The dreamwork movement that first emerged in the United States in the last decades of the 20th century has made a huge contribution to how we approach the inner life, and how we draw on it as a source for healthier, heart-centered relationships and communities. What is building, person by person, dream circle by dream circle, is a quiet and gentle revolution whose consequences will go far beyond what most of us – including even the most active of dreamwork activists – currently understand.
Henry Reed, one of the founders of the American dreamwork movement, said this to me about its cardinal principles: “Dreams belong to the dreamers, and dreaming is an experience, not a text or a theory. Dreams are natural experiences, and there are natural ways to honor and unfold them.”
Dreamworkers may follow many different approaches to dreams, but by my observation they agree on the following:
1. Dreams are important!
2. The only “expert” on a dream is the dreamer.
3. Dreams connect us to sources of guidance that are wiser than the everyday mind.
4. Dreamers should help each other, wherever possible, to open a safe and sacred space where dreams can be shared and the dreamer can be offered non-intrusive feedback and guided to take appropriate action to honor the dream.
5. Dreaming is for the community as well as the individual.
We need many more dream helpers from all walks of life, contributing a panoply of rich and varied perspectives, personalities and life experiences, to bring the gifts of dreaming to people where they live. And we need an everyday process that enables us to open a safe space to share dreams, receive helpful and non-intrusive feedback and be gently goaded towards appropriate action to honor our dreams – a process that is quick and simple enough to be used just about anywhere, anytime, and flexible enough to accommodate multiple perspectives on dreams.
My Lightning Dreamwork method offers us this process, and is now being taught in classes and used by dream circles all over the map. I’ll say more about that in another post.