This example of Dream Sociometry is used to explain how to create a Dream Sociomatrix and Dream Sociogram in the text, Dream Sociometry. It was chosen for several reasons. Because it is nightmarish it provides an example of how Dream Sociometry and IDL addresses nightmares. It is short, with not so many elements and therefore is a relatively simple and straight-forward example to demonstrate Dream Sociomatrix and Dream Sociogram construction. The title involves a well-known figure in integral circles, which ties into the collective or common heritage of both dreams and waking life issues. The title is also provocative, raising questions like, “Is this precognitive?” (No.) “Does the author have some sort of love-hate relationship with Wilber?” (No.)
Ken Wilber Dies
I hear that Ken Wilber and his girlfriend are killed in a head-on car crash. I am very upset.
My associations to this dream are…I really respect Ken Wilber and look forward not only to his next book, but am excited about the way he is influencing authorities in many different fields. For him to die in a car crash sounds like a warning that I am doing something to kill the part of myself which he represents – clear, objective, personally dedicated to spiritual development and supporting others to do the same.
What are three life issues you are currently dealing with in your life?
• How am I killing the part of myself that is like Ken Wilber?
• How can I improve my meditation?
• How can I discipline myself to lose this last 15 pounds?
If I could resolve these issues, what difference would it make in my life?
I could help more people understand how they sabotage their spiritual development and what they can do to stop it.
I could help more people meditate better. I would feel less hypocritical and more authentic about practicing what I’m preaching.
I could help other people stick to and attain challenging personal goals. It would increase my self-esteem and get one more irritation out of my life.
What do I think I need to do to be happy in my life?
Listen to myself and demonstrate that I respect myself by acting on the good I hear by making changes in my waking life; give others, especially those who I have the most trouble with, the love and respect I desire.
Sociomatrix Scoring Key:
Blank = Don’t Care; 1 = like; 2 = like a lot; 3 = love; /1 = dislike; /2 = dislike a lot; /3 = hate;
A(cceptance) = none of the above; two scores in one box indicate ambivalent feelings.
“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 like myself a lot because I respect the integrity of my life and my efforts to live in balance and teach others to do so. I love Ken Wilber because I see him doing the same and being much more successful at it than I am. I like his girlfriend because she is meaningful to him; I really don’t know much about her except the little I’ve read about her in One Taste. I have no feelings one way or the other about the cars. He is probably driving and it’s probably a jeep. The other car seems to be a new model in good shape as well. I hate that there is a head-on crash, that they are killed and that I am very upset. I want to dislike the other driver a lot and blame him for the crash, but I don’t know if that is accurate or not. What I like most about being in this dream is nothing. I feel like I’m not in it, but a spectator who gets the news. What I dislike most about being in this dream is the sense of tragedy and loss that I feel.
Ken Wilber: I love Joseph for his dedication and out of my desire that he, as well as many others, carry on my work, now that I can’t. I love myself because I have lived my life in a way that has reflected my ideals to the best of my ability. I love my girlfriend very much and really hate that she died too. I like my car and feel terrible that it’s now destroyed. The second car I have no feelings about. I hate the needless waste of this head-on collision. It was unnecessary and entirely avoidable. I hate it that I have to die unnecessarily and for no good purpose. I like a lot that Joseph is very upset. He should be. I dislike the other driver because he caused this wreck! What I like most about being in this dream is nothing! What I dislike most about being in this dream is getting killed for no good reason or purpose. It’s so futile!
Girlfriend: I really appreciate Joseph’s concern. I love Ken very much! I like myself a lot and feel really bad that I am dead. It feels so needless and meaningless. I don’t like that other car a lot because it killed us, which I hate. I like a lot that Joseph is very upset; he should be! The other driver was thoughtless. His negligence not only ended his life but ours too! What I like most about being in this dream is being recalled so that I can now express my anger about being killed needlessly! What I dislike most about being in this dream is losing Ken and losing my life, all out of thoughtless, brain dead, mindless, sleepwalking through life on the part of the other driver. He swerved in front of us!
Car: I feel pretty much like everybody else so far, except that I like myself a lot and really hate that I had a head on crash. I feel that I didn’t do my job and let Ken and his girlfriend down, although I can’t see how I could have done anything differently. I hate the other driver! What I like most about being in this dream is having a chance to express how much I hate this!! What I dislike most about being in this dream is playing the victim. I know I’m not really dead, because I’m talking right now, but I don’t have the same physical reality that I would have if I had continued to live in that dream!
Second Car: I don’t know any of these people but I feel terrible that I killed them! I guess they were pretty special and now they’re gone! I am pretty upset too because I was alive, doing my job and now I’m gone and I can’t! My driver was thoughtless and inconsiderate. I don’t like him at all! What I like most about being in this dream is that I have the opportunity to express myself by being recalled and listened to. What I dislike most about being in this dream is that I am the instrument by which insensitivity and injustice occurs.
Other Driver: I pretty much agree with everyone else. I WAS to blame! I was thoughtless, insensitive and careless. I hate it that I killed these people and myself. Dream Self has every right to be upset with me! I am upset with myself very much! I hate myself for what I did! What I like most about being in this dream is nothing. What I dislike most about being in this dream is being responsible for all this needless tragedy!
Dream Consciousness: I love all these characters that I created. I am sorry that they are so upset! It’s really not necessary! What I want them to do is see beyond their expectations and be thankful in all circumstances, even those that seem unfair and unjust. What I like most about creating this dream is demonstrating how even great tragedy can be seen in a broader context devoid of drama. What I dislike most about creating this dream is that I had to go to these lengths to get Joseph’s attention to teach him this truth. If he would just accept it and practice it, I wouldn’t have to scare him to get his attention!
What Surprises Me About What I’ve Heard is…
I notice that I care about another character more strongly than I do about myself. I also notice that I have very strong negative preferences, which doesn’t feel particularly enlightened! It is curious to me that I have no concern for the driver of the other car. I don’t even include him as a character, although I should! I will go back and add him in…
Ken Wilber appears to more or less be a surrogate because his preferences are pretty much the same as mine. The exception is that he likes a lot that I am very upset, which makes sense, from his perspective, but the preference ends up being opposite that of Dream Self. He provides new information – that the crash was indeed an accident and that it was caused by the other driver.
The girlfriend is also a surrogate of the dreamer because her preferences are very similar, but even a bit harder, more polarized because she dislikes the second car, where Dream Self does not. I don’t think I’ve ever had a character say that what it liked most about being in a dream was “being recalled” so that the character could express its feelings! She states that the other driver swerved in front of them.
This reminds me of some thoughts that I had yesterday or the day before as I was driving. I was thinking about teaching (my daughter) Kira how to drive (she’s thirteen) and about how I wanted to teach her to pray for other drivers, about how any of them at any time could swerve in front of her or pull out in front of her, about how we drive taking for granted that other drivers are going to do what they need to do to keep us safe, but in fact our lives are always in the hands of oncoming drivers and any one of them could change the course of our lives forever. So I started praying for the other drivers and thought about how doing so changes the consciousness of the cells of my body, especially the water, which makes up 90+ % of my body. I imagined those cells transformed into perfect patterns of thankfulness and appreciation.
The car is ambivalent toward itself, liking itself but disliking itself for “letting Ken and his girlfriend down.”
The remarks of the second car remind me of my recent loss of my father and before that, my mother. They were pretty special and now they’re gone. I am surprised that the second car, which is blamed in part for the wreck, is also angry and blaming its driver, because it is dead too!
The awareness of all these characters that they are not “really” dead because they still can express their feelings contradicts their anger at having their paths disrupted. Do they have reason to be really upset or not? Are they dead or not? It would seem that they are not and that therefore they are all overreacting at the fact that their path has been interrupted and therefore their live path has not lived up to their expectations. It sounds like the crash isn’t the problem, but their expectations that the crash was unfair is the problem!
Other Driver is a part of myself that thinks it is itself bad because it does stupid, tragic, thoughtless things. Because it makes bad choices, it punishes itself. The thought that comes to my mind is “How much do I need to beat up on myself when I kill the best parts of myself? How long do I need to blame myself or stay on a guilt trip when I slip up and destroy the best parts of myself? Is it really helpful? Does it really change anything? I also realize that in so doing I am not distinguishing between who I am and what I do. I am not “loving the actor but hating the action.” After all, this IS a dream! We, Dream Self and the various characters in the dream, could all learn from our experience, laugh about the intensity of our feelings and get on with our lives.
I need to practice being thankful in all situations, just as I was reminding myself and practicing as I was driving the other day. This dream came to strongly reinforce that practice and that perspective. I need not waste time beating myself up when I screw up!
Such conclusions reflect the practical applications that can result from putting both dream and life dramas in perspective. Notice that Dream Sociometry merges dream and life dramas. From the perspective of life, there is no difference, because each is the mirror of the other and by awakening within one you awaken within the other.
The 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…”)
Ken Wilber: I most closely personify the parts of Joseph that he admires and respects the most, the parts that are dedicated to service but which balance it with a healthy dedication to balancing body, mind and life in his own life. The reason why I am in this dream is to help him let go of his expectations that he grow into me, to feel OK about who he is right now and where he is right now. Life is always going to be an interrupted journey. This intrasocial group came together to teach moment to moment non-attachment, thankfulness and appreciation.
Girlfriend: I most closely personify the more emotionally attached, caring part of Joseph. I hate not being able to be supportive, because that’s how I justify my existence! The reason why I am in this dream is to let go of the need to do that. This intrasocial group came together to help Joseph understand, through working through it, that life goes on, even when it doesn’t live up to his expectations. Therefore, he needs to drop his unrealistic expectations and his guilt when he doesn’t live up to them.
Car: I most closely personify Joseph’s body. The reason why I am in this dream is to help him let go of his fear of physical death so that he can live more courageously as he grows older. This intrasocial group came together to teach love in all circumstances, even the most painful ones.
Second Car: I most closely personify the parts of your physical life that are self- destructive and end up even destroying itself, such as bad eating habits or out-of-control genes that cause your body to break down regardless of what you do. The reason why I am in this dream is to help you to learn compassion toward your own self-destruction. This intrasocial group came together to help you gain objectivity toward the drama of your fears, your expectations and your self-blame.
Other Driver: I most closely personify the part of you that makes stupid choices out of lack of discernment or unawareness. The reason why I am in this dream is to get you to accept that this is a natural part of yourself and that while you may succeed in reducing it somewhat, it will always be there, so you might as well develop some compassion toward it! This intrasocial group came together to get you to let go of your
sense of unfairness or injustice, particularly regarding your relationship with the mother of your daughter.
Dream consciousness: I most closely personify the part of you that loves you enough to put you through pain in order to help you wake up. The reason why I created this dream is to help you let go of your expectations and learn to watch yourself go by. This intrasocial group came together to cultivate your identification with the witness.
“If I could change this dream in any way, would I change it? If so, how?
Ken Wilber: Knowing what I know now, I would tell the dreamer not to worry about killing me. He can’t. I would also tell him to continue to practice listening deeply to himself. That cultivates the witness within him in a moment-to-moment way in his daily life more than meditation does and I know what I’m talking about, because I’m a champion meditator! (But don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting that he not meditate! On the other hand, you will benefit greatly from practicing at every opportunity!) The weight you want to lose will take care of itself as you learn to listen to your body and to respect what it says it wants and doesn’t want.
Girlfriend: Nothing to add!
Car: Sounds good to me!
Second Car: Stop blaming yourself for screwing up!
Other Driver: Agreed!
Dream consciousness: Sounds like good advice. I would review the dreamage.
Dream Self: OK!
(Notice that this Ken Wilber is saying things that the real Ken Wilber would not say. Because Wilber is unfamiliar with IDL he would not advocate deep listening over meditation. Even if he was familiar with IDL he would be unlikely to place a discipline that is anchored in the subtle as higher than a discipline that at best is anchored in the causal and non-dual.)
(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.)
Ken Wilber and his girlfriend are killed in a head-on car crash. I am very upset. Ken, his girlfriend, their car, the other car, the other driver and myself are all terribly pissed. Some of us indulge in a bit of guilt and self-blame that we allowed this terrible thing to happen. But then we realize that we are all still alive enough to be pissed, so we must not be so dead after all! Now we are figuring out what we need to do to avoid these wrecks in the future. We decide to pray for other drivers and to feel that intent creating mental clarity and purity. We start to get in our cars to continue our lives, but then we decide, after we get to talking, that we are all going in the same basic direction instead of opposite directions. We decide to continue on together in some mutually chosen direction.
(“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? )
Ken Wilber: Knowing what I know now, I would tell him not to worry about killing me. He can’t. I would also tell him to continue to practice listening deeply to himself. That cultivates the witness within him in a moment-to-moment way in his daily life more than meditation does, and I know what I’m talking about, because I’m a champion meditator! (But don’t get me wrong — I’m not suggesting that he not meditate! On the other hand, you will benefit greatly from practicing at every opportunity! The weight will take care of itself as you learn to listen to your body and to respect what it says it wants and doesn’t want.
Girlfriend: Nothing to add!
Car: Sounds good to me!
Second Car: Stop blaming yourself for screwing up!
Other Driver: Agreed!
Dream consciousness: Sounds like good advice. I would review the dreamage.
Dream Self: OK!
(Is there a life issue which you would like to ask these dream group members about? “
Life Issue: No. This is plenty!
Ken Wilber: Become me when you want to cultivate your ability to witness, particularly to gain some objectivity from your addictions in order to become aware of them dispassionately as an aid to their transformation.
(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 review of life application of my action plan
- review of this reading
- regular meditation
- 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.)
- Not to worry about killing myself because I can’t!
- Continue to practice listening deeply to myself to cultivate the moment-to-moment witness in my daily life.
- Continue practicing meditation, perhaps with the frame of mind of this Dream Consciousness in mind.
- Listen to my body regarding food preferences.
- Continue to practice being thankful for other drivers.
I want to take on reviewing the dreamage and practicing being Dream Consciousness at different times during the day, particularly when I am meditating or worried about my weight.
Some of the basic issues addressed by this dream group are:
- Don’t take myself so seriously!
- When I screw up, don’t waste time beating myself up. It’s grandiose to feel so responsible or irresponsible!
- Practice thankfulness and appreciation in small ways
“What I am Saying to Myself Is…”
(A rewording of comments of dream group members as statements that you are making about yourself.)
(Reword some of the statements made by the dream group members as statements that you are making about yourself to get the full impact of what you are saying to yourself.)
- “I am the instrument by which insensitivity and injustice occurs.”
- “I need to practice non-attachment, thankfulness, appreciation, moment to moment.”
- “I need to let go of the need to justify my existence.”
- “I need to drop my unrealistic expectations and my guilt when I don’t live up to them.”
- “I need to let go of my fear of physical death so that I can live more courageously as I grow older.”
- “I need to learn compassion toward my own self-destruction.”
- “I need to gain objectivity toward the drama of my fears, my expectations, my self-blame.”
- “I need to develop some compassion toward the part of myself which makes stupid choices unconsciously out of lack of discernment or unawareness because it is a natural part of myself and it will always be there.”
- “I need to let go of my sense of my sense of unfairness or injustice, particularly regarding my relationship with Mary Jane.
At this point, what is your understanding of what you think you need to do to be happy in your life?
Sociogram Scoring Key:
To determine placement, find the appropriate axis and count one degree of preference for each concentric circle, starting at the center, which is zero.
Positive scores are placed on “+” axes and indicate degree of preference.
Negative scores are placed on “-” axes and indicate degree of rejection.
Vertical (acceptance axis) scores (choosing characters) are taken from the right end of the sociomatrix. This indicates how accepting or rejecting “choosers” are.
Element (chosen characters, actions, and feelings) are taken from the bottom of the sociomatrix. This indicates how preferred or rejected chosen elements are.
Overall Pattern: This is a strong antithesis pattern with a number of dream group members both rejecting and rejected. It is not a nightmare antithetical pattern because the most nurturing members are still most accepting.
Acceptance Axis: Ken Wilber is the only accepting dream group member. All others are rejecting. Dream Consciousness is most accepting, but it is not a dream group member. The most rejecting dream group member is Second Car, presumably because it feels highly victimized.
Form Axis: It is unusual to see an attitude rejected so strongly as is the one personified by “other driver.” I really don’t like the thoughtless, sleepwalking, negligent, inattentive part of myself! I also don’t like the parts of my body that are breaking down and are culpable in my own self-destruction! It’s obvious that Girlfriend and Ken Wilber are both Dream Self surrogates, reinforcing the waking perspectives that puts me in conflict with myself. This teaches me to look beyond the Ken Wilber internal archetype if I want to find integration within myself. It doesn’t hold the answer. This is an example of how all gurus have feet of clay and how we all must eventually withdraw our unrealistic projections and expectations about them.
Process Axis: There is no bipolarity here, just widely condemned misbehavior and inattention! There is no internal conflict regarding behavior, because it is all rejected!!!!!
Affect Axis: An uncomfortable behavior is preferred by this dream group because they feel it appropriate to their circumstances, i.e., they identify strongly with victimization.
Dream Group Dynamics Commentary
(In which the various dream group members are provided with an opportunity to express their thoughts on their relationships with their fellow dream group members.)
Ken Wilber: We are not victims of anything but our own unrealistic expectations. If I blame the driver I blame that part of myself which he represents. That’s foolish.
Girlfriend: I’ve got to learn to care big enough to stop caring the way I do!
Car: Hey, cars come and they go. We’re here to serve, but when it’s time, just let us go!
Second Car: We’re imperfect. Don’t lose too much sleep over it. Just factor it into your life and make the best of the ride!
Other Driver: I am a part of you and therefore you are destined to screw up. So what? Let go of your unrealistic expectation that you will always be alert, aware, vigilant, discerning, etc. etc. When you fall asleep, just learn from it, give thanks, and go on.
Dream consciousness: I really appreciate the time you took to learn from me.
Dream Self: I give thanks to all these parts of myself for coming together and sacrificing themselves for my greater good. Thank you!