Integration – meeting oneself
Integration is about truly finding parts of yourself that are missing. Someone recently told me that in a business exercise a participant felt she was schizophrenic and it troubled her. Yet the word simply means there is a split in the way we relate to life. That is quite amusing because we are all so cut off from knowing who or even what we are that we are all, according to the definition, schizophrenic.
This small book is a help in dealing with the terrible fears, anxieties, nightmares, depression and general disorder we face. Here are personal experiences of finding integration; a new look at the Chinese Ox Herding Pictures; another approach to yoga; a detailed look at drug use; and a way of loving – or finding love.
There are several approaches to integration, to see them quickly click the following headings -
We integrate experience immediately we are conscious. We call it memory. But memory is not simply what we describe in words or even have words for, but it the experience of a living being as it meets life experience.
When we integrate or digest something, whether it is an idea, something we have read or learned, it has to be first surrendered to the life process. We can see this in our body – it is first chewed and swallowed, then broken down into parts and the useful stuff, the building stuff, can be taken into us and the rest is passed out. The important thing is that even if it is dead or living food, it is transformed into our own living being – in other words our living understanding. It is the building blocks of you. If it has not been transformed through digestion it is like something dead inside us. But to be capable of such digestion we must swallow the experience and allow our unknown self to do its work
Also few of us realise we have a reptilian and mammalian brain built into us and underlying our human brain, nevertheless we do. The reptilian brain is what give us the fight or flight response, the territorial response that causes so much conflict in some countries, and it is also behind our sexual response. See Levels of the Brain
Those responses were not learned in this lifetime, but are there nevertheless, even though we cannot remember them or even talk about them unless we have learnt about them in some way. This suggests we have part of us we call ‘me’ our personality, which only has partial memory, and also an instinctive part of us which we often call the unconscious which has an enormous memory.
But most of us have not recognised these animal drives in us, let alone integrated them. Yet thousands of us are lured by adverts with a sexual agenda to buy, or even are possessed by the idea that they need better sexual equipment or even have massive plastic surgery to keep up with the Jones’s. Then there are the countless millions who are possessed by their animal instinct to eat, and are tremendously overweight. But dreams show us that often we are frighten or run form meeting the animal in us. It shows a conflict we have wit our own nature, and how we are denying ourselves valuable abilities.
From this we can see that we are not really a whole person consciously, and so are quite vulnerable. The uncountable number of people on antidepressants, alcoholics and addicts show our vulnerability, as well as the enormous social and international conflicts. We also meet the challenge of and possibility of emerging into some level of adulthood. See The Conjuring Trick; Ages of Love
In that amazing journey we have collected a lot of personal memories and a lot of experience stimulated by our unconscious, but have we integrated it? Integration means meeting it, becoming aware of it and becoming more mature and creative because of it. We become more creative because we have integrated and understood more of ourselves, and therefore more about others and the world. But even the memories we have may not be integrated, because we naturally avoid pain and fear. I am not talking about physical pain which or course is wise to take care of, but emotional pain and fear.
For years I had a long battle with the effects of the animal aspect of me. I also faced fear and suffered depression, sexual misery and awful pains in my chest. I went to the doctor to see what these were about and was told there was nothing wrong with me and was prescribed a tranquilliser, which I never used. Instead I wanted to find my way through what was actually causing the problems I had. It took years because I didn’t know the way. But I was persistent and tried all manner of things and succeeded and will try to describe what I found. What I found transformed my life. It wasn’t easy to find, and it has some difficult stretches to navigate, but even so I felt I had discovered a WONDER Of course people had found it earlier in history, and in different cultures they gave it different names. But many times, looking back, it was quickly stamped out or radically changed making it ineffective. I believe this was because it involved a radical change in themselves and in their approach to life. And such changes are totally beyond belief to many, and the old sick way of life and the world quickly claims them. To explain something of that, please read the following - Life’s Little Secrets - Opening to Life - People’s Experience of LifeStream
I will start with my own experience of meeting pain and fear because I do not wish to use second hand experience. My experience might not be what you see in yourself, but there is plenty of common ground. It was a nightmare that started my journey, though at the time I was so scared I couldn’t face the fear.
A friend had recently visited my wife and I and had asked if the house was haunted. A couple of nights later I dreamt that my wife was asleep beside me and I was sitting up in bed with my friend’s words in mind. So I challenged any such ghost to show themselves, feeling I could handle them. Nothing happened so I lay down thinking I had solved the problem – there were no ghosts.
Quite soon afterwards, still dreaming, the sound of a door creaking open made me sit up. Then from behind me two black men who looked as if they had risen out of a grave with flesh peeling off them approached me. I quickly made the sign of the cross and said some sort of holy words and the figures disappeared. I lay back again thinking it was a good thing I knew how to get rid of them. But as soon as I settled to sleep again the door creaked open and the two figures appeared once more. This time all my hand waving and words had no effect on their advance, and their hands closed around my throat and I woke screaming in terror. My wife, feeling my fear, got up and we switched on all the lights.
That was about 1958, and as I knew nothing about exploring dreams I did nothing about it. But soon afterwards I started practicing yoga. I realise looking back that it was the pranayama, the breathing control and fasting that were part of what worked and helped me to meet what was behind the nightmare. I could see that each of these were ways of struggling with our instinctive drives. The fasting was meeting our drive to constantly eat, the breath control was like taking hold of a deeply seated life process governed by the unconscious.
Using it you can gradually change very deeply seated habits that have been with you a lifetime. Taking hold of the breath and controlling it is like taking hold of your nervous system, or body, and gradually altering the way it responds to events and thoughts. It is a bit like taking a wild animal and gently taming it. There should be no force or conflict involved. Gradually you will see that your way of dealing with, or responding to, difficult emotions, fears and stressful events, is changing. You feel more able to meet difficulties, allowing you to grow as a person, and be more creative. See The Slow Breath
|While I worked to interpret Goethe, he was always beside me in spirit, admonishing and continually reminding me that one who rushes too quickly along the spiritual path may attain a circumscribed experience of spirit but leaves behind the fullness of life, poor in the substance of reality. R. Steiner|
Of course it took me years to understand that and see the results. The first sign was a dream and by that time I had started exploring my dreams. In the dream I was on an underground train – metro – at the end of a long carriage with no door where I was. But I needed to get off at the next stop. As I started to walk toward the door there were two black men standing in the way blocking me. I said excuse me and one of them moved to let me pass but the other made no move. So I asked again, explaining that I needed to get off. Still he made no move so I pushed past him and arrived at the central doors. But the man I had pushed past rushed me with hands going for my throat. I was quick though and caught his hands and slowly forced them down. As I did this I had the realisation that the strength was because of yoga. I was now stronger than him.
The dream was tremendous feedback. It showed I was still in the unconscious – underground – but was trying to get out to the surface, but there was still a conflict – fight – in the way. The black men were no longer from the grave and were normal, but one aspect was still going for my throat, an area of self expression and vulnerability. What had terrified me now seemed capable of meeting, though I still had a conflict with it.
At that time I still did not know exactly what had terrified me because I still had not escaped from the unconscious/instinctive influence. But a few years later after finding what I call LifeStream I had another dream that ended the conflict. See Life’s Little Secrets
I dreamt I belonged to a Quaker meeting, but it had lost the contact with God. Three of us decided to practice the out and out surrender handing our being over to the highest in us. We cleared the chairs out so that things were no longer as of old. Then we sat waiting on the unseen. Almost immediately my hands began to move without my conscious effort, as if blessing me. At this point some of the old members came in, were shocked to see the changes. Suddenly my chair rushed out in front of the group, I thought maybe I would be `moved’ to speak. But the chair, carrying me just kept on circling the group of people at high speed. I relaxed, letting it happen. Then my chair stopped in front of the group, I thought I would now be moved to speak, but still did not. I think I tried to make myself be `moved’ to speak, because I felt there were important things to be said, but I realised I was trying too hard and surrendered. After a while a voice did boom through me, of me, yet moved from outside my normal consciousness. Then it finished and we all went out. A coloured man, who was a member of the meeting, had witnessed all this, came up to me. He was sincerely impressed, yet doubtful also. He asked me if I had made it all happen, I answered “No”. He said he could not understand how to do it. I said, “Just wait”. He said, “But how will you know it is God etc.?” I explained that he would know as surely as he knows it is me touching him now. He then said that he would come and we would `wait’ together.
My understanding of ‘waiting’ at the time came from Eliots words:
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
This dream was my first real experience of integration, for the terror I had screamed myself awake from had now been met, understood and was dealt with – not as a conqueror, but as one who was ready to learn and love. It had taken me that long to meet what were my own terrors. And what I gradually uncovered was that the terror was about my own sexual urges that I had forcefully buried. Those black men were my own natural urges that I had pushed into the grave of my unconscious; natural urges that I had turned inwards against myself. I even more slowly realised that there is nothing evil in our inner world, but forces in us that have been turned in a direction that is negative causing all manner of ill feelings, depression and neurosis. All the holy words cannot protect us from meeting ourselves and what we have done to ourselves.
We are all mammals that were born natural as wild animals, and these natural creatures – ourselves – were programmed by language, culture and beliefs that have twisted many of us into sick or incomplete and ill creatures. We have been exposed to cultures of domination of the many by the few, to belief systems that label us all as sinners, and in need of something that is promised but not deliverd; to a way of life that makes women and men work all their life to pay off debt for a home that a rabbit can gain for a few hours of work and is a communal effort. What is wrong with us? See Programmed
Also we are hypnotised into believing that there are some people who are better than us and we need to give them our money for their help, or that they are holy and deserve respect. The term enlightenment has been used in weird ways to denote qualities that only a few can actually reach. But enlightenment is only the natural force of growth in us. It is the process of waking up and knowing what we are, of seeing our obvious connections with the earth, the sun and the cosmos and with each other. It is only stopped by our fear, by our terror of things told to us, or avoidance of feeling the depths of or emotions, and principally our inability to let go of controlling everything.
Here is an experience on the way.
I felt I had arrived at an experience of the centre of things. I don’t know quite how to make clearer what I am experiencing, because the basis of being was, I felt, eternally unknowable, yet eternally experienced. One could go mad trying to know what it was; yet at the same time one always was it, and thus experienced it.
All form, all relationships, animal variety, sexual variety, longing, waiting, caring for offspring, was an expression and exploration, a bubbling up, tumbling, playing, at buzzing – the AUM. Everything wanted to zzzzzzzz. The sexual longing I felt was this fundamental buzz as expressed by me. It was like a slight out of phase current, feedback, or disharmony in basic being, like in an amplifier causing a hum. I don’t have the necessary concepts to explain in any other turns what I experienced. But I did feel that basic being, not a basic being, had learned to do this, and liked it so much it continued. I felt that this basic situation had once been a totality, but had learned to separate itself into polarities. These polarities created a sort of tension that was released when the polarities came together, as in sexual relationship. The universe so liked this it does it over and over again.
I read once that linseed oil molecules actually learned. They respond to light quicker at a second and third exposure, or something of that nature. Perhaps that is purely chemical/biological – isn’t the brain – and what is the learning process? Anyway, the universe liked buzzing after it discovered how to do it, and thus living creatures, form, sex, etc, arose out of its continuance. This buzzing penetrates all matter like an all-pervading hum, buzz or AUM.
I was feeling it now in my being. I could see how all creatures, all tumbling, sweating, loving, laughing, born and dying humanity are an expression of this fundamental zzzzzz. I saw how all conscious life was unknowingly living out this great buzz, like the iron filings moving into position, or sand dancing in the vibration of music. Yet each man or woman usually fails to acknowledge deeply how they are a fragment tossed up on the great buzz. Whether they like it or not they zzzzz, or are involving buzzing. They rationalise it, claim it as their own personally, deny it, channel it, forbid it, symbolise it religiously, fear it, murder it, chase it, or attempt to forget it – but it is all buzz, the AUM. What seems to the individuality as choice are usually magic lantern shows, shadows.
As this was all going on, lots of other things were rising. The urge began to arise to ask and look to see whether there was anything else in human nature except buzzing, except being enslaved by passions and primal urges from the great buzz; anything other than being lost in the illusions we use to cover up how we are merely vibrating fragments of sand in the great impersonal buzz. In this we are without purpose or point or glory of meaning; anything other than being one who used their ability to manipulate the urge to buzz in others, and profit or ends; anything other than being a sheep in the hands of the manipulators? Anything other?
“Well, let’s see what else there is to a human being. Is there anything else?” About here I saw, with a flash, how, immersed in life in London as a youth, surrounded by homosexuals, prostitutes, thieves, ordinary men and women in their millions, I unconsciously realised that unless one can gain some measure of control over one’s own desires, fears, urges, one is at the mercy of others who may be unscrupulous and enslaved or used. So for survival I struggled to learn how to control my own urges. Otherwise I would become a slave to the sexual.
I can feel almost as if my penis is just a channel for a river of life, flowing all the time. And that underneath the flow is the basic reality, from which all else arises. All else is a sort of fantasy, a weaving or playing. I have asked what is that reality. And there seems to be something about having to be a hero or sacrifice. Almost like mankind, to meet its difficulties, it didn’t have the qualities necessary to go on, to develop. Unconsciously mankind recognise what those qualities were, and dreamt them. The dream had not been manifest or incarnated into actual ability in the race. This is the saviour. The one who comes to change the situation of humankind, to help them get through their biological, sexual difficulties. To know who you are, or what the underlying reality is, you have to be willing to be sacrificed.
Over and over I experienced fantasies, the drama, of being a sacrifice. As one who expressed the new ideas, the new consciousness, I was beaten and smashed to death because I was a threat to the old instinctive order. But the fragments of my strewn body, my flesh, were eaten by those who had killed me. And my flesh was like Seeds that grew within those who devoured, and became in them the new awareness they had sought to destroy. In another of the series I was a willing sacrifice. Through the stress and ritual of being willingly lead to death, I would receive the new consciousness and in some way bring it to my people. Here was the birth of the Krishna and Christ consciousness, the Islamic vision
Ox Herding Pictures
But there are age old ways of regaining our beauty and our wonderful potential. I will explain them as simply as I can, and there is no authority to teach you, because it is all yours if you have the courage to use it.
The first is the Way of the Ox Herding shown in ancient Chinese thought. The teaching is shown in a series of pictures. They are from the 12th century, and may represent a Zen Buddhist interpretation of the ten stages experienced by a person who seeks enlightenment.
No. 1 In Search of the Bull (aimless searching, only the sound of cicadas)
This depicts a person who wanders in life from one sense impression to the next. It is a person who feels they live only once and so must taste its physical pleasures before they die.
No. 2 Discovery of the Footprints (a path to follow
No. 3 Perceiving the Bull (but only its rear, not its head)
The bull is of course his own native self, the inner animal, shown as his sexual power, his inner wildness which he only catches a glimpse of. He doesn’t realise what influence it has in his life yet.
No. 4 Catching the Bull (a great struggle, the bull repeatedly escapes, discipline required)
This is where the person becomes really aware of what he is dealing with, the enormous power of the instincts and how they rule ones life. A new realisation, and one not easily understood, for the person is still under the influence of the inner animal. It has lived its life from its own instincts without any thought, and is a creature of habits. Facing these and the tricks they play on the mind asks a lot. See Habits
No. 5 Taming the Bull (less straying, less discipline, bull becomes gentle and obedient)
After a long struggle and much work on oneself one begins to see real changes and this gives hope of finding liberation from human miseries. See Martial Art of the Mind and Avoid Being Victims.
No. 6 Riding the Bull Home (great joy)
No. 7 The Bull Transcended (once home, the bull is forgotten, discipline’s whip is idle; stillness)
There is no more work to be done on self, but one experiences a lasting silence of all the voices of emotion, pain, ideas, conviction and beliefs which mastered you. It is as if you passed through the unknown into the known. You live in a lasting peace. In the silence one realises to much that had been hidden behind the noise of ones own being. See Meeting the Unknown
No. 8 Both Bull and Self Transcended (all forgotten and empty)
This is often called enlightenment, but it is better described as the realisation that you have grown to the point of realising yourself as nothing/everything. It is a paradox, because all life is paradoxical. But it is a blessed state in which there is both a state of striving/non-striving – being/non-being. It is not understood until experienced, like the sound of one hand clapping. See Enlightenment
No. 9 Reaching the Source (unconcerned with or without; the sound of cicadas)
You are in touching with your core self, the creator, and so there is a period in which realise you are at the beginning and ending. You know the trees and animals and you are kindred. The river of life flows through you. See Touching Your Core Self – Part 1
No. 10 Return to Society (crowded marketplace; spreading enlightenment by mingling with humankind)
Below is a man’s experience as he was exploring his inner being that says in a different way the message of the Ox Herding Pictures:
Example: What I slowly realised was that through what occurred as humans experienced self-consciousness. This was different to anything else on our planet. Animals, like humans, are integral parts of the cycles of change and inter-relatedness. Not being self-conscious, however, they are not aware of their situation, their is-ness, their pointlessness, and purposelessness. They live, they procreate as an expression of their cosmic energies, and they die. But unconsciously they are part of the wonder of the cosmos. Nothing is their own, not their birth, not the life, not the death. But being conscious and able to look back upon oneself and ask, “What am I?” – Humans began to see the awfulness, the loneliness, the absence of choice, the compulsiveness of their situation. The no longer have the connection with the Whole except for some remarkable women and men. Many religious and doctrines stressed this realisation. In Buddhism it is that we are bound to the wheel of life and death. In Hinduism it is stated as being lost and blinded by Maya, and so chained to existence. In Christianity it is stressed we are corruption and food for the worms, and have no existence if we are not saved. We are sheep – that are led to slaughter and eaten by the shepherd.
Men ran from this realisation in any and every direction. People like John the Baptist who stressed that destruction and death ended life of humanity were shunned or killed.
But a few men and women worked out the puzzle of human existence and death. They noticed a factor that was not in itself natural (yet it is not unnatural, as in infinite change, everything is possible). The people noticed that humans were, like animals, locked into compulsive instinctual life patterns. Eating, sleeping, sex, self-seeking, were unconscious compulsive drives in which all humanity were immersed. But having self-consciousness, decisions could be made. One could decide not to live out these compulsive patterns. If one actually stopped eating by fasting – restrained breathing – said no to the sex impulse – denied the urge to power – something unusual sometimes happened. We are all born victims of circumstance. But we need not remain a victim.
In the west we usually see yoga as a series of postures that people try to do perfectly. That is really a form of physical exercise, but yoga as it is described in the classics on the subject, such as Hatha Yoga Pradipka and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali describe has very different aim.
To start with there are several different steps in Hatha (physical) Yoga, and they do not even mention the postures at the beginning. The first necessary steps are yama and niyama, that is followed by asanas, the postures. Then comes pranayama, breath control. The following steps are Pratyahara (subjugation of senses), Dharana (withdrawing the senses from external phenomena), Dhyana (remaining unidentified with body or mind), Samadhi (transcending the realms of body, mind and intellect), and Samyama (knowledge beyond the mind and intellect).
“There is not a single asana that is not intended directly or indirectly for the mind; however, for the advanced meditation practices of there are only two postures that are considered essential. These siddhasana and padmasana. The other asanas have been devised to strengthen different parts of the body and to develop the needed strength required by the rigid physical disciplines imposed upon the student… Posture becomes perfect when effort to that end ceases, so that there may be no more movement of the body. The requirement that the posture must be held for three hours is the chief difficulty and makes intelligible why it took so long to achieve it.” Quoted from Hatha Yoga by Theos Bernard
Although I followed these steps as fully as I could, I was working full time, being a parent to my children, and I couldn’t keep it up. As Theos Bernard who managed the whole demanding process says, it was usually done in a different culture where one had servants caring for your needs. But as I explained at the beginning I found a way by using a mixture of different approaches.
However, from yoga I learnt that things have to be done to strengthen the personality or the ego – in other words you need to strengthen you and your will. For example many people cannot stop eating because they are ruled by their instincts. So fasting is an excellent way of testing your strength. And by fasting I do not mean like Ramadan where the person simply doesn’t eat during sunrise and sunset, which in Africa was fairly early. Fasting means to not eat anything for several days. I did it for a fortnight when I started in my twenties, and now do it two days a week. For millennia humans have fasted for spiritual, emotional, and physical reasons–as a way to heal their bodies, reconnect to the sacred, regain a sense of life’s purpose. But I suggest it for a way of strengthening the will and a preparation for meeting the enormousness of you. See Fasting; The Unconscious; reaction to our hugeness
One of the impressive observations to be found in the literature on yoga practices, yet seldom if at all in Western physiology or psychology, is the connection between the breath and the mind. Such yoga teachings state that there is always a connection between the breath and mental states. It can be observed for instance that when angry a person’s breath is agitated and quite different to when the person is mentally focused on something like a mathematical problem. There is yet another difference in the breathing and the mental state when the person is asleep.
One person who did have a clear understanding on the breath in connection with directing ones life was Dr G. R. Heyer in his book Organism of the Mind. He writes in mentioning yoga, “Everyone who is well informed … will confirm my statement that by regulating expiration you can disclose, agitate, mobilise, and bring into or near the upper strata of consciousness, depths of the mind which analytically you could only sound in .. a number of long sittings. A man may come seemingly in fine condition, radiating self confidence, and after ten or twenty minutes breathing exercises he will be lying in front of you a wreck, weeping, wailing, disclosing to you matters he acknowledge to no one. The whole façade has suddenly collapsed, revealing the real personality”.
That was published in 1933, long before the so called new methods of Rebirthing and Holotropic Breathwork became popular. But I am not trying to point you in that direction. Having seen that unless a person has built a strong personality nothing will help to break through to the wonder of themselves. Even when we do manage a breakthrough, it still takes time to really meet all you hold. It is, after all, the natural process of our growth we are working with. Forcing it can produce difficulties like lifting heavy weights without first strengthening the muscles.
So I suggest gentle methods that strengthen you. The methods will give you personal strength without which you will not be able to avoid the resistances we have toward growth. One young woman dreamt of cutting off her breast, suggesting trying to cut out the living process that was moving her into being a full woman. So such resistances can also relate to how we try to dissociate from our own process of growth and ageing, for growth also moves us toward ageing.
The method I suggest is as follows.
The 1-4-2 Method of Breathing
With any method of controlling the breathe and holding it, it causes a build up of carbon dioxide. As can be seen in recent video’s of ways of controlling anxiety and panic attacks, a breathing in and out of a paper or plastic bag is suggested. This is because we breathe out carbon dioxide and so taking in what we breath out we build up our intake of it. As carbon dioxide decreases anxiety and panic it is very useful to be able to do this.
But a much better way of doing this with much deeper results is the held breath. You must realise that you are gradually changing very deeply seated habits that have been with you a lifetime. Taking hold of the breath and controlling it is like taking hold of your nervous system, or body, and gradually altering the way it responds to events and thoughts. It is a bit like taking a wild animal and gently taming it.
The method is called 1-4-2 because you start with an in-breath that you count. So if you started with an in-breath that took a count of 5 you then hold your breath for a count of 20 – that is four times the length of the in-breath. You then breath out slowly for a count of 10 – which is half the count of the held breath. Therefore a 1-4-2 count. So if your in breath took a count of 10, four times that is 40, and half of that is 20.
To really get the results from this you must start at a low count until you are used to it, and there should be no struggle to hold your breath, only lengthening the count as you find it easy. Start with 10 minutes of the technique and work up to 20 minutes. It will really work if you do this for twenty minutes day. You will need to keep it up for three months then you will notice real change, you can then stop it and only use it if you feel the need.
This is so far the best way of dealing with stress I have used. In meeting people in the media who face a lot of stress they have told me this is a lifesaver for them. I have noticed that it also lowers blood pressure, and it tames the wild animal in us.
The Way of the Shaman – South American
María Sabina was the first contemporary Mexican curandera, defined as a native shaman, to allow Westerners to participate in the healing vigil that became known as the velada, where all participants partake of the psilocybin mushroom as a sacrament to open the gates of the mind. The velada is seen as a purification and as a communion with the sacred.
This reveals the plant’s power as a clarifying and enlightening force which enables sacred truths from nature to be applied to everyday life. See Maria Sabina
In a more youthful period of my life I sat with many people as they used the psilocybin mushrooms (magic, or as they were called in the west country ‘liberty caps’). What I learned has important repercussions for anyone using or planning to use the mushroom or any other psychedelic drug.
If you haven’t realised that everything you experience is a symbol, and if you are not used working with symbols then you are entering a half world, a dream world, such as ancient people lived in and understood. But for the western mind it is simply a dream that you do not understand. It will be intriguing even uplifting, but it needs another level to climb to make it useful to you. For the drug opens the possibility of dreaming while awake, which also means the door opens to nightmares where you meet the fears and terrors you have never meet or dealt with. Other hallucinatory substances such as ayahuasca should also be seen as both healing and as stated in the Wall Street Journal, “They can be dangerous. And should be avoided by those who are bipolar or schizophrenic, since it has been known to trigger psychotic episodes.”
Many ancient and wonderful cultures lived their lives in this world and their rituals and practices give rise to symbolic statements. Here is a statement from a young Native American undergoing an initiation – “On the eighth night, another big bird appeared to me and I determined to accept its gift, for I was tired of waiting and of being confined in my little fasting wigwam. In my dream of this bird, he took me far to the north where everything was covered with ice. There I saw many of the same kind of birds. Some were very old. They offered me long life and immunity from disease. It was quite a different blessing from that which the chickadee had offered, so I accepted. Then the bird who had come after me, brought me to my fasting wigwam again. When he left me, he told me to watch him before he was out of sight. I did so and saw that he was a white loon”.
Those people were so deeply immersed in their connection and associations with the animals that the vision was understandable. The same applies to Christianity which was all told in symbolic language and so for many people has no meaning – unless they can meet and take the next step. To do so they will need the strength mentioned already, for I have witnessed people who took double or treble the amount necessary and had no effect for fear of what they were seeing. Or another person who as the drug started working recoiled in horror and begged for it to end. Or others still who took it many times as an interesting pastime, until one day they met something that they felt was a horror and never again used the drug.
Of course they have all entered the dream world with their barriers weakened and so experienced a waking nightmare, and because they could not escape it by waking it was awful. Yet nightmares are a way of presenting a healing catharsis. But it is only healing for those who can face, as I learnt to do, to be strong enough to meet what had been a terrifying experience, but was in fact the way to freedom.
The Next Step
The real heroine or hero of the inward journey comes from meeting the angel’s devils, murderers of our inner world and incorporating them. For them it does not remain in a symbolised version of themselves. They do not accept the Devil as an exterior agent, or Christ as an outer and perhaps historical character. They do not accept their dreams at face value, but are ready to face themselves with the courage necessary. For it is an uncomfortable journey to actually see oneself. It is a demanding climb to have ones awareness stretched and widened beyond ones personal limitations in order to include a vaster experience of yourself. It is easier to remain at a symbolic level rather than discover the wonderful or uncomfortable truths about oneself.
The journey is one of consciousness/awareness. Consciousness on our planet started in the slime of creation, the slime we return to, to procreate. And from that slime our awareness goes through the whole process of evolution, the dividing of cells, the forming of structure and organs, the creation of a creature with gills, and on to a human type form ready to breathe air. But it hasn’t yet learned language, the huge mental program that gives self awareness. See Programmed
What I am suggesting is that in fact we have a whole spectrum of awareness starting from the single cell up to the human personality. Of course many of us pride ourselves as being the high creation, but in fact many of us are simply bubbles floating on a magnificent ocean, and will soon burst. And unless the bubble becomes aware of where it came from and where it will return, it is in fact a tiny part of what it is capable of. But awareness starts at the cellular level in the body, and dreams have the origin in the body, and the body has a different level of awareness, one it learned over millions of years of surviving. That is why our personality, so out of touch with our body’s awareness, cannot understand dreams.
So here is where dreams start their climb to consciousness from. Look at this case of a man who suffers abdominal tension. The first is the unconscious physiological process, such as cell generation and digestion. Problems which cannot move more fully into consciousness and so are held at this level become psychosomatic pains or illness. So the man who suffers abdominal tension, a psychosomatic condition, has so far been unconscious of what he holds within him.
This leads to the next level due to the man being helped to release his tension, which then ascended to the expression as a posture. As the physiological or psychobiological process moves nearer consciousness, its next level of expression is postural or gestural. Thus we may express our deepest hidden feelings in an unconscious body posture or movement. When the abdominal tensions of a patient were released the man found his body making spontaneous movements leading to a posture he still did not understand.
So onwards up the climb to awareness, when something moves from the gestural or postural to the next stage of expression it becomes a dream or a symbol, which although it may not be understood, is now entering the arena of awareness. It is still a part of the move toward consciousness. This is sometimes called the mythic level, and is something we see working in producing religious thinking or myth creation. It still remains at the symbolic level. The man was encouraged to allow what was happening and the movements gradually led the man to take on the posture of an animal which he felt to be a fish.
The next step is the real breakthrough into human self awareness. At this stage, what had been deeply unconscious, was then symbolised, now rises into consciousness and is capable of being verbalised or thought about and analysed. If one had attempted to verbalise something in level two it would have been so far outside of consciousness as to defy description. Also, when looking at these levels or stages, they suggest that the dream process is a means by which deeper stages can be portrayed to awareness in order to make them known. Therefore, by working with the dream process we can tap deeper levels of awareness and lead them to understanding. It is not by thinking about a dream that makes it known but by working with the process that has taken it from the psychosomatic, through the postural upwards to the dream level. When this level is reach you can describe a dream in a way anyone can understand.
The man experiencing himself as the fish was moving to its meaning, but as the movements continued the man first realised he felt like a fish caught on a hook and line, then suddenly, he knew that was how he felt in regard to his mother. He was caught and could not get away from his mothers hold on him, so he was trying to move to independence. Emotional independence is a huge step – after all, you have been dependent for years, and some people never manage it. The tremendous pain at the death of a parent or someone you depended upon shows this.
As can be seen, there is a spontaneous move toward consciousness, but it is blocked by unconscious tensions, fear, avoidance or emotional pain. We avoid spontaneous movement, which was what led the man to realise his dependence on his mother, by being so in control that we are out of touch with our own needs, our depths. See Life’s Little Secrets
How do we get from not knowing to knowing?
I am of course still writing about the use of psychedelics. And a person I once dealt with is a good illustration of the difference the approach can make. He was a young man working in an unskilled job in a hotel. His girlfriend had approached my wife because as the girl explained her boyfriend was taking mushrooms every day and she felt he was going mad because he had changed so much. She was frightened for his sanity and asked if we could help him.
As I understood it the drug was continually releasing things from his unconscious which if not met in the right way leads to complete confusion and elements that are fine in the unconscious, shut safely begin the enormous resistances the conscious personality usually has guarding it, but without that protection it was subject to enormous attack. It was exactly these features of my own unconscious that had led to depression and suicidal feelings. Meeting them in the right way had led to their removal. It isn’t that the unconscious is a dangerous place – not at all – but the things that are put into it by parent, culture, media, and even religion can lead to enormous threats.
So we agreed to see the young man. I thought that if I could show him how to work with the symbols he met it he would carry on and find health. He arrived and took the mushrooms before arriving. He was talking about the film of a man who collects payments and was on a beach, The Repo Man.
I started helping him explore the dream using the technique explained in Peer Dream Work. With guidance he soon began to break through the symbols into the underlying emotions, and as he felt these he saw what they meant. It related to his grandma’s death something he had never deal with and had a lot of feeling about. He realised that the beach was a place he could connect with his grandma and he felt all was well and he was at ease with her death and his part in it. This is a shortened version of what happened.
Afterwards his girlfriend told us with very great feeling, that he was normal again and the change was wonderful. But after a week he was taking the mushrooms daily again without trying to understand the images he faced. The result was he was slipping back into his previous condition.
To be able to meet what after all is yourself, but a self you have not yet discovered, is what I have described as icons on a computer screen. The images or feeling we experience are not like real life. Because a dream is nothing like outer life where things could hurt you, but is an image like on a cinema screen that even if a gun is pointed at you and fired it can do no damage – except if you run in fear. The images ARE LIKE ICONS ON A COMPUTER SCREEN - You have to ‘click’ on your dream images to make them come alive. Thinking about them doesn’t work. You need to open yourself to the magic of them. You have to ‘click’ on your dream images to make them come alive. Thinking about them doesn’t work. You need to open yourself to the magic of them.
The aim here is to show you how to move through and use the different aspects of YOU – your emotions need to be alive and responsive; you mind need to be open to the new, the VERY new that your dreams present you with; also the dimensions of you. So I am listing some exercises for you to try – use them until they work for you.
The first one is the Breathe Meditation. It is different to the previous breath control, and is aimed at seeing if you can get your emotions moving and mobile.
The Breath Meditation
This is more of a meditation than an exercise, but is important in mobilising inner feelings that lie behind movements. When you begin this meditation, do not be in a hurry to open the hands to let the feeling of pleasure radiate out. In fact, let the hands be as spontaneous in expressing what you feel as you can. It may be that your hands thereby move a great deal, or very little. If there is an urge to move the hands in other ways than suggested allow this to happen.
1 – Stand in a comfortable balanced position with the hands in front of the chest, palms together and eyes closed.
2 – Imagine that as you breathe-in, the air is fanning a small glowing coal inside the chest. The incoming air makes the coal glow gently, and you breathe slowly and with awareness. This coal is just a symbol of the subtle pleasure sensations generated by slow purposeful inhalation. If you can be directly aware of this pleasure, dispense with the image of the coal.
3 – In either case, let the hands indicate the amount of this glow or pleasure. Let them do this by moving apart, so if the pleasure is intense the hands reach wide. As you exhale and the glow fades, let the hands come together. But if there is little felt, then the hands remain unopened.
4 – If you find your hands and arms respond then let a feeling or warmth or love flow out to everyone, and as they pull back feel as if you are drawing in what others give you in this subtle way.
5 – If you have managed that and felt it working in you, then and only then let you energy move upwards, and eventually downwards so you get the sideways movement flowing into the up and down energy flow. Let your being show you how.
But if you have not got anything from it persist until you do. Do it day after day until you can feel a response, and then work with it.
If you managed that the next exercise is to get you ready to receive the impressions to move and express spontaneously that exploring your images will release in you. To understand this you need to understand the two wills in you and what they do.
The Two Wills
In life and sleep we have two powerful actions working in us. The first is our waking experience based on having a body, its limitations, vulnerabilities and a particular gender. Our second is the power that gave us life and continues to express as dreams, in our breathing and heartbeat – our life. This I have given the description as the Life Will.
While we sleep our conscious self is largely or totally unconscious, and while we sleep and dream our voluntary muscles are paralysed – therefore another will or motivating force moves our body.
So we have a Conscious Will, and what I will call a Life Will. The first one we have experience of as we can move our arm or speak in everyday activities; but the second will takes over when we sleep. See Sleep Paralysis
This Life will can move us to do all the things we do in our dreams, such as speak, to move our body, and in fact do things that we cannot do with our Conscious Will. As Freud pointed out this inner will has full access to our memories. It can do so many other things that are described else where – See Edgar Cayce and the Cosmic Mind; ESP in Dreams.
This Life Will or motivator has been active for millions of years and we see it working all the time in animals. We are partly split in half because we are often opposed to what our Life Will in us wants. So the only way to express what is good for us is in dreams when our conscious will is largely passive or we are restricted by being tied down. An example of this who dream they are healed and unable to move because a being, demon or some dark force is holding them. But it is not a dark demon but our own body working to protect us. Without it we would wander about and injure ourselves because we are asleep. A part of the brain controls our sleep paralysis. We can overcome the paralysis while awake and so have a waking lucid dream. See LifeStream; Functions of dreams
Arm Circling Meditation
This is a useful technique to learn the first stages of allowing your inner being to express spontaneously. It is a way of gradually loosening tensions and blockages. But must be practiced several times to really feel your way into it.
It is good to try a preparatory exercise first, one to give you a direct experience of spontaneous movement.
But it is also good to get the feel of something that is easy to do first. A simple way you might be able to learn the beginnings of this it may help to first learn how to yawn spontaneously. You can do this by acting out a few yawns until they come spontaneously. Let them come and let the rest of your body join in if an urge to stretch comes. This is to learn how to recognise and allow your body and feelings to express spontaneously. When you can allow spontaneous yawns and stretches, then try the arm circling.
Spontaneous Arm Movement
This is a simple and enjoyable technique which gives a direct experience of spontaneous movement. You need to stand about a foot away from a wall, side on. Start with your right side. You are going to lift your right arm sideways, but because you are near the wall you will only manage to lift it part of the way. So when the back of your hand touches the wall, press it hard against the wall as if trying to complete the movement of lifting the arm. Using a reasonable amount of effort stay with the hand pressing against the wall for about twenty seconds. Then move so you face away from the wall, and with eyes closed relax your arm and be aware of what happens. Try it before reading on, and use the left arm afterwards.
For some people nothing happens. In which case I suggest you loosen your arms by consciously moving them to get your blood circulating, then try again.
What we have done is to attempt to make a movement. Because the wall prevented this, the body was not able to complete the movement you asked it to make. Therefore a muscular charge built up in the deltoid muscle. When you stepped away from the wall the arm, if relaxed, was then free to complete the movement. So possibly your arm rose from your side as if weightless, thus discharging its energy. Some people need several tries before they can find the right body feeling to allow the arm its movement. It is easy to prevent it moving because the impulse is quite a subtle one. The point of the exercise however, is to learn a relationship with oneself in which a subtle impulse can express. The movement the arm makes, and how it feels to experience an un-willed movement, is so similar to LifeStream we are thus provided with an experimental experience of the real thing. Therefore it is helpful either to practice the technique until you can do it, or use it a number of times to establish your relationship with the feeling of it. This sense of allowing movement can then be used in LifeStream itself. See Water Wonderland
Arm Circling Movement
For the next exercise you need sufficient floor space to move easily, or even lay full length if necessary. It also helps to have loose clothing. You start by standing in the middle of your floor space, giving yourself time to explore what you feel and experience. Start by circling your arms. Take the arms above the head, down the sides of the body fairly slowly, with the arms fully extended, then upward crossing the front of the trunk. In the full movement the hands are then forming wide circles that cross the front of your body. This arm circling is simply to help you learn how to allow spontaneous movement. It is a way of working with the natural forces within you.
So, as you are circling your arms with eyes closed, bring your awareness to the shapes your hands are making in space. As you become aware of the shapes the hands are carving in space, watch what feelings you have as to how you would like to move. Give yourself permission to doodle, to make any sort of shapes your feelings or body incline you to. Allow any sort of posture or movement, as active or quiet as you like.
If they arise, allow sounds to accompany the movements, and allow whatever feelings accompany them. Hold the attitude that what you are doing doesn’t have to make sense. Nor does it have to comply with what other people might expect of you. Realise that you are allowing another part of yourself, perhaps a non verbal part, or a facet unknown to the rational mind, to express.
With a non critical watching attitude, relax and let your body and feeling sense direct what happens. There is no need to fiercely concentrate in order to wipe the mind clear of other influences. But you may need to relax the part of the mind that always needs to know beforehand what you are going to do. See The Keyboard Condition
This is not like creative dance, in which there may exist a personal need to produce something pleasing for others to watch. With this exercise you need an open area in which your inner being can make its own adjustments, and movement and feeling has a chance to express outside of rational criticism and demands of everyday life.
Give yourself at least fifteen minutes in which to explore what spontaneous movements and feelings emerge. Below is a summary of what may happen in this practice.
Although the movements may at first appear haphazard and irrational, if you allow them to continue without criticism, they usually express – perhaps only over a period of several sessions – a particular theme or point.
Like a dream, the theme or drama often symbolises your life situation, or something within you, such as the remaining emotions or attitudes from past experience, or a creative realisation. Or the movements may be expressive of the body’s own need to release energy or mobilise itself and its urges.
There are obvious stages or depths to the experience. Movement is often the first. Feelings and fantasy can then combine with the movement. Only with a few people do they occur without each other. If met in the right way the movements, fantasy and sounds can lead to insight into what is being expressed. In other words the symbolic movements, if that is what they are, can give way to rational understanding. This is not because one has thought out a plausible explanation for what happens. It is because your critical, conscious mind has watched the spontaneous working of what usually only occurs in dreams while you are unconsciousness. This gives automatic feedback to the unconscious mind and it can speed up it processing and problem solving. A communication takes place between the unconscious and conscious mind.
If what emerges is symbolic then it is help to ask the spontaneous process to clarify what it represents. The first time this happened to me I didn’t understand that the movements were symbols. I experienced creating a huge world which was so heavy it crushed me, pushing me to the floor and paralysed me. Slowly I gained strength, stood up and threw off the world. It was three months later, as I was describing the experience to a friend that realisation hit me like a wonderful insight. The world I had created was one made up of religious rules that in fact had made me ill trying to live them by controlling everything. The spontaneous Life Process in me had given me the strength to see them and cast them off.
Example of allowing the Spontaneous Life Process to Heal Us
Here is a woman’s experience that describes her experience.
“Perhaps two minutes passed when I felt a distinct twitching around my brow, which was repeated, and then it spread down my face, a downward pressing movement. My face was involved then in a big muscular movement, pressing down, seeming to flatten the face, and then spread down the body towards the feet. Gradually my whole body became involved in big waves of pressing movement which flowed down, lifting and tossing my legs, so that my heels were banging on the floor. Wave succeeded wave. I did as Tony said, and let it happen, using the skills to relax which I had learnt. I wasn’t afraid, although I couldn’t imagine what was happening to me. Instead I felt happy and elated, warmed through. I knew I had found something of great significance, but it was many months before I could put words to it. It remained an intriguing mystery, like a dropping away of chains, or a touching of promise, while I passed through the pain of divorce. I feel that my experience that day released considerable energy. It did not break my marriage – that would have happened anyway. But I received strength which I used for my needs at that time. Months later it came to me with the force of revelation, that I had been born that day.”
From the point of view of the meditation it is a way of entering into the usually unconscious processes of the mind and working with them. Usually the only way you let go so fully and allow the spontaneous action of our inner nature is when we sleep and dream.
Because if you experience spontaneous movement you are on the beginning of an amazing experience, you may need further instruction. It is good to practice it once a week until you begin to understand and work with the action taking place in you.
Becoming Ready for Mushrooms
If you are to become a master of travelling in your unconscious like a master journeyer, you need to have mastered entering dreams and realising that all psychedelic experience is in symbols. Unless you are fully acquainted with that you are in danger of getting lost.
To do that you need to use the following techniques. The first is Being the Person or Thing. Your ability to allow the spontaneous is important and you need to use it in BTPOT (being the person or thing).
Being the Person or Thing
One of the most important things about actually understanding your dream rather that interpreting it is to become the dream person or object – to actually completely identify with it. This needs to be practiced as most people feel the dream person or object is something other than themselves and are often hesitant to become it. For instance the Devil in a dream is simply your own emotions and fears given an exterior image. And also Christ in a dream is the highest in them. In doing this you can step beyond the imagery of the dream into direct experience of yourself in all its variety and wonder.
Nearly always when people dream about someone they know they automatically believe the dream is about that person. But when we think of our friend or partner our thoughts are not them – just our thoughts and feelings about them. In the world of dreams our most intimate fears and longings are given an exterior life of their own in the form of the people, objects and places of our dream. See Characters and People in Dreams
So to become the dream image the dreamer next chooses one of the characters or images in the dream to explore. The character can be themselves as they appear in the dream, or any of the other people or things. It is important to realise that it does not matter if the character is someone known or not, or whether they are young or old. The character needs to be treated as an aspect of their dream, and not as if they were the living person exterior to the dream. So do not attempt to describe them an outside person, but the dream character.
In choosing an image to work with, such as a person, a tree, cat, place, or an environment like the street in the example dream above, it must again be treated as it appears in the dream, not as it may appear in real life. One can take any image from the dream to work with.
A psychiatrist writes that, “The very small child runs round the room saying: “I am a lion.” He or she does not clearly distinguish between the fact that he is a child and the feeling that he is a lion. The older child can make such a distinction, unless it is emotionally disturbed, but it will still play fantasy games “let’s pretend.” The adult has not wholly lost this quality, but by the time adolescence is over his personality has struck a balance between reality and fantasy between his outer and his inner environment”. We all have this ability to enter more fully into our inner dream life – but we need to be a little more childlike.
Stand in the Role of Character or Object
The dreamer stands in the role of the character or image they are using. So if they chose to be a person they would close their eyes, imagine themselves as stepping into the body of the dream character and describe him or herself as the person they now are.
To do this it usually changes the way your body or feelings feel. As this is done notice any changes in how you feel as that person – or object – speak as them in the first person. Do not say, “I feel as if this person is …” but say, “I feel I am and am doing.” As this happens watch any realisations or insights that arise and explore the person. Ask question of this dream character until you feel you have realised what it is of you that is being revealed.
I know it is difficult for some people to say ‘I’ instead of talking as if the dream character is someone else. But if you start claiming the dream image as your own in this way by saying such things as, “I am a tree” you will quickly realise you are talking about yourself. Seeing that all images of our dreams are productions of our self, in being an object or person we are tuning into aspects of oneself usually unconscious.
Here is an example. The dream was of a railway station that was an old castle keep/tower. In using the magic word I, this is what he described himself as. “I am an old castle keep. I used to be for defence and repelling people, but now I can let people in and out easily.” The dreamer realised this was a really excellent insight into his character and the change taking place in him.
Example: It was something like a semi detached and sited on a slope. I was outdoors and I think felt or knew that we had just taken over this house. But I felt uneasy as if something from the past was linked with it.
Then I was at the back of the house, on the part sloping down from the back wall of the house. I noticed things covering what turned out to be a big hole dug against the back wall, deep into the soil. This was where I felt most ill at ease about the place. The hole had been covered with bits of board and other odd pieces of junk. I lifted these at the left of the hole and looked in. Sticking out from the side of the hole, about three feet down was the dead body of a young man. I could see the back of his skull had been smashed in. But although he had obviously been under the soil for some time, and had now been uncovered, the body was still in good condition, being slightly dried out or mummified.
I felt really guilty and connected with the body, as if I had been part of his murder, and was wondering frantically what I could do to hide or get rid of the body. Part of the problem was that pulling it out risked being seen with it.
In ‘being’ the body in the dream the man said, “But it wasn’t until I got into the role of the dead body that any depth of feelings emerged. Almost as soon as I was in the role of the dead body I began to think about and feel things connected with the way I had killed my sexuality as a teenager. Gradually these feelings deepened and I was describing my feeling hatred in regard to sexuality and how the masses were pulled along by their genitals into some sort of conformity and performance. I felt anger and loathing for what I felt at the time were the cattle human beings were.
I despised and hated them. I also felt repugnance at the way people talked about sex or appeared to enjoy it. It has to be understood that in that period in history in the UK, most of sex was depicted in terms of smut, dirt, animal desire, hidden pornography, or loveless fucking. I wept deeply, at times hardly able to breathe, with the pain of seeing what I had done to myself. I said sorry over and over. I saw that I need not have killed my love and sexuality, but could have expressed it in a tender and loving way. Some of this I expressed to a friend when I wrote to her about the experience. Below is the content of the email.
I explored it and met the pain of killing my sexuality utterly, as well as all the attendant feelings about the common herd who are dragged by their genitals into ‘fucking’ and loveless relationships – exactly what I was dragged into by the fact I had utterly killed all genital sensation for all those years. I was able to follow the tracks back – once again – to my own actions, killing any contact with my mother. But then being treated like an alien in my own home town, and seeing my peers treat incoming refuges from the war in Europe like shit. As an ‘Iti’ I identified with them and felt ‘different’. Apart from which I seemed to be carrying this desire never to be like the ‘herd’ from the long past.
The body in the hole was that of the ‘me’ I would have grown into if I had not murdered that beautiful part of me. In the UK at the time, and in my youth, sex was nearly always about dirt, smut, a quick fuck, and hidden but rampant pornography and homosexuality. I wanted nothing to do with it. I wanted nothing to do with the manipulation via sexual desire that was going on around me. But of course, it need not have been like that, but I had no other role model at the time, so I did a terrible thing to myself. Also I lost all respect for my elders as in none of them could I see that gentleness of love. My schoolteachers were thrashing children with rods. The world was killing each other in tens of thousands because the war was on. My mother had psychologically castrated me, and my father hardly ever even spoke to me. So I divorced the world, and of course lost that wonderful quality of compassion for the human struggle. In the process I threw myself into the volcano of fighting the forces of life itself. I fought God and won, but was mortally wounded in the combat. Here I stand, a wiser and hopefully gentler man.
This is by far the best way to enter into dreams and know what they are really about.
The way of working known as the Peer Dream Group came about from our experience that dreams are largely self explanatory if approached in the right way. An exterior expert or authority is not necessary for a profound experience of and insight into dreams if certain rules are respected and used. The dreamer is the ultimate expert on their own dream, and when treated as such, and supported in their exploration of their dream drama, they can powerfully explore and manifest the resources of their inner life.
Fundamentals of Practice – The suggestions that follow have arisen from fifty years of dream work. They have been particularly tested with a number of small groups, and are usually employed with groups of three to five people, but often with just two people working together.
The foundations of this practice rest on an understanding, or a standpoint accepted or taken by the listener and perhaps the dreamer. It is that the person before you is an expression of life. Let’s forget anything about dream theory, because the very first step is to form an attitude to what is in front of you. Here is a being, a little chunk of life, and at the core of this living being, this living process, a process that has developed a sense of self, is the stuff of life. It is the stuff that makes heroes and saints, mothers, fathers, friends and foes. It is the essence from which arises the whole thrust of life. It is the living core of creative possibilities. If you look around you at what life does, you can see it can be a multitude of things. It can manifest as a lion or a flea, a giraffe or a tree. It is, at the same time, both a galaxy and an amoeba. And here it is in front of you as a living being.
At the core is the freedom to choose. At the core of this being is that freedom to choose — that freedom that life expresses in its multiplicity of forms. Another word for that freedom is potential or creativity. So at the core of the person in front of you lies that potential, that creativity, that problem solving ability that life itself expresses. But perhaps with this being in front of you that freedom, that creative ability, that potential, that has been lost, forgotten or buried in some way. So our work as the listener is to help them remember, help them find their way, to rediscover or uncover their creativity and problem solving ability. That creativity and ability to solve problems is always there inside them. That wonderful ability belongs to them. So it is not for us to solve their problem or to find the way for them. It is for us to help them uncover those possibilities within themselves.
Finding a partner
Step One – Find a partner you can relax with who can give sympathetic and non intrusive support. Agree with the partner that any confidences disclosed during the dream exploration will not be told to others. See listening skills
Tell The Dream
Step Two – The dreamer tells the dream. It is sometimes helpful for them to tell it in the first person present, as if they were experiencing the dream as they are telling it. The telling of the dream can include any relevant information, such as immediate associations, or events directly linked with the dream. The telling is not simply for the listeners, but for the dreamer. In telling the dream with skill, the dreamer discovers more about the dream and themselves.
Example – This is my dream. I am driving my car, alone. I can see a female friend and stop to offer her a lift. I partly want her to be impressed by my new car. She looks at me. Now she tells me she doesn’t want a lift and I am watching her walk off with a man I do not know. I have recently bought the car I am driving in the dream. I like it very much and like to have my friends ride in it. (Joel)
Step Three – The helpers now ask the dreamer questions to clarify for themselves the imagery and drama of the dream. The questions at this point should not be to explore the dream, but simply to gain a clear image of the dream.
Example – Q: You didn’t describe the street you were driving along. Was it a shopping centre or quiet place?
A: It was quite a crowded road, with people, not so many cars. I think this was also connected with my feeling of wanting to be seen in my new car.
Q: Are you attracted to your female friend?
Explore a Dream Character or Object
Step Four – The dreamer next chooses one of the characters or images in the dream to explore. The character can be themselves as they appear in the dream, or any of the other people or things. It is important to realise that it does not matter if the character is someone known or not, or whether they are young or old. The character needs to be treated as an aspect of their dream, and not as if they were the living person exterior to the dream.
In choosing an image to work with, such as a tree, cat, place, or an environment like the street in the example dream, it must again be treated as it appears in the dream, not as it may appear in real life. One can take any image from the dream to work with.
Stand in the Role of Character or Object
Step Five - The dreamer stands in the role of the character or image they are using. So if they chose to be the car in the example dream above, they would close their eyes, enter into the feeling sense and imagery of the dream, and describe him or herself as the car. Literally you imagine yourself as that physical shape, as if your awareness has merged with the thing or person. Then let your immediate feelings and associations arise and be described.
Example – I am a car. Joel has recently purchased me, and he is driving me, largely because he feels I will help him gain respect from other people. I am quite a large car, and have a lot of power. But even with all this energy I do not make my own decisions. I am directed by Joel’s desires and wishes, and enable him to fulfil them more readily.
As can be see, it is important to speak as if you are the chosen thing as Joel did. If it was a person Joel worked on, He should not say, “I am a woman”, or “I am the woman who turned away” but, “I am Mary. I like Joel, but I can see he isn’t really interested in me – except as a trophy in his new car.”
From this short description it can already be seen there is a suggestion the car represents Joel’s emotional and physical energy, directed by his desires and decisions. .
Question the Dreamer about the Role He/She is in
Step Six – The helpers now ask questions of the dreamer who stays in the role of the dream character or image. The questions must be directly related to the role the dreamer is in. So Joel, in the role of the car, could be asked – Are you a second-hand or new car? Who was driving you before Joel? Do you feel that Joel handles you well? What does it feel like to be directed where to go all the time? Do you have places you would like to go?
Joel should be helped to remain in role. If he slips out of it and stops describing himself as the car, gently remind him he is speaking as the car. Also the questions should be asked with an awareness of time necessary for the dreamer’s adequate response. So do not hurry the questions to the point where the dreamer cannot properly explore his or her associations and feeling responses. If emotions are stimulated by a question allow the dreamer to discover what the emotion is connected to. By this is meant that an emotion is usually a response to something, and therefore gives information concerning what is moving us deeply.
If a line of questioning is producing promising results, do not lead the dreamer off in another direction. For instance Joel may have been asked if he wants to get out of his car and follow the woman, and show some feelings about this. A question such as ‘Are there any shops in this street’? would take him completely away from such feelings.
To help asking relevant questions it is useful to be interested in the dreamer and their dream. Have a questioning mind in relationship to the dream. So do not have already fixed opinions about it. Be like a detective gradually unfolding the information and emotions behind the dream.
As the dreamer answering the questions, let your helpers also know what you feel in response to their questions, or what memories or associations occur when a particular part of the dream is being explored.
Example – Joel: When you asked me if I want to follow the woman I immediately realised that in real life I am holding myself back from letting my feelings about her show.
Summarise What You Have Learnt
Step Seven – When you have come to the end of what you can ask about the dream image, the dreamer should be asked to summarise what they have understood or gathered from what they have said or felt in response to the questions. To summarise effectively gather the essence of what you have said about the symbol and express it in everyday language. Imagine you are explaining to someone who knows nothing about yourself or the dream. Bring the dream out of its symbols into everyday comments about yourself. The helpers should reflect back to the dreamer what they have said, not their own opinions of the dream differing from what the dreamer has said.
Example – A man dreamt about a grey, dull office. When he looked at what he said about the office, he rephrased it by saying, “The dream depicts the grey unimaginative social environment I grew up in after the Second World War. It shaped the way I now think, and I want to change it toward more freedom of imagination and creativity.
As the example given above of the young man using mushrooms showed, psychedelics can be an amazing way to quickly enter the unconscious and explore it, or a fast route to a crazy mind. Read such books as Myself and I and LSD and Ritalin in the Cure of Neurosis.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with being hurt. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
But real love cast out fear of abandonment, of other people taking the loved one, of jealousy and the hurt of loss. For love does not grasp greedily for itself. It does not depend upon another for ‘love’ and so suffer enormous hurt is the ‘loved’ one leaves or dies.
Most of are still existing in infant or childlike love that is totally dependent upon a mother figure, and this is seen in the terrible pain that can erupt in adults who are still in the infant level of love. To actually grow into a divine lover we must first surrender our poor painful conscious self to our core self.
Core Experience is an everyday part of your life. Without it your heart would not beat, your food would not digest, your immune system would collapse, and the miraculous interplay of transactions and processes that take part within your body and consciousness would cease. Nearly all of us take this for granted without acknowledging or consciously opening to it. It is fundamental to our existence. But mostly we remain unconscious of any real meeting with our core. Many of us have no sense of the wonder and transformation this experience can bring. Also there are many things about our Core that are often not understood or are misunderstood. Sometimes these factors are simply overlooked, or not recognised as being deeply important. See core
That mysterious and wonderful process of life that brought you to birth occurred quite without your conscious effort or participation and is often shown as your core self. You share that journey from conception to birth in kinship with all the other life forms that exist with you on this earth. But unlike most of the other creatures you developed self-awareness and can look back on your origins. Nevertheless, even though you have attained some level of self-awareness, the process that brought you into being still functions unconsciously within you to continue your existence.
What Does it mean to Open to your Core
It means you surrender your whole being to the Life that is you. It means holding out everything like a keyboard that you are letting Life play on, repair, heal or create with. It is surrendering your thoughts and mind, your sexual nature, your hungers, you weaknesses and strength, your emotions, your voice, your whole self and body to be acted on.
People sometimes relate to this action as a threat in two major ways. They either fight to keep control, and employ all manner of techniques such as keeping their attention focused outwardly by such things as talking, walking about, drawing, holding their breath or dancing – or they surrender to what is being experienced. To meet the parts of ones nature that have previously been pushed into unconsciousness, one needs to surrender in some degree. If the person fights the loss of control as the new material from within is emerging, it sometimes feels as if they are disintegrating. Their body may feel as if it is changing or dying, and they are losing themselves.
At one time I believed that to be religious, or to surrender to Life/God was for weaklings only. But it has been proved to me through the years, and through being allowed to see more deeply into human beings, that only the very courageous and the very strong can dare to commit their lives to this action in this way. If it is not the very strong, then it is the very desperate person, made courageous through his pain and misery, or his extremity.
It may be that you have been living only a fraction of what you are capable of. Perhaps you even killed out some of the wonder that is you. This might be because you live in a culture that murders the spirit, or because some of the lovely parts of your nature were criticised or even punished. So when you open to your core these parts are allowed to begin their emergence.
The Core has many names. Some people call it God, Allah or many other names, but they are simply names, and for many the name of God has awful associations. But you yourself are an example of a miracle, the miracle of Life. People are searching the whole cosmos for other signs of life on other worlds – yet here you are a living breathing miracle that everyone is searching for. But you are barely aware of who you are, and are except for a few people, feel sure you know who you are, what you have done and your feelings – but that is simply your conscious personality, and has nothing to do with the cosmic miracle of Life as it grew you and took you through your mother’s womb as it formed your body. You may think that remembering that is impossible or figments of some people’s silly imaginations.
But here is a quote from Stanislav Grof’s book Realms of the Human Unconscious:
“Another interesting aspect of these experiences that I found quite unusual was the fact that subjects, when discussing them (their experience of memory in the womb), seemed to avail themselves of specific knowledge of embryology and the physiology of pregnancy that was far superior to their previous education in these areas. They have often accurately described certain characteristics of the heart sounds of the mother and child; the nature of various acoustic phenomena in the peritoneal cavity; specific details of positions, physical features, and behaviour of the fetus; relevant facts about placentary circulation; and even details about exchanges between the maternal and fetal blood in the placentary villi….
“In one of the sessions of his psycholytic series, Richard described what appeared to be a rather authentic intrauterine experience. He felt immersed in fetal liquid and fixed to the placenta by the umbilical cord. He was aware of nourishment streaming into his body through the navel area and experienced wonderful feelings of symbiotic unity with his mother. There was a continuity of circulation between them; life – giving liquid – blood – seemed to create a sort of magical link between him and her. He heard two sets of heart sounds with different frequencies that were merging into one undulating acoustic pattern. This was accompanied by peculiar hollow and roaring noises that he identified after some hesitation as those produced by gas and liquid during the peristaltic movements of his mother’s intestines adjacent to the uterus. He was fully aware of his body image and recognised that it was very different from his adult one: his head was disproportionately large as compared with the body and extremities. On the basis of cues that he was not able to identify and explain, he diagnosed himself as being a rather mature fetus just before delivery.
“In this state, he suddenly heard strange noises coming from the outside world. They had a very unusual echoing quality as if resounding in a large hall or coming through a layer of water. The resulting effect reminded him of the type of sound that music technicians achieve through electronic means in modern recordings. He finally concluded that the abdominal wall and fetal liquid were responsible for the distortion and that this was the form in which external sounds reach the fetus. He tried to identify what produced the sounds and where they were coming from. After some time, he could recognise human voices laughing and yelling and sounds that resembled carnival trumpets. Suddenly, the idea came to him that this must have been the fair held in his native village every year two days prior to his birthday. After having put together the above pieces of information, he came to the conclusion that his mother must have attended this fair in an advanced stage of pregnancy.
“Richard’s mother, when asked independently about the circumstances of his birth without being told about his LSD experience, volunteered among other things the following story. In the relatively dull life of the village, the annual fair was a rare excitement. Although she was in a late stage of pregnancy, she would not have missed this opportunity for anything in the world. In spite of strong objections and warnings from her mother and grandmother, she left home to participate in the festivities. According to her relatives, the noisy environment and excitement precipitated Richard’s delivery. Richard denied ever having heard this story, and his mother did not remember having told him about it.”
Believe it or not, you are a much bigger creature that you realise, with an awareness not simply of being in the womb, but much vaster. Sometimes this awareness might be painful to meet. This is because in some way you have lived a caricature of your life as most of us have a twisted version of your own truth. Then you may have to confront what you have built or planted in your life and the life of others. This is not a punishment, simply an opportunity to rebuild something more satisfying and expressive of the spectrum of your own radiance.
But in this journey of awareness you meet not only difficulty but also your very best. Here is a person’s experience of such a best.
“Then it came to me that I had to listen in deep stillness – not think, not seek to understand, not struggle, just listen. My whole being entered into silence, gently listening as one might listen to the rain falling on a lake. Then suddenly it was known – the feather blowing in the wind – the sound of one hand clapping – the essence of human existence. Open against the sky – emptiness – enormity.
This was truly an experience of enlightenment. All cares, all pain fell away from me. I had an incredible sense of freedom such as I had never experience before. Every moment of every day we are free – free to choose – free to create pain or peace – free to go or stay – free to live or die. This extraordinary experience of freedom, and of the dropping away of normal perceptions, lasted for three days. Everything looked different. I don’t mean it felt different. I mean it looked different. I remember seeing a bird flying across the sky and it was simply Bird. Maybe even that isn’t true. It was simply what it is without any name.”
Allowing the Core to be Known
Allowing the power of your core to flow into your conscious life is fundamentally simple. But simple things have complexity. The difficulty is that the core is the fount of life in your being. It is the potential for all that you can achieve or become. But it is life, and as when we watch a plant grow, it may appear as if little is happening at times. The growth is occasionally only realised by comparing present with past. But sometimes life is dynamic and urgent. Then the power is obvious and even challenging.
When this is remembered there are simple steps to releasing the power of your core.
* First you need to become quiet for a few moments and recognise the experience of your own existence. Recognise that you do not have to believe in your existence. You are convinced of it because you exist.
* Next take time to consider what you think or feel underlies your existence. Do you think of yourself as caused by chemical processes, biological activities, or maybe even mechanical and unconscious forces? Perhaps you believe that God created you. Whatever you believe, can you completely define how that came about? Or perhaps another way of asking this question is to say do you think everything is known about whatever it is that causes you to exist? For instance although we now know a great deal about life processes in biological science, life is still recognised as a mystery. Can you take that attitude to your own origins? Can you accept that at the base of your being is a mystery?
* If you can accept there is a great deal of unknown about what causes you to exist, and that despite what you have learned, you still know very little, can you accept there are possibilities about your being that you do not know and perhaps cannot grasp at present?
* The state of not knowing is important. It frees you of preconceived or rigid ideas and opinions that might stand in the way – so this step requires no belief. What it does require is a sense that there is something you do not understand that brings you into being. Take time to develop this condition of not knowing.
* When you feel the open condition active in you, state in some way that is an expression of this pivotal moment in your life, that you want the unknown mystery at your core to emerge more fully into your experience. A suggested statement is: “I come with all my being held open to the action of the mystery that is my core self.”
* Those steps are deeply important. Unless you can take them it is unlikely that you can move more fully into meeting your core. Too many ideas, concepts, beliefs and convictions stand in the way of what is at present unknown to you. But if you can have a sense of innocence in connection with the mystery that is even now providing you with an experience of existing, then you have already begun the adventure of transcending the limitations you have lived within.
* To further that state of grace, you need to consider what is your condition as you stand before the mystery of yourself. It is helpful to ask yourself how someone gets the best out of you. Do they do this by criticising and attacking you? Do you warm to them if they are indifferent to you? Are you creative and give of your best in their presence if they have no links of sympathy with you? Whatever you arrive at as the condition that helps you to flower and express, build this into your approach, your attitude, toward the mystery that is at the heart of yourself.
* Come before the mystery of your own core every day. Spend about fifteen to thirty minutes a day open in this way. If you wish to deepen your relationship with your core, use the technique described in The Arm Circling Exercise
So as you can see, the first step is to learn how to become an empty cup, a keyboard or a virgin. See How I Became A Virgin
I find it helps if we create something of this feeling consciously, holding our body, our emotions, our sexuality, mind and memories as if they were keys upon which the inner dramatist can play. In a sense we are seeking to create a condition similar to sleep. As we fall asleep we let go of our control over what we think, what we do with our body, and what we fantasy. Our ‘I’, our decision making self has relaxed and left the stage free for the core self maker to create in its own way. So in approaching our Core we need to take on a similar relaxed state without actually going to sleep.
Example: I felt we are all in that ancient – dream – room. We are all in this moment now. In this moment everything is happening. Nothing could be stranger than that. I mean everything in terms of what is happening in the world – murder, love, birth death, huge heroism, cowardice, and on and on. I felt very moved by the sense that I had touched something wonderful – the great love, Christ, the universe. I recalled the part of the earlier experience where I had gone into the ‘dungeon’ to recover the small ‘dangerous’ me, and had felt I was bringing light to countless other aspects of self that had got trapped in darkness. It seemed to me I was bringing the gospel to them, and the gospel is the experience of this immense love. As I felt this it seemed to me there was nothing outside of that love. Nothing was beyond redemption, nothing was beneath its attention or forgotten by it. Even if one shut oneself away as my little ‘dangerous’ person had, it will come and seek one out to bring light and love. Even if, as part of me had done, one says ‘get away. I don’t want anybody near me’ that love comes and finds you. Eventually it finds you and draws you back in.
What does that have to do with love? Well, you do not create of ‘make love’. Love is expressed through all living creatures, and if we find Life at our core will find love like a spring within us bubbling up. LifeStream; Life’s Little Secrets