The Hanging Corpse
I am in the attic of an old house with a male companion. I pull some inconsequential object up out of a well that is down under the house but accessible by rope and pulley only from the attic. I pull on a second (?) rope. Something heavy is attached. I am concerned. I pull it up. It is a young man who has been murdered and dropped down the well. He is white – face, clothes – everything is chalk white. I leave him hanging below. People coming up the stairs will see him in front of them. I call the police. Two deputies and my Mom come up. She is pretty badly shaken by the sight. The police begin asking me what had happened. I am calm.
My associations to this dream are… Only to the Light Work dream of 1972, when both my father and I were hung. I barely escaped and it killed him.
Three fundamental life issues:
• Regularity in meditation.
• Depth of meditation.
• Marital Conflict
If I could resolve these issues, what difference would it make in my life?
My self-esteem would go up and I would feel more secure and have more time to pursue my dreamwork development and writing.
What do I think I need to do to be happy in my life?
Discipline myself more. Have more courage.
“The reason I like, like (a lot, love, dislike, dislike a lot, hate, don’t care about, or am non-attached toward) (dream element) is…” “What I liked/disliked most about being in this dream is…”
Dream Self: I don’t like me. I must have done something horrible to get myself into this. The attic is neglected and interesting. I like it. Same with the house. This is a very strange well. Straight down through the house. Access from the top to underneath the foundation. Could be very useful. But it must first be cleansed of violence, death, trash. I am curious about how the well works and what is in it. I know there is water down there, and water access is its basic purpose. This is horrible! A dead body in the well! Hung! Ghostly white but all too physical. Should I have left it hanging there where I knew it would scare Mom? Or should I have moved the evidence? I wish I had laid the body down & gotten the pressure off its neck. I could have done that in the attic. I was relieved to see the authorities. Mom didn’t have any business being there, exposed to it. Was it her house? Didn’t look like it. What I like most about being in this dream is nothing. It’s scary. What I dislike most about being in this dream is being scared and shocked by a murder.
Attic: I’m glad this dreamer has discovered me. There are valuable things stored in me. I wish he wouldn’t bring this clutter up into me, the clutter from deep down inside the well. He definitely needs to clean the well if he’s going to use it, but I hope he carries all the garbage out. It’s a very useful well. It makes me somewhat unique, although perhaps other houses have them to, just undiscovered. I have mixed feelings about all this stuff being brought to the surface. That murder happened a long time ago. This dreamer is recognizing that a part of him was murdered. I am glad the deputies come to take it away. His mother does not need to be exposed to this. What I like most about being in this dream is being discovered. Now perhaps I will finally be put to some productive use. What I dislike most about being in this dream is being neglected.
Male Companion: You are becoming aware of a part of yourself that you have murdered and discarded. You can choose to criticize yourself or you can revive the corpse. The dreamer means well. The attic stores memories and assets. The well provides living waters to all levels of the house. This dreamer is looking deeply into himself for new knowledge. He is finding more than he bargained for. By dropping this young man in the well, this dreamer represses his weaknesses but also preserves them. He must deal with what he has created. It is unavoidable, and he knows it. The authorities and his mother confuse and postpone the necessary healing. They are unnecessary. What I like most about being in this dream is supporting Dream Self in taking responsibility for what he has created. What I dislike most about being in this dream is that it has taken so long for him to wake up!
Old House: I like this resident because he is appreciating me more and more. He is learning about me. He is cleaning me out. I am quality stuff. I like me. I am solid and useful. I am very unusual in that very few houses have a well down the center of them. I don’t like the body left hanging in me or the deputies/mother around. But I am glad reality has been brought to light where it can be healed. That’s what matters. What I like most about being in this dream is Dream Self raising the corpse. What I dislike most about being in this dream is leaving the body out and having others around who have more trouble understanding.
Object: I like being discovered and given attention. I didn’t like having a dead body down with me.
Well: I am for the dreamer to use. I am full of riches and life energy, virtually untapped. This whole process of cleansing, though painful, is necessary and valuable. What I like best about being in this dream is being discovered. What I dislike most about being in this dream is my need of purification.
Young Man: He killed me, hid his deed, forgot about me, and stumbled over me only by accident. I don’t like this well because I’ve been down in it for so long. Same with this house. I am glad to be pulled out and discovered. Maybe justice will be done. He should not be calm, but remorseful. My skin is white because I’m dead. What I like most about being in this dream is that maybe now I can be brought back to life. What I dislike most about being in this dream is the neglectful and avoidant way I’ve been treated.
What was unexpected about what I’ve heard is… That there are so many riches down inside this well and that this dead man may possibly be brought back to life! This sounds like kundalini imagery, with karmic ugliness being raised. Whenever you get to cleansing, you meet self, and the sight is not always pretty.
“If I could change this dream in any way, would I change it? If so, how?”
Young Man: You should revive me.
Well: Clean me out; have fresh water run into me
Old House: Clean me up and use me.
Deputies: Accept responsibility for trying to repress yourself.
Attic: Use me.
Companion: Put the young man in the sun. Take him to the extraterrestrials.
Dream Self: I should revive the young man by laying him out in the sun and maybe see if there are some extraterrestrials around to resurrect him. I will clean out the well and run fresh water into it. I will clean up the old house and maybe make it into a meditation center or something.
(A rewrite of the dream based on a consensus of dream group member recommendations. If there is no consensus, there can be no dreamage. A synthesis group dream is usually its own dreamage. Read it over before sleep as an affirmation of a higher pattern of internal integration and healing.)
I am in the attic of an old house with a male companion. I pull some inconsequential object up out of a well that is down under the house but accessible by rope and pulley only from the attic. I pull on a second (?) rope. Something heavy is attached. I am concerned. I pull it up. It is a young man who has been murdered and dropped down the well. He is white – face, clothes – everything is chalk white. I take him downstairs and put him on the grass in the sun. A UFO lands. Extraterrestrials come out and come over to where he is. They seem to be praying for him. Slowly, his color begins to return. I go inside with my friend to begin cleaning up the house and especially the attic. I take a hose and put it down the well to clean it and flush it out. I realize that this old house is big, sturdy, and useful. I know I’ll be able to use it. I go outside and the young man is revived, talking with the extraterrestrials. I go up to him and apologize for killing him and stuffing him down the well. I tell him that I will try to make it up to him by accepting his help in my life. It feels good.
(“If you were the space, the consciousness out of which this dreamer made his daily decisions about how to live his life, how would it be different? How would you handle his three fundamental life issues differently? )
Young Man: Work with your bad dreams first.
Well: Keep applying your dreams as you are.
Deputies: Seek God’s forgiveness for what you have done to yourself.
Attic: Work with your dreams. You’re on the right track.
Companion: I would disattach myself from my likes and dislikes and identify with the house and well. This will get you meditating and keep you out of conflict with your wife.
Dream Self: I need to maybe not be so hard on myself.
Life Issue Commentary
(Is there a life issue which you would like to ask these dream group members about? “
Life Issue: I seem to have lost the inspiration, the motivation to meditate. How do I get it back?
(“If I were this dreamer, this is how I would handle this life issue:”)
Young Man: Ask God to help you forgive yourself for your selfishness.
Well: Just be me and you will be there.
House: I contain all the inspiration and motivation you need. Explore your dreams.
Deputies: Review the dreamage. It will help you to forgive yourself and have the courage to move on.
Attic: Hey, you’re doing fine! Just keep waking up!
Companion: Same as I said above.
(All of these recommendations for waking life applications are not necessarily helpful or of equal importance. You have to decide how you wish to prioritize them and what you want to do with them. But take some action! It is a way of demonstrating that you take your inner direction seriously. If you have it wrong, future dream groups will cybernetically correct your course.)
General recommendations for fuller application of this dream “reading:”
• regular meditation
• review of this reading
• regular review of life application of my action plan
• pre-sleep incubation of my dreamage (if any)
• pre-sleep incubation of some particular life issue, asking for support of appropriate dream group members.
• remembering to identify with confident, capable dream group members at specific waking moments, such as when needing more self-acceptance or courage or patience, etc. (Write a list of specific situations where identification with one or another particular dream group member will be particularly helpful, then review how you did at the end of the day.)
• writing “If the Shoe Fits.”
• Be the well to attune in meditation.
• Be the house to get a sense of inspiration and motivation.
• Be the companion to be more detached and less self-critical in my waking life. Watch myself go by. Be the witness.
• Focus on fixing yourself, not on what you don’t like about Mary Jane, which you can’t control or change.
Life Healing Commentary
(“What would you recommend I do that will most effectively heal my karma, keep me from making the same mistakes I’ve made in the past, and help me to manifest my soul purpose?”)
Young Man: Own your inadequacies. Share them with others in the light of day so they may be transformed into strengths.
Well: Drink of the waters of life. Attune to clarity beneath, within, beyond, your thoughts and feelings.
House: Know that you are big enough to contain all of yourself – good, bad, and ugly.
Deputies: Accept responsibility, hold yourself accountable, then move on. Don’t dwell on it.
Attic: Remind yourself of your goals, your ideals, your purposes. Where you are going and why.
Companion: Watch yourself go by. Witness your life drama with compassionate non-attachment.
Dream Summary Commentary
(“What part of this dreamer’s consciousness do you personify? The reason why I am in this dream and this dream group came together is…”)
Young Man: I most closely personify Joseph’s disowned self. The reason why I am in this dream is to be remembered so that I can play my rightful role in your life. This dream group came together to support you in awakening to your forgotten and repressed potentials.
Well: I most closely personify the kundalini, the river of prana that runs through the center of your being, that houses all your karmic memories. The reason why I am in this dream is to heal your past and present. This dream group came together to celebrate the awakening of your hidden, forgotten potentials.
Old House: I most closely personify your consciousness, most of which you do not know, recognize, or own. The reason why I am in this dream is to broaden your sense of who you are. This dream group came together to empower you in your lifes’ journey.
Deputies: I most closely personify your critical parent, the part of you that holds you narrowly accountable for your sins of commission and omission. The reason why I am in this dream is to hold you accountable, on the one hand; on the other, to discover that there is no crime (the body is not really dead) and I am not needed. This dream group came together to encourage greater responsibility and accountability.
Attic: I most closely personify forgotten ideals, forgotten contact with the divine. The reason why I am in this dream is to renew that contact. This dream group came together to celebrate resurrection!
Companion: I most closely personify your dispassionate or non-defensive waking identity. The part of your waking self that is not blamed by you and therefore not so afraid to move ahead. The reason why I am in this dream is to support you in accepting, exploring, resurrecting. This dream group came together to give you a powerful experience of what is possible.
Dream Self: I most closely personify Joseph’s waking identity. The part that, in the process of meditation and dreamwork, stumbles upon a sense of guilt and responsibility. The part that has a hard time seeing past self-blame. The reason why I am in this dream is to see the larger picture so that I can go ahead and do what I need to do. This dream group came together to support me in my growth.
Some of the basic issues addressed by this dream group are:
• Taking responsibility.
• How to deal with self-blame and guilt.
• Ambivalence toward meditating, dreamwork and inner discovery.
• Learning to dispassionately witness all my various role identifications.
Overall Pattern: When the preference data collected in the dream sociomatrix is tabulated and plotted in the dream sociogram, patterns of dream group member (intrasocial) interaction are clarified. The data will depict on of three basic constellations of dream group member patterns of preference: thesis, antithesis, or synthesis, creating something of an intrasocial developmental dialectic. This particular dream group manifests an antithetical pattern of preferences, indicated by bipolar preferences on the acceptance (vertical) axis and bipolarity on at least one other( element) axis. Antithetical patterns indicate considerable self-rejection, implying a significant degree of internal conflict, not simply regarding behavior or feelings or attitudes, but rejection of oneself in various ways and for various reasons, within the context of the life issues of concern to this particular dream group. Some of those life issues have been mentioned above.
Acceptance Axis: How accepting and rejecting are these aspects of myself of one another? We find, as is often the case, that waking identity, personified by Dream Self, is most intolerant and rejecting. In fact, it doesn’t even like itself, the only dream group member which feels that way. In fact most other members of this dream group either like themselves a lot or love themselves. In other words, the self-rejection is not primarily coming from the core of my being but is a rather superficial phenomenon that I keep fueling on a waking basis. “Attic,” “Young Man,” and “Deputies” are also rejecting more than they are accepting of this dream group, although if you examine the sociomatrix and its commentary you will find that they are rejecting of different things for different reasons. Attic seems to mirror much of the horror of waking identity at what has been done, perhaps because it directly conflicts with idealized sensibilities, lofty goals, and noble purposes. Young man is pretty clearly a mirror and “shadow” surrogate for waking identity that is rejecting out of the unfairness of its treatment. Deputies personify a sense of moral obligation which is offended. Notice that all four of these self aspects are more alike than different, and that they are all part of the problem at this point, rather than part of the solution, because they have not moved beyond their rejection.
These rejecting parts of the dreamer are in conflict with those aspects which are more tolerant and accepting, of which there are considerable, including Well, Rope, Object, Mom, Companion, and House. Why is Well most accepting? Why not House, for instance? Could you have predicted that Attic would be rejecting and Well accepting? Why not? The reasons for their placement are clarified by examining their patterns of preference in the sociomatrix and by reading their preference elaborations in the commentaries.
What we learn from all this is that their is significant internal conflict and we have a metaphorical expression of just what aspects of the dreamer are in conflict and why. This information is not just a matter of insight but makes sense of the purposes for the waking application recommendations which set out to resolve these basic internal conflicts.
Form Axis: Here we find what attitudes, personifications, roles, self-aspects are most preferred by the group and which are most rejected. This is in contrast to the acceptance axis, where we find which ones are most preferring and which are most rejecting. Notice that although we are dealing with exactly the same self aspects, all are preferred by their peers and none are rejected. Why? Why not? In waking life those who reject tend to be rejected by their peers. Something different is going on in this intrasocial group. Perhaps they naturally respect the golden rule more often than “we” do! We still, however, can find an opposition between most preferred and least preferred dream group members. Old House and Well, which are most preferred, are in opposition to the cluster of Young Man, Mom, Companion, Dream Self, and Object. The most preferred self aspects are relatively neutral or non-attached potentials. Most rejected are emotionally invested or aspects of self less central to the conflict (Object and Companion).
Process Axis: Here we find clear-cut behavioral conflicts between “pull up” (courageously owning repressed and abused self aspects) and just about every other action in this dream group: “left hanging on stairs,” “all white,” “dropped down well,” “murdered,” “badly shaken.” So acts of repression, neglect, self-abuse, and emotional over-reaction are all rejected. “Arrive” is viewed by this dream group with considerable ambivalence. Help and support could be coming, but it could heighten both guilt and inner confusion.
Affect Axis: The only reason there is not bipolar placement on the affect axis is because the emotions of fear and horror were not included in the dream narrative. This mission says more about the self awareness of the dreamer than it does about the emotional conflicts within this dream group. That Calm is the most preferred emotion implies that this is the preferred way to approach self-abuse and inner conflict, at least for this particular dream group.
If the shoe fits…
(A rewording of comments of dream group members as statements that you are making about yourself.)
Dream Self: I don’t like me. I must have done something horrible to get myself into this. My ideals and contact with the divine is neglected but interesting to me. I like them. Same with my consciousness, which is a lot bigger than I thought. My spiritual life force is very unusual to me. It runs straight down through my consciousness. It could be very useful. But it must first be cleansed of violence, death, trash. I am curious about how my spiritual life force functions and what it contains. I know there is life deep within me, and access to that life is the basic purpose of my interior channel of life force. This is horrible! A disowned, forgotten, dead part of myself is in this spiritual channel! It’s will is destroyed! It’s dead, but very real. What should I do about it? Ignore it and running the risk of scaring myself with it? Should I take it down and risk criticizing myself for not being responsible? I wish I had at least chosen to stop stifling its will, its life force any further. I could align myself with higher spiritual will to accomplish that. I am relieved to have help in figuring out to do about this. The part of me that is nurturing and innocent doesn’t have any business being exposed to this shocking and scary sight, because it has neither responsibility nor ability to do anything about it. Is this it’s consciousness? Doesn’t look like it. What I like most about dealing with these issues in my life is nothing. It’s scary. What I dislike most about dealing with these issues in my life is being scared and shocked by my self-abuse.
Attic: I’m glad I have discovered my forgotten contact with the divine. There are valuable parts of myself to be discovered here. I wish I wouldn’t contaminate my spiritual attunement with a lot of miscellaneous thoughts and feeling, the clutter from deep down inside myself. I definitely need to clean the conduit for my life force if I’m going to use it, but I hope I get rid of all these unnecessary, useless, and cluttering thoughts and feelings. The conduit for my life force is very useful. Having it within me makes me somewhat unique, although perhaps others do to and just haven’t realized it. I have mixed feelings about all this stuff being brought into my awareness. This part of my self-destructiveness happened a long time ago. I am recognizing that I destroyed and repressed a part of myself. I am glad some responsibility is being taken regarding this. My nurturing, innocent self doesn’t need to be burdened with this responsibility. What I like most about dealing with these issues in my life is discovering, old, forgotten potentials. Now perhaps I will finally be put to some productive use. What I dislike most about dealing with these issues in my life is neglecting valuable aspects of myself.
Male Companion: I am becoming aware of a part of yourself that I have murdered and discarded. I can choose to criticize myself or I can revitalize that part of my life. I know I mean well. Attunement to my ideals accesses memories and assets. My kundalini provides spiritual life force to all levels of my consciousness. I am looking deeply into myself for new knowledge. I am finding more than I bargained for. By disowning parts of myself I repress my weaknesses but also preserve them. I must deal with what I have created. It is unavoidable, and I know it. The responsible and nurturing parts of myself confuse and postpone the necessary healing. They are unnecessary to this healing process. What I like most about dealing with these issues in my life is supporting myself in taking responsibility for what I have created. What I dislike most about dealing with these issues in my life is that it has taken so long for me to wake up!
Old House: I like my waking identity because I am appreciating spiritual attunement more and more. I am learning about that part of myself. I am purifying that part of myself. My consciousness is quality stuff. I like that part of myself. It is solid and useful. It is very unusual in that very few aspects of consciousness realize they have a reservoir of life force down the center of them. I don’t like having disowned and useless potentials ignored and treated like garbage within me and I don’t like having other parts of myself interfering with or confusing what needs to be done. But I am glad reality has been brought to light where these concerns can be healed. That’s what matters. What I like most about dealing with these issues in my life is raising my neglected and disowned potentials into my awareness. What I dislike most about dealing with these issues in my life are the problems this discovery creates for less insightful parts of myself.
Object: What I like best about dealing with these issues in my life is discovering new, interesting and forgotten potentials to explore. What I dislike most about dealing with these issues in my life is discovering the violence and abuse I have done to myself.
Well: My life force is to be used. It is full of riches and life energy, virtually untapped. This whole process of cleansing, though painful, is necessary and valuable. What I like best about dealing with these issues in my life is discovering this life force within me. What I dislike most about dealing with these issues in my life is my need of purification.
Young Man: I destroyed an important part of myself, repressed it, and stumbled over it after a long time only by accident. I don’t like having been sealed up inside myself, unused. I am glad to be pulled up and out and discovered. Maybe justice to myself will be done. I should not be calm, but remorseful. I have been lifeless and useless way too long. What I like most about dealing with these issues in my life is that maybe now I can be brought back to life. What I dislike most about dealing with these issues in my life is the neglectful and avoidant way I’ve treated myself.
Young Man: I should revive the abused, neglected, repressed, disowned part of myself.
Well: I need to purify myself so that life force can run freely through me.
Old House: I need to purify my consciousness so that it can be put to good use.
Deputies: I need to accept responsibility for disowning parts of myself.
Attic: I need to use my goals and purposes to access my spiritual potentials.
Companion: I need to expose all the hidden parts of myself to love and light. I need to bring them into contact with parts of myself that know a lot more about integration and healing than I do.
Dream Self: I should attempt to resurrect my disowned self by the means just mentioned. I will clean out my storehouse of karmic memories and run fresh life into it. I will clean up my consciousness and maybe make it into a meditation center or something.
Young Man: I need to work with my nightmares and unpleasant dreams first.
Well: I need to keep applying my dreams as I am.
Deputies: I need to seek God’s forgiveness for what I have done to myself.
Attic: I need to work with my dreams. I am on the right track.
Companion: I need to disattach myself from my likes and dislikes and identify with my overall consciousness and accessing my life force. This will get me meditating and connect me to prosperity.
Dream Self: I need to maybe not be so hard on myself.
Young Man: There is a part of me that most closely personifies my disowned self. The reason why it is part of this life experience is to be remembered so that it can play its rightful role in my life. These particular aspects of myself came together to support me in awakening to my forgotten and repressed potentials.
Well: There is a part of me that most closely personifies my kundalini, the river of prana that runs through the center of my being, that houses all my karmic memories. The reason why it is part of this life experience is to heal my past and present. These particular aspects of myself came together to celebrate the awakening of my hidden, forgotten potentials.
House: There is a part of me that most closely personifies my consciousness, most of which me does not know, recognize, or own. The reason why it is part of this life experience is to broaden my sense of who I am. These particular aspects of myself came together to empower me in my lifes’ journey.
Deputies: There is a part of me that most closely personifies my internal critical parent, the part of me that holds myself narrowly accountable for my failures. The reason why it is part of this life experience is to hold me accountable, on the one hand; on the other, to discover that there is no fault, since there is really no death, and so I do not need to blame myself. These particular aspects of myself came together to encourage me to exercise greater responsibility and accountability.
There is a part of me that most closely personifies my forgotten ideals and forgotten contact with the divine. The reason why it is part of this life experience is to renew that contact. These particular aspects of myself came together to celebrate resurrection!
There is a part of me that most closely personifies my dispassionate or non-defensive waking identity. This is the part of my waking self that is not blamed by me and therefore is not so afraid to move ahead. The reason why it is part of this life experience is to support me in accepting, exploring, resurrecting. These particular aspects of myself came together to give me a powerful experience of what is possible.
There is a part of me that most closely personifies my waking identity. The part that, in the process of meditation and dreamwork, stumbles upon lost potentials and feels a sense of guilt and responsibility, a part that has a hard time seeing past self-blame. The reason why it is part of this life experience is to help me see the larger picture so that I can go ahead and do what I need to do. These particular aspects of myself came together to support me in my growth.
Young Man: I can choose to own my inadequacies. I need to share them with others in the light of day so they may be transformed into strengths.
Well: I can choose to drink of the waters of life. I need to attune to clarity beneath, within, beyond, my thoughts and feelings. This is a metaphor for meditation.
House: I can choose to remind myself that I am big enough to contain all of myself – good, bad, and ugly.
Deputies: I can choose to accept responsibility, hold myself accountable, then move on. Don’t dwell on it.
Attic: I can remind myself of my goals, ideals, my purposes. Where I am going and why.
Companion: I can choose to watch yourself go by, to witness my life drama with compassionate non-attachment.
Summary: This is a call to see beyond my fear and guilt which keep me from meditating, remembering and working on my dreams, and looking deeply within myself, out of fear of what I will find. Once I move beyond that, I will resurrect and revitalize useful and long neglected inner potentials.
What help have you received from these dream group members in moving toward resolution of the three fundamental life issues you described when you began this process?
They are reminding me that I am much more than I usually think that I am and that my own self-criticalness is my main barrier to my spiritual development.
At this point, what is your understanding of what you think you need to do to be happy in your life?
Love myself for who I am. All of me, good, bad and ugly. Accept myself unconditionally.
Interviewing Your Dream Group Members
When you interview a dream group member you are imagining that you are a particular dream character. Characters may be singular (“Mom”) or plural (a group of women, clouds, pictures, etc.). They may be entities (people, extraterrestrials, spirits, walruses, body parts), places (houses, cars, parks, outer space), and things (credit cards, toothbrushes, clouds, novels, water.) Just about anything can be a dream character, but Integral Deep Listening puts feelings (happy, sad, confused, guilty, angry, fearful, etc.) and actions (thoughts, riding, driving, surfing, climbing, coughing, etc.) in other categories.
We do not make ontological assumptions about who or what a dream character may be, other than to say that whatever else it may be, it arises out of our own consciousness. In other words, we start with an assumption that a dream character is a self-aspect, whatever else it may be. For instance, if you dream of your recently deceased uncle Ned, you may in fact be having a literal encounter with the old chap. But we do not start by making this assumption, no longer how confident we are that it is correct. We simply identify with Ned, as we would with any other dream group member, and see what he has to say. Let’s let Ned tell us whether he is a disincarnate visiting us from the other side, or whether he is an aspect of ourselves, or both.
Learning to suspend your assumptions about what a character is or is not may take some practice, but it is well worth the effort. Do your best to approach the dream from the perspective of the character, suspending your normal point of view. For instance, if you are interviewing a road, you do not have the perspective of a driver in a car traveling over the road. Instead, you have the perspective of something which is traveled on, traveled over, something that began somewhere and is ending somewhere else.
As you take the perspective of your dream characters, cultivate an attitude of whimsy, as if you were a five year old pretending you are a school teacher or a parent or a spy. Be spontaneous and write the first response that comes to mind to the questions, without analyzing them or wondering whether the answer is “right” or “wrong.” You are not only playfully suspending your normal identity but you are also setting aside your normal, unconscious systems of judgment and morality and substituting those of the character at hand.
You will notice that in the Sample Session you are asked specific questions that you answer spontaneously as a particular dream group member. In Dream Sociometry, each character is asked to express some degree of preference that he feels toward some dream gorup member.
There are seven degrees of preference, each given a numerical value from negative three to positive three. These are: Hate (-3, often written as /3), Dislike a lot (-2 or /2), Dislike (-1 or /1) don’t care (0), Like, (1), Like a lot (2), Love (3). When a character feels more than one of these toward a character the score may be written as follows: (2/3) Like a lot/Hate; (3/1) Love, Dislike. It is also possible to care very much but in a compassionate and dispassionate way that seems to transcend preferences. This is also written as (0), but the meaning is not “don’t care” but “my caring transcends preferences.” The character’s remarks in the commentaries clarifies which usage is present.
Before you read this dream, hopefully you wrote down your prediction of what it meant. You have probably discovered that your prediction was partially correct, and that there were layers of meaning, value, and relevance that were unsuspected. We generally find that our dreams are much richer than we suppose that we are, and discovering such sources of self-worth within ourselves can be tremendously self-validating.
How did you do on your other predictions? Here are the results, based on character placement in the Dream Sociogram, which is itself taken from the scores in the Dream Sociomatrix:
• The most accepting character in this dream was: Well
• The most rejected character in this dream was: Dream Self (the dreamer as appearing in this dream)
• The most preferred character in this dream was: Old House, with Well running a close second.
• The most rejected character in this dream was: a tie: Young Man; Mom
The explanation of these and other character placements are found in the Sociogram Commentary, above.
Do you have a dream of your own which nags at you and which feels important? Perhaps you have a sense that you haven’t yet gotten to the bottom of it. Why don’t you follow our steps and create a Dream Sociomatrix on your own dream? Then we’ll show you how to create a Dream Sociogram, an action plan, and monitor your progress! Just follow the steps under Create Your Own Integral Deep Listening Reading
The action plan that you create for yourself is based on recommendations made by your dream group. These recommendations are found in the waking and life issue commentaries. You must agree that they are helpful suggestions and believe that they will improve your life if you are able to implement them. They have to be practical, realistic, and simple enough to see progress in a short period of time.
An action plan is very important for several reasons.
• Without an action plan, consulting dream groups remains interesting and insightful. It will increase awareness, acceptance, and honesty. All of these are important, but they do not produce the full usefulness of this method for the transformation of your life.
• Transformation is based on application. When you take the recommendations made by your dream group members that you agree with and apply them in your waking life, you are demonstrating the seriousness with which you take their input.
• Your subsequent dream groups will comment on your application. Perhaps you have misunderstood. Perhaps you have taken on too much. Perhaps you are being too hard on yourself in your efforts to apply dream group member recommendations. If you are, they will tell you.
• Action plans play an important part as a cybernetic, self-correcting, internal feedback process. They are intended to both speed and clarify your dreamwork and your life direction.
• Choose those waking and life issue changes that you believe will be beneficial. Some may be related or overlap. Attempt to combine them, if possible. Don’t bite off too much at once. Feel good about accomplishing a little rather than feeling bad because you failed at a lot. Mountains are worn down by individual drops of rain, not by thunderbolts. Do not work with over two or three waking changes at a time. Remember: quality, not quantity!
• You will do best if you can identify one or two core changes that the majority of your dream group members consistently advocate and focus on them. This will keep you from feeling overloaded, reduce the feeling that you need to continually add more behaviors to your action plan as you have additional dream group member recommendations for your waking life, and increase your chances for success.
• Count the behavior that you want to change. Set some (hopefully realistic) numerical goal. Say you decide that you want to meditate. Set a number of times a week for yourself. Set an amount of time that you want to meditate on each occasion. Define for yourself what you will call meditation as differentiated from wool-gathering, daydreaming, worrying, sleeping or contemplating the mysteries of the universe. Monitor your progress. Keep track.
• Operationally define success. How will you know that you are succeeding in implementing some part of your action plan? What will be different? Will you be less self-critical? If so, how will you know it? You will probably have to first become aware of when you are becoming self-critical. That itself is a major achievement. You could do so by simply counting the number of times in an hour or in a day that you discover yourself thinking self-critical thoughts. Then “becoming less self-critical” would mean reducing the number of times that you find yourself thinking self-critical thoughts.
• Remember that your inner self is not very interested in your success or failure, since it knows that since death is not real, failure is not real either. It is interested in you loving yourself and accepting yourself for who you are.
• Work hard at not being hard on yourself in your efforts to reach your goals. You may from time to time judge yourself harshly; that could lead to avoiding both action plans and your dreamwork. If this occurs, back off, talk to another dreamworker about it, but don’t stop.
• Use an accountability structure to keep yourself on track. Tell someone that you trust what your action plan is. Agree to talk at some specific time about your progress and your problems. Use the coming talk as a deadline to motivate you to work toward attaining agoal that you set for yourself.
There are three basic ways of keeping track of your action plan progress.
1. Counting your behavior. Simple hatch marks on a piece of paper will provide a data base so that you can tell if you are moving toward your goal. You can graph your progress over time if you want to.
2. Making a weekly schedule and checking off daily actions as they occur.
1. Journalling. Noting progress toward your goals on a daily basis.
Every action plan should include some form of dreamwork-related pre-sleep suggestion. Here are some examples:
• Review commentaries from a particular dream group.
• Read over a dreamage or series of dreamages.
• Review, assess, and alter action plans as needed.
Ask for a dream to help you to create a more realistic action plan. Even if you don’t remember a dream in the morning you may find that you approach the action plan with different expectations or methods.
Directions for Using Your Action Plan
The purpose of the action plan is to support and further the dialogue between your waking identity and your inner support groups. Application demonstrates your sincerity and seriousness. Having a list of recommendations to monitor on a daily basis reminds you of your priorities. As you work with them, your dream groups will comment on your progress and clarify your path.
• Make a copy of our daily action plan monitoring sheet and use it to track your progress.
• Put dates across the top. I use M T W Th F S S ( ……9 10 11 12 13 14 15…..)
• Some changes need to be monitored hourly, others daily, weekly, monthly, or are done once and completed.
• Some changes need to be simply noted with a check, indicating that they have been done.
• Some need to be graded. You might experiment with a 0-10 scale, which seems to work for most things. “O” indicates “none” or “least”or “worst”and “10” indicates all or “most” or “best”.
• It never hurts to jot journal entries explaining for yourself why your application went the way it did for the day.