Jaye C. Beldo is a writer, intuitive counselor and spiritual anarchist.
A new tool has been developed to get a better view of the mysterious underworld where our dreams play out their dramas. It's called "IDN" (Integrative Dream Narration) and it has participants convinced that the sum of the parts is greater than the total. Visionary writer, Jaye C. Beldo [right], describes the process for ViewZone.
In most of the groups that I've participated in throughout my life, whether educational, political, artistic, professional and even ones based on mere conviviality, the undermining elements of factionalism, ego conflicts, and various other differences have interfered with achieving a lasting sense of genuine conspiracy. Originating in the shadow sides of our psyches and hidden by our facile personas, these factors serve to discourage healthy and effective group functioning on many levels, in terms of achieving consensus, creating viable solutions to problems and gaining clarity of visionary goals/objectives for the group.
Why, in spite of sharing common interests, political, socioeconomic and humanitarian values, are we unconsciously antagonistic towards the groups we choose to be a part of? What kinds of subjective reluctance do we harbor in fully contributing ourselves to the group consciousness?
James Hillman observes that, "the Self is the interiorization of community". Yet what exactly prevents us from reaching the Self, the ultimate core of the psyche and experiencing truly universal communion with others?
My experiences with persistent group dysfunction prompted me to develop "Integrative Dream Narration"(IDN). I first tried IDN on a class of art students who, along with myself included, could not fully cooperate with one another in a way conducive to our spiritual, artistic and intellectual well being.
I had each participant write a dream synopsis on a note card, emphasizing to use symbolic, transformative dreams concerning wholeness, i.e., getting in contact with the Self (meaning the ultimate core or nucleus of the psyche). I then combined the dreams to create a collective story in which all could listen to and participate in since each individual dream contributed to the cohesiveness of the narration.
The inherent fluidity of dreams became much more apparent for I did not have to struggle to synthesize the dreams for they all seemed to coalesce on their own accord like tributaries flowing naturally into a river and then into the communal ocean.
Instead of assuming the role of an improviser or story teller, I was more like a mediator of the unconscious mind of the group. When I finished the story, class members sat in peaceful silence. The narration had evoked a shared consciousness amongst us. We all seemed to be open to one another and breathing together in the true sense of conspiracy. We experienced what the Greeks meant by agreement: symphonein, meaning: to resonate together.
No one was prompted to speak right away. The silence was not an uncomfortable one. We all enjoyed this feeling of being fully present, instead of just pretending to be together under the guise of a shared interest. None of us, it seemed, needed to follow the impulses of our egos to rationalize and explain the experience away.
During the rest of the class, we were able to come to a consensus as to how the remainder of the semester would be navigated and actually came up with a syllabus which all agreed upon.
meant by agreement: symphonein,
meaning: to resonate together.
I have since employed Integrative Dream Narration to enhance the integrity of many different collectives, from musical, spiritual to political, with very effective, although never predictable results. Many of the resistances we have towards surrendering to a group consciousness, resistances deeply rooted in fear, loosen up and a newfound integrity is created.
The word, "Integrity" has its etymological meaning in: "entire, untouched, unmarred, an original state." What has so thwarted the success of many different groups, I feel, has been the inability to recognize such a sense of entirety and originality that is always present, if only subliminally.
Alcheringa or dream time, for example, the Australian Aborigines considered to be the original state of the world prior to the arrival of human beings. The world in its unmarred entirety.
IDN serves to facilitate a contact with primordial community, encouraging an experience of inter relatedness that helps to diminish many anxieties and isolating/alienating effects that are deliberately promoted in consumerist societies where the power of authority is abused through MMIC. A holistic communication, both in speaking, listening and feeling becomes possible once the collective dream matrix is brought into awareness and utilized, substantially grounded in the body politic, so to speak.
Since many illnesses, both somatic and psychic are induced and prolonged by blockages, encouraging the opening up of communicative channels on all levels, both conscious and unconscious, allows mind, body and spirit to align themselves to a healing sensibility, not only from within oneself but from within others as well. IDN influences and heightens ones awareness of shared experiences, of the subtle body, that are for the most part rooted in unconsciousness and remain unrecognized by most of us, especially when we spend so much of our time maintaining our protective personas when we are amongst others outside of the comfortable circle of our families and friends.
Dreams in themselves have a fluid, autonomous quality to them. We are constantly astonished by what our unconscious minds can create.
The word, "Influence", has its origins in the word, "Fluid". Directing the current of dreams towards communal integrity can greatly enhance the success and effectiveness of small group functioning and its influence upon our collective environment. The profound sense of inter relatedness evoked by IDN, has its basis in synchronicity, or the merging of outer and inner events to create meaning, to paraphrase it in Jungian terms.
IDN evokes synchronicities as a result of the dreams being combined. On an intuitive level, awareness of synchronicity becomes heightened, in not only the narrator but the participants as well and influences the 'direction' the narration takes by sensing what is occurring when each individual integrates into the group dream dynamic. The matrixes which synchronicities occur within as well can be perceived, more like experienced, i.e., the psychic space which encompasses both inner and outer worlds in which so called coincidences happen.
where synchronicities occur like a lightning storm,
through our combined dreams.
I once gave a demonstration of IDN to forty people at Unity Church in Minneapolis, Mn. Six souls volunteered to participate and contributed their chosen dreams. One dream concerned a woman who was led by three angels to what she called a "Wellness Spa" -- but she didn't know how to run the place. Another woman dreamed that her grandmother was pregnant. One participant dreamed that her ex-boyfriend appeared and told her how sad he was that they were no longer together. During the course of the spontaneous narration, everyone arrived at the wellness spa where there was a fountain in the center. I always emphasize communal places where all can gather in the narrations I conduct.
The grandmother gave painless, underwater birth to a golden baby. The baby was then handed to the woman who came to the fountain with her ex-boy friend. I finished the narration, making sure all dreams offered were included in the story and listened to the enthusiastic comments from the participants and the audience. Afterwards, the woman who dreamed about her ex-boyfriend came up to me and confided, "I didn't want to say this in front of everyone but the reason that my boyfriend and I broke up is because I want to have a child."
As I proceeded with the narration, something in me or rather, in the Integrated Dream Community, intuited this and had the baby handed to the couple as some sort of reconciliation that I intuitively sensed was needed. The combination of these dreams created the matrix in which this synchronicity took place. As the narrator, my sense of individuality became less and less pronounced as all the dreams were combined. Perhaps synchronicities occur outside of the realm of the ego and it is only when we are not solely in this realm that we experience them.
The synchronicities that occurred during the narration manifest also in bodily response in both the narrator and participants. At first there is a considerable amount of tension, which is natural when strangers come together to form a group. The tension usually is born of the illusion of separation the participants sense in each other. Breathing becomes restricted (the antitheses of conspiracy or breathing together). But when all the dreams are integrated, the tension dissolves and what I sense as the collective heart begins to open up, the heart of understanding which transcends judgment, definition and ego centered identity. Interiorization of the communal heart in turn opens ones own heart creating a reciprocal balance between self and group.
As I proceed with the narration I felt blockages in my own body begin to open, for my body is but a microcosm of the collective dream macrocosm. I cannot emphasize enough for participants to pay attention to their bodies during the narration. The results of opening are beneficial in allowing a person to respond to their own dreams in a way devoid of the usual anxieties born of trying to interpret (as opposed to integrating) the dreams.
In another IDN session with two alternative health practitioners, I integrated the dreams but somehow felt compelled to 'control' the atmosphere.
I was the only man in the room and the other participants brought in some very powerful, archetypal figures. One in particular was the goddess Oya, the African Goddess of 'Weather'. My third chakra, the chakra of will power became tight. There was such resistance within me that I could hardly carry on with the narration. I then felt it was safe to make myself a bit vulnerable and asked for help from the others, something I would probably never do under other circumstances.
I then found myself surrounded by the other participants who began doing some energy work on me. I managed to trust it. The woman who brought Oya to the forum-kept reminding me that the rocks of blockage and resistance she perceived in my gut would be worn away by some soothing water. She kept repeating this while circling her hand near my solar plexus. Suddenly, it started raining outside. As the drops hit the window panes and I felt myself relaxing even more. I managed with the help of the dream polis, to overcome some very deeply fixed control issues through this atmospheric synchronicity.
Once awareness of the relation between ones body and the integrated dream body is heightened and then trusted, an interactive stage seems to set in as cited in the above example. Participants are asked in many ways to contribute to the narration, instead of just one person creating what happens. The interaction takes place not only in oral articulation of dreams but in working with imagery, movement and energy as well, creating a foundation on which to base further involvement in collective dream work. In essence, a Dream Democracy is being created every time IDN is used.
Integrative Dream work has not only promising therapeutic potentials but most importantly, political possibilities as well. I sense that with each IDN, a revival of the original democratic spirit occurs. This potentials of this sense of renewal will explored in the chapters that follow.
Dream Democracy can be used to integrate the dreams of a dysfunctional family to create a harmonious dream consciousness. Consider the long range benefits of democratizing the dreams of the board members of major corporations with its employees. Or consider integrating the dreams of a republican with those of a democrat. Consider the theoretical possibilities of integrating the dreams of quantum physicists. The collective dream body created from such integrations could hold the key to long range solutions to some of our most immediate and seemingly intangible problems.
There are several ways the information in this book can be used. I suggest forming a group that meets once a week for at least eight weeks. Have each participant bring along a journal in which to record their experiences in. In the appendix are additional guidelines in case there are issues that arise in the group. Dream Democracy is a powerful catalyst which can trigger powerful experiences ranging from telepathy, clairvoyance and synchronistic experiences.
Here are some suggested guidelines for creating the initial forum:
INTEGRATIVE DREAM NARRATION
Some important points to consider before proceeding:
In the initial phase of IDN, the very first time dreams are integrated, there are often times very powerful releases of emotions. Sometimes the tension grows to a somewhat uncomfortable level, but once all the dreams are integrated and the collective finds itself in a safe place, a feeling of peace and wholeness usually then emerges. There may be feelings of spaciness and disorientation at first. Such often occurs when new ways of being and perceiving arise within us and seek expression. Hence the notion of 'fixing' such a shared consciousness -- in essence focusing it on the political realms. Our dream body is then grounded in three dimensional reality.
I often hear from participants how powerful the first Integrative Dream Narration experience was for them. I must remind the reader that the word power comes from the Spanish Poder meaning 'to be able'. Perhaps these participants were able to trust the group-somehow settling into the group mind more comfortably. As an Integrative Dream Narrator you will often times watch other group members experience these things and then learn how to encourage others to settle into the group mind.
Other participants may not experience the 'connection' that most do during IDN. Somehow they feel 'left out' and or feel they are inadequately prepared for the experience. Such is not the case. It usually is that they are more resistant than others to surrendering to and/or integrating into the group consciousness. Or the dream they provided for the narration wasn’t one that was particularly important to them.
Often times, participants will claim that they cannot remember their dreams. If this is the case, have them contribute an unusual 'real life' experience they have had to the forum. They will usually then integrate themselves more freely into the dream forum!
At the end of each IDN session, I recommend that you do the grounding/centering exercise in the appendix, to restore a sense of 'individuality' to each group member-and especially, when exploring the imaginal dimensions of MMIC to call the group energy back from these places.
Hi, I have done something similar to this with couples in my marriage counseling practice. Because they have spent much time and shared experiences with each other, the symbolism in their dreams is often very similar. The combination of dream images often allows them insight to the needs and desires that are not easily expressed in daily life. It brings about intimacy and is highly effective.
Interesting. I want to try this with my boyfriend.
I found it interesting to write down my dreams in a diary. I was surprised how often the same story line repeats over weeks and months. Sometimes I write the dreams like a story or movie and sometimes I make up an ending to finish the dream. Surprisingly I find that when I do that, I don't have the same story repeat itself. It's like the dream was repeating because it needed an ending! Don't know why this is.