I’m not sure whether to say that my friends and I have developed a new way of working with people’s dreaming processes, or to say that we’ve discovered something. In any case, it is clear that we’ve tapped into something profound.. More accurately, I feel safe in saying that something has been revealed through following our inner dreaming process (what I call “following the dreaming”). I feel strongly drawn to share what my friends and I are experiencing in our “Awakening in the Dream Groups,” as it can be of great benefit to many people.
Let me start off by saying that these groups are not for everyone, as they require a high degree of being able to self-reflect and be vulnerable. They only work if enough people in the group are awake enough to realize what we are doing, as they act as so much yeast in the dough, so to speak, helping the bread to leaven. The groups are radically changing people’s lives.
These “Awakening in the Dream” Groups are based on our life being a dream, more specifically, they are based on how we are “dreaming up” our life moment by moment. In a sense, we are doing a radical experiment, as we are actually imagining that our situation is indeed a dream, and following what this shows us. The groups are based on the projective tendencies of our mind, how we are in essence dreaming in and up our life in a way that’s similar to how we do at night, where our inner process is getting dreamed up into and as our waking life itself. The same dreaming mind that is dreaming our dreams at night is dreaming our life. In a sense, in the groups we are just doing real dreamwork, with the dream being what happens in the group.
We are discovering that we can inquire into who we are by following the process of our being together, without any agenda, structure or strategy about what we’re going to do. I call this “following the dreaming.” The groups and the relationships in the group themselves become the vehicle for realization, as over time, our psyche’s intermingle, pushing each other’s buttons, triggering projections, touching and effecting each other’s unconscious. And we simply inquire into this process, by entering the same present moment together with the realization that we are merely dream characters in each others dream. What this means is that we realize that we are all embodied reflections of each other, as well as that every moment we are all dreaming up this mass shared dream together. This is a waking dream that is mutually, interdependently getting dreamed up by all of us together. We are all getting dreamed up and picking up roles in each other’s process. We are all dreaming up the deeper dreamfield, while concurrently, we are being dreamed up by it. This is not some sort of elaborate visualization practice, but is simply seeing the truth of our situation. When everyone is training seeing the dreamlike nature of our situation, a certain field gets conjured up that is very lubricated for healing.
Part of the process is the sharing of our imaginings, our projections, our hallucinations that we have onto each other’s inkblots with each other. Imagine a dream where all of the dream characters are sharing their projections with each other. We are all in a position to see each other in a way that each of us, by ourselves, can’t. Of course, it is up to each one of us whenever we get the rest of the group’s reflections to discern if people are just projecting, or are they really seeing our blind spot? When a dream character in a dream shares their imaginings, their projections of who you are, of what they imagine you are doing, it would be foolish to at least not consider what they are saying.
There is something about being really seen by other people. Imagine being in a dream and have your fellow dream characters actually see where you are asleep, see your unconscious, your blind spot. If this is a dream, who are those fellow dream characters who are seeing your unconscious but the awakening parts of you? And how can this not have an effect on you?
By inquiring into the nature of our experiences together, we discover that we are not in a position to actually know what is happening seemingly “out there” in the group (there’s always the possibility of us projecting, distorting, deluding ourselves). Someone might be doing something, for example, and everyone will be seeing what they are doing differently, it’s not a question of who’s right, but this is pointing to something- that we are not in a position to know what is “objectively” happening out there, but we are in a position to know what we are perceiving (what our particular hallucination is). By everyone in the group expressing themselves out of this realization, it cuts through blame, as well as allowing people to not take things personally. People can then openly share their projections, for we are taking responsibility for our experience.
In the groups, we have the intention to awaken, to transduce light. What this, of course, means is that we will invariably evoke the unconscious, which will act itself out in and through the group. Like Jung says, when an unconscious content is ready to be integrated, it always appears physically, ie- it gets dreamed up into the dreamfield. The split-off, unconscious parts of ourselves get projected out and dreamed up by, through, and into the group. To again quote Jung, “everything unconscious, once it was activated, was projected into matter- that is to say, it approached people from outside.” There’s something about having fellow dream characters who are turned onto this realization that creates a net, or container, in which, instead of allowing the unconscious to vaporize, we can catch and anchor the unconscious content to consciousness, taking away its omnipotence and autonomy, as well as liberating the energy that was bound up in it for creative expression. This is true alchemy.
When someone steps into the unconscious, they are like psychic flypaper, or an out of phase inkblot that immediately attracts people’s unconscious projections. For you cannot see the unconscious and remain a passive member of the audience, once you see the unconscious you are a participant in the scene, it all depends on your ability to self-reflect and assimilate what has gotten triggered in you. Any one of us being able to metabolize what has gotten activated in us helps all of our fellow dream characters, as this realization registers in the collective consciousness of the group (not to mention the whole universe). In a sense, this is full-embodied, group dreamwork.
To the extent that we are disconnected and dis-associated from ourselves, we are incongruent, which will evoke and attract other peoples projections and processes onto our out of phase inkblot, as we get dreamed into a role in their dream, and they in ours. We unconsciously react to and amplify in our waking dream exactly what needs to be played out so as to express in embodied form our inner process. We all project, or dream onto the inkblot of life, connecting the dots in such a way so as to literally “dream up” into materialization our very inner process onto and as the seemingly outer universe, and then we become entranced by the manifestation, imagining it to be objectively existing and separate from us. In the group, we are helping each other to actually stay in and work through this very convincingly real and seductive situation, as this is the place where we can, in real time (the present moment) transmute this energy, dream the dream differently and assimilate this unconscious content.
At any one point, just like the pendulum with the strongest swing entrains the other pendulums, someone’s (unconscious) dreaming process gets activated and everyone else gets dreamed into that person’s dream, playing whatever roles are required for the unfoldment of that activated dreaming process. And of course, the role we get dreamed up into by the field is magically not only the role that others need us to play, but is at the same time the very role we need to step into and unfold for our own deepest healing. That is simply what is happening all the time with everyone, I am talking about getting a group of people who are awake to this process and creating a container where, instead of just acting it out unconsciously, thereby perpetuating our woundedness, we add one key ingredient- consciousness.
Let me just say that it is not easy work. People could be studying with me for weeks, months, and really “getting” the whole theory of how we are all dreaming each other up, picking up roles in each other’s process so as to actually incarnate, into materialized form as our very life itself our inner dreaming process. But once someone’s unconscious is activated, and their projections fly out onto the inkblot of the group, they are typically not aware that they are dreaming (that the boundary has collapsed between inner and outer- they are then “inside” of their mind). To the extent that people get absorbed into their own dreaming process, they will be unaware that what they are experiencing in embodied form as the actual process in the group, is itself nothing other than the materialization, the embodied expression played out in real time on the screen of their waking consciousness, of their own inner dreaming process. When this happens, it is like their inner wound, their trauma has blossomed out of their psyche and has spilled into actual reality and is playing itself out on the real time stage of the group. People can become so entranced with the seeming “realness” of the reality that they have dreamed up that they actually decide to leave at this point. I have seen this happen again and again, and it is happening as I write this in one of my groups. It is so interesting to watch- right at the point they have dreamed up into seemingly solid form the very inner process that they need to work through, they get freaked out, scared and leave. The group has come up with a saying “You either change or you leave the group and blame the group.”
It’s those times when the person recognizes the deeper process that is happening and stays, that they literally as well as symbolically, access it in a way where they can dream it through, actually metabolizing and assimilating part of their unconscious. It’s like enacting on the stage of life an inner process that you just needed to play out, to actually incarnate and give physical form to, doing it in the imagination alone just wouldn’t work, you had to imagine it into being. There is something about where these two worlds co-incide that is where the real healing happens.
Dreaming up our inner unhealed process in and as our life is related to the underlying teleology of the repetition compulsion of trauma, where we are continually dreaming up our trauma in our life so as to unfold, discharge and complete an incomplete process. Unless it’s done in a container like the group, however, where we are able to assimilate the activated and embodied unconscious, our attempt at repeating our trauma so as to complete the process simply recreates the very trauma we are trying to heal from, which simply feeds into the compulsion to try and recreate it so as to heal it, ad infinitum. An infinitely self-generating feedback loop.
Whenever a shadow element manifests through someone, and they embody and act out the unconscious, instead of in a typical group, where any sort of conflict is marginalized (“we’re about love and harmony here, we can’t have any conflict,” which is just a reflection of how inwardly polarized we all are towards our own darkness), in these groups, any sort of conflict is seen to be a doorway into the deeper process- friction creates light. Like an alchemical container, there needs to be enough “pressure” for the “prima materia” to transform. To the extent that these shadow energies are consciously seen, worked with and embraced, they become integrated and literally flesh out our full-spectrum (both light and dark) holograms, which is what genuine incarnation is all about.
Being awake to the dreamlike nature of our situation is to see, in terms of physics, that we are all inifinite wave forms pulsating anew in and out of the void every nanosecond. How we perceive each other’s infinitely fluid, full-spectrum, multi-dimensional hologram literally collapses each other’s wave function into particularized form. How we observe the dream has an instantaneous effect on how the dream manifests, as the observer is literally the observed.
In this waking dream of ours we are, like I have suggested, mutually collapsing each others wave functions- ie, dreaming each other up (or down)- but in a nonlinear, acausal way, where I am dreaming you up, but you are dreaming me up to dream you up, ad infinitum as well as visa versa. In a process with no beginning in time, but rather a process that happens outside of time itself, in no time, faster than the twinkling of an eye, we dream each other up to unconsciously act out, in embodied form our incomplete processes. To the extent that I’m asleep to your intrinsic multi-dimensionality (as well as my own), I will solidify your convincingly real manifestation, making it more probable that this will be how you will continue to incarnate in my waking dream, and once you manifest in this way, it confirms to me even more my solidified view of you, so I will “dream you up” this way even more, ad infinitum, and visa versa (you are doing the same thing to me). In addition, once you experience me as a dream character in your dream who is solidifying you in this way, to the extent you fall asleep and get hooked by my manifestation, you will not only be more likely to manifest in exactly that way, but you will solidify me as someone who solidifies you, which will even more increase the probability that I will dream you up in that very way, ad infinitum, as well as visa versa. I am trying to get across a sense of how the dreaming up process is collaborative, circular, what Buddhism calls “interdependent co-origination.” I am merely mapping and describing what is happening all of the time with everyone, only it’s happening unconsciously.
In the groups we are having insight into when someone manifests in their limited, problematic identity pattern (what I call their Halloween costume). The habitual tendency is to become entranced, as if under a spell and imagine that this is who they actually are (as their manifestation is certainly convincing, in a full-embodied way), thereby solidifying and concretizing their infinitely fluid multi-dimensional hologram (not to mention, solidifying ourselves in the process), which increases the probability even more that this is how they will continue to manifest. When we don’t get hooked by their impermanent display, however, not solidifying them as being how we are momentarily experiencing them, and then reacting to our solidified image of who we imagine them to be as if it’s objectively who they are, we discover that they have much more space to step out of the concretized role that they themselves were caught in, which not only helps them but ourselves as well. This can potentially snap us out of an infinitely self-perpetuating, closed feedback loop, an infinite regression that we were co-llaboratively co-dreaming, as we are both able to step out of and transcend a role each of us had been caught in. We continually re-discover that we are all mutually, interdependently dreaming up our dreaming processes together to a point where they synchronistically co-incide and co-rrelate, actually materializing and incarnating into and as our waking dream itself. Simply recognizing the dream-upable nature of our situation and following what this is showing us offers us an opportunity for healing and integration that simply isn’t available to us by our seemingly alienated selves.
So in the groups we give each other permission to step over our edge and speak the marginalized voice, to step into a role that the deeper dreamfield is thirsting for someone to pick up and play. When someone steps over their edge and picks up the marginalized voice that the field is dreaming up, this activates what I call the deeper dreaming process. This allows the deeper, underlying process to incarnate and transform itself. Everyone in the group becomes transformed in the process.
If this is indeed a mass shared dream that we are all dreaming up, then whenever someone picks up a role in the dream, falls into their unconscious, pushes our buttons, gets into a conflict, etc, they are just getting dreamed up by the deeper dreamfield to play this out for all of us. And if this is truly a dream, if we view what is happening in this way, then this dreamlike reality of ours has no choice but to spontaneously shape-shift and manifest in this way.
I am not in the normal role of facilitator, as I, as much as anyone, go over my edge, sharing my struggles and step into my unconscious, becoming vulnerable and open for reflections. When I step into my unconscious, the role of facilitator needs to get picked up by someone else in the group, as not only can I not play both these roles at once, but the facilitator is clearly just a role in the field that needn’t be monopolized. When an unconscious content is in the process of getting integrated, that particular role starts to fluidly switch between members in the group, as it is literally getting metabolized by the group (instead of just one person monopolizing a role as they always get dreamed up into the same role). This is all just dreamwork, with the dream being what happens in the group.
When an awakening in the dream groups stabilizes and configures in a way where a certain resonance is created, it is what I call an “in-phase dreaming circle,” which is actually an organism of a higher-dimension. Instead of there being, for example, ten seemingly separate selves who are imagining that they are alien to each other, imagine if these ten seemingly separate selves woke up and recognized that they are interconnected and parts of one another (reflections of each other, each other’s dream characters).
Furthermore, when these awakening in the dream groups are contemplated as a symbol that has precipitated into and out of the dreamfield, they are recognized to be what I call microcosmic fractals, reflecting a deeper process of awakening that is available both individually and collectively, as a planet. What is happening in the groups is then realized to be an evolutionary quantum leap of human consciousness that has crystallized into materialized form in this waking dream of ours.
A pioneer in the field of spiritual emergence, Paul Levy is a healer in private practice, assisting others who are also awakening to the dreamlike nature of reality. Paul is also a visionary artist and a spiritually-informed political activist. He is the author of The Madness of George Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis,which is available on his website www.awakeninthedream.com. (See the first chapter, The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of our Collective Psychosis). Please feel free to pass this article along to a friend if you feel so inspired. You can contact Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org; he looks forward to your reflections. © Copyright 2010