Dream Work – Key Principles….
by Doug Grunther
mentor at the Wise Woman University
(read The Dream Toolkit - part one, The Dream Toolkit - part two )
As I discussed in previous columns, I use eleven key principles in dream work. These are based on the work of my dream teacher, Dr. Jeremy Taylor, one of the leading dream experts in the world. He refers to these principles as the “Dream Tool Kit.” I have added a few of my own, based on the many years I’ve been doing dream work.
In the last column I covered principles #7 and #8.
Here are principles #9 and #10.
#9. All dreams live in the present and so it is helpful to write down the dream in the present tense and consider the actions to be happening now.
I have had dozens of experiences working a dream from a person’s distant past and having the dreamer discover important insights into current life issues. Recently in a dream group I host, one of the group members shared a repetitive dream he had as a young boy in which he was confronted by an egg-shaped demon which was chasing him around a room. As the group started sharing insights into the possible meanings of this dream, it became clear to the dreamer that while the dream offered information about certain childhood issues, more importantly it provided clues for dealing with a current conflict he was experiencing in his profession. He was able to see the “demon” as a metaphor for his boss, on whom he was projecting these childhood fears. Using this new awareness, he was able to shift the energy of his relationship at work into a much more creative and productive one.
While working dreams from our recent or distant past in the present tense has clear practical benefits, many people are intrigued as to how a dream experienced years ago can be relevant to the present. There are many provocative theories including some arising out of the field of quantum physics where it has been proven that at the sub atomic level, objects transcend time and space (I’ll discuss “Quantum Dreaming” in future articles). I find a good place to focus is on Carl Jung’s theory of the “Collective Unconscious.” According to Jung, all human beings share a deep reservoir of symbolic meaning reflected in myths, stories, and shared experiences which transcend all of human evolution. So it’s possible that the “egg-shaped demon” of the dream mentioned above arises out of a more universal energy pattern which a child can not understand, but an adult, working with the same dream, can work with to uncover important meaning in the present.
#10. When sharing our dreams with others or when talking to others about their dreams, it is important to preface remarks with a phrase such as “If it were my dream…” or “In my version of the dream…” and to maintain the language from the first person as much as possible.
This is a key to making “projective” dream work so effective. It’s based on the fact that whenever we hear someone else’s dream, whether one is an experienced dream work professional or a person with a general interest in dreams, we never hear the dream “objectively.” We hear it through the lens of our individual life experiences and then “project” that life experience onto the dream. So the most honest way to acknowledge this subjective reality is to constantly speak about another’s dream as if it was our own. In this method of dream work we always preface our projections with phrases such as “If this were my dream….” or “In my dream….” This has the concrete effect of assuring the dreamer, consciously and unconsciously, that he/she is not being judged or criticized about any aspect of the dream. It allows for even the most intimate, horrific or uncomfortable details of a dream to be shared in such a way that the dreamer is more open to focusing on the projections offered. And as my teacher, Dr. Jeremy Taylor, likes to point out, it also can become a profound spiritual discipline -- "Walking a mile in my neighbor's shoes."
The “egg-shaped demon” in the dream mentioned earlier in this article is a good example of how ‘taking back our projection’ can be a liberating experience. When the dreamer realized how he was ‘demonizing’ his boss, it freed him up to shift the energy of that relationship. This doesn’t mean the boss wasn’t, in fact, acting in a mean-spirited or unethical way. Perhaps he was. But by recognizing, through dream work, how his projecting a demon onto his boss was making the situation worse, the dreamer was able to resolve the situation.
Listening to someone else’s dream and sharing our dreams with others can be a fascinating and often spiritual act. It becomes significantly more meaningful and spiritual when we use the “If it were my dream” technique of projective dream work. There is much less chance of the dreamer feeling judged or criticized and thereby opens up the dream in wonderfully exciting ways.
by Doug Grunther
mentor at the Wise Woman University
Doug Grunther is a certified dream work facilitator and has been Woodstock, NY’s most noted radio talk show host for over twenty-five years. One of his current programs, The Dream Show, heard over WDST-FM, Woodstock, and over the Internet at WDST.com, offers listeners the opportunity to call in with a dream and receive valuable insights from dream experts. To contact Doug, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Course by Douglas Grunther
Discovering the Creative and Healing Power of Your Dreams
Learn how your dreams can provide valuable insights into your physical, emotional and spiritual life. Every night we dream between 4-6 times.
During this course you will learn how to remember more dreams by creating a dream journal and practicing “incubation” techniques. We will explore the fascinating symbols provided by our dreams and learn how to extract the deeper meanings behind them so you can apply them to major life issues. And after a discussion about the advantages of sharing dreams with others, you will learn some of the most effective ways to work dreams one-on-one and in groups.
Listen to the mentor's introduction to this online course:
About the Mentor:
Doug Grunther is a certified dream work facilitator and has been Woodstock, NY’s most noted radio talk show host for over twenty-five years. His program, The Dream Show, heard over WDST-FM, Woodstock, and over the Internet at WDST.com and WCBS.com, offers listeners the opportunity to call in with a dream and receive valuable insights from dream experts.
Find out more...
One Day Workshops
(Wise Woman Center, Woodstock, NY)
These one-day workshops (10AM-5PM) are taught outside among the plants, with Susun and the goats. Open to men and women, they include a wild-food lunch.
At each workshop we will identify, harvest, and use local plants for food and medicine. Registration Fee: $75.
Women can join us for a moon lodge on the Friday of each of these weekends.
Overnight lodging for Friday and Saturday nights is available nearby.