my IASD conference experience

Last week, I returned from the 35th annual conference of the IASD, that is, the International Association for the Study of Dreams, which was held in Arizona this year. img_1928IASD conferences hold a special place in my heart, not only for the cutting-edge workshops and research presentations (such as Dr. Krippner’s shown here), but also for the soulful attendees as well. To spend 5 days with a large group of professionals, who hold such love for dreams and dreaming, is precious indeed. The interdisciplinary inclusion really makes these events special. Discussing dream research and holding space for dreamwork processes with so many psychologists, anthropologists, students, physicians, authors, psychiatrists, artists, psychotherapists and other healers is a true learning experience. It was img_1918also exciting to deliver a workshop and share my recently published book, Extraordinary Dreams, with people from all over the world – those I only get to see once a year. And while I have been attending IASD conferences since 2012, this year I became a Board member. There will be much to learn in this new position.

Something I habitually do before departing for an IASD conference is to chose a recent ‘big’ dream that I will focus on or work with during dreamwork process workshops. One year, for example, I chose a memorable tornado dream, and this year, I chose my most recent, which has turned out to be the most potent, mountain lion dream. While I gain a great deal of intellectual stimulation from the research presentations, it is the dreamwork sessions that leave me relating to my ‘big’ dreams much more deeply than before I arrived. They help me to keep the evolving relationship with the dream characters alive and come to deeper levels of meaning.

Many art-centered dream workshops I have attended, and loved, include two dimensional creations, such as, creative writing, drawing, painting, collage. This year, there was one workshop I attended that incorporated a three dimensional quality. The workshop leader brought 3-D pieces (woodscraps, beads, pipecleaners, sticks, tissue paper), and with these, the attendees were asked to create the dream or reflect dream characters three-dimensionally. This made a real difference for me because I could show others aspects of my mountain lion dream in ways that were difficult two-dimensionally. What’s more, I could move the pieces around when needed. This allowed me to ‘communicate’ in ways I had not been able to before and helped me to understand the greater ‘constellation’ of the dream in a new way.

Sometimes, we may not be able to find the time to create 3-D objects of all dream characters from scratch, but we may be able to use other 3-D objects already at hand, such as children’s toys lying around the house (or the therapy office for those of us that work with children). Small dolls, stuffed animals, Lego figurines, etc. can take the place of hand-made objects. This can be beneficial to the dreamer, who may not have access to other means of exploring dreams in 3-D space, such as in group work. In groups, each member can play the roll of a dream character for the dreamer. That, too, is a luxury, because dream groups are not held in every city, every week or month, let allow ones with a Gestalt orientation. Without willing participant bodies consistently available or personalized hand-made dream representations, easily available objects could suffice. Do any of you relate to your dreams in this way? I’m glad I had the opportunity to try it out because it left a strong impression.

In addition to workshops, other creative activities abound at IASD conferences. There is img_2033a dream telepathy contest modeled off of New York’s Maimonides Medical Center telepathy experiments from decades ago under Dr. Ullman and Dr. Krippner (here I am with Maureen, “the sender” for this years contest), a dream art exhibition featuring fine art in various media from artists worldwide, and on the final evening, a dream ball where attendees dress in a costume from a dream and are invited to share the dream if desired. If you missed us this year, you can find us –and the fun- next year. IASD’s 2019 conference will be held in Kerkrade, Netherlands. For more information, go to www.asdreams.org

 

Hope to see you there,

Kim

mutual dreaming

 

Can two or more people (even complete strangers) share dream elements? Can two or more people agree to dream together and intentionally interact? Dreamers casually talk about these episodes. A significant body of anecdotal reports exists as well. Still, scientific investigations in this area are rare.

About two decades ago, I had my first dream of a stranger, which I met later, for the first time, in the waking state, a few weeks after the dream. She was a young woman close to my age. While I recalled information about her from the dream, she did not recall dreaming me. This episode was one-directional, although many people report dual-directional experiences.

The term ‘shared dreaming’ usually refers to two or more people sharing similar elements in the dreams. ‘Mutual dreaming’ involves two or more people interacting or meeting together in a dream. I see it as more intentional. Both shared dreaming and mutual dreaming can involve highly detailed recollections or vague memories.

Once a month, I lead a dream course in California. One time, as the participants departed, a man approached me and asked if I had ever heard of two people having the same dream. I said, “yes,” and told him that this phenomenon has been reported by many people. He then told me about a recent experience he had with a friend. He said they seemed to share the same dream space and awoke to recall very similar events and scenes. After listening to his story, I asked if he or his friend had written down the episodes before speaking to each other – they hadn’t. I suggested dream journaling upon awakening. Not only would this document the dream for future reference, but it would also say a lot if both dreamers produce similar written episodes before interactional influences have an effect. We parted ways, both excited that this might occur again soon.

While I was aware of the varieties of anomalous dream occurrences much earlier, it wasn’t until about 2004 that I attended courses and participated with a group that taught lucid dreaming and out-of-body techniques. During that period, the group would meet about once a month at night to practice mutual and shared dreaming – a special occasion. One of the group facilitators would place a secret object in the next room and the attendees were invited to dream with each other, interact, and if they chose, discover the object unknown to the group. This was a fun challenge and my first time working with a group to enhance our conscious dream skills. I was unsuccessful, but those more seasoned participants were quite successful, at times, and made accurate claims regarding the target object. During those years I came to understand that mutual and shared dreaming is possible.

Neuroscientist Patrick McNamara, PhD asks Can Two People Have The Same Dream? (See June 19, 2016 article in Psychology Today by that name). McNamara states that the best-documented cases involve shared dreams between therapists and their clients, followed by those people in close relationships. Think emotional closeness! While McNamara notes that the dreamers don’t agree on every dream detail, I understand that to be consistent with reports from waking state occurrences. For example, two friends walking together side-by-side down the same street would likely not report the exact same details of the experience. Psychological theories of memory, sensation and perception explain this. As McNamara’s article concludes, he writes, “In short, we [the scientific community] have no good explanations for shared dreams. Perhaps that is why science has not yet investigated these events. Science has no place to put them within its current worldview—but this is all the more reason to investigate them. Paradigm-challenging phenomena are the most important data for science because they force revolutionary changes.” I can think of no bigger clash than that of the current scientific paradigm and the transpersonal or spiritual perspectives.

Western science aside, consider non-materialistic views and those traditional, nature-based, indigenous, non-western, or even mystical views. Can consciousness leave the physical body and return at will? If the soul travels as one’s body slumbers, bumping into friends or family members who share the same ‘dimensional space’ may be possible. While such a notion is a given among certain groups, it may not sit comfortably with particular religious groups or even extreme secularists. Mutual and shared dreaming rides dangerously close to historical accusations (Salem witch trails; the Inquisition) of individuals making a pact with the devil. Whatever we believe, it is unlikely that the next person that crosses our path will hold the same assumption or harness the same belief. The bottom line, however, is that it may be difficult to deny the power and mystery of mutual dreaming once one (or more) experiences such.

 

Be well,

Kim

premonition dreams

Beyond the mundane fragments sometimes recalled from a previous night’s dream, are unusual experiences that take place more often than one might expect. Extraordinary dreams are fairly common and reported by people everywhere, of every age group and in just about any place in the world. One of my favorite dream books is Extraordinary Dreams and How to Work With Them by Stanley Krippner, Fariba Bogzaran, and Andre Percia de Carvalho. They discuss specific categories of dreams (that overlap at times) such as creative dreams, lucid dreams, pregnancy dreams, healing dreams, telepathic dreams, clairvoyant dreams, precognitive dreams, and more. Among these categories are dreams that serve as premonitions, which are often referred to as precognitive dreams. Jeanne Van Bronkhorst’s first book titled Premonitions in Daily Life contains a section on dream premonitions as well. She normalizes this common human experience that frequently gets lumped into the magical or mysterious.

Precognitive, or premonition, dreams have been reported since antiquity. In fact, several examples can be found in the Bible. Some of these types of dreams predict national disasters or important world events, but most often, precognitive dreams reveal average, everyday, or oth11222183_845240965596555_714619458751132206_nerwise insignificant future events to the dreamer. For example, a dream may show an old childhood friend calling, and that evening you are left a voicemail from that person. Or you may dream of visiting a new, unidentifiable place with unique details, then find yourself there the following weekend. Sometimes, though, precognitive dreams may serve to warn. One dreamer reported dreaming of being threatened in a bank during a hold up, and then lived through that frightening experience the next day while conducting business in a bank! Precognitive dreams can be metaphorical, not just literal, so, all dream material can hold value. In addition, future events can be amenable to change – Nothing is set in stone.

Can a dream actually be a forecast? Should such dreams be trusted? Are they delusions or a coincidence, or just a normal, natural part of the human experience? Ancient dreamworkers, as well as contemporary psychologists, have been concerned with these matters. To learn whether our premonitory dreams hold predictive value, we can track them. By writing down the dreams we recall each morning, we are more likely to remember them, especially if they seem insignificant. Once your daily log exists, you can reference the dreams later. I keep a notebook on the nightstand with a couple pens. Upon awaking, I write down all I recall without judgment. Then I put the date at the top and, finally, read what I’ve written to reflect on content, and identify themes, as well as attitudes and feelings. This practice can assist us in connecting dream events with waking life ones. The more this is practiced consistently, the easier it becomes, and eventually it may even be possible to sense a connection between waking and dreaming experiences. Because memory can easily become distorted, including memory for time sequencing, it’s wise to have a healthy sense of skepticism. However, a daily practice of noting all dream details immediately upon awakening, as mentioned above, can show that the dream took place before the waking life event. With time, this helps us trust our precognitive experiences and encourages continuation of the practice.

 

Wishing you memorable dreams,

Kim