Four Aspects of the Study of Dreams

Four Faces

From Transformational Dreamwork

Joseph Dillard

What are four basic approaches to understanding dreams and how can we use them to work with our own dreams more effectively?

A. Narrative Analysis – Understanding the mind as revealed through dream interpretation.

Since Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh, it has been assumed that waking awareness can accurately analyze and interpret dream narratives. In the final analysis, it is our waking identity that must determine both the meaning and what actions to take based on what we interpret a dream to mean. However, because our waking identity is a subset of the interior consciousness that created the dream, it is ipso facto not in a position to interpret those experiences accurately without receiving input from other invested self-aspects. Interpretations are therefore elicited from other characters in a dream. These interpretations are called elaborations in Dream Sociometry.

B. Social and Intrasocial Expression – Understanding society’s interpersonal, cultural, and spiritual relationship to dreaming.

What a society does with dreaming tells us a lot about the values and the worldview of the culture. Does it discount dreams as irrational? Does it see them as literal? Does it try to bifurcate dreaming, making some dreams true and good while others are false and bad? What you and I do with our dreams tells us a lot about ourselves and the value we put on our interior life. Do we depend on them to guide us and then abandon them when we find out the guidance was wrong? Do we prefer sleep over dream recall? Every interviewed self-aspect has its own interpretation of dream events and its place in them. How do we tell if it is legitimate? What do its elaborations add to our understanding of the dream group’s interpersonal, cultural, and spiritual priorities?

C. Subjective experience – A study of the beingness of specific dream group members and of Dream Consciousness.

Both the experiences and preferences of dream group members are more dualistic than those of Dream Consciousness. We know this from the higher proportion of positive and negative preferences stated by interviewed self-aspects as well as from the greater likelihood of eliciting trans-preferential responses from Dream Consciousness in the Dream Sociomatrix. Because these trans-preferential responses are relatively formless, they provide the dreamer with personal experiences of what causal and even non-dual awareness is like. This is higher order transpersonal experience and spiritual presence.

When we are actually asleep and dreaming we are having a personal, subjective experience of a dream. We are, however, generally so immersed in our dream experience that it is only after awakening or by becoming lucid that we possess the objectivity to appreciate what we are experiencing. Pellucidity, or the ability to continue to dream while knowing one is dreaming, without changing or interfering in the dream, is less subjective than lucidity.

D. Objective Research – Psychospiritual technologies for personal and social transformation.

The injunctive methodology of Integral Deep Listening provides a personally falsifiable method for healing, balancing, and transformation of individuals, families, and groups. Modalities include identifying with self-aspects found in a dream narrative or report, identifying with personifications of life issues or somatic symptoms, and identifying with self-aspects at specified time in waking, dreaming, sleeping, or meditative consciousness.

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