Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Reading dreams while awake


One purpose of this blog is to document my encounters with process work.  My five-week training (the Winter Intensive) ended two weeks ago.  I’m now starting to transcribe my longhand notes and continue to unravel my deep inner experiences.  While I’ve long appreciated Arnold Mindell’s books that detail his discoveries and theories, I didn’t really grasp his concepts until this immersion.  Now, re-reading my notes, I’m getting more insights.

It’s seven weeks later and as I look at my notes, they seem foreign.  Who was this woman?  I don’t remember writing this.  As I read these stream of consciousness scribblings, they suddenly took on new significance.  On the first day I wrote about how no one was sitting next to me on one side.  My mind wouldn’t let go of this observation -- I was the only one with an empty chair next to me.  My mind circled round and round the image.  Why couldn’t I let this go?  Now, with the benefit of hindsight, I can see that my inner obsessions were already pointing to major themes that would surface.  Throughout the Intensive my hunger for connection and anguished feelings of rejection would be repeated over and over.   A process worker might have been able to read this signal (my inner preoccupation) and understand what was unfolding in my psyche. 

Equally mysterious, several of my nighttime dreams spoke of “taking up space.”  I worked in private sessions on these dreams.  Meanwhile, without my full awareness, during our fourth week I started to sit alone on an upper “perch” I created for myself.  I had moved from fixating about not having someone next to me, to choosing to be alone.  I was taking up more space.  Now I wonder:  will I need to be alone to do my work effectively?  I will watch my dreams and daytime signals for confirmation.  When in groups I can feel bad about being alone.  But maybe that is part of my path. 

I remember another time when dream-like signals foretold what was coming.  One member of the group, J, was working with our facilitator.  They were preparing to film their work together and J waved to the camera and made a joke, saying, “Hi Mom.”  I murmured softly, “Ah, there is a ghost in the room.”  And sure enough, J’s work ended with themes of his mother.  But J was completely unconscious of this “double signal.”   

Process work is about becoming more aware of thoughts, movements, feelings, or images that are in the room or “field.”  These signals (whether they come in night time dreams or daytime symptoms) can provide us with vital knowledge about what is trying to emerge.  If we follow the flow of these signals we can heal ourselves, our groups, even our societies. 

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