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A Guide to Dreamwork on the Internet

A guided tour of dreamwork
Atlantic University

If I had to define dreams in two words I would simply put it as "unfulfilled desires". Desires that are generated in the conscious mind but are realised only by the subconscious.
They can be further defined as projections of the subconscious mind that aren't given much importance when the conscious mind is at work, but at the end of the day, when we retire to sleep these reflections, projections take us to a world where we can find answers to every problem, where every desire is attainable, every wish fulfilled.

But what is this world ? Is it friendly? And if so, can it guide us? What can we learn from it?
This article serves two purposes: Firstly it is a collection of resources that address these questions in depth, secondly it hopes to entice readers to throw away their inhibitions and explore this world.

Part-I    A brief history of Dreams
Part-II   Types of Dreams
Part-III  Dreamwork - Techniques and Resources
Part-IV   On Dreams - A collection of quotes

A Brief History of Dreams

Back in 3000-4000 B.C. we find the earliest occurences of dream interpretation documented in clay tablets. In 350 B.C we find one of the first works of philosophers (Aristotle On Dreams) to interpret and define dreams.
It is also believed that primordial Man in the earlier stages of development perceived reality through a lower level or primitive state of consciousness wherein Man was unable to diffrentiate between dreams and reality.

In the Greek and Roman era, dreams were extremely significant and often seen as messages from the gods. They were seen in a religious context and in Egypt, priests also acted as dream interpreters. Any individual who would see significant dreams was considered to be blessed. People who had the power to interpret dreams were looked up to and seen as highly gifted. Dreams were also seen as prophetic. People often looked to their dreams for signs of warning and advice. The sources varied from outside spirits, to deities even the dead. At times dreams have dictated the actions of political and military leaders. We also find evidence in history that shamans continue to and always have used dreams to aid them in healing themselves and entire communities.

In the 19th century Sigmund Freud once again revived the lost legacy of dreams with his works Interpretation of Dreams. He provided the basis for a new era of philosophers to base their theories upon. Carl Gustav Jung with his work Memories, Dreams and Reflections goes on to take dreams to a higher level. Many of his works can be found at http://www.questia.com which is an online library with a large collection of books and journal articles, magazine and newspaper articles and is a great resource for students as well as anyone doing research or just interested in topics that touch on the humanities and social sciences.

Types of Dreams

Lucid Dreams:
Amongst the most common techniques used to achieve a state of lucid dreaming, I find the one suggested by Don Juan to be the most effective. In his book Journey to Ixtlan, Carlos Castenada shows us how an individual can by merely focusing on his hand and repeating the words I see my hand, I know I am dreaming for a over a period of 2-3 weeks achieve a state of lucid dreaming. When the subject is dreaming he sees his hand in his dream which is now triggers his consciousness and he knows that he is dreaming.
Dreamviews is a site which is very informative in nature, it outlines the steps to be taken to achieve a state of lucidity and how to work and benefit from such dreams.

Falling and Flying Dreams:
Many a times we experience falling or flying dreams where we see ourselves flying in the skies, soaring high above the clouds, sometimes in outer space. At other instances we experience falling dreams where we see ourselves plunging down into the core of the earth.
Such dreams are accompanied by out-of-body experiences (OBE) also referred to as Astral Projections. Muldoon in his book Projections of the Astral Body discusses the origins of Astral Body projections and goes on to describe various techniques that he used to attain this state. I suggest this book to anyone who wishes to explore the field of Astral Projections.
Here are more resources on flying and falling dreams.

Often we do not remember the happy dreams, but the frightening ones always make more of an impression and we are more inclined to work them out. They are a valuable resource for they show us that a fear has been blown way out of proportion or something we have suppressed is affecting us negatively. Some nightmares are recurring until we "get the message" and move forward. Before we attempt to interpret them we need to get a deeper understanding of their origins.

Precognitive Dreams:
Precognition is the ability to see into the future. Many people have precognitive ability and in particular have precognitive dreams. These dreams are glimpses of what the future holds for us. Here are some examples of such dreams.

Dreamwork Techniques

Dream Work Groups
Dreaming circles and dream work groups are very common nowadays. People get together to share dreams, to find the deeper meaning that the dream holds for them.
One such technique is the Dream Helper Ceremony which was founded by Henry Reed and Robert Van de Castle This technique is extremely effective because all participants focus their energies selflessly to answer the question for one participant who gets an opportunity to ask the question.

Dream Interpretation and other resources:
Dreamdoctor.com is a powerful resource for interpreting certain elements of the dream. It also contains examples of dreams related to that particular element thus introducing/guiding us on interpreting our own dreams.

Working with colors in always fun, be it oil paints, crayons or acrylic. We also know that each chakra (energy center) in the human body is associated with colors. Similarly when observing an aura kirlan photography has shown the presence of different colors denoting different psychological and physical attributes within the body.
How do we associate colors in Dreams? This link articulates the importance and significance of color in our dreams.

A list of abstracts from the 20th Annual International Conference of the Association for the Study of Dreams is available online and covers various issues ranging from childrens dreams to separation and sexuality. This is a good resource for further study. By reading this abstracts we can identify with a particular issue that dreams can provide answers for.

It is essential to get answers to the most basic and genuine questions that arise in our minds when we begin to tread on this journey. This link is extremely informative and an easy read for a beginner.

Dreamgate.com has a vast collection of texts covering all possible areas of dream study and various theories and dream work techniques put forth by reknown organisations. It is a wonderful research tool for anyone who wishes to explore dreams in depth.

Dream Journals:
It is very essential for us to maintain a dream journal, this helps us recall our dreams in our conscious mind faster and more accurately and is a good resource for any future reference.
Refer to Dream Emporium to learn more about the importance of maintaining a dream journal and to recieve great tips on how to remember dreams more proficiently.

Dream Ethics:
As with every job, project or as a matter of fact every relationship in life that we have had the opportunity to experience there has always been a code of ethics, a mutual understanding, a degree of respect for one another that we live up to. I personally feel it is extremely important to set this boundary in life, for it is very easy for us as humans to get attached to the outcome of any project we undertake in life.
Here is an outline of a code of ethics to be followed in dream work.

Quotations on Dreams

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.
- Edgar Allan Poe, "Eleonora"

To me dreams are part of nature, which harbors no intention to deceive but expresses something as best it can.
- Carl Jung (1875 - 1961)

Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: - 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
- Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968), Speech at Civil Rights March on Washington, August 28, 1963

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

Dreams surely are difficult, confusing, and not everything in them is brought to pass for mankind. For fleeting dreams have two gates: one is fashioned of horn and one of ivory. Those which pass through the one of sawn ivory are deceptive, bringing tidings which come to nought, but those which issue from the one of polished horn bring true results when a mortal sees them.
- Homer (~700 BC), The Odyssey

"What we see at night are the unhappy relics that we neglected while awake. The dream is often the revenge of things scorned or the reproach of beings deserted."
To accomplish great things, we must dream as well as act.
- Anatole France (1844 - 1924)

Hope is a waking dream.
- Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), from Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers

How many of our daydreams would darken into nightmares if there seemed any danger of their coming true!
- Logan Pearsall Smith (1865 - 1946), Afterthoughts (1931) "Life and Human Nature"

Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.
- Henry David Thoreau (1817 - 1862)

The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.
- Umberto Eco (1932 - ), Travels in Hyperreality (Harcourt)

And dreams in their development have breath,
And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy;
They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
They take a weight from off our waking toils,
They do divide our being.
- Lord Byron (1788 - 1824)

'How can we be sure of what we are seeing?
"Those who dream of the banquet may weep the next morning, and those who dream of weeping may go out to hunt after dawn. When we dream we do not know that we are dreaming. In our dreams we may even interpret our dreams. Only after we are awake do we know that we have dreamed. But there comes a great awakening, and then we know that life is a great dream. But the stupid think they are awake all the time and believe they know it distinctly.". "Once I, Chuang Tzu, dreamed I was a butterfly and was happy as a butterfly. I was conscious that I was quite pleased with myself, but I did not know that I was Tzu. Suddenly I awoke, and there was I, visibly Tzu. I do not know whether it was Tzu dreaming that he was a butterfly or the butterfly dreaming that he was Tzu. Between Tzu and the butterfly there must be some distinction. [But one may be the other.] This is called the transformation of things."
- Chuang Tzu

To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
To die: to sleep:
No more;
and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to,
--'t is a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd.
To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream:
ay, there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
- William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616), "Hamlet", Act 3 scene 1

"The dream is a bulwark against the regularity and commonplace character of life, a free recreation of the fettered phantasy, in which it intermingles all the images of life and interrupts the constant seriousness of the adult by the joyful play of the child. Without the dream we should surely grow old earlier, so that the dream may be considered, if not precisely as a gift from above, yet as a delightful exercise, a friendly companion on our pilgrimage to the grave."
- Novalis

This internet guide was reprinted by permission of Yoshit Rastogi, from his website, http://heilkraft.org

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