Crazy things routinely happen in our dreams, but have you ever had your arm eaten by a snake?? That’s what happened to this dreamer! He chose to approach it in the format of Dream Sociometry an earlier and more thorough version of the more common format used by Integral Deep Listening (IDL) for interviewing both dream characters and the personifications of life issues. In Dream Sociometry you ask the same question to several characters before moving on to the next question. Here is an example of part of that process, in which a number of dream characters are interviewed simultaneously, with each explaining its preferences for the various characters and things that happen in the dream. As you read the narrative, to get the most out of it, imagine that it is your dream and that you are telling yourself these things. There are some comments after the interview…
Dream: People are being chased, running down steps. A snake swallows a woman’s arm.
Associations: A disturbing nightmare! Why am I needing to scare myself??
Dreamer: I don’t like myself in this dream because I am passive, powerless, and merely watching. I don’t do anything to make it better. I like the running because it is escape from a real threat, but I don’t like the running because it is giving into and feeling fear. I don’t like the snake because it is a frightening threat. It is very big, possibly with many heads!
People: Man, that’s a terrible creature! We can’t let it get us!
Woman: Get this horrible critter off me! It’s eating me!! Won’t anybody do anything? HELP!!!
Snake: I like it when they run from me. It acknowledges my power. Sure I’m big and scary. That’s my job! Now, I think I’ve bit off more than I can chew. What do I do when I get to the shoulder? But that’s OK – the dream doesn’t get that far. I succeed in my purpose – to scare everyone.
Comment: We’re busy frightening ourselves here. It’s another honest day’s work for the snake, who gets a bit part.
Dream Commentary Question: (“If I could change this dream in any way, would I change it? If so, how?”)
People: Neutralize the snake with torches! Catch it! Take it to the jungle and release it!
Woman: First, make it cough up my arm!
Snake: OK, OK. I can see I’m not wanted. I’ll go away if you want me to. If I can’t scare you I’ll just get bored anyway. Look. I can be a good guardian naga if you will feed me a daily dose of prana. I’ll hang out and protect you if you feed me high octane stuff.
What is going on here? The dreamer is scaring himself. The solution? The snake is contending that it can be changed into “a good guardian naga, or spiritual snake protector.” Lower level threats are to be transformed into higher order potentials through a change in perception of it by the dreamer. The snake is to be befriended by feeding it daily doses of prana, or “life force.” How is that to be done? The implication is through meditation, since that is for the dreamer when and how he focuses on his breath as healing life energy. It is implied by the snake that meditation transforms the feared into an ally.
Notice also there are themes of passivity and aggression. An assertive solution of returning the snake to its natural context and to reframe it as a protector by feeding it what it wants. Also notice the roles of victim and persecutor and the inadequacy of rescuing. Instead, the snake transforms into a role of helper, moving the dream, the dreamer and the perspective the snake represents out of the Drama Triangle. In this way IDL interviews are a major step toward waking up, enlightenment and lucidity, both when awake and while dreaming. Movement out of the Drama Triangle is a pre-requisite form of pre-lucidity that is generally overlooked by advocates of lucid dreaming.