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Dream Meetings or Sharing Dreams
If you and I decided that tonight during sleep we would meet in our dreams, could we do it?
The question confronts us with something that is much more than a bizarre possibility. It is an invitation to challenge the very structure of our scientific view of who we are and what consciousness is. It is a challenge of current medical and psychological convictions about life. It would also be a Columbus voyage to a new world of possibilities and experience.
Is there any point though in attempting what, according to prevalent concepts, is impossible?
Ann, a woman I recently met, told me that one morning at work a colleague whose name was June, said, “I had a terrible dream last night. It was so vivid. In it my elder sister pushed me against a wall and stabbed me with a pair of scissors.” Later in the day the sister phoned because she was troubled by an awful dream she had experienced. She said that in it she had pushed the younger sister against a wall and stabbed her with scissors.
Despite its aggressive nature, this dream is an excellent example of two people meeting in and sharing the same dream. That June’s dream occurred on the same night as that of her sister; that both dreams had the same interaction and showed the use of scissors, make it difficult to class the dream as purely coincidental.
Celia Green, who from 1958 to 1960 held the Perrott Studentship in Psychical Research of Trinity College, Cambridge, has made a special study of this type of dream. In her book Lucid Dreams, she quotes the following experience of Oliver Fox.
I had been spending the evening with two friends, Slade and Elkington, and our conversation had turned to the subject of dreams. Before parting we agreed to meet, if possible on Southampton Common, in our dreams that night. I dreamt I met Elkington on the Common as arranged, but Slade was not present. Elkington and I both knew we were dreaming and commented on Slade’s absence. After which the dream ended, being of very short duration. The next day when I saw Elkington I said nothing at first of my experience, but asked him if he had dreamt. “Yes,” he replied, “I met you on the Common all right and knew I was dreaming, but old Slade didn’t turn up. We had just time to greet each other and commented on his absence, then the dream ended.” On interviewing Slade we learned that he had not dreamt at all, which perhaps accounted for his inability to keep the appointment.
Fox goes on to say that people have tried to explain away his experience by saying that he expected to meet his friend and so dreamt it. “But” he points out that “if expectation is to explain the experience, then I expected to meet Elkington and Slade, while Elkington expected to meet Slade and me. How is it then expectation failed us both in regard to Slade?”
In 1962 Dr Montague Ullman obtained grants that enabled him to set up a full-scale dream laboratory to test the validity of such dreams as Fox’s. Situated within the Department of Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Centre, and with the assistance of Dr Stanley Krippner, the research was committed to exploring telepathic communication in dreams. The form of most experiments was to have a waking ’sender’ concentrate on a randomly selected photograph or painting, while a sleeping ‘receiver’ dreamt. In one such experiment Dr Robert Van de Castle as the receiver dreamt of seeing what appeared to be a bed roll. “That faded out, and I seemed to be walking through some doors and standing straight ahead of me were three men. They were standing equally distant apart. They were dressed in short-sleeved blue shirts and berets, and they looked very tough.”
The target painting was Man With Arrows and Companion by Bichiter. It is of three men. At the feet of one is a bundle tied up in cloth.
Scientifically the results of Ullman’s research have created the realisation that dream telepathy is an observable phenomenon which deserves further research. Experiments such as those of both Fox and Ullman have shown that the possibility exists of meeting in a dream, and receiving or transmitting information.
The work with dreams that my wife Hyone and I do, places as in the midst of people’s dream experiences and the inner life of human beings. My own special interest has been human potential, and we have both been conducting research of our own into dream meeting. In the early days of my interest in dreams I had the experience of apparently leaving my sleeping body while I was living in Germany, and standing before my mother in London. I felt wide-awake and completely different to the usual dream like qualities. I was able to clearly observe the room in which I stood. My mother sat alone, knitting. The family dog lay asleep in front of the gas fire in our sitting-room. Despite my loud calls attempting to make my mother aware of my presence, she remained unconscious of me. But my dog awoke, saw me, and barked in joyful recognition, jumping around the spot where I stood. I later confirmed that my mother had been alone and knitting that evening, and the dog had awoken from sleep and for no apparent reason barked and jumped around the back of the sofa, where I believed myself to have stood.
This and other dream experiences caused us to start our experiments in dream meeting with a sense that it was possible for some sort of real meeting to take place. Being aware of the symbolical nature of dreams, we recognised of course that dreaming about somebody else did not constitute a meeting. We wanted to find out what was real about attempts to meet and share, and whether there is usefulness in it in one’s everyday life.
At the beginning our experiments were with each other. The very first night produced a dream for each of us in which the other figured. This is fairly common except for two aspects of the dreams. Although Hyone frequently dreams of me, I seldom dream of her. Also, both dreams were about subtle but important feelings or attitudes that stood in the way of a fuller and more trusting relationship in our everyday activities. My dream showed me carrying on my back an old wardrobe that had stood in the bedroom of a house in which I had lived with my first wife. In the dream Hyone had asked me to move it. There is a suggestion in this dream that I’m still carrying around attitudes from my first marriage — old furniture – and Hyone is asking me to deal with this.
Hyone’s dream showed her involved with weaving woollen materials. The feelings she associated with the dream were to do with her creativity and a sense of value as a person. She realised that she felt part of her still lacked expression, so was not involved in our relationship.
Our subsequent experiments followed the same pattern. And although our expectations had directed us toward a dramatic meeting within the intangible substance of dreams, the reality of the pattern that emerged, although different, was just as amazing.
So wishing to explore further we joined a professional experimental group made up of psychologists and lay people. We also organised a small group ourselves. The professional group was run by Poseidia Institute (1945, Lascin Road, Virginia Beach, 23454, USA). The team involved the experiment lived in different parts of the USA and Europe. Distance didn’t seem to matter. The Institute gave monthly goals, and then acted as a facilitator and physical contact point. There was also a monthly assessment and receipt of reports mailed by other team members.
Our own team had a slower pace and mutually agreed goals. So far nobody has hit the jackpot of a lucid meeting. On the professional team dreams are seldom explored for their feelings and associations. Hardly any of us had met or known each other previously, and many of the dreams appear random or unconnected with the goals. Those that do, have an apparent connection with themes of either searching for the group, or concern over exposure or intimacy.
In our small group, in which conscious personal connections had already been made, there was an amazing number of dreams that correspond to the set goals. Here are two dreams that illustrate this. The goal of this first experiment was meeting.
I am walking down steps to a basement flat to meet the group. At the bottom of the steps a psychiatrist is working with a man who is obviously embarrassed at exposing his inner self in public. I go past into the meeting, concerned over what there is of value I have that I can share with them.
The goal of the next dream was lucid meeting — being aware you are dreaming.
I walked into a room looking for the people I was to meet. There were people talking, who told me the group I wanted was in the next room. On entering I saw the people I was looking for on mattresses on the floor. They were asleep except for two or three. These had small pointed caps like Tibetan Llamas. I understood this meant they could remain awake in their sleep. We talked, and then began to attempt to wake the others.
Fox’s dream was both lucid, and a verifiable meeting. But Fox had an unusual ability in this area. The experimental dreams quoted are not as lucid, not verifiable, but they are experiments exploring such dreams by people with no particular talent. Therefore there are two outstanding features about them. Firstly it is interesting that so many of the dreams are directly related to the goals; and secondly, that the overall themes seem to be about problems in regard intimacy or being lucid in the dream state.
In a tentative summary of the experiments so far, we believe that the part of us that dreams is deeply concerned with relationships. Whether in regard to sexual partners or functional groups such as a team or business, dreams portray the subtle but important fears, irritations or attitudes, that stand in the way of greater cohesiveness or unity of efforts. This suggests to us that the unconscious part of us expresses drives to do with kinship, the powerful yet often overlooked internal forces of reproduction, or survival through mutual trust and endeavour. Our unconscious is an expression not only of our fundamental processes of life, such as cellular unity and symbiosis, but also of the racial experience of family and group bombs. For instance, my dream with my mother is much more lucid and powerful than my other dreams of meeting. The “hits” are more frequent when one works with those already known or has a working relationship with, such as Fox’s and the second group.
It seems trite to say that from within us we have had urged toward intimate and trusting relationships — after all, that’s what marriage, friendship and cooperative action around the world are. But the dreams stresses to us that it is fundamental to our nature to attempt to form bombs, not simply through shared physical sex, or working together in a theme, but at a deep level where we can trust somebody with our life, and share our most intimate feelings. In fact, just as we can emerge physically and sex, so there seems to be an intimacy and merging of feelings, or of purpose. Just as we see in later such unlikely relationships of trust as the crocodile and the burden that sits in its open mouth and cleaners is team, so human beings at hand unconscious level of tentative forms similar mutually satisfying groupings, which enhance their survival and influence. The difficulties surrounding such intimacy are highlighted in the dreams of meeting.
Corporations and governments use this principle of bonding informing international alliances and agreements. This enhances other survival and influence, but unfortunately misses out the factor of mutual respect of trust.
As individuals attempting a more satisfying marriage, or as a group attempting to work together effectively, we believe you can improve the quality of your togetherness by attempting to meet your dreams, and noting the response.