Sleeping and dreaming are generally quite solitary acts. Even though we may share a bed or a room with others, when we dip below the horizon of wakefulness into our dreams, that journey is taken alone. We then have whatever adventures our dreamtime soliloquies take us on, often with others playing their roles as part of the dream journey. But when we waken it is our dream alone; just us, with the lingering fingers of memory tickling our senses as we desperately try to remember as much as we can in order to write it down or record it.
Then what? Even Jung himself is famous for saying that he could not squeeze all the information out of his dream by himself, as we all have those famous blind spots. We can’t see the back of our own heads without two mirrors. And not only that, we usually dream in symbols and metaphors to boot! So we ponder and analyze as far as we can under our own steam, and then if we want to really mine the treasures of our dreams, it is time to turn them over to be considered by others as well. Someone else, or several others, can be that mirror for us so that we can see beyond the limitations of our own psyche.
In other words, share your dreams with a group. I will share with you how we do it in the dream-sharing group I’m part of.
Guidelines for dream sharing
Whether you are working with just one other person or in a dream group, the people you consult need to respect the “rules” of considering someone else’s dream.
First off, the dreamer is the final expert on whether an analysis is correct or not. An insight may be true for the consultant, but not necessarily for the dreamer. The dreamer gets an inner tingle or what Eugene Gendlin calls our “felt sense” when an insight is true. So as a group we have learned to try to use the wording taught to us by dreamworker Jeremy Taylor: “If this were my dream…” and respect that it may take several rounds of ideas before one of them is a hit for the dreamer. One client of mine always tears up when there is an on–target dream hit. I can relate – that is always a true barometer for me as well. If I get tears in my eyes, then we must be at pay dirt.
Sometimes the listeners may get so excited or energized by the dream content the dreamer is presenting that they rush to jump into the fray before knowing what the dreamer wants to focus on. This happens fairly regularly in dream groups, we all get so excited as we resonate with the material.
Last week I invited the members to try to slow it down a bit. Before we listened to the dreamer share her dream, I suggested that we first cast a large energy net around the circle, and then gradually draw it in to find the fish that is the right catch for the dreamer. This image seemed to help us slowly focus and let the dreamer’s intention guide our work. As we slowly circled the dream, we could feel some of the suggestions slip through the net, while others stayed inside until the final “aha” for the dreamer – “That’s it! There’s my fish!”
I invite you to try it with your own dreaming friends. You can find guidelines for staring a dream-sharing group here.