Friday, March 8, 2019

The First Cause of Dreaming

A recent realization of mine has been percolating for some time, and has matured in the context of doing online dream groups for the past two years. The question is, "What gives rise to a dream?"

Neuroscientists have their own answers, but I'm a phenomenologist, and therapist, so I'm looking at the initial moments in a dream to provide hints pertaining to the background reason for its emergence.

I believe that the first cause is the experience of dissonance between the status quo dream ego awareness, and some discordant or emergent feeling that collides with it.

In the Gospel of Thomas, it says, "When the one becomes two, what will you do?" In essence, consciousness depends on dissonance; for otherwise, there would be no other, no awareness of difference, only a kind of immersive, formless awareness.

If you study the first sentence or two of any dream narrative, you will usually find some sense of edge or uneasiness that lays the groundwork for everything that follows. It doesn't have to be unpleasant, only sufficiently "different" to evoke awareness upon which the imagery then populates the dream interface as an expression of the evolving sense of difference or dissonance. I know this sounds abstract, but it provides very practice ways to structure effective co-creative dream work.

Take for instance the opening words of a dream that a dream group member once shared. "I heard the howl of a wolf, and realized that my chickens were vulnerable to attack. I grabbed a hoe and ran out the back door in order to protect them." One ways to structure the dream work is to reflect on the fact that even before the dreamer heard the fox howl, she was aware of a sense of uneasiness and threat, and the wolf's howl and everything that transpired thereafter provided an experience of confronting and resolving (if possible) the sense of threat.

I will be writing further about this, but consider a couple of dreams of your own, and see you can come up with an initial sense of dissonance, and describe it. Then proceed to work on your dream using the FiveStar Method, and see if this preliminary step aids you in conducting more effective dream work.

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