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www.dreamnetwork.org.nz                                           Vol. 2, No. 4 (November) 2015

                                                

                Editorial


       Welcome to our final issue of the Bulletin for this year. We have much to share with you!
  • Our Conference on “Dreams and Spirituality” in September was so successful that
we have booked the Franciscan Centre again for the next Conference in two years’ time:

5th-7th October, 2017; as well as a one-day Conference on Sat 18th June next year.
  • We were honoured by the presence of Dr Susannah Benson, President of both the
International Association for the Study of Dreams, and the Australian Dream Network.
  • A brief Report mentions some of the Conference highlights; and our leading article is
a shorter version of Dr Lea Holford’s Keynote address on the Shadow side of spirituality.
  • This issue’s dream is contributed by Bev Roseveare-Kaho, a poignant expression of
hope after her recent bereavement.
  • Our book review recommends a valuable new book outlining the relationship
between sleep, dreams and mental health.
  • Finally we include a short account of our Open Meeting on 30th October, when Craig
Whisker gave us a demonstration of the classical process of dreamwork in Psychodrama.
  • On a sadder note, we express our sympathy to the family of Evan Sherrard, who
passed away on 20th October, a founding father of psychotherapy in Auckland and NZ, and

a strong supporter of our Dreamwork movement.  
                                          MB
                                            
   VISIT OF IASD PRESIDENT                               
    Participants in the Dream Conference were honoured by the presence of Dr Susannah Benson, the newly elected President of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. She is also President of Dream Network Australia, and was accompanied by Elaine Kennis, the Vice-President, both of them from Sydney. 
    Susannah is a small, neat, dynamic woman, a Transpersonal Counsellor and educator, with a PhD in Social Ecology and a background of living in the USA, Europe and Asia. She presented our first keynote address on the Friday evening, on the transformative power of our “big dreams,” which bring us into contact with the Sacred, offering insight, meaning and purpose in our lives. 
    On Saturday afternoon she joined with Margaret Bowater in presenting a seminar on “Living with Shaky Edges on the Pacific Rim,” drawing attention to the ways in which our dreams connect us with our landscape, through imagery of Nature and warnings about the dangers threatening our environment.   
     Elaine, a specialist in Grief Counselling, made her own contribution in a workshop on “Dialogue with Dream Figures.”  Both of them enjoyed their time amongst us, and walking among the lovely old trees and lawns of the Retreat Centre. We are grateful to them for contributing their time and energy to our first NZ Dream Conference

 HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR FIRST DREAM CONFERENCE
  • beautiful grounds, green and spacious, scattered with gracious old trees;
  • excellent meals, including options for different dietary needs;
  • the artistic sculpture of Water, Fire, Air and Stone created by Margaret Toland;
  • dream discussions at the breakfast tables with personal sharing;
  • morning and evening rituals with chimes, candle lighting and poems by Leunig;
  • thought-provoking presentations and absorbing practical workshops;
  • open-minded sharing and discussions on many aspects of spirituality;
  • opportunities for many discussions with people of like mind;
  • the whole atmosphere of friendly informality.
Words of appreciation spoken by participants at the Feedback session included:
Community * companionship * courage * caring * creativity * dipping my toes into the ocean * depth * discovery * energy * exploring * friendship * holographic perspective from groups * honouring * informality * inspiration * new learning * potential * sharing of deeply personal reflections * stories * uniqueness of the soul’s journey * wisdom * world-wide *
the value of talking together about dreams, and capacity to hold differences ….
 
Participants at the DNANZ Conference on Saturday 26 September, 2015
 
                       The Dream Art Workshops                  
 
Chandra Marks facilitated two small-group art workshops, using collage and mandalas.
  • Participants first relaxed with breathing and visualization, using their 5 senses to recall a dream fragment.
  • They then created it on a sheet of paper, using words, drawings and cutting/ gluing photographs from magazines.
  • As rich visual layers began to emerge, the dream experience deepened. When they used the mandala structure, a spiritual link was followed.
Feedback from participants was positive with reports of new perspectives being gained from the process. Jane Chester reported: “I enjoyed the process of gathering the pictures together, which allowed me to focus on separate parts of the dream, and feedback from the others gave me further insight. I still reflect today on parts of the dream, looking at the collage, and continue to explore.”

 
Here is a spiritual dream contributed by a woman of 60, whose partner recently died.
 
DREAM REPORT:  Part of the Cosmos
Scene 1: I’m in a museum or space/ science building, watching some kind of video. It has a surprise ending, which isn’t clear.
Scene 2: I’m back in the same building, this time with some of my family, watching the same video, and I’m keen to see their reaction to it. I prepare some food, but I’m worried it won’t be enough. The video is unusual, seeming to be part love story, part documentary.
Scene 3: After travelling in a strange craft, we appear to be outside at night, with fields and hills around us. We appear to be talking together, and I wait expectantly. But the family members seem to be relatively uninterested. I’m disappointed.
    As the camera pans wider, I can see that we are actually on what seems to be a floating field or island in the sky, surrounded by hundreds of other planets, seemingly suspended in space, and appearing to be almost within arm’s reach. This isn’t a video; we are really surviving without oxygen or any equipment, just as if we were on earth, very close to the huge orbs of the nearest planets. I feel totally awed.
Associations:  My partner was very interested in space and the cosmos, and I often imagine him transformed into a star which is visible from Earth. Since he died I have become more interested in space and the spiritual aspects of humanity. I recently watched the space movie, Gravity.” I have had previous dreams of “higher consciousness.” I feel a great deal of love and protection for the family unit that remains without their father. Maybe this represents an unconscious longing to join my partner, or a desire to be with others who have the same consciousness, or a desire to transcend gravity and the limitations of a human life. I also think it might be that if my partner is now a fixed object in space, and won’t return to us here on earth, then the fantasy is that we can travel to him…  Bev Roseveare-Kaho

 
  Here is a shortened version of Lea Holford’s address to Conference
 
DREAMS AND SPIRITUALITY  
 
In first thoughts, spiritual dreams seem to open us up to infinity or the divine, giving us hope of something beyond ourselves. Today, however, I want to focus on those that point to our shadow selves and hint to what is obstructing us from spiritual development. 
  • The pivotal psychological complex we need to explore is our ego, thesubjective centre of our sense of self.  While we all need strong-enough egos, we need them to be porous, open to otherness and not rigidly defensive. By that I mean a capacity to see multiple points of view, not just a one-eyed belief that one knows the truth. Dreams are a wonderful way to explore our shadow selves, those aspects of self the ego tries to deny and often projects onto others. 
  • Jung explained how the conflicts of opposites open us to numinous insights of the collective unconscious - like masculine and feminine, animus and anima, light and dark, spirit and matter, etc. The affects produced by these conflicts break us open to new ways of being.  This is how transformation proceeds: through our bodies, toward spiritual insight. The emotional body cannot be ignored or we remain spiritually stagnant.  [Lea then described two of her own dreams]
  • In a book called Integral Psychology, Brant Cortright wrote about three types of spiritual paths:  Mental orientations like Zen Buddhism or Raja Yoga, Heart orientations like Compassion or Devotional practices, and Body orientations like Karma Yoga or Service to others. In the Heart Math research, the heart is known to have its own kind of intelligence and processing. Amazingly, the electromagnetic field of the heart is 5000 times stronger than the brain. Its sensitivity reaches far out into the environment. If it is diminished we lose this essential capacity.
  •             The problem with the ego is that it is a defensive structure that protects itself with repetitive stories – which are not necessarily true.  In psychotherapy we spend a great deal of time dissecting how others see and relate to us. A.H. Almaas refers to this as a deadening wall-paper over the living essence of who we really are.
  • By actively doing shadow work, we can look at anomalies in our story and begin to open to many other points of view and a new understanding of different types of people.  One of the major findings in neuropsychology is how the left brain can cut off from bodily information processing and remain locked in a self-referential system of abstract thinking, not allowing challenge, as in narcissism and autism. 
  • So, how do we find the non-egoic aspects of the psyche?  I will mention some of the ideas from Jungian psychology in exploring dreams.
     1.  Compensation.  This is a basic idea that the unconscious compensates the limited conscious idea of self by offering opposite archetypal contents.  This can be in the form of sub-personalities that are disfranchised or contents that are projected onto others.  The dream work technique of being every character in the dream so as to gain its perspective is useful here. 
     2.  Search for the other side of the Solar, Patriarchal world.  The Mother world concerns the deepest levels of the collective unconscious, embodiment and emotional essences, as part of the great round of life and death. Our Logos-centred world in the West, tends to discount the mystical flow of the unconscious. These deep essences offer insight to wholeness – in dreamwork, through symbols.       
    3. Age and Timelessness. The divine child represents potentiality and innocence and is close to the collective unconscious.  We instinctively respond to these figures in dreams as hopeful and take note when they are ill or in peril.  Similarly, old age tends to bring diminished ego, as we prepare for the journey of death. 
    4. Actively looking for Shadow. I want to introduce the idea of using personal-ity types as a way to consciously study our ego defenses so that we can be more receptive to the messages in dreams.  Most of you are familiar with the Jungian designations of Introvert-Extravert, Thinking-Feeling, Sensate-Intuitive, and Judging-Perceptive. We know how threatened we become around other types to whom we feel inferior.  But it is fascinating when our dream egos contain aspects of the worst sides of our own personality types, and we have to confront how we ourselves are threatening and difficult for others.
  • I have recently been studying the Enneagram personality types and I particularly like the way this schema takes into account regression and progress-ion of the personality style.  It shows each type as being coalesced around a central affect, like fear, anger or greed, and how these central concerns drive behavior.  The study of this schema can bring great understanding to what drives others to behave in the ways they do, thus enabling more compassion and an opening of the heart.
  • While everyone will have ideas about spiritual development, most will agree that the goal is to become whole.  I believe much of this is about freeing the process of transformation so that spirit and matter can evolve as they must. 

Book review:                                                                      Margaret Bowater
 
Rosalind Cartwright, THE TWENTY-FOUR HOUR MIND – The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in our Emotional Lives. 2010. Oxford Univ Press, NY.
Rosalind Cartwright is a Professor Emeritus at Rush University, Chicago, where she led the Sleep Laboratory for 30 years. She was particularly interested in the dreams of people who had become depressed as a result of divorce, observing how their dreams affected their recovery. This led to publishing her first book, Crisis Dreaming, co-authored by L. Lambert, in 1992.
 
  • The 24-Hour Mind begins with a summary of how sleep researchdeveloped after the discovery of REM-sleep in 1953, gaining momentum in the ‘70s when it was realised that disorders of sleep were a threat to health. Shortage of sleep makes us more vulnerable to mistakes, accidents and infections; while insomnia and poor quality sleep contribute to depression, anxiety and most of our major medical problems. During our 8 hours of sleep each night, the brain is actively sorting the day’s new input and filing memories.
  • Cartwright’s observation of dreams led her to add that the brain is also processing emotional disturbances, and quietly updating our self-concept, through the dream stories it creates.  In a healthy functioning mind, negative emotions are “down-regulated” during the night’s series of dreams, so that we wake in a calmer mood, more able to face the new day. But when we are anxious or depressed, our dreams can stay stuck in an unhelpful repetition of negativity. Therefore it is useful to intervene by creating new endings to the stories we tell ourselves internally, using methods such as Imagery Rehearsal for nightmares.
 
The book goes on to give authoritative information about the range and effects of the main parasomnias, with some fascinating case-examples. Highly recommended.

PSYCHODRAMA  WITH  DREAMS

 
At our Open Meeting on Friday 30th October we were given a demonstration of using classical Psychodrama with a full group process. Craig Whisker, a Psychodramatist from Palmerston North, opened the session by inviting all members to tell a dream, and then explained the 4-stage process of working one through. Two women volunteered to work, and were allocated about 40 minutes each.
  • First, Craig guided the Dreamer to tell the dream, recall what was on her mind the day before, settle into her “bed” on the floor, and silently re-dream the dream. Then he guided her to enact the dream on the “stage” inside the circle, using other participants to represent every component of the dream, which allowed her to feel it fully, She then returned to “bed” to dream a new ending, and enacted it. Finally, members of the group shared the thoughts the enactment had evoked in them, while the dreamer simply listened. No interpretations were given. The Dreamer is expected to gain her own insights from experiencing the process.
  • This worked better for one dreamer than the other. One reported that “the physical enactment allowed connection by bypassing purely cognitive understanding; it really helped me to make meaning from the dream;” while the other felt that deeper understanding of her dream at the metaphor level was missing.                     
  • Bev Roseveare-Kaho describes her enjoyment of the group process: “The shifts in focus from discussion to creation of the dream tableau, back to the sleeping role, then to a re-creation and resolution of the dream, and finally to reflection on the dream with the facilitator, allowed time for all to become engaged in the developing process. Craig’s gentle and supportive questioning was a key part of creating two vivid and dynamic dramas – which were enacted with only minor props – two blankets and a pillow!”    
  • She adds: “The highlight for me was the spirited chirping by a fellow dolphin, which brought in humour and play…. Community, connection and clarity were key themes in this workshop, which has whetted my appetite for more!”
Copyright © 2015 Dream Network Aotearoa New Zealand (DNANZ), All rights reserved.
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