreamer tells the dream as simply and clearly as possible, as a story. Just the facts of the dream, no background or autobiography. In telling a dream this way, the Dreamer claims the power of the story. The Partner should ask the Dreamer to give the dream report a title, like a story or a movie.

Second Move
The Partner asks the Three Essential Questions. (1) How did you feel? (2) Reality check: What do you recognize from this dream in the rest of your life, and could any part of this dream be played out in the future? (3) What do you want to know about this now?

The Dreamer answers all three questions.

Third Move
The Partner now shares whatever thoughts and associations the dream has triggered for him or her. The Partner begins by saying, “If it were my dream, I would think about such-and-such.” The etiquette is very important. By saying “if it were my dream,” we make it clear that we are not setting out to tell the Dreamer what his or her dream — or life — means. We are not posing as experts of any kind. The Partner is just sharing whatever strikes him or her about the dream, which may include personal memories, other dreams, or things that just pop up. (Those seemingly random pop-ups are often the best.)

Fourth Move
Following the discussion, the Partner asks the Dreamer: What are you going to do now? What action will you take to honor this dream or work with its guidance? If the Dreamer is clueless about what action to take, the Partner will offer his or her own suggestions, which may range from calling the guy up or buying the pink shoes to doing historical or linguistic research to decode odd references. Or, the Dreamer may want to go back inside the dream (see below) to get more information or move beyond a fear. One thing we can do with any dream is to write a personal motto, like a bumper sticker or something that could go on a refrigerator magnet. 

After road-testing Lightning Dreamwork in some of my advanced groups, I introduced the process to general audiences in 2000. Since then I have noticed that 90 percent of the people who mention it in writing misspell the name, making it "Lightening". I used to play spelling cop, but I have tired of than, and also notice that there is something interesting that is showing through the slip. Learning to tell our stories to each other by this method does "lighten" the day, and sometimes brings enlightenment, and encourages us to lighten up. he term One of our dream teachers reminds me that the term "lightening" also refers to a stage of delivery just before birth in which the fetus descends farther down the birth canal. So Lightning or Lightening, it's all good. 

You'll find much more about the Lightning Game in my books The Three "Only" Things and Active Dreaming, which contains a vision of what a future dreaming society will be like. In my book Sidewalk Oracles, I explain how to play the game with life experiences and synchronicity.

Photo: Path of magic at Mosswood Hollow, near Duvall WA, where I lead many depth workshops and trainings, including The Royal Road of Dreams from March 31-April 3.

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